Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons. You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes
What to Expect with Private Lessons
* One-teacher to one-student lessons tailored to the student’s learning pace and needs. Sessions are available in 30 minute, 45 minute, and 1 hour durations. Call us for session rates.
* There are no registration fees, and we do not auto bill and do not ask for a last month deposit.
*Make up lessons are always available
* Special lessons available for accomplished musicians who need to work on specific techniques.
* These teachers teach for a living, not as a hobby.
* Low pressure, optional performance and recitals are offered each month.
*Weekly written lesson plans are kept so parents can see assignments.
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The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship
If you are reading this passage, there are most likely a vast number of reasons you decided to enlighten yourself. It is simple to say however, that everyone studying this article has one reason in common: interest in the musical arts. Whether you have been thinking about exploring this art for many years and are still not sure, or you are ready to begin your journey, your curiosity has lead you here with so many questions and a new found thirst to know the secret to fueling this newly kindled flame. I have been asked, friends, to write about what I know about my own personal pilgrimage in hopes to enlighten you and help you start your own relationship with music. This is what I know.
Less Than Humble Beginnings
Although I have played a variety of instruments throughout my life, I have proved most successful playing woodwinds, flute, to be more specific. I can’t say it was an easy transition, having played piano for 9 years of my life, but I had been somewhat naive, believing it to be simple because of it’s plain structure. That is my first lesson, friends: never choose an instrument because it seems the easiest, but because you have a genuine interest. Soon enough, however, it proved me wrong, and proved to be definitely more difficult than I had imagined. A year had gone by and I had floated along, enthusiastic about playing but never quite serious enough. I had become somewhat cocky, being given the first chair in my high school band, feeling that I needed to practice less and less because I was “better”. This is my second lesson: never believe you are “too good” to practice or that you are better than anyone else. No matter how skilled you are, there is always something to refine and improve. Another word of warning: if you simply want to learn an instrument to “show off” and “be the best”, I strongly advise you stop reading this article and spend your energy elsewhere, because it is a process and a life long discovery, not a contest. I learned this too late, however, and upon being thrust into my first professional experience, I heard for the first time the words everyone wide-eyed young musician fears most “you’re okay, but you have allot of work to do.” It would be a lie to say that night I didn’t cry. It would be a lie to say I wasn’t angry at them for not seeing my potential. And it would most certainly be a lie to say that I wasn’t disappointed in myself for not understanding what it meant to play music seriously. From then on, I took those words and new serious outlook and I studied hard under a brilliant teacher who taught me so many things about myself and what I was capable of and went on to accomplish a number of feats I never thought possible. But I’m not here to write a resume, I am here to say that it is so important that you have patience and passion for this art form you are choosing, because only with virtuous patience and fiery passion can you accomplish all you’ve never thought possible.
Musical Dont's 101
Now, if you are reading on to this next excerpt I hope that I have at least secured your interest, and if you are still skeptical, I wish only that you read on with a partially open mind. Here, I have optimistic beliefs that those of you curious are excited and intrigued as you should be. This is a wonderful thing, but be warned. There are a number of ways you can stray from the path and make learning your new instrument so much more difficult for you, and even allow yourself to become so frustrated you lose all interest in playing. The first and most important thing both student and parent must understand is this: music is an investment of time, energy, and money. Yes, money. Parents, this is for you. Please, understand that if your child shows interest in music and wants to learn to play an instrument, it is no different than if they wanted to join a recreational sport or become a dancer. You would want to make sure they had the best quality instruction and equipment you could afford, I am sure of this. It saddens me to see so many parents put a damper on their child’s interest just by simply giving them a terrible instrument. Now, this is only because so many parents don’t understand that a musical instrument is not a toy; it is a precision instrument. Meaning, in shorter terms; when purchasing a musical instrument: Ebay is not an option. Please understand that just because an instrument looks pristine in a photograph on the internet, does not mean it will play beautifully. If you are unsure of whether your child will truly commit to playing, there are a number of music shops that offer great rent-to-own programs for quality instruments. Please, mom and dad, do your homework. I have also seen a number of young musicians with definite potential quit do to a lack of education in the field. Parents, this also is important. If your child shows that they have a true love for their music p lease invest in finding them a qualified teacher. Now this doesn’t exactly mean a fancy resume, but also one that is compatible with your child’s personality type. Your child must feel comfortable with the teacher in order to learn from them. I myself have grown immensely from the knowledge others have given me and have prevented bad habits from forming or natural “customization” to my playing from turning into poor form that could have taken years to break Most importantly, students and parents, you must realize that practice is key. Students, your parents are giving you a great opportunity by supporting your musical education, but only you yourself can fuel your advancement. You must practice and perfect your mistakes until they are second nature, for music is mathematical, physical, and psychological, and this combination takes time, effort, and delicate precision to blend properly, but the results are more than worth it.
Working Together the Right Way
The flute, like all woodwinds, is a somewhat misunderstood instrument. Often in music it is easy to spot if the composer didn’t understand how to write for a flute, but most commonly it is the player that misinterprets the instrument, I am sad to report. In my time teaching, I have seen so many young students think of a flutist with potential as “the best in the band”. This is always such a sad stereotype, but an ongoing one none the less. What any player must understand is that to be in a band does not mean “‘YOUR INSTRUMENT HERE’ with accompaniment”, it is a combined effort, first and foremost. No one player is above anyone else, and chair placement simply should be looked at as a matter of skill, but this does not mean one can improve over time and that noone else is as important. Now, between the flute section, I have witnessed so much tension. Young flutists, please understand that just because you have fast fingers doesn’t mean you deserve star treatment. Playing quickly is simply something that comes over time, and when it comes to whomever is the most skilled, it is not a race. And if you happen to be placed in the first or second chair of whatever group you are playing for, please remember to have grace and humility. Do not act conceited or showy, because as the cliche says: “There is no I in Team”, and being in any kind of musical group is most certainly a team effort.
Friends, there is so much more that I would like to share with you, but I find this a fine ending to a great beginning, if you so let these words inspire you. Please take what I know and have learned through so much trial and error and use it to your advantage. But if you cannot recall anything else of what I have said throughout this article, remember this: music is one of the true pure elements we have left in the world, and if you unlock it’s secrets so many of us already have, you will never look back. I wish you well in your musical endeavors.