As a student of Lammas Green Music Studio you have access to two diverse methods of teaching and can take advantage of the varied perspective that both of our highly experienced teachers have to offer.
With two teachers, our students enjoy a varied and fresh approach to their regular lessons, a supportive audience when repertoire is ready for performance, and twice the flexibility in scheduling for master class-style and theory-intensive lessons.
Master Class Lessons
For students who are prepared to play repertoire for an audience and would like an even more well-rounded perspective, we offer Master Class lessons in which a student takes a lesson with the other LGMS teacher with whom they are less familiar. For concepts that are difficult for a student, it can be a matter of hearing a new perspective to make a concept clearer. Our teachers synthesize concepts from two major families of orchestral instruments which, despite their ergonomic differences, offer much to enrich each other.
For example, a clarinet student may wish to improve the tone colours available to them, especially in sustained playing. This can be difficult to approach on a wind instrument as most of these processes happen invisibly, in the diaphragm, throat and mouth. This student would benefit from the perspective of a string specialist because bowed strings show overt visual evidence (the bow) of how sound is being manipulated to add shape and colour. Emulating the motion of a bow, experimenting with vibrating pitches and imitating articulated passages with a string player can challenge a wind player to expand their pallet of what sounds are possible.
String players can technically get away with physical rigidity and lack of breath and still produce sound, although it won’t be their best. String students should strive to see the connection between breathing, physical relaxation and improved sound production, and in this sense they have much to learn from a wind teacher. Wind instruments require a relaxed, controlled breath to produce any sound at all. Breathing is the paramount resource in phrasing for any wind instrument, and experienced string players draw on this concept to produce their best sound as well.
Any student at LGMS can request a Master Class lesson in place of their regular weekly lesson. These lessons will require that the student has repertoire prepared to perform for the teacher, as well as duet material that will be prepared with their primary teacher in the lessons leading up to the Master Class. This is because duet playing improves a student’s musicianship skills, their independence, and their management of nerves.
Chamber music is social and active music making; many people enjoy it more than solo performance. We string to give any interested students opportunities for chamber music by using our combined pool of students. As part of our studio recital series, students of similar level will be given the opportunity to perform duets together, with students of their studio and with students of the other teacher’s studio. For example, a violin and clarinet student can perform a duet together if both teachers deem it appropriate for their skill level, and at least one joint lesson is arranged where both students can be present before the performance date.
Music theory is of paramount importance in the mastery of any instrument, as well as informed listening and appreciation of music. Western music has a particularly formulaic structure of notation and modal scales, and if a student does not know the basic concepts, their instrumental playing will eventually hit a dead end as the repertoire becomes too challenging. When performing chamber music, knowledge of theory will help students play more precisely together and make artistic decisions. Finally, theory knowledge will be essential when sight reading, which is a part of all ABRSM exams. In order to successfully play unfamiliar repertoire on the spot, a student will need to apply their knowledge of music theory.
Both of our teachers are trained to teach music theory, and we offer theory-intensive lessons to all students who are interested. These lessons are designed to either take a portion of a one-hour lesson slot or, in appropriate cases, dedicate a full hour slot to theory only. Our teaching method follows Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory and we would ask that students obtain their own copy to study at home between lessons. This is available on amazon and from other online music retailers (sheetmusicplus, thestringzone, howarth.uk.com).
Our theory-intensive studies focus on four broad aspects, each increasing in complexity with beginners to advanced students. These concepts are: musical notation and format, keys and scalar structures, rhythmic and melodic dictation, and ear training.
With both teachers available to schedule theory lessons, LGMS students enjoy double the flexibility in scheduling. Theory-intensive time is also factored into Master Class lessons when appropriate.