Welcome to Anderson School, and Band/Choir or Music/Choir. I hope that all of you have had a pleasant and relaxing summer, and are ready for the new school year and some fantastic music-making ahead!
Having a private teacher is highly recommended. Private lessons give your student the benefit of added individual attention and instruction with a specialist on that instrument. A list of private instrument instructors is available at our local music vendors (Eckroth Music and Music Villa), and on the Anderson School website: https://andersonmt.org/music/private-teachers/
What is Music?
Music is a Science: It is exact, specific; and it demands exact acoustics. A conductor’s full score is a chart, a graph which indicates frequencies, intensities, volume changes, melody, and harmony all at once and with the most exact control of time.
Music is Physical Education: It requires fantastic coordination of fingers, hands, arms, lip, cheek, and facial muscles, in addition to extraordinary control of the diaphragmatic, back, stomach, and chest muscles, which respond instantly to the sound the ear hears and the mind interprets.
Music is Mathematical: It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into fractions which must be done instantaneously, not worked out on paper.
Music is a Foreign Language: Most of the terms are in Italian, German or French, and the notation is certainly not English – but a highly developed kind of shorthand that uses symbols to represent ideas. The semantics of music is the most complete and universal language.
Music is History: Music usually reflects the environment and times of its creations, often even the country and/or racial feeling.
Most of all, Music is Art: It allows a human being to take all these dry, technically boring (but difficult) techniques and use them to create emotion. This is one thing science cannot duplicate: humanism, feeling, emotion, call it what you will.
INSTRUMENT MAINTENANCE AND CARE
When not practicing or using your instrument, it should be kept in its case to prevent accidental damage. Don’t leave your instrument unattended! The following are some basic daily care tips to follow:
FLUTE: A cleaning rod is included with the flute, and a small, soft, clean cloth attached to the end of the rod can be drawn through the joints to wipe out moisture. Shake excess water out of the head joint, then dry the inside of the head joint with the cloth on the cleaning rod. All connecting joints should be wiped inside and out, and each section of the flute should be wiped with a soft clean cloth to keep the finish clean. The above steps should be done after playing, before putting the instrument away. Never use silver polish on a flute. It contains abrasives that could cause damage to the finish.
OBOE: Remove the reed and blow the moisture out of it before putting it in its case. Carefully disassemble the instrument and swab the joints with a cleaning feather or oboe swab. Put the protective caps over the corks before putting the joints in the case. The above steps should be done after playing, before putting the instrument away. Never use silver polish on oboe keys.
CLARINET: The reed should never be left on the mouthpiece. After playing, it should be removed, excess moisture wiped off, and stored in a reed holder. The mouthpiece should be wiped out and swabbed with a soft clean cloth, then each of the joints should be swabbed out with a clarinet swab and the tenons (joint ends) wiped off. The above steps should be done after playing, before putting the instrument away. Never use silver polish on clarinet keys.
BASSOON: Remove the reed and blow the water out of it before returning it to its case. Shake the water out of the bocal and blow on one end to remove excess moisture. Carefully disassemble the instrument and swab out the top joints with a bassoon swab before returning the parts to the case. Empty excess water from the boot joint before returning it to the case. The above steps should be done after playing, before putting the instrument away. Never use silver polish on bassoon keys.
SAXOPHONE: The reed should never be left on the mouthpiece. After playing, it should be removed, excess moisture wiped off, and stored in a reed holder. The mouthpiece should be wiped out and swabbed with a soft clean cloth. Then the neck should be removed and swabbed with a neck cleaner. Finally, a weighted saxophone swab should be dropped into the bell and drawn through the body. The outside of the saxophone can be wiped with a soft, clean cloth or a treated cleaning cloth. The above steps should be done after playing, before putting the instrument away. Never use metal polish on a saxophone.
TRUMPET/CORNET: The valves must be oiled with trumpet valve oil before each use or when needed. Other types of oil such as 3-in-1 will not do, because they are much too thick. The problem with beginners oiling the valves is that they take out the valves, drop them on the floor, then put them in backward. Here’s a way to oil the valves without taking them out:
1. Depress the first valve and keep it down while pulling out the slide that leads to that valve; place a few drops of oil into one of the tubes leading to the first valve.
