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The Art of Performing In a Band Before a Screaming Audience

The Academy School of Performance is growing fast.

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!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lainie September 21, 2011 at 05:43 PM
Jim...I really enjoy your blog. I was just reading all of the entries again a few days ago and was hoping you'd write another one soon! I like that you included your daughter in this one. I feel strongly that what you are doing with the Academy of Performance is so important. It builds confidence and gives the students a chance to see the real fruits of their labor. For anyone who hasn't attended these great events, I encourage you to attend. These kids do an excellent job with their instruments, and their joy is infectious. They are proud of what they are doing, really enthusiastic and the fun they have playing with the "seasoned" musicians is written all over their faces. Any adult who took music lessons as a kid will understand how cool it would be to play in a band with your teacher! Or get to perform before an audience like this -- a mini rock concert! I've been to the last 2 Academy if Performance events, and I will definitely be attending this one, Jim. I admire your personal mission and commitment!
Liz Wessel September 21, 2011 at 05:44 PM
Great article as usual, Jim! And what a great idea, "The Academy School of Performance!" I bet my husband Rolf would have loved this idea when he was a fledgling guitar player! Your students are so lucky - you give 110% to them! I hope to catch one of these performances sometime! Rock on!
Jim Kube September 21, 2011 at 07:42 PM
Lainie: Wow. Truly humbling comments. I thank you so much for them, and also thank you for having attended the last two events. I appreciate your awesome support! I look forward to seeing you again soon. :) Jim
Bean September 21, 2011 at 10:26 PM
I think it's awesome that you and your daughter have daddy/daughter time - at pizza shuttle nonetheless! And what an awesome opportunity for your students, as well as all the other students! I will do my best to attend the next "Academy School of Performance"!
Jim Kube September 21, 2011 at 10:35 PM
Liz: Thanks for reading my post, and for your continued support as well! I can just picture Rolf as a fledgling guitarist: I'm sure he rocked, blues and jazzed even back then. Also - thanks for your nice comments as well! Jim
Jim Kube September 21, 2011 at 10:42 PM
Bean: Thanks so much for being supportive of father/daughter time. Life is short - every second counts! That's why we meet at Pizza Shuttle! Just kidding!! Thanks for the positive comments regarding the program, and for reading my post. It means a lot. I hope you do come - it'll be fun. When you come, please introduce yourself ;) Jim
Rob September 22, 2011 at 02:36 AM
The next School of Performance is going to be a great experience for developing musicians - getting a chance to play for an enthusiastic audience in a supportive atmosphere. It promises to have great songs and performances for audience members to enjoy too!
Jim Kube September 22, 2011 at 07:08 PM
Rob: You're absolutely right! These performances for the students are chock full of experience and fun, fun, fun! And, the audience really responded well at the prior events. I'm looking forward to all the talent that will show up on November 5th! Thanks for the reply! Jim
ken loebel September 24, 2011 at 05:39 PM
Don't forget to teach kids how to come up with a band name... throw names into a hat and hope it is one you can live with... Warren Patton! Ha!
ken loebel September 24, 2011 at 05:40 PM
O also highly suggest that you recommend small tuna cans for flashpots, rather than the large cans - less smoke and fire!
Jim Kube September 25, 2011 at 03:28 AM
ken loebel: Novel way of coming up with a band name! Like it! Cool thing: The combos that are put together for the performance actually ARE named by the students themselves. THAT'S usually pretty random already!! Funny comment! Jim
Jim Kube September 25, 2011 at 03:30 AM
ken loebel: Stage survival. SMALL tuna cans. Check AND double check. Thanks, Jim
Jim Kube September 25, 2011 at 03:36 AM
Why TUNA cans? Because you can tuna piano but you can't tuna fish. Haha! Jim
Cecilia Zablan Richardson September 26, 2011 at 10:11 PM
Great article. Thank you for giving/sharing your time and talent to showcase the kids.
Jim Kube September 26, 2011 at 10:20 PM
Cecilia: Thanks so much for the wonderful comments, and for reading my post. The kids need this type of program. It would be unfortunate for them to not have an outlet for their talent, such as this. Thanks so much for your interest! Jim
ken loebel September 27, 2011 at 02:25 AM
Noi
ken loebel September 27, 2011 at 02:27 AM
Awesome job Jim... they are getting instruction from one of the best! Do they ever play Hot Blooded?
Jim Kube September 27, 2011 at 05:20 PM
ken loebel: Thanks for the words of encouragement. That means a lot coming from the World Music League representative. ken loebel, would you care to plug your organization? http://www.worldmusicleague.com/ This would be a great time to do it! Thanks! Jim
Jim Kube September 27, 2011 at 05:21 PM
ken loebel: As in Illi-NOIs? Must be a Bears fan... ;) Jim
ken loebel September 28, 2011 at 12:12 PM
Thanks Jim- or you, and all of the fine musicians out there, there is a small start up called World Music League (www.worldmusicleague.com, and www.worldmusicleague.tv) which is being set up to promote musicians, p[articularly independent musicians. The founders include prodcuers in Nashville, as well as publishers, recording artists, and session players from Nashville. We also have exposure to Los Angeles musicians and some deep pockets in Dallas. Please check out the site, and add any coments to either site. The plan is for the World Music League to promote musicians to the point of raising the relevence (in the minds of the consumer) of the musician to equal that of the athlete. Peace to all- and Rock on!
Awake! September 28, 2011 at 01:56 PM
Jim...I still say that your articles should be the headliner article and all the political gobble-dee-gook should be in a small barely visable link in the corner somewhere...I actually read it and feel as though I read something with substance that makes me feel excited for the up and coming musicians that are given these opportunities to showcase their talents in a live concert atmosphere...*secretly wishing i coulda had this opportunity when I was younger*...Great idea Jim...and I really enjoy your blog. I read the article a few days back and I was so amazed by it that I didn't know what to say until now...Another great idea Jim and I'm glad that Academy is on board with you on this...most music stores i've been in mostly have an atmosphere of "what can I sell you today" but Acedemy of Music has a much more warm and welcoming atmosphere and this just more proof of the desire of the business to produce great musicians while providing excellent tools to help them blossom (this is not to say that the instructors r any less awesome)...I can't wait to attend the "Concert at Academy" days... Students...Keep on keeping on...don't ever give up on that instrument... :-D
Jim Kube September 28, 2011 at 06:04 PM
ken loebel: Thanks for the information. I'll encourage folks to visit your site! Jim
Jim Kube September 28, 2011 at 06:08 PM
Dave Kube: Again, as always, your words are very kind. "...makes me feel excited for the up and coming musicians that are given these opportunities to showcase their talents in a live concert atmosphere..." I couldn't have said it any better! Thanks for reading my blog post, and for commenting! Jim

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