Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Core Constituency

Here are some photos of the rehearsal/warm up for the performance I wrote about in a previous post. These first two show the twelve year olds who started band last September, Skylar on trumpet and Amber on flute, along with the Reverend Crawford Harmon on E flat tuba, who's been playing his instrument a bit longer. 

Here's one with me on flute. . . 
. . . and on horn, with the six year old Carly in the first pew waiting her turn.
And here's the four year old Calli.

Providing the music for these people to play in this kind of situation is exactly what I'm trying to do when I talk about creating learning materials. What the girls are leaning in band and what's in the hymnals wouldn't work for this, but it's very easy to create arrangements that suit the players and the situation.

Working with the girls once a week this past year has been a wonderful opportunity to figure out what does and doesn't work with beginners, and working with Crawford and the other members of the Friday group, helping them get better use of the skills developed over a lifetime, is just as rewarding.

Many thanks to Crawford's wife Liz who took these pictures, and for using only available light, so there were no irritating flashes. I wasn't even aware she was taking the pictures.


  1. If you can get kids performing their music at such a young age, they get so used to the idea that they don't realise they are supposed to get nervous - and so they don't!

    Much the same thing happened to me - I started learning the piano at 5 and the horn at about 8 or 9. Performing music was a normal part of family life, there were always grandparents or other relatives dropping round who would become the audience for an impromptu concert, and I was playing in public in church events by the time I was 10, and also playing in the local youth orchestra.

    Even if the kids drop music as they get older (particularly around the time they start discovering the opposite sex!), learning how to be confident in public and how to project that confidence is a huge benefit that comes from learning to perform music.

  2. Jonathan - It was cute - After our thorough warm up we sat down up front and waited for the congregation to enter and settle in. Amber, the flute player and sitting next to me, looked up and saw the church was fuller than usual, including family members who aren't regulars. She noted that fact in a tone of unexpectedness and said she was nervous. I told her she wouldn't be normal if she weren't, that the secret was to go ahead and play well anyway, trying to transmute that feeling into better playing. She did - amazing tone from a beginner.