Monday, July 11, 2011

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico- Selecting A Teacher


Initially you probably will need a teacher to steer you in the right direction; to give you some sense of the quality of your sound and performance; some feedback to help orient you in the right direction.
Let us not forget- Analysis of classical piano scores or playing with classical CD'S is another source of ideas. You might see the way Shostakovitch creates his harmonic fabrics.... Or whatever is interesting to you. By continuing to work with focus on the same things from day to day, by following the thread of your explorations, you will find that your level of proficiency has risen and expanded to include all the sources you have examined. At this point you have LONG TERM GAIN. Just as playing every night results in the development of style, practicing every day results in the acquisition of technique, musical knowledge and intelligence, improved tone, and stamina. A general panacea. Just the quest to continuously find something to practice will increase your creativity. It always amazes me when someone says "I don't have anything to practice" or "I don't know what to practice". There are so many variations of scales, melodies, and melodic patterns, not to mention 12 keys. So many sounds to make, articulations, songs to learn, music to listen to and analyze, technical problems to sort out. The only limitation is your focus, consistency and inventiveness. At this point it would be good to point out that there are certain proficiency which are generally expected of an accomplished musician.To one degree or another, a musician is understood to have the following skills: Good intonation and ability to blend with other instruments, 2-3 octave range(saxophone), technique in all keys, accurate articulation and rhythm, some reading ability (this varies greatly), knowledge of harmony and familiarity with the keyboard, the ability to improvise over different types of thematic material, a beautiful melodic tone, A teacher can instigate this and inspire you to go beyond your own visions.
The teacher will mirror your playing , pointing out and hopefully giving you the means to continue working on your own. A good teacher will also demonstrate when necessary to provide inspiration. Watch out, however, for instructors who keep a student in a state of dependency. Perpetual students who don't achieve the ability to work and progress on their own are the unfortunate result of poor teaching and possibly the desire for a long term source on income on the part of the instructor. Kind of like a psychiatrist keeping you feeling crazy so you have to keep coming. This why development of a DAILY PRACTICE is the first and most important goal of study. The ability to maintain this practice is the most important indicator of you development as a musician, so select a teacher who will help you work toward this goal. Your teacher should be strict but gentle, capable of great support and enthusiasm for your work.

Any suggestions, comments and input- please drop a few words on these thoughts.

Till next week- stay cool calm and collected- Tim Price

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tim,
    I'm new to reading this blog, and I especially enjoyed this post. You point out some rather fundamental truths about progressing as a musician. One, that it is important to develop (as you say) inventiveness in finding things to practice. To me, this is one of the greatest components to continued growth for musicians at any level. Second, you mentioned that the student shouldn't become too dependent on the teacher (loved your metaphor about the psychiatrist!) Two simple things that make a huge difference. Thanks for that. I'm going to pass it on to my students. Bill