More Than Music

I am so excited that the school year has begun! Are you?

Here’s what this studio has to look forward to this year:

RECITALS

We will be holding at least two recitals at a local rehabilitation center. Apart from giving back to our community, there are many fabulous benefits that come from events like this!

My amazing students get to share what they love with folks who could use a bright spot in their day. The students experience the joy that comes from interacting with elders, maybe even hearing a story from a resident after the recital is over.

The performances provide foot or finger tapping entertainment for the residents, and a great chance for the students to become comfortable performing in a supportive environment. They also learn how to play through distractions when a resident breaks out in song! It’s wonderful to see the connections that form through the music that the students offer.

GATHERINGS

Musical Explorers Club will be meeting monthly. We’ll be listening to each other play pieces we’re working on, which is a terrific opportunity to help each other by giving thoughtful feedback. It also strengthens listening skills.

The club is the perfect environment to build musical friendships with like-minded people. Since it’s a multi-age (even multi-generational!) club, the students can mentor and be mentored. It’s a wonderful thing to see when students who have looked up to other students become the helper.

Duets and trios provide another opportunity to socialize. Piano and flute students work together throughout the year to polish a piece that will be performed on the final, formal recital of the year. They learn how to communicate about the music, and how to negotiate an interpretation that is as musical as possible. They learn to listen to each other, and literally and figuratively breathe together in order to create a moving performance.

The club encourages healthy competition. Often after a club event, I’ll hear, “I want to play that piece!” If it’s beyond the student’s current level, it provides incentive to work more enthusiastically to reach that goal.

The group learns about a different composer each month. If a student is learning a piece by that composer, they get to showcase it. We will watch performances, and learn things that help us feel what it was like to be that composer.

We play group musical games at each gathering, which makes for a lot of giggles, guffaws, and -surprise!- learning. The games will focus on various subjects, such as rhythm, history, or instruments of the orchestra.

COMPETITIONS

My affiliation with MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) provides my students the opportunity to participate in competitions of increasing degrees of challenge. It is my goal that my students are introduced gently to the competitive world, so that they can truly enjoy it. As they progress, they build skills that go beyond the world of music. They gain confidence in a public setting, learn how to accept -and take advantage of- critical comments, and acquire poise that will carry them through anything they choose to do with their lives.

STUDY

This brings us to the core of the studio – the flute and piano lessons. It is a distinct privilege to teach one-on-one over time. The fact that I will often have students from three years of age through high school graduation, and that they regularly keep in touch beyond that, makes for strong relationships that I treasure and respect deeply. Add to that my adult students – our work makes for a connection that often lasts for many years.

In the studio each week, we develop our musical muscles in all areas. We create a healthy physical foundation that ensures the ability to enjoy playing throughout life. Within that framework, technical aspects are built that will allow the student to play freely, allowing full expression to flow.

While a number of students have gone on to enjoy professional musical careers (and I’m happy to guide them along their way), I know that many of my students will not be taking that path. Ultimately, I hope that my students will become informed musical audience members and amateur players, who just LOVE music!

Pamela

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