Year #2: Ali joins a band. Ed gets bored.
This is the ongoing story of two musical journeys. Two kids in Brooklyn who love music and have been singing, banging on pots and pans, and strumming toy guitars for as long as their parents can remember. Meet Ali, she is entering her second year at Brooklyn Music Factory and Ed, who is starting his second year with a private piano teacher who visit his house once a week.
If you are just finding this story…Please start with Part 1 Here: Ali & Ed: Two Musical Journeys PART #1
Year #2: A New Beginning
Over the summer, Ali attended Brooklyn Music Factory’s summer camp for one week. Her friend and she joined a week of Jam Band 101, a band class where she spent all week learning a Michael Jackson song and on Friday afternoon, performed it on the BMF Main Stage. This was the same stage she performed on twice last year as a private piano student. The camp gig felt different, though. She wasn’t really nervous at all. Maybe it was because she was part of a band. Maybe it was because there were five other bands playing as well. She didn’t really know what was different, but she knew that she loved being part of a band…it felt like being on her soccer team. Plus she didn’t even play piano in the band, she played bass & loved it. Her mom was SO psyched to see her playing in a band (of all 7 year olds), that she enrolled Ali in Jam Band 101 in addition to her 30 minute piano lessons for year #2 at Brooklyn Music Factory.
Ed also had a great summer. He stopped piano lessons for the summer because he was at another day camp where they did all kinds of activities, including singing songs in a group. He really liked singing (though he was kind of shy about it) and he especially liked the camp counselor who was playing guitar and smiling the whole time. Ed’s mom signed him up for private piano lessons again in the Fall with his teacher and he began weekly lessons. Ed seemed excited to play again. He even asked his teacher if he might sing a song this year!
Mid Year #2: Ali sees herself as a performer. Ed keeps working through his piano book.
Ali has been learning a Go Go’s song in Jam Band 101 and this time she is singing. She has made three new friends in the band. One of her band mates is actually in her class at school. They play drum circle games and lots of singing games every week. She is now at Brooklyn Music Factory for two hours every Tuesday for both band class and her piano lesson. She does homework in the community room for half an hour after school and then goes into her lesson followed by band class. Her piano teacher continues to challenge her with new ‘Big Lessons About Music’ games and gives her a new weekly goal from her book every single week. The music is getting a bit more difficult to learn, though, but she always has fun in the lessons so she is OK being challenged. And after she plays her mid year private lesson gig (this time in a mini band with two other beginning music students @ BMF) she feels psyched to continue. Ali is really starting to like performing. Mostly, though, she likes all the friends she is making through music.
Ed continues moving through his piano book. In fact, this year, at the recommendation of his teacher, his mom increased his lesson length to 45 minutes. Ed is sitting at the piano for 45 minutes every week and is definitely making some progress. He has completed 6 chapters in the level one book. Her mom is really proud because all she can remember is hating her piano lessons. Ed seems like a natural.
End of Year #2: Ali gets a progress report on her musical fluency. Ed’s teacher grows concerned.
Ali ends up plays an end of the year showcase with her Jam Band 101 class and it’s super fun. There are other groups that perform and some of them are much older than her and play original songs they wrote. Brooklyn Music Factory was packed with families and it felt like a real rock show to her. Ali’s parents have now become good friends with a few families they met through the gigs and on Tuesday afternoons just hanging out in the community room waiting for Ali to finish rehearsal. Ali’s private lessons end with an awesome gig that even includes some of her friends form her band class. Year 2 was fun and challenging. Her parents were proud when they received the Brooklyn Music Factory Musician Growth Report for Ali and it showed her having passed 62% of the musical fluency games in Rhythm and Harmony. Not that mom totally understood what the chart meant, but she appreciated getting a progress report on Ali’s growth.
Ed made it through three more chapters of his piano book in the Winter and Spring but it started to get a bit more difficult by March to keep up the practicing. It’s not that Ed didn’t like to show off what he had already learned on piano. He did! He could play his early songs in the book really fast. His friends thought it was cool. It’s just that Ed was getting tired of practicing every day and there was always so much to have to learn. Plus, his piano was in the living room and every time he practiced he was all alone. It was kind of sad and he would of much rather been in the kitchen where his mom was making dinner. Ed’s teacher started to grow concerned that Ed was losing interest in music lessons. Ed’s mom tried to remind Ed every day to practice but she started to grow tired of asking so often. Ed started saying that he was ‘bored’ by his piano songs. It began to feel a little like home work…school work even. And that was exactly the opposite of what mom wanted music to be for Ed. Ed always loved music & now he was beginning to hate it?!
The good news was that in June Ed had a second recital and it was a big hit. Ed’s grand parents came and Ed performed two songs from chapter 7. It had taken him three months of sporadic practice, but he did get them down and ended up playing them really well. His teacher was happy and his parents were proud. It made Ed feel good to have four people there that all gave him a hug afterwards and told him how great he was. For Ed’s mom, it may have been a struggle, but they made it to the finish line and she considered that a success.
Next Week: Year #3-5
Ali writes a song. Ed switches teachers.