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Helping Students with Their Band Experiences

Sooner or later, if you are a dedicated teacher as I am, you want to really help your students grow in other ways besides just being better guitar players. Most are truly aching to get into either a good band situation, or at least to be able to competently as well as confidently, play with other people! This is such a big part of being a great musician, perhaps the biggest, and it’s really where the “men get separated from the boys!”

I have always enjoyed taking them the next step, and have taken many students of mine into the studio to record their material, or helped them with their band practice, auditions or performances, such as a “Battle of the Bands.” It’s important to realize that these things, to a young fledgling player, are of the utmost importance, and the gravity they feel when stepping into this “band” world is very real and very heavy indeed.

I mean, there is a certain degree of very wonderful innocence to this whole time in a player’s life, and we as teachers must never forget that. Over-pressuring somebody just isn’t cool, especially when they are already feeling some fears and insecurity about the new situation to begin with.

There are many types of players who see things in many different ways, and who approach this whole thing uniquely, and even though it may seem strange to you or I, it may be just perfect for them, and how they’d like to go about it. For example, a student of mine was just telling me about a senior project I’ve been helping his band with; in which they are supposed to end up with a recording. What he told me truly surprised me; He said they are recording all of their instruments separately and then putting it all together. They also said they wanted to use this as a recording they could present to people so they could get live performing work. Of course, I told him I didn’t really think this was such a good idea, especially if they expect to get live work from it. I’m sure the recordings are going to come out great, since there is a band member who fancies himself as an engineer, and wants to do this his way, and get very analytical about it all, but I’m afraid they’ll lose any “live” quality that could’ve been committed to the recording process.  I suggested that they also record themselves totally “raw”, so they can hear what they truly sound like, and to then try fooling around with the “track by track” approach.

He agreed, and I think he also realized that perhaps they were diluting their raw, “live” excitement by being too stiff in their recording approach. But of course, this is the way of the world, and lots of kids with bands can sometimes get more wrapped up in the recording process than in the musical content of their band itself.

So keep all this in mind as you are mentoring your young player/students into the world of recording and playing in bands. Their confidence will surely grow, and they will forever be grateful to you for your educated input!

Posted: 6/20/2011 3:22:49 PM with Comments | Add Comment | Email Link | Permalink
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