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My Master Class

What is it

Education is all areas is currently undergoing major changes, including music. The steady increase in home schooling, the rise in small private schools and the growing desire with many adults to learn how to play musical instruments are a few of the changes which show clear signs of continuing. People in the music industry like to say that 10% of the population plays a musical instrument and the other 90% wish they could. The goal of My Master Class is to reach not only the 10% who already can play but as much of the other 90% as we can.

Unfortunately, much of the way music teaching is focused these days works against this goal. Private lessons are readily available and can focus on the individual needs of a student but they have become more and more costly and they can only provide a portion of the training necessary to successfully learn how to play an instrument. The other portion is playing in a group, either with people playing the same instrument or a band or orchestra. Group teaching is available through school band and orchestra programs but these programs are not always available to home schooling or to adults wanting to develop their skill or who simply want to try playing an instrument for the first time.The ideal situation is to provide both individual along with group interaction which can be done with a small group. This is why schools which focus on teaching kids to play in a rock band which focuses on a specific end result over a set period of lessons can be so successful, but not everyone is only interested in playing in a rock band. 

Our approach is something new but based on old established practices in learning music, some of which have been around even before there was such a thing as formal music training. The days of people getting together to play music simply to entertain themselves pretty much disappeared with the electronic reproduction of sound and the days when classical composers wrote music that was meant to be played mostly by amateurs and an occasional professional are essentially gone. Yet, in spite of the fact that it is so easy to play any music you want on an electronic device, most people still feel the desire to produce music on their own. Unfortunately, there is no super quick method of learning how to play an instrument or how to sing well, but there are methods that can help people to focus on skills that can help a great deal and this is where My Master Class is focused.

The name My Master Class is derived from the traditional master class method of teaching advanced students. A group of students meets on a regular basis with a skilled musician/teacher who provides individual attention to each student but in a group context where each student is able to learn from the other students as well as working on his or her own weaknesses. My Master Class takes this concept to a broader level which can include people at all skill levels. For example, with all wind instruments, breathing is extremely important but is also an area which is often overlooked in many band settings. Individual attention is often needed to teach proper breathing and there are also simple exercises that can sometimes produce dramatic results. The importance of basic techniques, such as proper breathing, can be illustrated in many ways and a group context can actually facilitate this. More advanced students can focus on particular types of techniques or types of exercises which are meant to develop specific skills. The possibilities are only limited to the level of skill people want to achieve through focused classes which have clearly defined goals in mind.

To accommodate the variety of skills and individual goals that people want to achieve, classes are organized and offered based on demand. Students, or their parents, submit forms through our website describing the instrument, skill level, and approximate times and days when they would like to attend classes. Lafayette Music gathers this information and as soon as there is enough interest for a class, a specific class schedule is constructed and everyone who has expressed an interest is notified. At that point, the class is listed on our website as available and people can register for it.

My Master Class has been designed to combine the advantages of private lesson instruction with the benefits of group practice and performance at a cost that is less than most private instruction. It is also designed to provide the flexibility in scheduling that can support a variety of requirements in today’s rapidly evolving educational landscape such as home schooling, small schools which only provide limited musical education options, and adult education.

Signing up for a class takes place from the Registration Page which lists the classes that are currently scheduled with a specific meeting time and dates. Each class contains a description of skill level, instruments included or excluded, the teacher, and a general description of the technical objectives and music that the class will be practicing and performing. Once you sign up for a class and pay the tuition, you are enrolled. People are always free to drop out of a class at any time and receive credit for the remaining sessions that can be applied to another class or merchandise in the store.

The Class Description page contains a general description of the types of classes that are offered and how they are constructed based on skill level and objective. The page also contains a form that can easily be filled out with name and contact information, instrument, times and days that are convenient and objectives. If none of the listed options seems to match what you are looking for, provide a brief description in the comments and we will get in touch. Once there is enough interest in a class, a time and dates for it are listed on the Registration page and people can register up to the limit for that class. We also attempt to contact people who have expressed an interest in a class that might match their requirements based on this form.

In order to help students and parents decide on a class, we have an Instructor’s Page which includes brief descriptions of the backgrounds of some of the teachers we work with and which classes they teach. We are also continually looking for people who would like to teach within this new system and encourage people who are interested in contacting us.