AsIt's that time of the year....Solo festivals coming. Students picking solo- some hoping to get a nice score that could potentially get them into All-County, some audition for All-State and for a few it is just one part of a years worth of lesson study.
First, why private lessons? Let me dispel one thing. Private lessons is not just for those who are struggling with an instrument. (In most cases, students that get an English tutor struggle in some form in English) Private music lessons is also for those that want to improve their skills with a professional on their instrument. That means- if you want to improve your french horns skills you should seek out a professional horn player. If you are a clarinetist- seek out a professional clarinetist. Have your parents ever taken their Honda to get serviced at a Ford service center? No. But- wait I can go to a mechanic and it might take me an extra day but I'll get the parts. Or, you could go to the Honda dealer and they have all the parts all the time. (See where I am going) While many fine educators can teach several instruments. There are just some nuances that only professionals on the instrument you are studying can really adjust especially learning solo literature, embouchure development and equipment selection. (to name a few)
It's solo time! I need a private teacher! Too late... One of my colleagues in the music field said it best "Any music teacher can teach a solo!" This is not why you take private lessons. Any teacher with basic competence can give you a sheet with all the required scales, pick a solo and work the rhythms, notes, style, articulation (of that one piece), IF there is time develop your tone a little bit and then work on sight reading. A few lessons later you have learned your solo and probably feel adequately prepared for a solo performance. But, when you go play another piece of music- do all of those things still apply? Does everything you just crammed carry over? Can you play dynamics at first sight? Can you play articulations at first glance? Notes? Rhythms ? Tone production? Playing in tune? Chances are probably not. Making the decision to study privately is the dedication to becoming Musician (capital M on purpose). A Musician can sight read, a Musician can play in tune, perform all kinds of articulations, play in all 15 keys, rhythms are spot on accurate, Knows styles from classical to NY Jazz and LA Jazz. Tone is full with great control of dynamics at their disposal. But most importantly, a competent Musician is free of their technical demands so that they can express themselves without the limitations of their skills. They have spent hours honing their skills so they can connect with a piece of music, connect with an audience and experience the power of Music. Sounds like a much more worthy cause and a better use of your money, doesn't it?
So this year- take a chance, don't just take a private lesson to learn a solo; Take private lessons to become a better all-around Musician. You will have more fun, learn so much more, and when it does come time for solo and audition preparations you will have the skills that you will feel adequately prepared at a much better pace without sweating it.
Ask your local music teachers for references or see who your friends are studying with. If you live near a university see who is on staff and see if that person will take you on. There is nothing more inspiring then hearing a professional on your instrument!
What if I can't afford private lessons? Ask your teacher or google who are the BEST musicians in the world on your instrument. Listen to them on YouTube or buy their CD's. Get a method book and start cracking. You don't need to take weekly lessons see what you can manage. Maybe one lesson a month to start. If your child is younger, sometimes a great HS student is willing to teach the basics for a significantly lower rate than a professional might. You won't know until you ask- so ask around. Also, you'd be surprised at the generosity people have when someone wants to genuinely get better!
Welcome to the newly revised Kennedy HS Band website. There have been major upgrades that have taken place over the past few weeks. Please feel free to visit pages you might have visited a few weeks ago and learn of the updates.
I would also like to welcome you to the "...From the Band Room" blog! Here I will try to write periodically about issues going on in music education. I plan on highlighting some of our outstanding band alumni and current student work as the year goes on. Please follow the band program @jfkhsbands for the latest blog entries or subscribe via the RSS feed.