MTAC Convention Recap

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.

Thanks!

Michael

Sounding Bad as a Daily Practice

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.

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Perfection as a Way of Life

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.

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Always Be the Substitute Playing the Role of the New Teacher

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.

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Going Big Memorizing Large Pieces and Programs More Efficiently

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.

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There is No Joy in Repetition Getting the Most Out of Each Repetition

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.

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Take a Picture Part 2 in the "Playing from Memory" Series

While a student at University of Miami, I wrote an original jazz tune for one of our ensembles that I was very excited about. I felt the tune captured the vibe of the famous Miles Davis quintet from the ‘60’s… That was the theme of the ensemble. The tune had unpredictable harmonic rhythm, harmony based on modes of melodic minor and a lot of suspended chords, and romantic-influenced melodies. It wasn’t extremely complicated but it wasn’t simple either.

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