As I am a young director in a program that is rebuilding, I have not yet had many students in my group that were influential on the other students musically. And by influential, I mean in a good way. I have had plenty of students who were not a good influence. But I digress…that is another topic for another post!
Anyway, for the first time in the 4 years that I have been here, I have found that students who are good musicians can truly have an effect on the way that the other students around them play. I have a trumpet student who has really taken off this year, and he is really beginning to make some very good musical choices (see First Post). I have noticed that when this student plays good dynamics and articulations, the other students sitting around him will follow suit. I was so impressed by this; I finally realized that if you had a few really stellar players in your group, that they could improve the musical level of your group dramatically. Perhaps this is common knowledge to those of you that have been in the profession for a while, but this was literally a light bulb turning on for me.
This tells me that I should encourage more students to pursue private lessons. I always knew that I should encourage them to take lessons anyway, but I guess I never realized how much of an impact it could have on the entire group. I will now be making a concerted effort to do this.
So, what I gather from this experience is this: Push students individually to be the best musician they possibly can be, because when they become better players, they can only help the group as a whole when they are sitting in the rehearsal or performance. I know this sounds logical, but I guess I just needed the wake-up call to bring it to my attention more clearly.