I spent a few days last weekend at the Louisiana Music Educators’ Association 2010 State Music Conference, which is held annually in Baton Rouge. As always, this year’s conference was very well organized, with a variety of clinics, performances, and exhibits. You can view the entire conference schedule here: 2010 LMEA Conference. I presented a clinic on Monday morning at 8:00am (!) titled “Strategies for Successful Solo Performances.” Although I was a little disappointed in the sparse attendance at my session this year, the handful of people who were there seemed interested and I hope they got something out of the presentation. I did manage to record my clinic on a new camcorder, but am still working on the technical details of editing and converting the content to a web-friendly format. When it’s ready I’ll post a few clips from the presentation here for those who might be interested. The idea for this presentation came from a desire to see more solo performances from high school and middle school horn players, either in the form of public performances or participation in district and state solo/ensemble festivals. I think many of the high school and middle school horn players in Louisiana (and elsewhere) could benefit from positive experiences as soloists early in their musical education. Do they need to play Strauss 2 as high school seniors? – not necessarily – but incorporating solo literature into the usual diet of scales and etudes is a good place to start. I divided my presentation into the following parts:
Suggested Timetable for Preparing a Solo Performance
Dealing with Performance Anxiety
Tips on Rehearsing with Piano Accompaniment
Horn/Piano Placement Options
Sample Solo Repertoire (Demonstration)
Readers of this blog will find many of these topics familiar as I’ve covered them in several posts over the last few months. Some of the material was written prior to its inclusion in a blog post, while other parts (Stage Presence) were written specifically for this blog and later adapted for use in the presentation. For the final part of the presentation I was joined by Mrs. Coralie White, Associate Professor of Piano at ULM, to demonstrate some basic solo literature. I picked three pieces which I felt were appropriate for a middle school, intermediate high school, and advanced high school student – an arrangement of Allerseelen by Richard Strauss, Romance by Saint-Saëns, and Reveries by Glazunov. Once I get the video recording edited down I’ll probably post those performances to YouTube and this blog. You can also check out the handout from the presentation here. Boldin – LMEA Clinic Fall 2010
In addition to presenting, I also spent some time observing the All-State ensembles and talking with prospective students. Throughout the weekend high school students can come up to the various college displays and speak with faculty from those schools about auditions, scholarships, and the music program in general. I usually try to get in touch with the horn players in the All-State ensembles prior to the convention, and then follow up and speak to them in person sometime during the weekend. I enjoy meeting and talking to these students, and the convention in general is a great way to network and build connections throughout the state. The horn sections in the orchestra and bands sounded great at the rehearsals – Louisiana has some very talented young players! I wasn’t able to stay for the band concerts on Monday, but I’m sure they went well. LMEA also brought in some wonderful clinicians to work with the All-State ensembles: Ralph Ford from Troy University (Concert Band), Dennis Fisher from the University of North Texas (Symphonic Band), and Tonu Kalam from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Orchestra).
If you are a music educator at any level, I encourage you to get involved with your state’s music educators’ association, and consider attending their annual conventions or conferences. It’s a great way to meet fellow music educators, as well as build up your experience and professional development.