Sunday, March 26, 2017 by Jessica Valiente | Uncategorized
Last week, we wrapped up the season for regional and all-state auditions in New Jersey, with the auditions for intermediate and high school orchestra. My husband and I, as members of NAfME (National Association for Music Education), both participated in this season's auditions and rehearsals, serving director duty for our private students for both regional and all-state orchestras. We're very proud to say that one of our own daughters was accepted on violin to both the regional and the all-state orchestras for her age level. Seeing it from the parent view, rather than the participant view and director view, as we both have, we learned some interesting things about the process.
The most significant thing that we learned is that not every school band or orchestra director is willing to support their students who wish to audition for these outstanding ensembles. If you're not already aware, a student can only participate if their name is submitted by their school ensemble director (whether that be band, orchestra, chorus, jazz ensemble, or any other relevant ensemble). If their director agrees to submit their name, then that director has to attend the audtions for the day to help with the many tasks that have to be done on audition day. This could be judging auditions, but it could also be monitoring warm-up rooms, signing in students as they arrive, escorting them to the audition room, etc. If the director is not willing to participate in this volunteer work for the day, then students from that school may not audition.
Fortunately, private teachers can also submit their students names and can serve director duty for auditions and rehearsals. At The Global Flute Studio, we support our students at every level and for every eligible ensemble. If your elementary (Region II), middle, or high school aged child is studying with me and wishes to audition for any of the available regional ensembles, I will be there for them at every step, all the way through all-states, all-east, and the highest level they can achieve. As an alumna of North Jersey Region I and New Jersey All-State concert bands, I can give your child the best technical and musical preparation, as well as help them negotiate the ins and outs of the audition room. If you're interested in switching to my studio, so that your child has the best chance to participate in this extraordinary experience with New Jersey's best young musicians, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 646-597-2667.
Keep making great music!
Wednesday, March 1, 2017 by Jessica Valiente | Uncategorized
Preparation for the recitals this month has been all-consuming. I deliberately chose extremely challenging repertoire, because the goal is to create video that will impress the woodwind faculty of a college or conservatory that is hiring. A good plan, but then there is the real work to be done! I have prepared many recitals on my own since graduate school, but never any without a few fluff pieces, and never one with so much at stake. I decided that I need some help. Nevermind my age, or what kind of experience or credentials I may think that I have. There is always someone who does something better, right? And we must never stop learning. It was time to seek guidance from one of my teacher/mentors, and there is no one better, in my opinion, than Robert Stallman.
I studied with Bob my last year of college (just after the death of Harold Bennett, who died the first week of school my senior year), the two years of my masters degree, and I returned for additional lessons in 1994 and 95 when I was preparing for my doctoral auditions. Bob had then and has now a stellar career as an international soloist, and an unparalleled reputation among flutists. He is a flutist's flutist. The power, richness, and vibrancy of his tone have no equal. The most difficult passagework spins from his fingers completely effortlessly (even if it's a piece he hasn't seen in some time), and every note is energized and alive. Nothing about his playing takes anything for granted.
I went up to his home in Marblehead, Massachusetts. I had not had a lesson with him in over 20 years, but I knew he would have the answers for every interpretive and technical question I had. We had an intensive three-day session with a lesson every day. If I had any doubts about coming back to study at my age, they were dispelled in the first five minutes of the first lesson. No lazy habits were allowed, no notes could sit there without meaning, no resting on my laurels. By the end of the three days, my brain was spinning, but I had so much more direction as to what to do with my remaining weeks of preparation.
I'd like to thank my friend and colleague, Connie Grossman, who encouraged me to get over myself and take some lessons. I'd like to encourage all of you to check out Robert Stallman's cd's and publications, and see if you can catch a live performance somewhere. Visit his website!
Cheers, and never stop learning!