6 years ago

Volume 10 Issue 1 - September 2004

  • Text
  • September
  • Jazz
  • Toronto
  • Festival
  • October
  • Passport
  • Theatre
  • Musical
  • Arts
  • Orchestra


MUSIC EDUCATION Choosing·a Path Visit our website at • to find a Registered Music Teacher • for information on becoming a Registered Music Teacher I The North Toronto Institute of Music Private lessons in a wide variety of instruments including: •piano •guitar eviola •violin •cello •saxophone •clarinet •flute •accordion Voice instruction Jazz Workshops Theory classes Acting and Scene study Pre-School classes Musical instruction by highly qualified teachers in the heart of Toronto "Suppose you scrub your ethical skin wuil it shines, bur inside • there is no music, then wluzt? " Kabir, India (1398-1518) BY MASHA BUELL June's Musical Life article "Tools of the Trade", on the topic of finding an instrument, represented hours of conversation with interesting and "instruirental" people. There were. many more this month: learners of all ages, parents, teachers, working musicians - many whose lives include almost all these roles. What we can publish here is only a sampling of the passionate collective wisdom generously offered. We're not promoting any school or studio, but you may recognize the thoughts or voices of esteemed members of our community as we explore ... WE ARE ALL MUSIC'S CIDLDREN An early taste for his instrument? Guess the name of this member of our music community (photo circa 1942) for a chance to win tickets. Entries to When should someone start "music lessons"? What's the best way to start my "Starting a child on an instrument child learning music'! simply because it was what you Gmndmn picked up the flyer flt the library and called. "It's called Music With Your Baby - as young as six months. It says parents, grandparents or caregivers. Wednesdays. Since he's going to be with me tluzt afternoon anyway when you go back to work, I could take him ... " By the time this baby is a toddler, he will have already experienced music as something playful, vigorous, expressive and relaxing. And grandma will have re-learned the fingerplay, bouncing rhymes, and lullabies she thought she'd forgotten. "Once I mnde the mistake of accepting a piano student, a little girl, who was only three. I would spend at least fifteen minutes coaxing her not to try to play with her toes ... They have to be able to sit still for more than jive minures ... maybe they have to be at least jive. It depends on the child ... ''. (Mary) Preparatory music is really important. A ,good preparatory class has preschool aged children moving, using their bodies, and most importantly singing. They learn about pulse, rhythm and pitch by dancing and singing, maybe playing some very basic instrurrents. Students with this background come to music lessons much more ready. did flt the same age isn 't reason enough! Children know their minds about this more often tluzn you might think" (Alison) How did YOU meet your teacher? How should a person pick a teacher? It's a late winter Sunday afternoon. The concert by a popu[(lr baroque ensemble has ended. Performers, audience members rru'ngle, relaxed and unhurried. A smnll boy, about eight walks up to the cellist, and waits for a pause. "Hello, my name is .... " he introduces himself and plunges on. "Could you please tell my mother someone who could teach me 'cello?" A couple of onlookers smile, but nobody wughs. With equal gravitas the musician replies "Well ... would I do, or do you need someone better?" The boy's eyes grow very large. "Ohhhh - you mean YOU could teach me? That would be GREAT!" Sometimes it starts just like that. And can work out. A brilliant performer is not necessarily a good teacher. If you are fortunate enough to find someone who is both you will need to be extremely flexible about scheduling lessons around rehearsal and performance connnitments. SEPTEMBER 1 - OCTOBER 7 2004

There are lots of fine teachers who do not perform in public on a regular basis. Taking young people to all kinds of live music shows them the possibilities and helps them form opinions about what they'd like to try. Many concert presenters offer discounted tickets for young people and seniors! (And if they don't, they should. So ask!) "My mother was my firs/ 1eacher. All five children played piano and we grew up in the midst of her very active studio. I'm sure we thought music 1111s something the entire world did, and thm all households had practice schedules like ours. " (Alison) "My gmndmo1her played the piano and I was fascinated. I was 3 and would sit and listen and pick things up, exploring the instrument . . . . . .. ! enjoyed that. My mother acquired my first teacher. At thm lime, in Europe all good middle class children were wught ... the teachers had to be properly certified. " (Mary) Usually it's adults who set about" finding a teacher for a child (or for themselves). It can be hard to know where to start. Talk to parents, school music teachers, working musicians. Young professional musicians and "returning" adults looking for a teacher or coaching often decide based on what they know first-hand or hear from others in the music conununity. Teachers at this level acquire their reputations not just by their student's reconunendations, but by how their teaching is reflected in their student's successes. Here are the basics about looking for a music teacher. The first four are pretty much mandatory. The rest depend on your priorities. Musical education: An ARCT does not necessarily make someone a good teacher. Nor does 25 years as first oboe in a fine orchestra. But asking about certification is one way of breaking the ice. Experience: Find out if they have other students the same age as your child (or yourself). Ask them to describe their approach to teaching, and whether it matches the learning style of the prospective student. There is a vast range in approaches. Challenge your own assumptions about learning. What worked (or not) for you as a child · might not work for another, or even for you as an adult. Different approaches offer opportunities for visual, kinesthelic or auditory learners. "/! has been my privilege to come upon an idea that has made it possible to learn music in a whole new way. The key is colour. Colour is a language of the heart, not the mind. It is universal, just as music is, understood by all. I have been leaching music wilh colour for over 20 years. (Heidemarie) Find out how a teacher feels about a parent being present (or not) during the lesson. Find out, for example, if what you will get is a "piano lesson" or a "music lesson which includes the piano". Passionately good music teachers empower students of any age to become musically literate, to have a grasp of history and style, to be an appreciative audience, and to find emotional and creative outlets through music. Personality: The teacher should meet with you before trying a lesson, and be interested in the student themselves if it's going to be a good fit. A teacher who talks to you as if your child is not in the room may, not really know how to talk to your child. An empathetic teacher is patient, and able to be playful with a young child, conunands respect but also gives respect. For an adult learn, er, chemistry is equally important. Time will tell. Ten weeks will generally give you an idea of how things are working. Fees: Find out: how long a lesson is (a half hour is plenty for a younger child or any beginner); how much a longer 1esson would be; how many lessons you will pay for up front; what provisions can be made for lessons unavoidably missed by either party. If dealing with an individual rather than a school be aware that some musicians have to be encouraged to talk about money. And don't be fooled into picking an inexpensive teacher "until you' re sure". That way you may never be. Studio atmosphere: This is more important to some people than others. Make sure that you or your child feel comfortable and able to concentrate. Make sure the location is manageable, even in bad weather. A teacher who comes to your home - this has its ups and downs too. Type of programme: Does the teacher offer both practical and theoretical?. How about opportu.­ nities for ensemble playing? "Keep in mind !hat the leami1Jg curve is steep in the beginning and young students can easily become frustrated. ft is particularly important then to baltznce out privme lessons with some type of music activity that is group based. Children need to experience the joy of making music with others, something that solitary practice can't provide . . . " (Alison) CONTINUES NEXT PAGE The Royal Conservatory of Music offers a wide variety of music classes: • DJ Techniques • Guitar Classes • World Music Classes • Music for J\.foms-To-Be • Adult Singing Classes • Programs for children from newborn • Private lessons for all instruments • And much more ... All ages. All levels. For everyone. Enriching Lives Through Music Visit us at our Toronto location: 273 Bloor Street West 416-408-2825 Also in Mississauga: 905-891-7944 SEPTEMBER 1 - OCTOBER 7 2004

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