Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Andrew Nelson Finalist in National Saxophone Competition--Bellevue School of Music

It is my great pleasure to work with many bright young students, you never know what direction their interests will lead them or to what level of performance they aspire. Andrew Nelson began his lessons just prior to entering his freshman year at Interlake High School, with an intense desire to learn. As with all incoming intermediate students there was an adjustment period in which we reshape their tone and finger technique. (My teaching is predominately pedagogical, relying on a precise physical concept and an incremental series of exercises with specific goals.) Andrew immersed himself with great relish, soon hearing and feeling the results as notes he struggled to play started to come with ease, his fingers relaxed and became more accurate. By spring Andrew had developed significantly and received his first accolade in winning the Eastshore Solo and Ensemble, Solo Division--a feat he recently repeated for the fourth and final time.

Alto Saxophone SoloBellevue School of Music, Fall Recital 2011
Andrew Nelson
Bellevue School of Music Fall Recital 2011
Frye Auditorium

Without a doubt Andrew's willingness to risk disappointment is a fundamental element of his success; a student waiting until they are "ready" to perform misses the point entirely, performing is an essential part of the musical journey. Recitals, festivals and competitions are all an important part of studying music though students often resist performing due to fear of failure. It's natural for parents, teachers and students to want to succeed--be the best at the recital, win the ribbon at the festival--but it's necessary to temper human nature by reframing the measure of success. We must nurture our students into welcoming these challenges with an eye toward the higher goal of mastering performance: forging their desire to do well into motivation to practice, teaching them to accept that performances are imperfect, shifting their focus away from short term goals and toward embracing the overall journey. Andrew's musical development is a testament to his ability to weather the challenges of performance, he's been able to look past minor setbacks and learn from them to achieve a very high level of artistry.

Andrew Nelson
Andrew Nelson
"Warm-up" Recital
Preparation for the Eastshore Solo and Ensemble Festival 2012

Andrew, now a senior, was chosen as a finalist in the North American Saxophone Alliance's (NASA) Young Artist Competition to be held at Arizona State University (ASU) this March 17th in Tempe, Arizona. The competition is one of dozens of events, presentations and performances offered at the NASA Biennial National Conference over four days. Andrew is performing the Glazounov Concerto along with six other finalists (the compulsory selection) and Marilyn Shrude's "Renewing the Myth". There is a winners concert on Sunday, March 18th featuring the top performers from each of five competitions at the conference. Andrew's parents and I will attend, listening with great admiration to all of the wonderful young artists.

For more information:
North American Saxophone Association--NASA
Feature Article on Andrew Nelson
Private Saxophone Lessons with Robert H. Wilson

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