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MidWest Band and Orchestra Clinic

December 18, 2009

I came to Chicago for the annual MidWest Band and Orchestra clinic. It is the first time I have been here as an adult – I came here many moons ago as a young musician playing in the Oklahoma Youth Orchestra under the direction of Legh Burns and John E. Clinton.  That trip was among my favorite high school memories (along with going to Scandinavia and Australia with that same orchestra!).

Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to listen to a master teacher of conductors, Craig Kirchhoff from the University of Minnesota.  In the next few posts I will share with you some of his “bullet points” about great conducting and great teaching.

He began the hour-long seminar with what he termed as his “three basic principles” about teaching music:

  1. Every student has the potential to be moved by music, regardless of that student’s age or skill level.
  2. The teacher’s task is to get the student to understand the reasons why they are moved by music.
  3. The only way to get the student to understand truly why they are moved by music is to expose them to great music.

There are more points about his conducting and teaching philosophy coming. I thought this would be a good way to get the ball rolling!

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