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Need music advice, please

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Dd11's voice teacher is going on "mat leave" for six months, just as dd is having some wonderful breakthroughs and coming out of her shell. I am hoping to find a way that dd can not lose the momentum she's got going.

Dd is very self directed in her studies and spends more hours practicing than is necessary because of her enjoyment and perfectionism. She's been out of piano lessons for over a year, but continued to play a lot and is applying the note reading skills from voice to piano as well, learning to sing and play all of her and her sisters assigned songs.

So, should I attempt to find a temporary replacement voice teacher which might not even be possible this time of year since most instructors teach the same students from Sept- spring. Or should we take the break from voice and do a 'semester' of piano. She aged out of her previous teachers classes, but piano teachers seem to be easier to find around here than voice teachers BUT I'm not sure how I feel about my sensitive kid possibly getting a mediocre teacher.

I think she's at a place where she's craving more challenge, but I have this fear that the wrong teacher could discourage her in some way. That probably sounds odd, I just know how sensitive she is to the tiniest bit of discouragement. Up until now she's had excellent teachers, but my other two kids have experienced, well, less experienced/passionate teachers..

If we take six months off, I predict (based on past observations) dd will continue to play and sing the same scales and songs and compose a little, so lots of practice but a bit of a rut after a while, without much real progress or challenge - but some enjoyment.

I should add, dd has never done Royal Conservatory type lessons and I'm a bit worried that she may find that type of approach boring or off-putting in an all-work-and-no-fun way, but maybe she's ready for it, idk.
post #2 of 9

How old is your daughter, and what does she do in her voice lesson?  With voice, I'd be more worried about a poor teacher, but then I do understand how even self-directed and dedicated music students just don't keep it up if they having to do it all on their own.  

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
She is 11.

What does she do in her singing lessons? I'll try to answer but I don't have a musical background so I'll do my best.

Scales, stretching her voice a bit at a time, as the teacher feels she can. Sight singing exercises. She works on different kinds of songs. Learns about different kinds of voices. Learning to sing with and without accompanying melodies and harmonies (not sure if that will make sense to anyone but me, ha! Teacher takes away the melody instrument while dd sings to the remaining sounds)

Teacher is classically trained and so very intuitive with what the student needs and dd is learning a lot. I doubt I'll be able to replace her for the six months, because of the size of where we live. For some reason the seem to be a lot more piano teachers than voice.

Also, if she takes piano, is the a standard sort of placement test so she doesn't have to start back at the beginning? She did MYC so I'm not sure where she would fit in a private lesson setting. She's learned a lot of basics, but she may have forgotten some too.
post #4 of 9

Small town, good relationship with a good teacher, 6 months "off" and then back again? I'd probably take a break from voice. I think it can take 3-6 months to really find your stride with a new teacher even if the chemistry is good. I'd work with her current teacher to get a plan and some suggestions for repertoire and basic stuff. If you have a mobile device (iPod touch?) there are some apps that can help with the pitch and rhythm aspects of sight-reading. I would see if there's a good youth choir that she could get involved in to work on ensemble issues: that would be a bonus if it worked out. And I might, only if she's keen, find her a piano teacher in the interim. I don't think you need to worry about "placement" issues at all: any piano teacher will meet her where she's at, and many be amenable to working on the specific skills she wants ... perhaps the ability to harmonize beneath her voice as she sings, to get a better understanding of music theory, to sight-read easily, and so on. In other words I think that it's more likely that a brief foray into 4-6 months of piano lessons will fill in useful pieces of the musical puzzle for her than that shifting gears in her voice training will add as much.

 

Miranda

post #5 of 9

Does her teacher have any recommendation about what to do? Or recommendations about a "substitute" teacher?

