Majoringinmusic.com offers articles, advice, and links on choosing a music school, majoring in music, and building a successful music career. Listed in the most recent issue of American Music Teacher Magazine, a publication of the Music Teacher’s National Association, the site has a wealth of useful information that teachers can use as they help students develop the technical skills necessary for further study. There are articles for parents and students with practical real world implications of a career in music from financing your education and your life to honing your skills as well.
I might even do a studio wide project on becoming a professional musician using this site. Any ideas? Share them in a comment!
Family vacations and day trips are great opportunities to explore each other’s interests. For musical families or families with anybody who is musical this can mean adding an additional adventure to an already planned trip. That’s what we did on our most recent trip. Although not everyone in my family is musical we all enjoyed it. We didn’t have to take a huge chunk of time out of our vacation to do it either. It was just another memory making moment in time. So, families, make the most of this Spring Break and visit a music related display, concert, or anything else musical you can think of!!! You never know what it could lead to.
As music teachers we are in a powerful position to influence young people. While it is certainly true that not every child who enters our studios desires to become a famous musician on any level, there are definitely some who do! Actually everybody wants to be a rock star at something! If we are honest with ourselves we will admit that this desire is not completely for the love of being good at something. No, we also want the perks that go along with being good at something. When you excel at something, people like you. People say you’re wonderful. It makes you feel good. With music and the arts the potential for large crowds of people giving us this kind of attention is even greater and it can come at a very high cost.
I am often frustrated because most parents do not want their children to pursue music as a career even if they are providing their children with music lessons. Knowing all the temptation that can come with fame I can see why parents feel this way. I’m a parent too! The fact is that if your child is talented and makes it big they will face temptations of all sorts… just like Whitney Houston and so many other artists. They will constantly have to make difficult decisions about drugs, fitting in, money (possibly large sums of it), and other addictions. Yes, everybody has to make these kinds of decisions, but for artists the level of pressure involved is often so much greater.
Do I think that we should steer young people away from the arts and show biz? By no means! I do, however, believe that as teachers we have a responsibility to help prepare them for the special types of challenges that they will encounter in the music world if they are preparing themselves to become professional musicians. This is just as important if not more important than helping them develop the craft. We must let them know that they can have wonderful careers in music without becoming a victim of fame. Here are 5 simple things we can do to help our students grow into HEALTHY musicians:
1. Always, always make sure that we teach them to love themselves! Let them know that their gift of music is not what makes them wonderful. They just are!
2. Provide them with recommended reading lists of artist biographies.
3. Include inspirational quotes on assignment sheets, studio websites, tweets, or other means.
4. Ask them what they want to be when they grow up and why.
5. Be someone they can talk to if needed.
If you are interested in getting resources that you can use to help prepare students to deal with a life of FAME, please visit my studio website at http://www.thefameschool.com
Every year my students look forward to the BIG CD RECORDING PROJECT. Every week from August to January they ask, “When are we going to do our CDs?” Well the time is finally here. Last year they designed their own CD Covers as well. I have found that this project is the single biggest practice motivator for my students. They want their CDs to sound great so they take extra care to practice well. And… the number one rule in the recording studio is that we do at least 4 takes of each track and then listen to each to choose the best. This helps them develop and refine their listening skills and ability to discern good quality playing.
Throughout the process you can see each child becoming more of a musician in thought and action. This is especially evident in the way they answer the questions in the interviews I do with them as part of the project.
To celebrate all our hard work we have a big CD Release Party once the CDs are complete.
I can’t wait to hear the titles that they give their CD Projects this year. Last year we had titles like ” Wonderful Songs”, “Piano Praise”, “Piano Playing Princess”, and “Music Splash Down”. Kids are so CREATIVE!!!
Do you do CD Projects with your students? I’d love to hear how you do it!