The Classical Guitar Blog represents my past two years in grad school pretty well. I started it during my first semester. As I learned things or had thoughts about music, they made it onto the blog. Here’s some of the stuff that stands out to me as the most valuable.
- If every musician spent 30 minutes each day developing relationships and networking there would be many more successful musicians.
- Reputation and developing your brand is more valuable than any amount of money.
- If performing is part of your brand, a performance degree will do nothing to help you get there. Seek out concerts (see the first item).
I gave a talk about some of the business stuff here
- The longer I teach the less interested I become in teaching styles other than classical.
- Recitals for students are extremely valuable–nothing makes a student more excited than experiencing success in a performance situation.
- Students get very excited when you let them express creativity in music. It’s very easy to get a student composing from the first lessons.
- Beginning guitar technique has very little variation. It’s never boring to teach it, however; every student is different and needs different sorts of cues and explanations.
- It’s easy to teach even the youngest students to incorporate basic musical elements.
- Living with a piece for a long time–performing it often–is the best way to overcome anxiety. Or at least get used to it.
- Performance anxiety doesn’t go away, but the feel of it becomes a sort of thrill.
- Talking about a piece before playing it is much more terrifying.
- Start strong and end strong. The stuff in the middle is nice too. I guess.
- Efficiency is king. If I can get the same amount done in less time, that leaves more time in the day for me to pursue other interests or network (see the first item).
- Part of efficiency is managing repetition. 7-10 perfect repetitions is fine. The problem is finding ways to play a passage perfectly! (see practice techniques).
- three hours per day is just about right.
- Slow/fast alternation is awesome.
- Never wait to develop an interpretation. Never wait to get the piece “in the fingers” before starting to make musical decisions.
- There’s no reason why a multi-movement piece has to be learned start to finish. Hit the hard stuff first.
On Music in General
- If you want to understand music analysis, take composition lessons from a good teacher. It changes the way you look at music–you’ll see connections that have previously gone unnoticed.
- A good repertoire selection will include challenging pieces that take months to work up and pieces that are easily prepared in a few practice sessions or weeks.
- It’s more fun to play pieces that no one else does.
- Form and motivic development interests me more than harmony.
- Pool is a good game.
- I really enjoy learning things–even a lot of random stuff.
- The music binder is a good idea.
- Sometimes little things can add up to a big difference.
In the fall I begin a DMA at the University of North Texas, and I’m excited to keep posting as I learn more.