Monday, November 19, 2012

Puget Sound Student Music Festival Season is Upon Us!

Here in the Puget Sound we are extremely fortunate to have strong support for music education, there are many great student music festivals available in which to participate. Listed beyond the break is information on three of the area's largest music festivals, but I urge you to ask your teacher about other opportunities and perform in as many as possible.

Music festivals serve as important goals for students to work toward; they motivate students, focusing energy into action through the heightened purpose of daily practice, and provide the opportunity for students to assess their progress beside their peers. By participating in music festivals, student's gain motivation which is an essential element to forging their musical ability.

Follow the links under each listing for details on eligibility and registration requirements:


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Behind Every Successful Music Student Is a Devoted Parent

Behind Every Successful Music Student
Is a Devoted Parent:
How to Guide Your Child on His Musical Journey
by Michelle Alten

Musical Notes For Parents:   

1. Help your student stay motivated by being positive and supportive.
2. Set a pattern with a specific practice time and stay with it.
3. Find a place and time for your child to practice where she won’t disturb the family.
4. Discuss with your instructor an appropriate amount of time for your child to practice and let your child know your expectations.
5. Show your child that you find music enjoyable and that it is a priority for your family.
6. When you hear your child making progress, let her know.  Your encouragement will go a long way.
    The day my child brought home his cello and played his first note, I was elated.  The thought that we might have a future musician in the family was tantalizing.  But it didn’t take long to realize that there is a lot to helping a young musician launch and stay committed to his musical experience.  Music students are not just born loving to practice and ready to work hard at music.  Like every great musician, each successful music student has a devoted parent behind the scenes helping him to reach his goals. 

    Most of us assume that if a child chooses an instrument that he or she will naturally want to practice.  I have spoken with parents of enthusiastic and outstanding music students, as well as parents of reluctant young musicians.  What I learned is that neither group is eager to pull out their instrument and devote time to practicing.  Kids don’t like to practice, and that’s that.  So the idea of placing children in charge of making decisions about practicing is unlikely to succeed.  Clearly another tactic is needed. 

    Robert Wilson, owner and director of the Bellevue School of Music, has suggestions for parents of young instrumentalists who wish to help their child succeed.  “It is important from the beginning for parents to help their child establish a practice pattern,” Wilson explains.  “The family should choose a daily practice time and stay with it.”  When children know when they will practice each day, he points out, it is easier for them to shift from other activities to playing their instrument. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Audition

The Audition a wonderful article from Boston Magazine chronicling the audition process experience of Mike Tetreault, a percussionist auditioning for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Tetreault shares his dreams, the hours spent in preparation, the toll on his personal life--a must read for every aspiring artist!

Friday, June 29, 2012

What defines a successful music performance?--Bellevue School of Music

With our spring Student Recital recently concluded and lessons focused on reviewing performances, I’m reminded students need guidance to recognize their accomplishments. Understandably some inexperienced students arrive at their lesson with a gloomy face hounded by memories of nervousness and the notes that got away; they view their nerves as a weakness and their errors as failure. Nothing could be further from the truth. A student’s willingness to accept the challenges of performance is itself a tremendous achievement and the single most important prerequisite to developing their talent. The nervousness and errors are essential components a student learns to manage through experience.

Violin Student Bellevue School of Music Spring Recital 2012
Violin Student, Bellevue School of Music Spring Recital 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-Band Teachers

What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-Band Teachers

An article in Psychology Today by William Klemm, D.V.M., Ph.D., Professor of Neuroscience, Texas A&M University.
So in a nutshell, the reason jazz students do so well is because their learning environment is built around:
  • Passion
  • Personal ownership and accountability
  • Constructivism
  • Social interaction
  • High Expectations
  • Reward

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What age should my child begin music lessons--Bellevue School of Music

What age should my child begin taking music lessons?

Many parents wonder when is the right time for their child to start music lessons. The answer depends on these questions: What do you want from your child’s music lesson experience? Has your child expressed an interest in a specific instrument, if so which one? The answers will help you determine when to start.

Violin Solo Bellevue School of Music, Fall Recital 2011
Violin Student, Bellevue School of Music

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Competition Day, North American Saxophone Alliance Young Artist Competition at ASU—Bellevue School of Music

Competition day, Saturday March 17th, has come and gone. I had wished to report a fairytale ending for Andrew Nelson, but because this is real life the hero in our story isn’t always victorious—these are the terms we accept in the pursuit of our dreams.

Andrew Nelson, Rehearsal Finalist in the North American Saxophone Alliance Young Artist Competition 2012 Gammage Auditorium, Arizona State University
Andrew Nelson rehearsing Friday March 16, 2012
Herberger Institute of the Arts School of Music
Arizona State University
Bellevue School of Music

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The trip to ASU--Bellevue School of Music

Five AM Friday, March 16th, the alarm wakens me in time to finish preparing for the flight to Phoenix; it’s the North American Saxophone Alliance Conference weekend and things are already in full swing at Arizona State University. Professional Saxophonists, College Professors and students are gathering for a wide range of events held every two years by the nation’s premier saxophone organization. Featured are five competitions for ages fifteen through twenty-six, showcasing the artistry of performers from High Schools and Universities throughout the nation. I’m attending the conference and coaching my private saxophone student Andrew Nelson, Andrew is a finalist in this years’ Young Artist Classical Saxophone Solo Competition to be held on Saturday afternoon March 17th at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts School of Music. As luck would have it the Nelsons are sitting across the aisle from me as I type.

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

Saturday, February 25, 2012

All-State Wind Ensemble 2012

The All-State Wind Ensemble 2012, held on Monday February 20th in Yakima, featured sixty-three of the states' finest high school musicians under the direction of Marcellus Brown and is the premier All-State honor band. Of the four saxophonists chosen to perform, two were my students: Andrew Nelson 1st Chair Alto and Soprano saxophones, and Benjamin Zobel Baritone saxophone.

Although the concert began at 3:00 the journey began at 8:30 in Kirkland with my wife Jennifer and I gathering cold weather clothing in case we got stuck driving through the pass, dog toys and snacks for Koby our Bernese Mountain Dog mix, and of course our morning lattes as we wouldn't be able to function otherwise.

Morning Tonic :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bellevue School of Music Welcome!

Andrew Nelson Alto Saxophone1st Place Soprano/Alto Saxophone SoloEastshore Solo and Ensemble 2012
Andrew Nelson
1st Place Eastshore Solo and Ensemble Festival 2012
Welcome to the Bellevue School of Music blog hosted by Robert H. Wilson! Here you will find a variety of posts on all things music and student related: view pictures of events that shape the musical lives of our students, read up on techniques to improve your performance, find recommended books to help you along your musical journey, stay current with school performances and more. Join the blog and ask me questions on a topic that interests you.

I look forward to sharing my experiences and hope you'll enjoy our journey together in search of musical excellence.