Music teachers and students are just like everyone else during this chaotic time… We’re all trying to keep each other safe while moving lessons and classes online. I’ve been teaching online for over three years and love it – I’ve come to learn that it has several advantages over in-person lessons. But students and teachers making this switch with no warning or planning is not the ideal way to venture into the world of online teaching.
One week ago I had the honor of speaking at the MTAC Convention in Anaheim, CA. MTAC is an association of private music teachers throughout California. This convention featured guests speakers from around the world as well as some inspiring student and professional performances.
This was my first time speaking at a state-level event in California and it was an inspiring experience.
On Sunday I led a panel for students, teachers and parents on “Careers in Music”. The panel featured Loren Battley (Michael Bublé & Pomplamoose), Natalie Hernandez (Quincy Jones Production and Interscope Records), Jim Domine (San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra), E.L. Lancaster (Alfred Music and Cal State Northridge) and Joanna Ezrin (Producer, Session Musician and Teacher).
Monday I presented an hour presentation on building excitement in your teaching studio. I was so blown away with the turnout, the people interacting from the hallway and by so many folks staying an extra 30 minutes for an extended Q&A. Thank you to those who were in attendance.
In other news, I’ll be starting the blog up again with some fresh posts soon (as soon as jury duty is over).
Also, I’ve been teaching/consulting folks online over the past year. I really like this format for teaching. Everyone is really improving a lot. I have one opening for the summer. If you are interested in working together, let me know and we can discuss options.
One of the most important aspects of performing is communication. Even though the quality of our performance will mostly depend on how prepared we are musically, communication can help make the performance less stressful while allowing us to put most of our energy into the main thing – the music.
Practicing and performing should not be that different from each other when it comes to our musical approach. I believe that standards for energy, emotion, execution and creativity shouldn’t change that much between our practice room repetitions and the stage. If someone were to eavesdrop on a practice sessions, they should feel like they’re hearing us perform. However, they shouldn’t hear us sounding perfect or even good.
After the post last week about recovering from bad performances, several folks have asked for more information and specifics in regards to the approaches I mentioned. This post will be part of a series on methods we can use to treat each practice session and/or rehearsal as a performance – hopefully making each performance less tense and more rewarding in the process.
After many months (years actually) of working on this project, I’m excited to announce that downloadable practice tracks are available for my teaching method – Levels 1 – 4.
Poor performances can send shock waves through our system. Any of us who have played music for a long time can probably share multiple horror stories in regards to performances. The culprits range from things outside of our control to things we are directly responsible for. Either way, it usually feels horrible.
The first time I hosted a masterclass for my students where they worked with a guest artist, I remember feeling a little confused and disappointed. There were several times during the event when the guest would point out the most obvious things a student needed to do to improve their performance. Because these areas discussed were so obvious, it wasn’t the first time the students had heard about them. However, the students reacted to this instruction in the masterclass way differently than when I had I brought them up in the lessons. It was if they had never realized that these things needed work and they were suddenly eager to improve.
The final post in this memorization series is about learning large chunks of music or big pieces/programs quickly and efficiently – without needing the printed music. If you have been following the last few posts on the topic and trying them out, this post should feel like a logical extension.
Repetition has long been a staple of music pedagogy. As students we were always asked to play the same section a certain number of times in a row to obtain “mastery” (whatever that is). When most of us became teachers, we just continued the tradition. When I broke from that tradition I noticed that my students started to improve much faster and their playing became more personal and lively.