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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter #1
Any of my former students should recognize this "saying" because it is a motto of mine when I teach.

All too often I see somebody come in and ABSOLUTELY understand what it is that I am saying. The next week they are discouraged when they cannot achieve what they so clearly understood the week before.

MY JOB is to make sure you know how to correct your problem. That is what I get paid to do.

YOUR JOB is to go home and practice being able to do it. Just because you know how to do something doesn't mean you know how to do it.

If you are not honest in your self perceptions about your ability "to do" it, you will never become as good as you could be.

"Good enough" is not acceptable. No matter how good you are there will ALWAYS be somebody better.

"Just Having Fun", and not needing to play it "THAT" well because you don't need to are statements that bug me. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

I guess this little rant is inspired by all those school administrators who obviously didn't have the musical experience in HS that could show them how important the arts are. OR think that "having a program to offer" is all they need to provide to their students regardless of quality.

In this economy, the ARTS are taking a hit!! Jobs are being cut!!! Programs are being taken away. Too many of my friends are becoming unemployed. The future at this rate is going to be artistically deprived, and it seems nobody cares.

I am not saying that cuts aren't necessary, just lets not be so happy about making them!!

I just had to vent ..... I will step off my box now..

Charlie
 

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In this economy, the ARTS are taking a hit!! Jobs are being cut!!! Programs are being taken away. Too many of my friends are becoming unemployed. The future at this rate is going to be artistically deprived, and it seems nobody cares.

I am not saying that cuts aren't necessary, just lets not be so happy about making them!!

I just had to vent ..... I will step off my box now..

Charlie
Good rant! On another forum I participate in there was a poster who had a meltdown over the fact our provincial gov't threw down 350-million for a new museum instead of building the Edmonton Oilers a new arena. It was one of the most sad and pathetic things watching this guy completely meltdown over his ideas that the arts are stupid, and artists are elitists, and that sports is the most important thing in the world. Yeah....
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2012
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God, the older one gets, the truer that sounds...
 

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Students must realize that becoming proficient on their horn is a physical reality.
It's not about understanding how to do it, it's about making it so. More akin to a body builder putting on muscle mass, as opposed to a math genius conceptualizing quantum physics.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
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In this economy, the ARTS are taking a hit!! Jobs are being cut!!! Programs are being taken away. Too many of my friends are becoming unemployed. The future at this rate is going to be artistically deprived, and it seems nobody cares.
Even hearings in support of the arts are being canceled...
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian
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Charlie, I'd be very interested to know your thoughts on the possibility of making better instructions for instrumental techniques that are basically physical in nature. I focus on my old personal bugaboo, tonguing, but the principles could apply to any technique that is traditionally built on repetition.

Some players "get" certain techniques faster than others, whereas some never get them at all. The teacher-as-master model means s/he gets little to no help in refining teaching methods or being a better communicator, and when these are lacking, the student must take on the burden.

As all-important as it is for the student to commit to mastery, hi/r responsibility is not to take confusing or sketchy instruction and just keep piling up the reps, hoping for magic to happen. Could the teacher do hi/r job better with stronger communication, new techniques, new knowledge?
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009 &
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.........................

YOUR JOB is to go home and practice being able to do it. Just because you know how to do something doesn't mean you know how to do it.

If you are not honest in your self perceptions about your ability "to do" it, you will never become as good as you could be.

"Good enough" is not acceptable. No matter how good you are there will ALWAYS be somebody better.

"Just Having Fun", and not needing to play it "THAT" well because you don't need to are statements that bug me. Anything worth doing is worth doing well................

Charlie
You've given voice to one of my pet peeves. I'm strictly an amateur late bloomer who plays mainly in community bands. I'm probably above average in that setting, but not great, but I work hard and practice lots. That attitude of "just having fun", and "good enough" really frosts me, 'cause it results in creating barriers to any really improvement in the group. I'm tolerant of weaker players ( I've certainly been among that group) when I see that they are aware of their areas of weakness (as one of my directors is fond of saying "when in doubt, leave it out") and are working at correcting them. But of the others, who show up when the spirit moves them, play loudly and badly, never shed, and feel totally OK about that, well,,,,,,, End of rant!

Ruth
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian
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All true. Sadly, the way of things is often to go to extremes with whatever attitude we have, which makes everybody unhappy even when some results are gotten.
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter #9
Charlie, I'd be very interested to know your thoughts on the possibility of making better instructions for instrumental techniques that are basically physical in nature. I focus on my old personal bugaboo, tonguing, but the principles could apply to any technique that is traditionally built on repetition.
I think if the teacher FULLY understands how something works - especially the mechanics - when dealing with all things muscular (for example the tongue) - then explaining it in a way the student understands - along with some guided practice during the lesson - will result in success once the student takes the time to practice it correctly.

