Here's a system that has worked well for me with a new musician:
1. Ask the musician to play for one dance each week. Choose the dance well
ahead to allow plenty of practice time. Encourage the musician to play the
lead tune if possible but to combine it with other tunes she has played
2. Lead up to the dance with preparatory work for which the musician plays
the lead tune (this gives extra practice time before the daunting test of
the 8 x 32 set).
3. Recognize that the hardest thing is the transition from one tune to
another without a blip in the rhythm. If the musician falters, the teacher
may have a keep the count going for the class, but doing this unnecessarily
would be demoralizing for the musician.
4. When working with a musician, emphasize that if possible the left hand
should keep the rhythm going even if the right hand loses the melody.
5. Involve the musician with the class as much as possible. Have her tell
the class about the tunes she has chosen.
6. If the musician is also a dancer, offer her free membership so she can
enjoy dancing with the group when she isn't playing.
It's great to have musician, teacher, and class all working together towards
a common end. My class really appreciate the effort the musician puts in,
and I think it helps them learn more about music too.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2008 9:21 AM
Subject: Re: Live musician VS recording
> Novice musicians have a hard time learning how to play for dancing unless > they have someone to mentor them. Workshops and courses on playing are > few and > far between. While I understand what Becky is saying, how else do > musicians > become competent? .....
> As Anselm said, we don't spring fully formed like Venus from the sea. > Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA