Music Festivals and Exams
One should be somewhat clear about their goals when starting music lessons themselves or enrolling their children in them.
Music not just another skill or qualification, a line item on a resume, it is an art. If it is approached properly it will add a lot to the participants’ life. Not only is it a beautiful and complex art but the study of music, playing an instrument, playing with others or composing involves many aspects of life that might not at first seem obvious.
My goal is to have the student have a pleasant and rewarding experience as free of stress as possible so music remains an escape, a solace, a source of companionship and camaraderie and fun for the rest of their lives. If it just becomes another course the chances of them quitting never to return, are very high. Developing various technical skills is part of the process not the purpose. Though I stress musicality, enjoyment etc ironically this in the end results in students that play at a high level more so than if approached the other way around.
The ability to play or memorise a million notes does not make you a musician
Generally this is how it works. This is really rough.
If you never practice.
You can have fun playing the instrument (though not as much fun as you would have if you practiced)and learn a bit about music, Play in a low level group. Go to lessons (which then become guided practice) using you instrument to learn about music including its theory, history, how muscles work etc. You will improve (slowly) just playing in a group but lessons are all the more crucial since it’s easy to get off track.
So this student brings in a saxophone, he has played for 2 years without any success he now hates the instrument.
This young student is one who will practice piano for an hour without being pushed, so obviously both the work ethic and the desire is there.
His instrument was rented from a well know supplier of musical instruments with a PG outlet. Looking at the instrument, in 15 seconds I was able to see that it would never play, the mechanism was out of align.
It's more than likely that this student’s parents paid for 2 years of rental on a non-functional instrument. The store rented it without checking it and the band teacher never thought to see if the otherwise keen and bright student was having problems because of the instrument.
• If there is any doubt bring the instrument to me so I can check it out ( and the players technique as well).
• Buy an instrument from CWW you know it will be a good one- that works. For the rental price of an instrument that didn't work they could have bought a new sax from CWW
• Don’t assume that lack of talent or work ethic is the problem- it could be the instrument or playing technique.
• Know that because of the cost of maintenance (vs. the low rental fees) music stores are often tempted to skip it if the horn looks ok.
With a happy ending!
The student started taking clarinet lessons with me after 6 months he was able to join a second year school band and be one of the best players.
One of the parents of a student was asking me about festival, who does it, how many etc. Festival is for the student not the [parents and certainly not for the teacher. Some teachers use the students the same way a dog breeder uses competitions, to promote their kennel, I do not approve of this. This is why some years I have many students in the festival other years few. It well worth reading my general advice on festivals and exams here.
Private performance April 14
PGSO April 21
Wind World Alban classical school show April 23 and 30