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I was just offering assistance to a youngster who intends to audition as a pianist for a military band, and "needs to learn to read music in six months". I have long maintained that it takes about 5 minutes of one's time to learn to read music. We then spend the rest of our lives getting better at it. Six months is not much time to get proficient enough for such an audition.....having been a piano and bass player in the 312th Army Band in my younger days, and having gone through the process, I know that of which I speak (or blog).
This is not my first experience with musicians who want to "cram" for an audition. As a bass teacher, I've worked with bass students who had little or nothing in the way of piano skills. Little did they know when they started bass way back in the 4th or 5th grade how much they would enjoy the instrument. Now comes college, and the young bassist wants to study bass at university level....a neophyte music major. Guess what one of the main components of completing a music degree happens to be? Piano Proficiency......! So I am asked to teach them how to play in short order, usually 3-6 months. I do what I can, and usually the outcome is only mildly satisfactory. Quizzing out of the first couple of levels of group piano lessons is usually the best one can hope to achieve.
Can you place your finger on one of those pivotal moments in your life that totally changed the outcome of your existence? One of mine was when I begged my parents for violin lessons, and they insisted that piano lessons would come first. They were not musical people.....we just happened to already have an antique pump organ for me to practice on. I never did get around to really studying the violin in depth, though I did become an orchestra director. The piano (very simply, without a doubt, no argument about it) is the best instrument that a person can study as they commence their musical journey. All the basics of music are contained in those piano lessons. One may then, with a strong musical foundation, venture into other interesting instruments.
Here in Wichita, budget cuts have put us in a situation where instrumental music classes do not begin until the 6th grade.... a sad state of affairs. Parents, I urge you to expose your kids to music much earlier... I have started piano students as young as 4. Sign those kids up for piano lessons early on!
David James teaches piano and bass lessons at his studio in Wichita, KS .... aptly named the David James Piano and Bass Studio. "Like" his studio page on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, check out his website at www.djpianobass.com.
About the Author
David James teaches piano and bass lessons at his studio...aptly named David James Piano and Bass Studio in Wichita, KS.