Musical Ensembles to Teach
by Dom Famularo and Joe Bergamini, JoeBDrums@aol.com
Studying drums is a fun journey, but playing alone is not the full
picture. Creating energy with other musicians is another level of
expression that must be experienced to be fully appreciated and understood.
Imagine guitar, bass, keyboard and even brass players all focusing
on the same music to paint a full picture of musical sounds! As drummers,
we need other melodic musicians to help us see how our studies fit
into the bigger picture. There are certainly challenges in organizing
an ensemble program, but the rewards are much greater! Seeing the
flame in the eyes of a child light up is reward enough! An ensemble
program is the ultimate teaching situation for the growth of a student
and also provides the opportunity to apply all the tools learned in
Creating an ensemble program can happen in your community. There are
teachers on all instruments located closer than you may realize. These
educators also want the same musical growth for their students. By
creating a network of other local instrumental instructors, a music
store or school could help establish a system of ensembles for all
students to participate in. Following are some ways in which this
could work and how it would benefit the various parties:
many resources to find other teachers in your area:
teachers from your local music store or from other area stores.
invitations to all local instructors and independent music
schools. Use the yellow pages in addition to word of mouth
to find all the teachers in your area.
school band directors, as they are an important resource of
the names of private teachers.
Soon, you'll have a full list of all local instructors and can begin
coordinating a program. Some organizational skills and time will be
necessary to get things up and running. All the teachers involved
could split some of the preliminary duties. A master list should be
made with all students' names and phone numbers. Then a rehearsal
space must be found. At some larger music stores, it would be ideal
to have a "master class" room. Other options include a local public
or private school, church, VFW hall or community center. Wherever
the space is, be sure that it is equipped for all the musicians and
vocalists. Assign the students to groups and select pieces together
based on their musical level. Finally, schedule a concert to let the
students showcase their new skills to family and friends.
This type of an ensemble would benefit everyone involved:
would inspire their students with a great opportunity and
a terrific educational experience, and give them an incentive
to stay in lessons.
stores or private music schools would bring in more business
and become a center for purchasing and networking among both
students and teachers.
school music programs would benefit from the attention and
enthusiasm their programs would receive. * Parents would see
a concrete outlet for their investment in lessons.
students would benefit the most from a great educational experience,
a chance to perform with other musicians and a fun, musical
There is a great responsibility that is associated with teaching -
to empower a student no matter the age or ability to discover
and uncover their potential talent. Being the one to organize
ensemble and group sessions will plant the seeds of tomorrow's musicians
to grow and flourish into complete and expressive artists!