GAMA Newsletter - March 2017

In this issue:

The Terrible Boy who Would NOT Practice

Meet Skittle: Our Pet of the Month

Anton Nel and La Follia this Weekend

School Recital Coming in May!

Upcoming Dates to Remember:

March 13 – 19: No Lessons (Spring Break)

April 1: ADMTA Romantic/Contemporary Festival (Signup deadline: March 8). Please ask your teacher if you have questions!

May 6, 11AM – 1 PM: Dress Rehearsals (times vary)

May 12 at 7PM: GAMA Student Recital!

The Terrible Boy Who Would NOT Practice (A true story)

Today I want to tell you about a boy in piano lessons who would never be a musician.

This boy was a terror! When his mom brought him in for lessons, he would not even sit at the bench. He was more interested in crawling under the piano or running around the room screaming. When he would sit down, the boy would bang on the keys and talk over the teacher. It was, as his mom put it, “completely embarrassing”.

This student never practiced. He hated to practice! His mom was clever though and made up a reward system. For every 10 minutes of practice he would get a voucher for 10 minutes of video games. The boy was smart though: these vouchers could be obtained for free by finding their hiding place in the cupboard.

“Why are you looking at me?” the boy’s teachers would say. “The music is right in front of you!” But this was in the 80s, Nintendo had just come out and was in every living room, and this child’s mind was anywhere but on his music.

As you may or may not have guessed, the boy I’m talking about here is ME! Matt McLaughlin was an awful piano student. At least at the beginning.

Thankfully, my mom never stopped exposing me to music and to piano. We were never overly strict or pushy in my family, but she knew that even though I hated practice, I loved music, and I loved the piano. And one day, probably to everyone’s surprise, it just seemed to click!

But what if my parents had simply decided I had no talent?

I’m often asked by parents “When do I keep going with music lessons and when do I throw in the towel?” My answer is something like this: If you can take the instrument and music out of the house and your child is ambivalent (or worse, ecstatic), that might be a sign not to force things. Maybe they have another passion to find.

But never confuse a phase, a lack of focus, or just not finding quite the right “match” (and this can include the right instrument or teacher) with not loving music. It can come in many forms, and it comes at its own time!

I suppose the moral is this: whether you’re a child or an adult student, music is a long-term game! The rewards really do last a lifetime, and they are worth it. I often tell people – and I firmly believe this whether it’s popular or not – swimming, soccer, video games, the latest Mac gadget, and test scores are all important. But none of those things can hold a candle to the lifetime of satisfaction and expression that comes with learning an art!

Stick with it – you’ll be glad you did!

Meet Skittle

This adorable girl’s name is Skittle. She popped in for a visit with school students Miguel and Patricia on the way to a new family. If you want to adopt a pet like Skittle, check out Austin Pets Alive.

Want your pet featured here? E-mail a picture!

Anton Nel and La Follia This Weekend

If you’re looking for a unique concert experience this weekend, check out world famous pianist Anton Nel in chamber concert with members of La Follia. (For those of you who don’t know, Anton is a friend of the school and my former teacher.)

As a period instrument group, these aren’t our modern instruments, but instead the same sound quality Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven would have heard! This gives them a unique and dramatically different sound than our modern ears are used to.

School Recital

The Greater Austin Music Academy recital is coming up: Friday May 12th at 7PM at Covenant Presbyterian Church. All are welcome to play!

Many adult students ask if they can also participate, and the answer is YES! The school recital is a majority of high school age and younger students, but there are always a few brave adults who want to show off their talents and progress. Our recitals are always a warm and positive experience for everyone.

Please make sure you discuss what piece you plan on playing in the school recital with your private instructor by April 15th, and he or she will confirm your place on the program. Remember that there is a 40 dollar fee per participant to help cover the expense of renting and insuring this hall.