Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Blurb

I mentioned earlier that I will be teaching a new collaborative piano class for advanced pianists at the RCM Community School this September. A few weeks ago, I was asked to write a blurb for the new course for the fall calendar's release in a month or so. Writing an advertisement for a collaborative piano class was something that I had never until then thought about. How does one advertise our field to those that generally know it only as "accomanying"? How to advertise our field not as a way out for second rate pianists and has-beens, but as an interesting and vital part of the piano world that all pianists, especially the best ones, should at least have a passing acquaintance with? Here is my first version of the blurb I sent to marketing, which may or may not be used for the final version of the 06-07 RCM catalog:

The Collaborative Piano class is an opportunity for advanced pianists to explore and learn vocal and instrumental music that includes piano. Participants will receive hands-on experience learning the skills that can turn a pianist into a well-rounded and valued partner that will excel in both the rehearsal room and concert hall. Opera, art song, concerto reductions, duet playing, sight-reading, and keyboard skills are just some of the activities that will enrich a pianists's life in this exciting new class.

After sending this in, I made a quick check of the internet to see if any other community music schools offered any courses such as this. Not many. The Bloomingdale School of Music in New York City advertises just such a course taught by Katy Luo, and here are some highlights from its blurb:

An exciting and unique opportunity for piano students who are ready to take the next step in their studies. Students will acquire ensemble skills through activities such as duo playing, accompanying, rehearsing, and performing with the Preparatory Orchestra. Listening, sight-reading, score-reading, and rhythm-training are all integral components of the course.

The Concord Community Music School in Concord, NH offers an accompanying course as part of its complete curriculum, and its website mentions that the class will "enable pianists to learn the art of accompanying through coaching in lessons and informal workshops".

More on the importance of this type of class and how it can fit into both the curriculum and financial model of community schools in an upcoming post.

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