2. Replace the slide, keeping the valve pressed down; rapidly move all three valves up and down to distribute the oil. (Later on we’ll cover how to oil the valves in sectionals by removing them one at a time).
All slides must be kept greased with tuning slide grease (not valve oil or Vaseline). Empty the water key/spit valve in order to prevent odor and growth, as well as to not sound like you are playing underwater. The instrument can be wiped off with a soft clean cloth. A treated cleaning cloth can also be used. The above steps should be done after playing, before putting the instrument away. Never use metal polish on a trumpet or cornet.
FRENCH HORN: The valves must be oiled with rotary valve oil before each use or when needed. Other types of oil such as 3-in-1 will not do, because they are much too thick. To oil the valves:
• Depress the first valve and keep it down while pulling out the slide that leads to that valve; place a few drops of oil into one of the tubes leading to the first valve.
• Replace the slide, keeping the valve pressed down; rapidly move all three valves up and down to distribute the oil. (Later on we’ll cover how to oil the valves separately in sectionals).
All slides must be kept greased with tuning slide grease (not valve oil or Vaseline). To empty water, the instrument must be carefully rotated (bell over mouthpiece) at least twice to allow water to empty from the lead pipe. Watch out. The water will come when you least expect it! You will notice that there are strings on the valves of the French horn. If one comes loose or breaks, the valve won’t work. Don’t try to re-string it yourself. It takes a special kind of string and is best done by a repairman or the teacher until you grow older and learn how to do it yourself. The instrument can be wiped off with a soft clean cloth. A treated cleaning cloth can also be used. The above steps should be done after playing, before putting the instrument away. Never use metal polish on a French horn.
TROMBONE: The slide must be oiled before each use with trombone slide oil or liquid trombone slide cream. Later on we might get into the slide cream/water bottle technique. To oil the slide:
• Rest the tip of the slide on the floor, unlock the slide, and lift the instrument about a foot, exposing a section of the inner slide.
• Place several drops of oil or liquid cream on both sections of the inner slide, and move the slide up and down rapidly.
The tuning slide must be kept greased with tuning slide grease (not valve oil or Vaseline). Empty the water key/spit valve in order to prevent odor and growth, as well as to not sound like you are playing underwater. The instrument can be wiped off with a soft clean cloth. A treated cleaning cloth can also be used. The above steps should be done after playing, before putting the instrument away. Never use metal polish on a trombone.
BARITONE/TUBA: The valves must be oiled with valve oil before each use or when needed. Other types of oil such as 3-in-1 will not do, because they are much too thick. The tuning slide must be kept greased with tuning slide grease (not valve oil or Vaseline). Empty the water key/spit valve in order to prevent odor and growth, as well as to not sound like you are playing underwater. The instrument can be wiped off with a soft clean cloth. A treated cleaning cloth can also be used. The above steps should be done after playing, before putting the instrument away. Never use metal polish on a baritone or tuba.
PERCUSSION: The drum heads or bells should be cleaned regularly with a damp cloth. Never pluck the snares on the bottom of the snare drum. Only proper drum sticks or mallets should be used to play the snare drum or bell unit. Never over tighten screws on stands. Drum heads will usually “go false” and lose their resonance, or pull loose from the flesh hoop instead of breaking/splitting, and will need to be replaced every 2-3 years depending on frequency and conditions of use.
STRINGS: Always keep your instrument in its case when not in use. Avoid rapid temperature changes. If you bring your instrument from a cold area into a warm area, leave it in its case, to change temperature slowly, because cracking of the finish or wood can occur.
Keep an eye on the bridge. As you tune the instrument the strings tend to pull the top of the bridge toward the fingerboard. If the bridge tips too much it will fall over. This can break the bridge or even crack the top. If the bridge falls the soundpost inside may also fall over. If your bridge tilts take your instrument to a shop or private teacher and have them show you how to straighten it. Its not hard to do but unless it is done correctly you could break it.
