Monday, August 25, 2008

I Can Play It: online music lessons

The most common environment where music lessons take place are in a teacher's studio or local music store, involving an exchange of physical interaction between the teacher and student. Yet with the technology readily available on the Internet, players can find alternate sources of instruction with one click of the mouse button. These online lessons can provide opportunities to learn from the experts without ever having to leave the house. Although taking online lessons has its drawbacks (absence of personal response and immediate feedback to one's playing), the numerous advantages, such as receiving instruction from renowned performers thousands of miles away or viewing the lessons at your convenience, can make them worthwhile. Online instruction works best used as a supplement to a player's one-on-one coaching.

One superb site that offers instruction for various instruments is, where you can subscribe to short lessons on clarinet, piano, other instruments, and music theory. British clarinetist Emma Johnson gives her thoughts and advice on various topics that apply to all levels of clarinet playing. Each of the 32 mini-courses lasts between 3-5 minutes long and includes demonstrations by Johnson along with diagrams, musical examples, and excerpts illustrated. Emma Johnson's pleasant approach and engaging manner draws in the viewer, whether she is executing a beautiful phrase or explaining how embouchure position affects intonation.

In addition to discussing the fundamentals, Johnson also highlights areas concerning technique and agility, fingerings, breath support, adjusting reeds, and ideas on performance practices. The chosen musical excerpts are from the standard repertory and much attention is given to Schumann's Fantasiestűcke, No.1. Lesson #30 exclusively covers the piece, providing the viewer with a mini-master class on the movement, followed by a heart-felt performance by Emma Johnson in the subsequent lesson.

Although a subscription must be purchased in order to view all thirty-two lessons, Icanplayit allows viewers the chance to watch five mini lessons free of charge.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hello! I love your blog and ideas! I want to make the Piano Lessons La Jolla cards for little boo peep. How did you make them? Did you use the cards from Rhythm Band, but enlarged them? Thank you!