See if a prospective teacher allows a trial lesson to test how the personalities mesh. And be sure to ask lots of questions. What’s the teacher’s background as a musician and as an instructor? What kinds of teaching materials and music does she use? How much practice time is expected for students, and does that vary by the student’s age? Does the teacher have access to student ensembles? What kinds of performance opportunities will he provide? Will the teacher allow the student to record the lesson? This can be a terrific practice aid, especially when it comes to remembering how something is supposed to sound. Does she teach any music theory or composition? What are the expectations for students and for their parents?
A good teacher can be a friendly, encouraging and inspiring presence — even when a student hits rough patches. He will point out the student’s weaknesses without being harsh or dismissive, suggest innovative ways to overcome challenges, and create engaging ways to tackle even rote activities like playing scales or honing fine motor skills. The instructor’s age and experience might or might not be a deciding factor; for example, I’m consistently impressed by the range of tricks my own child’s very youthful private teacher has up her sleeve to turn what could easily be drudgery into fun. Not to mention the huge helpings of good humor and patience she brings to her tiny charges!
1865 ~ Alexander Konstantinovich Glazunov, Russian symphonic composer, conductor and educator. He wrote eight completed symphonies and two piano concertos. One of his last works (1934) was a concerto for saxophone.
• 1895 ~ The first Promenade concert under conductor Henry Wood took place at Queen’s Hall in London. He remained in sole charge of the “Proms”, the annual British classical music festival, until 1940.
• 1928 ~ Jimmy Dean (Seth Ward), Grammy Award-winning singer, TV host of The Jimmy Dean Show, sausage mogul
• 1928 ~ Eddie Fisher, Singer, TV host of Coke Time with Eddie Fisher, father of Carrie Fisher and Tricia Leigh Fisher
• 1940 ~ Bobby Hatfield, Singer with The Righteous Brothers
• 1943 ~ Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Spector (Bennett), Singer with The Ronettes
• 1947 ~ Ian Anderson, Musician: flute, singer with Jethro Tull
• 1954 ~ Eliot Fisk, American guitarist
• 1954 ~ Elvis Presley made one of his first professional appearances, at Overton Park, in his hometown of Memphis, TN. He used the occasion to debut his new record,That’s All Right (Mama), and was a big crowd pleaser.
• 1961 ~ Jon Farriss, Musician, drums, singer with INXS
• 1967 ~ Lorraine Pearson, Singer with Five Star
• 1968 ~ Michael Bivins, Singer with New Edition, Bell Biv DeVoe
• 1985 ~ Madonna’s album Like a Virgin became the first solo album by a female artist to be certified for sales of five million copies.
• 1987 ~ A Chorus Line celebrated its 5,000th performance. It was estimated that 25 million theatre goers had seen the musical since it opened in 1975. An estimated 16.7 million people had seen the show on Broadway, with another 8.3 million taking in the touring production. A Chorus Line became the longest-running show on The Great White Way on September 29, 1983 and ended its Broadway run in 1990.
• 2003 ~ Gregory Hines, Tony Award winner tap-dancing actor who started on Broadway and in movies including “White Nights” and “Running Scared,” died at the age of 57.
The dancer, among the best in his generation, won a 1993 Tony for the musical “Jelly’s Last Jam.”
Hines became internationally known as part of a jazz tap due with his brother, Maurice, and the two danced together in the musical revue “Eubie!” in 1978. The brothers later performed together in Broadway’s “Sophisticated Ladies” and on film in 1984’s “The Cotton Club.”
In “The Cotton Club,” Hines also had a lead acting role, which led to more work in film. He starred with Mikhail Baryshnikov in 1985’s “White Nights” and with Billy Crystal in 1986’s “Running Scared,” and he appeared with Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett in 1995’s “Waiting to Exhale,” among other movies.
On television, he had his own sitcom in 1997 called “The Gregory Hines Show,” as well as a recurring role on “Will and Grace.” March 2003, he appeared in the spring television series “Lost at Home.”