Be sure that your pegs turn freely with minimum pressure toward the peg box. Over time the pegs will go out of round and start to slip. If this happens they will need to be refitted for proper operation. Never force a peg into the peg box if it slips and if it is stuck don’t force it either. You could break the peg or the peg box under these conditions. Take your instrument to a repair shop and have them correct the problem. Basses and some cellos have mechanical tuners and a drop of light machine oil should be applied to all bearing surfaces about every 6 months.
It is always best to set your cello or bass on its side when you are not playing. If your instrument falls over it may break the bridge or the neck. Be Careful!
After you are finished playing remove any rosin and hand oils from the instrument with a soft cloth. Don’t let rosin build up on your instrument. Remove it after each time you play. It is very difficult to remove if left on your instrument for any length of time.
BOW: Be careful not to bang the head or drop the bow as this can break the head. Keep the bow away from extreme heat. This can warp the bow. Always loosen the hair when you are not using the bow. Over time this can warp the bow and stretch the hair. Keep the bow stick clean by wiping off excess rosin and any perspiration after each use.
Why Fine Arts Education?
Knowing and practicing the arts disciplines are fundamental to the healthy development of children’s minds and spirits. That is why, in any civilization (including ours), the arts are inseparable from the very meaning of the term “education.” We know from long experience that no one can claim to be truly educated who lacks the basic knowledge and skills in the Arts. There are many reasons for this assertion:
• The Arts are worth studying simply because of what they are. Their impact cannot be denied. Throughout history, all the arts have served to connect our imaginations with the deepest questions of human experience. Who am I? What must I do? Where am I going? Studying responses to those questions through time and across cultures, as well as acquiring the tools and knowledge to create one’s own responses, is essential not only to understanding life but to living it fully.
• The Arts are used to achieve a multitude of human purposes: to present ideas and issues, to teach or persuade, to entertain, to decorate, or to please. Becoming literate in the arts helps students understand and do these things better.
• The Arts are integral to every person’s daily life. Our personal, social, economic, and cultural environments are shaped by the arts at every turn.
• The Arts offer unique sources of enjoyment and refreshment for the imagination. They explore relationships between ideas and objects and serve as links between thought and action. Their continuing gift is to help us see and grasp life in new ways.
• Research indicates that the Arts help students develop the attitudes, characteristics, and intellectual skills required to participate effectively in today’s society and economy. The Arts teach self-discipline, reinforce self-esteem, and foster thinking skills and creativity so valued in the workplace. They teach the importance of teamwork and cooperation. They demonstrate the direct connection between study, hard work, and high levels of achievement.
Arts education benefits the student because it cultivates the whole child, gradually building many kinds of literacy while developing intuition, reasoning, imagination, and dexterity into unique forms of expression and communication. This process requires not merely an active mind but a trained one. An education in the Arts benefits society because students of the arts gain powerful tools for understanding human experiences, both past and present. They learn to respect the often very different ways others have of thinking, working, and expressing themselves. They learn to make decisions in situations where there are no standard answers. By studying the Arts, students stimulate their natural creativity and learn to develop it to meet the needs of a complex and competitive society. And as study and competence in the Arts reinforce one another, the joy of learning becomes real, tangible, and powerful.
The educational success of our children depends upon creating a society that is both literate and imaginative, both competent and creative. That goal depends, in turn, on providing children with tools not only for understanding that world, but for contributing to it and shaping it in their own way. Arts education is a crucial element in meeting that goal.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT MUSIC:
The term ‘core academic subjects’ means English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography.” – No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, Title IX, Part A, Sec. 9101 (11)
“When I hear people asking how do we fix the education system, I tell them we need to do the opposite of what is happening, cutting budgets by cutting music programs…. Nothing could be stupider than removing the ability for the left and right brains to function. Ask a CEO what they are looking for in an employee and they say they need people who understand teamwork, people who are disciplined, people who understand the big picture. You know what they need? They need musicians.” – Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, MENC Centennial Congress, Orlando, Florida, June 2007.
Schools that have music programs have significantly higher graduation rates than do those without programs (90.2% as compared to 72.9%). Schools that have music programs have significantly higher attendance rates than do those without programs (93.3% as compared to 84.9%). – Harris Interactive poll of high school principals conducted Spring 2006; funded by MENC and NAMM.
