Hello again! It's been a few weeks since my last blog post. I knew I was overdue when my eldest, Jenni, during recent father/daughter time at Pizza Shuttle said, "Dad, I've been reading all of your blog posts on Patch recently, to catch up. You need to write another soon!"
Well, I couldn't quite tell if she meant the comment in a "Dad's been a slacker and needs to get going" sort of way, or the way I prefer to think about her statement, "I really enjoy your blog posts (and all of the wisdom, humor, cool facts and life stories in them), and I just can't wait to read more."
Yep. I'll go with door No. 2.
I've been busy musically, and have gained plenty to write about: gigs, Internet-based recording, The Academy School of Performance, and more.
I am the founder and director of "The Academy School of Performance," which is an opportunity for private-lesson students to form ensembles, gain experience playing in small groups, network, and present live performances. The Falls' Academy of Music, where I teach, hosts the program.
It started a couple of years ago when I realized that, outside of school band programs, music students young and old had a difficult time finding other musicians with whom to play. Too many times students would practice their instrument alone in a room and at a certain point realize, "Hey, I'd like to be able to play with others. Am I good enough to do this? How do I go about finding a bandmate?"
Frustrated and unable to find answers to their questions, they might ask themselves, "Why am I even playing an instrument, when the walls are my only audience?" I wanted to address this problem.
To do this, Academy of Music educators match the ability levels of current students who want to participate (including voice & piano), and organize ensembles (even duets), and rehearsals for them. Then the students perform in front of screaming, adoring fans. Of course, the "fans" mostly include family and friends; however, the concert is open to the general public, as well.
Want to see photos and a video of past performances? Check them out here.
Past events have included surprises for participants and audience members. I interviewed some of my past students who are now playing professionally. Each time, the interview included questions like: "What is the difference between playing music and performing music?" Or, "Does how one practices affect the way a piece of music is performed?" These types of questions are designed to get the attendees within the program thinking in the right direction: How do you perform on stage, to an audience, effectively?
Another surprise had the Academy School of Performance "house band" (comprising staff members, the house band helps "fill out" an ensemble if it is missing a certain instrument needed to complete a song) perform a few cover tunes. This helped demonstrate visual and or technical concepts that were taught during a student's lesson, or at a program's rehearsal.
The third Academy School of Performance concert will be held from 2-4 p.m Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Falls Academy of Music. Past ensembles have performed a wide variety of styles: blues, rock, pop, flamenco, a drum set duet, and original compositions.
I can't believe how this event has grown since its inception: It has doubled in participation and audience size. I'm proud of the direction this program has taken, and so very proud of its past performers. The free concert will be a great opportunity for anyone who wants to support fine, local musicians.
The last concert was standing room only, so arrive early.
Hope to see you there!