I often find myself trying to distinguish for parents the difference between the traditional conservatory model of a music education, which is focused on the individual and highlighting each student’s growth, versus what we do at the Brooklyn Music Factory, which is focused on giving our students the musical tools necessary to play with other students in our program. To be clear, there is a huge difference between the two: One looks inward and sees music as an individual art form, while the other (ours) looks outward and sees music as a social art form meant to be explored, learned and enjoyed in the company of others. But what exactly does that mean for our private lesson students? The concept is easier to visualize in our band program, which is clearly focused on the group, but for those that get the individual attention, what is the point? Our private lesson curriculum revolves around what we call Key Music Concepts. Key Music Concepts are obvious facets of the musical language like Rhythm/Groove or Melody, and less obvious ones like Song Form or Focus. We have created (and continue to create) lots and lots of games that our students play to help strengthen their knowledge of the language. Students have a blast and at the same time develop specific skills. During private lessons at BMF, we are able to cater those games to the specific needs of each student. We can tailor every lesson accordingly. No two students are the same. One student may come in with a well-developed melodic ear (he or she can hear melodies and repeat them back on an instrument), but a very rudimentary grasp of rhythm or groove. Another student may come in with the ability to execute on an instrument (e.g.., play lots of chords/songs on the guitar) but no knowledge of the building blocks of a song (music theory). No student walks through the door with an equal understanding of all the Key Music Concepts. Our private lesson curriculum is built to help each student specifically address those imbalances.
And…this is important….the language being learned is called music, not piano, drums, guitar or voice. At Brooklyn Music Factory, the Key Music Concepts are in service to our primary goal, which is making music with others. Everything we focus on with our students is about strengthening and balancing their grasp of the language of music, so they can make lots and lots of music with other musicians inside and outside of our little community.
At the end of the day, many of our musicians end up exploring lots of instruments (including their voices) and each of those instruments is merely a vehicle for expressing the language of music.
– Nate, Director of Private Lessons