Nearly 100% of past winners in the prestigious Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology (for high school students) play one or more musical instruments. This led the Siemens Foundation to host a recital at Carnegie Hall in 2004, featuring some of these young people, after which a panel of experts debated the nature of the apparent science/music link. – The Midland Chemist (American Chemical Society) Vol. 42, No.1, Feb. 2005
“Music is an extremely rich kind of experience in the sense that it requires cognition, it requires emotion, it requires aesthetics, it develops performance skills, individual capabilities. These things have to be developed and all have to be synchronized and integrated so that, as a person learns music, they stretch themselves mentally in a variety of ways. What we are finding is that the kind of mental stretching that takes place can be of value more generally, that is, to help children in learning other things. And these other things, in turn, can help them in the learning of music, so that there is a dialogue between the different kinds of learning.” – from the Music in Education National Consortium, Journal for Learning through Music, Second Issue, Summer 2003, “What Makes Music Work for Public Education?” – pg. 87 Dr. Martin F. Gardiner, Brown University
Results of an IQ test given to groups of children (total: 144) who were provided with lessons in keyboard, voice, drama or no lessons at all, showed that the IQ of students in the keyboard or voice classes increased from their pre-lesson IQ score, more than the IQ of those students taking drama or no lessons. Generally these increases occurred across IQ subtests, index scores, and academic achievement. Summary by MENC; Original source: August 2004, Psychological Science, a journal of the American Psychological Society; Dr. E. Glenn Schellenberg (University of Toronto)
“The life of the arts, far from being an interruption, a distraction, in the life of the nation, is close to the center of a nation’s purpose – and is a test to the quality of a nation’s civilization.” – John F. Kennedy
Children with music training had significantly better verbal memory than those without such training, and the longer the training, the better the verbal memory. Researchers studied 90 boys between the ages of 6 and 15. Half had musical training as members of their school’s string orchestra program, plus lessons in playing classical music on Western instruments like the flute or violin for one to five years. The other 45 students had no training. Students with musical training recalled more words in a verbal memory test than did untrained students, and after a 30-minute delay, students with training also retained more words than the control group. In a follow-up one year later, students who continued training and beginners who had just started learning to play both showed improvement in verbal learning and retention. – Summary by MENC. Original source: Ho, Y. C., Cheung, M. C., & Chan, A. Music training improves verbal but not visual memory: cross-sectional and longitudinal explorations in children (2003) Neuropsychology, 12, 439-450.
While many executives turn to golf, tennis or boating for recreation, some unwind by making music together. They may be members of relatively large organizations like the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, whose 55 members are almost all executives, or of smaller outfits, like a rock ‘n roll band or a jazz ensemble. Beyond the pure pleasure the music brings, some executives say, there can be chances to advance a career. And creating a performance can help executives develop basic management skills. “If you are in an improv jazz ensemble or a small chamber group, you learn to think fast on your feet and how to be flexible and to collaborate and compromise, and that may yield a creative outcome.” – J. Richard Hackman, a professor of organizational psychology at Harvard University who has studied symphony orchestras. Amy Zipkin, “Learning Teamwork by Making Music”, for the New York Times, 11/16/03.
“I dream of a day when every child in America will have in his or her hand a musical instrument, be it a clarinet, a drumstick or a guitar. And I dream of a day when there’s no state legislature that would even consider cutting funding for music and the arts because they realize that it’s a life skill that changes the lives of students and gives them not only better academic capability, but it makes them better people. We sometimes forget that many of us in this room, including this guy standing right in front of you, would not be where he is today if not for having music introduced in my life because it gave me the understanding of teamwork, discipline and focus”. – Mike Huckabee, Former Arkansas Governor; NAMM University Breakfast Sessions 2007, NAMM Playback Magazine, Spring 2007, pg. 36
“Music has a great power for bringing people together. With so many forces in this world acting to drive wedges between people, it’s important to preserve those things that help us experience our common humanity.” – Ted Turner, Turner Broadcasting System.
“Music is one way for young people to connect with themselves, but it is also a bridge for connecting with others. Through music, we can introduce children to the richness and diversity of the human family and to the myriad rhythms of life.” – Daniel A. Carp, Eastman Kodak Company Chairman and CEO.