DAMTA President’s Message
Sept. 2016
Hello DAMTA!
Your president Vince Madison here. Welcome to another school year! Sorry for the late message, but it’s been a little crazy this year.
I had an interesting lesson today that I want to share with you.
I teach two young boys who are brothers. They both are talented but are very energetic and have a hard time concentrating for more than a few minutes at a time.
Usually I have each of them for a half hour back to back. But last week, one of them was gone, so I did an hour with the younger brother. So of course, to be fair, I had to do an hour with the older brother this week. Five minutes into the lesson, I knew I was in trouble. He was making the same mistakes over and over and seemed to have very little energy. I asked him what was wrong. He said, “I’m tired.” I asked him why. He said he had trouble sleeping. I asked him if that happened to him a lot, and he said yes. So I told him I was sorry, but we still had to try to get through the lesson. We tried a short time longer, getting nowhere.
So I decided to try something. I made up a little chord progression in Eb minor. I started playing it, and told him to play anything he wanted as long as it was on the black keys. He started playing away. Nothing very artistic, but it wasn’t banging. And we went on for several minutes. He seemed to be having fun.
So I told him we were going to write a song. I had him improvise for a few more minutes, listening for him to play something we could use for a short melody. After a while he played something that had promise. So we worked with it until we had a 2 bar melody. The chord progression was 4 bars, so we put the melody over it twice and then repeated the whole thing. (His tiredness had mysteriously disappeared by this point.)
So I made up a “B” section chord progression of 4 bars, and we repeated the process. So now we had an 8 bar B section. Then we repeated the A section and voila, instant song.
I put it in a music notation program. It’s simple enough that I think he will be able to play it, despite the key signature. We’ll see! But by the end of the lesson, he was wide awake! It was just a reminder that there is no better “energy boost” than curiosity and interest. And it’s sugar free!
Looking forward to seeing everyone this Wed at the 1st meeting of the year!
Vince Madison
DAMTA President

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