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Are you with the band?

Hank Fletcher

New Member
I just thought I'd take an informal survey to find out what the forum members' experiences were with instrumental music as part of their formal education. Even if you weren't a band geek, what's your impression of the value of that sort of thing?

How was it taught (curricular, extra-curricular)?
Did you participate?
What kind of program (strings, winds, percussion, stage band)?

I don't want to bias anyone's opinion, so say whatever else you feel about it. What I'm really looking for is what you think the value of an instrumental music program is. Unlike math and literacy, it's a hard thing to quantify in terms other than anecdotes. So, what's your story?
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
I don't play an instrument, but I do the PA for bands, originally back in the 70's, but now for my daughters bands.

Her experience goes like this:

5 years old - started school, plenty of singing.

6 years old - sent her for piano lessons, sang in choirs at school and at Derby Assembly Rooms.

10/11 years old - heard an advert on the local radio, looking for girls to take part in music at a council youth service run scheme (Donut Studios). We rang up, and she started having vocal and keyboard lessons (for free) at Donut. Took part in MusicX for the first time, a summer project at Donut where they group kids together into bands, perform a gig, and do a recording session - on this first one she played keyboards and sang.

11 years old - now at secondary school, she started having flute lessons at school. Later a class mate called Charlie asked her to join a band he was starting - to play bass? (seeing as she played piano and flute?). So she changed her keyboard lessons to bass lessons - and within a few weeks had performed at a gig, and done studio recordings (but not with Charlie, who still didn't have a guitar).

MusicX again, this year played bass and sang - most of the band stayed together after MusicX, and they did a number of gigs as 'Easily Amused'. Also played in a band with Charlie as 'InBetween'.

12-15 years old, still gigging, still does MusicX every year, Easily Amused spiltup (drummer with delusions of grandeur), InBetween now a duo, as drummer (another drummer!) quit as he wanted to play guitar instead.
Still having piano and flute lessons. Also took (and passed) an OCN Sound Engineering course - so is a qualified sound engineer, and a volunteer recording engineer at Donut Studios.

16 years old - packed in piano lessons, still having flute lessons, still gigging, still doing MusicX - this year she played bass, flute, piano accoordion, and sang (and danced as well). Took GCSE music, and despite only having a decent teacher for the last few months, gained an A*.

17 years old - started sixth form at a new school, had a manolin for her birthday (I've never mentioned she played guitar and drums as well), presently doing a Music Technology A level course (MIDI and sound engineering.

That's pretty well up to now! - but she's still gigging.
 

Optikon

New Member
Hank Fletcher said:
I just thought I'd take an informal survey to find out what the forum members' experiences were with instrumental music as part of their formal education. Even if you weren't a band geek, what's your impression of the value of that sort of thing?

How was it taught (curricular, extra-curricular)?
Did you participate?
What kind of program (strings, winds, percussion, stage band)?

I don't want to bias anyone's opinion, so say whatever else you feel about it. What I'm really looking for is what you think the value of an instrumental music program is. Unlike math and literacy, it's a hard thing to quantify in terms other than anecdotes. So, what's your story?
I think that instrumental music as part of ones formal education is a great thing. I include this in the arts category and I think anyone who learns to play an instrument benefits from that experience. It teaches discipline and allows for much creativity.

That being said, I never had any instrumental music program as part of my education and I have never had any interest.
 

audioguru

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I had piano lessons when I was little.
Then I decided on the trombone for the high school band. I learned a lot of music and my band went all over the place winning competitions.

I studied music further and almost learned "perfect pitch". My brain nearly became an accurate frequency counter. "That sound is a little lower in frequency than a 440Hz A".

I learned almost every piece of classical music.
 

HiTech

Well-Known Member
In second grade my parents asked me what instrument I would like to learn. I said "guitar". They said "good you're going to play piano"! And so 9 years of lessons, 1 hour practice daily, recitals and some awards, I played for a school chorus and for a church but never professionally. I always wanted to play electric guitar. The only good thing about piano was learning to read music, despite that I can also play by ear. Now I play mountain dulcimer, and somewhat the guitar. I sold the piano after tens of years owning it. Felt good to get rid of it, in place for a keyboard instead! I like the interface of electronics to musical instruments, hence the electric guitar and keyboards I have.
 

Omar.M

Member
Always have been interested in music.
I joined the school band in Grade 6, and was able to learn a lot about music through that introduction. I started with the flute.

The next year, I was able to join the senior, "Massed" band after asking the teacher and auditioning -- boy that was probably the biggest accomplishment of mine to date.

After that, they introduced an instrumental music program in school, instead of just recorder-based learning. This gave everyone the opportunity to pick up an instrument and play in a class band.
That year, I found it very slow and tedious, not to mention the fact that we had over 5 teachers come and go -- it really shifted my mood.

When I got into high school, I dropped music altogether. It is a shame, I miss it from my life.

I think the music program, preferably instrumental, is an important part of school. It really felt like something being a part of a group, and actually having a part in the overall outcome of the piece we played.
I really do feel sorry for anyone who has to go through budget cuts and other distractions of the like, because they really take away from the great experience and in my case, make the program feel like a neglected, worthless course.
-Omar
 

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