 

I would try talking to the teacher. Ask her for tips and advice on what to do for the six months (get new teacher or don't, ways to practice at home and keep skills up, things she can do on her own to improve and challenge herself, etc.). Going back to piano...I would think, even without a standard test to show her skill, that the teacher would be able to quickly determine her skill level and work with her from there - I would look for a teacher that offers all levels of teaching (beginner, intermediate, advanced) so that regardless of where it's determined she is, she can work with that teacher, instead of trying half a dozen different teachers before finding the one that can meet her needs.

 

Also, we've never done music or voice lessons around here, so I don't know exactly how it all works, but if it's not covered in her lessons already, what about a more academic approach to music while the teacher is out? Studying various musicians, the history of music, a practical how-to about how music is written or how to write song lyrics, things like that?

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the excellent ideas. We will probably try some combo of all of them! I like the idea of a choir. Have no idea where to find one other than a church, but will ask at the local music store. And studying classical musicians is something we started, and then sort of forgot about but the kids were enjoying it, so we could resume that.

Will think more about piano lessons.

Miranda, do you have any specific app suggestions? We have iPad and ipodtouch.
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Indian summer View Post

And studying classical musicians is something we started, and then sort of forgot about but the kids were enjoying it, so we could resume that.
 

 

We study classical musicians, but we also study more contemporary stuff, too. One thing I got a huge kick out of was taking music, say a Richard Marx song or Gloria Gayner's "I Will Survive" and comparing it with a song by someone like Justin Beiber (Bieber? I don't know). The reaction from my kids when they saw that, in a lot of cases, just 1 person wrote the older song and anywhere from 2-10 people wrote the newer song and that the newer song was basically just a repetition of the same word over and over again was priceless. They were never JB fans to begin with, but it created an awesome discussion about what talent really is, what makes music good (for example, telling a story versus repeating the same word or phrase ten million times, singing instead of screaming lyrics, etc.), and whether it's better (in their opinion, anyway) for one person to write a song alone/collaborate with just one person or to get a whole bunch of people together to try to write it - basically a debate over "does two (or more) heads is better than one really apply to songwriting?"

 

Unless she's a huge JB fan who might get really offended, that could be something she enjoys, too, if she likes debate and stuff like that.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smartmama View Post

We study classical musicians, but we also study more contemporary stuff, too. One thing I got a huge kick out of was taking music, say a Richard Marx song or Gloria Gayner's "I Will Survive" and comparing it with a song by someone like Justin Beiber (Bieber? I don't know). The reaction from my kids when they saw that, in a lot of cases, just 1 person wrote the older song and anywhere from 2-10 people wrote the newer song and that the newer song was basically just a repetition of the same word over and over again was priceless. They were never JB fans to begin with, but it created an awesome discussion about what talent really is, what makes music good (for example, telling a story versus repeating the same word or phrase ten million times, singing instead of screaming lyrics, etc.), and whether it's better (in their opinion, anyway) for one person to write a song alone/collaborate with just one person or to get a whole bunch of people together to try to write it - basically a debate over "does two (or more) heads is better than one really apply to songwriting?"

Unless she's a huge JB fan who might get really offended, that could be something she enjoys, too, if she likes debate and stuff like that.
We sometimes take rabbit paths like this and listen to and discuss more contemporary stuff. That is fun. We watched a doc about Glen Gould recently that was interesting. No biebs fans here, but I cringe at some of the stuff the kids choose to listen too, usually picked up from some Disney tv show. This sort of compare and contrast exercise could be fun and help them to be a bit pickier about what they add to their collections.
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Indian summer View Post

She is 11.

What does she do in her singing lessons? I'll try to answer but I don't have a musical background so I'll do my best.

Scales, stretching her voice a bit at a time, as the teacher feels she can. Sight singing exercises. She works on different kinds of songs. Learns about different kinds of voices. Learning to sing with and without accompanying melodies and harmonies (not sure if that will make sense to anyone but me, ha! Teacher takes away the melody instrument while dd sings to the remaining sounds)

This all sounds pretty good to me. Have you made a decision?  I find I do so much better with lessons than I do alone.

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