Hey Paul - you are not too far from me - why not take a ride up - have me do some work on your horns - and we can talk tonguing! I KNOW I can give you some good ideas in person.

Charlie
 

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My first job as an instrumental music teacher is to teach the concepts and the specifics of fundamentals that enable the students to develop a skill, and to help the students set goals. Once the concepts and fundamentals are taught, the second phase is to monitor the student's progress toward their goals and to reinforce the underlying concepts and fundamentals and make small adjustments as necessary. The other part of music teaching is what I call "cheerleading". This is where positive reinforcement, encouragement, motivation, etc. are used to bolster the student's determination to stick to the task and do the hard work of practicing until the skill is mastered and the goal is achieved.
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter #11
My first job as an instrumental music teacher is to teach the concepts and the specifics of fundamentals that enable the students to develop a skill, and to help the students set goals. Once the concepts and fundamentals are taught, the second phase is to monitor the student's progress toward their goals and to reinforce the underlying concepts and fundamentals and make small adjustments as necessary. The other part of music teaching is what I call "cheerleading". This is where positive reinforcement, encouragement, motivation, etc. are used to bolster the student's determination to stick to the task and do the hard work of practicing until the skill is mastered and the goal is achieved.
All Part of "Knowing How" and extremely well done I might add. But the ultimate result the student produces is directly related to how much THEY put into "Being Able to"
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian
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I think if the teacher FULLY understands how something works - especially the mechanics - when dealing with all things muscular (for example the tongue) - then explaining it in a way the student understands - along with some guided practice during the lesson - will result in success once the student takes the time to practice it correctly.

Hey Paul - you are not too far from me - why not take a ride up - have me do some work on your horns - and we can talk tonguing! I KNOW I can give you some good ideas in person.

Charlie
Thanks. I'd love to. It'll have to be sometime this summer, tho - I'm pulling up stakes and moving the folks (and myself) back to the midwest.

I still remember, about 2000, that you, I, and Dave Wright got together at Roberto's in NYC and had a sort of informal sax summit. I got some tips on altissimo that really helped me break thru my hangups in that register.
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks. I'd love to. It'll have to be sometime this summer, tho - I'm pulling up stakes and moving the folks (and myself) back to the midwest.

I still remember, about 2000, that you, I, and Dave Wright got together at Roberto's in NYC and had a sort of informal sax summit. I got some tips on altissimo that really helped me break thru my hangups in that register.
And I remember before that you complimenting a post I made somewhere online clarifying something with one of my old students. ..... And meeting up at the Sax Symposium once or twice a few moons ago. Paul - your one of the good ones!!
 

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It is frustrating when you give a student all the tools necessary to improve, and then they choose not to implement them.
I tell mine that I can only advise and demonstrate. I can't MAKE them a better player. They have to do that part all by themselves.
Pretty simplistic, but I'm not as qualified as the rest of you guys who really do this stuff for a living.

So far the Arts are safe in my school district, but I don't know how much longer. All I know is that our bands bring home more awards, titles, and trophies than our football/baseball/track/tennis/bowling/soccer/softball teams combined.
That alone should keep it up and running indefinately. *Crosses fingers*
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter #15
So far the Arts are safe in my school district, but I don't know how much longer. All I know is that our bands bring home more awards, titles, and trophies than our football/baseball/track/tennis/bowling/soccer/softball teams combined.
That alone should keep it up and running indefinately. *Crosses fingers*
That kills me. In MANY school systems - the ARTS are judged by the tangible rewards and not the emotional ones. That is in my mind the downfall of modern music education.

Music is Graded within the schools and out in competitions. I AM NOT SAYING THAT COMPETITION IS NOT GOOD. I am however saying that making the decision to keep a MUSIC program is based too often on how many Trophies it brings in.

We also take the items within music that can be deemed "right" or "wrong" (ie: correct notes, accents, dynamics, scales, etc) and make them the priority.

What happens to the emotional factor? Musicality? The stuff we cannot grade because there isn't a tangible, or explainable as to how it would be right or wrong because of personal variations. The stuff we add to all the technical skills to make music.

THIS IS THE PART OF MUSIC THAT MAKES YOUNG CHILDREN THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. THIS IS THE ADDITION TO A YOUNG PERSON'S EDUCATION THAT MAKES THEM SPECIAL! THIS IS THE REASON WE HAVE MUSIC BEING TAUGHT IN THE FIRST PLACE!!

We have become (in general) a society that covets tangible rewards. The TRUE rewards to learning music are not tangible. If schools kept music programs based on the amount of trophy's - and we MADE every school participate in the same competition - then in the end - after many rounds - only ONE school in the country would have a music program because THEY won the 1st place trophy.

