Reflections on my stages of musical development

It’s interesting to look back at where you’ve been and where you are coming from musically.  In working with many of my students I have to, in various ways, remember what it was like in their shoes.  My youngest student is in 1st grade, my oldest a senior at UT.  With such a wide range, I really need to make that mental switch and adjust my teaching style to fit their current level.  Looking back, here’s how I perceive the various stages in my own development:

4th-5th grade: Just starting the instrument; learning fundamentals; everything is new; nothing makes sense; I enjoy playing because it’s fun to learn this instrument.

6th-8th grade: I have some technique under my belt; I can play scales, easy pieces, orchestra music with independent bass lines; some thing make sense more than others; I enjoy playing although it’s more of  challenge with homework and sports, etc.

9th-12th grade: I’m making incredible progress; I have fantastic teachers, I am going to all the district and region competitions; I feel like I finally understand the instrument decently well; playing is a lot more demanding even with just devoting all my time to practice; I enjoy playing but it’s not quite the same anymore.

College: I’m excited to be studying music instead of English or history, no more essays on stuff I don’t care for; I feel challenged musically and academically; it’s great to play with a college symphony orchestra- and I’m learning a lot; I am learning so much about the bass (players, history, teachers, pedagogy, technique); I’m now successfully teaching students of my own; I realize that there’s a lot I don’t know; I would like to practice/play more but I’m stretched in many directions.

Grad School: Masters- essentially learning as much about the bass as possible (audition excerpts, solo repertoire, pedagogy techniques, playing chamber music), beginning to network with professionals, gain experience in another field (recording and audio engineering) and balancing academic life with married life (before children).    Doctorate [in process]- gaining a professional voice, networking, teaching A LOT, focusing on recitals, taking on lots of gigs, supporting a family.


About tunedin4ths

David Ballam Doctoral Student at the University of Texas at Austin Doublebass Instructor: UT String Project & Round Rock School District BLOG: WEB:
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