--A new addition to your lesson experience at Katherine's school: monthly Studio Masterclasses!
--Lessons have begun at Katherine's School with a September focus on great piano tone.
--A listening library from which all of my students may borrow.
Starting Saturday, September 28th, from 10:00am to 12:00pm, and generally the last Saturday of every month after (schedule coming) I will be holding monthly studio meetings called "Masterclasses." Each class will be centered on a different concept or activity and will also serve as a performance opportunity for anyone who is prepared. There is no extra charge for masterclasses. I highly recommended that students attend not only the masterclasses they may perform at but as many classes as possible to support the other studio members who may be performing. (After all, a performer needs an audience!!) Additionally, the classes will be an opportunity to expand music appreciation, solidify basic technical skills and grow awareness of music history. Some type of food will be provided. (This month, we'll have donuts, juice and coffee at the beginning.) I would ask that you let me know by the day before (the 27th) at 8 pm (in person, email or text) if you'll be coming that day.
START WITH GREAT TONE
As a band director, a flutist and a pianist, I place a high priority on superior tone production. Music is, first and foremost, SOUND and that sound must be the most gorgeous, inspiring sound possible. We have to practice making a great sound until it forms a consistent clay from which we mold all of our music making. How can we know if we are making a gorgeous sound on the instrument? By listening to great musicians!
Most intermediate-beginners have received some listening material and exercises. All students should be playing the CD often in addition to daily practicing. Listen while you work, do homework or drive to soccer practice. Listen while you prepare dinner or read a book. Let the sound of a great piano (or flute) tone get in your ear and you will begin to expect the same sound from your own playing. Music IS sound, so let's fill our ears with GREAT sounds often and regularly!
Speaking of the importance of listening, I happen to have a number of classical and jazz CDs on display in my studio and I want to encourage everyone to glance over them and choose something to listen to for a couple of weeks. Here are a few guidelines for listening:
--When you listen to unfamiliar music, let it be what it is. In other words, don't start with an expectation for the music which can create a negative experience.
--Listen to the whole thing. You'll understand it best when you hear the composer's entire idea from beginning to end.
--Listen several times.
--Refrain from calling it "good" or "bad," or saying "I like it," or "I don't like it."
The point of listening to new music within your lesson framework is (1) to observe and discover, and (2) to receive inspiration and influence. Try this exercise: Next time you accidentally flip to opera or classical music on the radio do not pass it by. Instead, listen to it for 10-15 minutes, simply taking it in. Can you appreciate it without loving it? Yes. Should you hear it? Yes. Will hearing it make you a better musician? Absolutely! While we are certainly allowed to have our preferences in music, as music students we need a willingness to listen to a variety of quality music in "discovery mode". From experience I can tell you that when you enter uncharted listening territory (1) your first impression will probably not stick with you and (2) you will grow as a musician. Start listening today!