Bandmommy: I am VERY glad your program seems safe - I just get steamed when it is for that reason. Esp. when they have people like you in their district that OBVIOUSLY knows the difference.
 

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I've been a musician for over 25 years. Last year my son's high school band teacher got a case of the "good enoughs' and lost half the band the following semester. I was BENT!!! This year the new band director spent some time at the Christmas Concert (yes, we still have one of those) and discussed the importance of music and the perfection required. He discussed how a 75% was sufficient to pass math, and then asked the student to puposesly miss 25% of their notes on the next piece they played. It was a dreadful performance, but made a hell of a statement.
 

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Maybe this is too much to teach teenagers - most seem to require a heavy hand - but there's the quest for perfection and then there's perfection as a goal. The quest is vital fuel for the artistic fire. The goal can all too easily make your life hell on earth.

I'm convinced that if more musicians understood perfection as a quest - a journey never ending but one of constant growth and fulfillment - we would have fewer myths about how hard music and the musical life is. Instead we would share and teach more inspiration and more joy. That spirit would draw people in who might not have discovered music otherwise, and draw people back in who otherwise might have given up.

I suspect musicians are either not taught to communicate that spirit, or in some unfortunate cases, taught not to. It's too bad because that spirit is the major contribution of the arts to community life - and it doesn't all happen on stage!

Even in junior high and high school, music should be a journey. Too often, it is an outcome. You get better outcomes if you are mindfully relaxed during the journey, experiencing it fully. "Drill baby drill" is for petroleum, not practicing.

Riffing about These Doggone Kids Today makes me a little queasy, but I will admit that low-commitment activities are too important to them. I wish we could make them - AND their teachers - understand that it's a balance:
- Low-commitment things give brief pleasures and little else.
- High-commitment things CAN give lasting pleasures and lasting wisdom.
- But only if the commitment comes from the heart as well as the mind. (Sorry if I'm getting a little Waldorfian here - too much Buescher metal in my blood, probably...:))

Captain Beeflat over in the C melody thread, repadded his own sax and shared a valuable piece of advice along these lines: "I had no one to tell me how difficult it was - so it wasn't!"
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter #18
Captain Beeflat over in the C melody thread, repadded his own sax and shared a valuable piece of advice along these lines: "I had no one to tell me how difficult it was - so it wasn't!"
Like I have also said to my students in the past... NOTHING is difficult - some things just take longer than others.

GREAT COMMENT PAUL!!!
 

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Maybe this is too much to teach teenagers - most seem to require a heavy hand - but there's the quest for perfection and then there's perfection as a goal. The quest is vital fuel for the artistic fire. The goal can all too easily make your life hell on earth.

I'm convinced that if more musicians understood perfection as a quest - a journey never ending but one of constant growth and fulfillment - we would have fewer myths about how hard music and the musical life is. Instead we would share and teach more inspiration and more joy. That spirit would draw people in who might not have discovered music otherwise, and draw people back in who otherwise might have given up.

I suspect musicians are either not taught to communicate that spirit, or in some unfortunate cases, taught not to. It's too bad because that spirit is the major contribution of the arts to community life - and it doesn't all happen on stage!

Even in junior high and high school, music should be a journey. Too often, it is an outcome. You get better outcomes if you are mindfully relaxed during the journey, experiencing it fully. "Drill baby drill" is for petroleum, not practicing.

Riffing about These Doggone Kids Today makes me a little queasy, but I will admit that low-commitment activities are too important to them. I wish we could make them - AND their teachers - understand that it's a balance:
- Low-commitment things give brief pleasures and little else.
- High-commitment things CAN give lasting pleasures and lasting wisdom.
- But only if the commitment comes from the heart as well as the mind. (Sorry if I'm getting a little Waldorfian here - too much Buescher metal in my blood, probably...:))

Captain Beeflat over in the C melody thread, repadded his own sax and shared a valuable piece of advice along these lines: "I had no one to tell me how difficult it was - so it wasn't!"
Everyone wants to BE a good musician. Who wouldn't? Few have the discipline to BECOME a good musician.
 

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Graysax, I don't live in the school district! I do 'School of Choice', and this is my last year of having to haul my carcass out of bed by 6:15 in order to drive a child to Zero Hour Jazz Band. When Mackenzie graduates I will officially retire from my position as Bandmommy.

I think our current administration has a good idea of how important music and other 'arts' are keep in the school curriculum.
For the past 6 years both the Validictorian and Saludatorian have been band members thru their senior year.
Half of the Top 20, or 'Senior Scholors' as they are now called have been or are band members.
Our superintendant was a band member, as well as our principal.
Let's hope that they don't give in to 'budget issues' and keep our program.
Every year more kids join band. Every year more kids stay in band.
And every year new levels of musicianship are achieved thanks to a director that isn't afraid to demand everything the kids have, and then ask for 'just a little more'.
 
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