Mentoring Monday: Instrument Classes 101

Instrument Classes 101
Michael W. Pettis, School of Music Mentor

Instrumental Classes, for most people, can help add some spice to the sometimes daunting tasks of practicing, doing theory and aurals homework, or even general education homework. Although it seems like these classes are useless now, they are not useless at all, TRUST ME. As a composer, it was great to get a feel for how the instrument worked, and the mindset of the musician as they play their instrument. However, as a teacher, these classes are the first times you are able to teach in front of a group of peers. If this sounds scary at first, don’t worry. The teachings you’ll do are low-pressured environments. The only pressure will be how well you push yourself to present or teach your given project, which is always good pressure. Now while you are in the class, it is very important that you not only enjoy the class, but take notes that will help you remember what you learned semesters after taking the class. You will need to know most of the information for classes such as elementary band, elementary orchestra, etc. Also, it doesn’t hurt to know these things after you graduate as well.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your friends, your mentors, random people in Swope (make some new friends), and most of all, your professors. The professor is practically required to help you, but it’s more awesome that they want to help you. They all have office hours just for you, you can even schedule an appointment with them to meet at a specific date and time. This will take the worry out of not knowing if they are actually there, or if there is somebody else working with them. These classes are not supposed to be hard. An “A” is quite attainable for all of these instrument classes. Just remember these things: Be prepared for class. Bring all of your materials for class. Go to class!

What classes are offered?
Flute/Recorder, Single Reeds (Clarinet and Saxophone), Violin/Viola Class, Cello, Double reeds (Oboe/Bassoon), Brass Class (Trumpet), French Horn or Trombone (either of which can be taken), Cello, Guitar, or Double Bass (either of which can be taken), Pitched Percussion, Non-pitched Percussion.

What you’ll learn?
You’ll learn how to play the instrument at intermediate/middle school level depending on how hard you work at it. You’ll learn how to teach the instrument to beginners who have never touched an instrument in their life and think you play the trumpet button with two hands. You’ll be able to recommend brands of instruments to rent/buy and recommend what reeds or mouthpieces that would be best for you future students.

My favorite instrumental class: Flute Class with Dr. Grabb…probably the best class I have had a lot of fun learning and just enjoying the class. Also recorder…enough said. It was also my most recent instrument class.

Think of these instrument classes as a break from whatever you doing. These instrument classes should be fun and exciting as your learning how/why your friends chose the wrong instruments to play (Obviously, you play the best instrument).


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