A couple of months ago Anna Freedman asked me if I would produce her first record of original music. Anna is a really accomplished musician who plays piano, sings and writes music. We worked together as teacher/student when she was in high school. Now she plays around Seattle and teaches at Creative Music Adventures as well.
I asked Anna if I could share the process of bringing this recording to fruition through a series of posts here to help folks who may be interested in recording their own music (or helping their students make recordings). She was nice enough to agree to this idea. So here is the first part of the series…
Hello everyone. I’m finally getting my routines set up after moving my stuff down to Los Angeles. It’s been a whirlwind mostly due to juggling some music projects with trying to unpack and find which box my socks were in.
After fourteen years of teaching about forty students a week and being hands-on at Creative Music Adventures, I’m taking a little break. As many of you know I was up at 4:45 a.m. five days a week to be at a high school where they participated in a curriculum I developed. Keeping that schedule, working on finishing the books/method, performing and producing left little time to sleep.
Several years ago I had an adult student who was a great jazz player. She felt all of her issues in playing music came from not understanding the circle of fifths. She came in with the diagram and explained it to me perfectly. I said that it sounded like she knew the information really well. But she insisted that I help her use the information within the context of a performance/piece, rather than in a theoretical sense – and especially not restricting it to key signatures.
It took me a while to wrap my head around what she was looking for, but I’m glad she was so adamant about this. Because the series of exercises we worked through and I later refined has become a staple for all of my students from and intermediate level and up. It helps with learning and memorizing large volumes of repertoire (in any genre), improvisation, composing, ear training and reading… Just to scratch the surface.
After a lesson with a student who has been working with me for nearly 14 years, I took a moment to assess the state of our room as I walked out, letting him tear down his gear. I was inspired to take a quick picture after realizing that this may not be a typical scene to many folks who teach, practice or took lessons at some point in their lives.
All of us who have played, taught, listened to or experienced music in any way know the power it holds. Many people can trace certain important times of their lives to specific recordings. Several musicians, myself included, can trace the reason we play music back to one or two recordings. Many people who play music have often been pulled out of major ruts in their practice/playing after hearing a recording. There are people who don’t have anything to do with playing music who simply can’t function without it.
Notes:I’ll be speaking at the WSMTA convention. This is for members of the association throughout the state of Washington. If you’re there, stop and say ‘hi’. After my presentation I’ll be in the vendor area answering questions about my books.
Creating a community of musical peers is something that rarely gets emphasized in the music teaching/learning world. There are many studio events, ensembles, recitals, festivals and competitions that have students cross paths with one another. However, the bonds from these events only scratch the surface of what could potentially be formed between students.
An in-depth look at the membership site with a video demo:
I’ve always said that there is no better time than now to be teaching kids to play music. The access that students and teachers have to music from all styles, genres and eras makes it nearly impossible for anyone to lose interest in creating something musical. The result may end up sounding like a concert pianist, or it may end up being a kid learning to produce quality dance music on their laptop and becoming a producer. But to have so much music and music-related content at our disposal is a huge benefit to teaching and learning music today.