Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Don't Take My Word for It"

Our latest column for Elefante on Entertainment: "Don't Take My Word for It."

"The future belongs to young people with an education and the imagination to create." - Barack Obama

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Spiderman on the "Web"/Holiday Entertainment Options

In his latest article for The Alternative Press, Joe chronicles some of the salty banter being hurled throughout the Twitterverse about the recent spate of injuries at Spider-Man, Turn off the Dark:


And here is an article from Examiner.com about Holiday performance options:

Friday, December 10, 2010

R.I.P. James Moody

Today is a celebration of the life of one of the greatest jazz musicians who ever lived - and the pride of Newark, NJ.

A Jazz Giant Passes

Friday, December 3, 2010

Why You Shouldn't Watch the Grammys

Our latest column for the Alternative Press:

Okay – time for a tirade. I know I’m still supposed to be young and hip and all that, but I can’t help but be nauseated by the nominations for the 2011 Grammy Awards.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Elefante November '10 Newlsetter

Elefante November '10 Newlsetter

"Today, for Many Kids, It's Not a Choice" (pt. 4 of 4)

Robert B. Morrison has a long history as a supporter of music education and is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading advocates for music and arts in education and in society. He is the founder of Quadrant Arts Education Research, the nation’s leading arts education research and intelligence organization. Mr. Morrison’s leadership in research, public policy and advocacy efforts has led to significant advancements in access to music and arts education programs across the nation.

Prior to founding Quadrant Arts Education Research Mr. Morrison was the founder of Music for All, one of the nation’s largest and most influential music education organizations where he remains Chairman Emeritus. Mr. Morrison helped develop and then served as the CEO of the VH1 Save The Music Foundation where he took a small promotional idea and created a major national brand donating more than $25 million of musical instruments to restore more than 1200 music programs. Previously, Mr. Morrison was a senior executive for the NAMM - International Music Products Association, where he served as Executive Director of the American Music Conference where he worked with the late Michael Kamen and Richard Dreyfus to create the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation.

It was my immense pleasure to spend an evening with Mr. Morrison. I hope you've enjoyed his insight as much as I did. Again, if you have any comments or would like to add to the conversation, feel free to reach me at joe@elefantemusic.com. Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 19, 2010

[title of show]

Go support my friends Matt Lenz and Susan Mosher:

George St. Playhouse presents
[title of show]

November 16 - December 12, 2010

Music and Lyrics by Jeff Bowen
Book by Hunter Bell
Directed by Matt Lenz
Music Directed by Jesse Vargas

with Lauren Kennedy, Tyler Maynard, Susan Mosher and Seth Rudetsky

A musical comedy for anyone who has followed a dream. When two struggling writers make a commitment to write something new in three weeks, they quickly find that writing a comedy about the process of writing was more interesting than anything else they could write! A show about four friends taking risks, creating art, killing Vampires (the dream-destroying kind, not the Dracula kind) — and how relationships change when life happens.

Auditions for David Mamet's GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS

The Chatham Community Players will hold open auditions for GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS by David Mamet. The production runs March 4 – 19, 2011 at the Chatham Playhouse. Chase Newhart directs.

Auditions will be held on Sunday, December 5 at 6:30pm and Monday, December 6 at 7pm. Both auditions will be held at The Chatham Playhouse, 23 North Passaic Ave., Chatham. Director Chase Newhart asks that actors be familiar with the script. Sides will be provided at the audition.

The Chatham Players have an open call casting policy. ALL roles are open, none are precast, and everyone is encouraged to audition. Any questions please call Kristin Furlong at (732) 208-4184 or email her at kristinbarber33@yahoo.com. For directions or additional information, please visit www.chathamplayers.org.

Synopsis:
David Mamet's 1984 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Glengarry Glen Ross, follows the lives of four unethical Chicago real estate agents who are prepared to go to any lengths (legal or illegal) to unload undesirable real estate on unwilling prospective buyers.

Character Breakdown:
Ricky Roma (Salesman, 40s) Suave, successful, devious and out for himself.
Shelly Levine (Salesman, 50s/60s) Sinking desperately in tragic quicksand, his boastfulness will lead to humiliation.
John Williamson (Manager, 30s/40s) Without real sales experience, apparently a company man – but nevertheless willing to scam in his own interest.
Dave Moss (Salesman, 50s) Tough, crude, and too bitter to play well the hand he’s been dealt.
George Aronow (Salesman, 50s) Frustrated and meek, depressed but accepting, he is needy – but still has common sense.
James Lingk (married, 30s/40s) We meet him drinking alone. Sensitive, malleable to others and deeply flawed.
Detective Baylen (Police Officer, 40s) Experienced, no-nonsense cop. Strong – will use force when needed.

* No MSG was used in the preparation of this audition notice.

Chris Furlong
Publicity Director
Chatham Players
(201) 602-8562

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Today, for Many Kids, It's Not a Choice..." (pt. 3 of 4)

“I understand he has the bully pulpit. I want more bully and less pulpit.” - Robert B. Morrison on the Obama administration's policy on arts education. We also touch on the history of VH1's Save the Music, and much more...


On November 1st, Joe had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Morrison. Part 3 of 4 is the next installment in our regular column, "Elefante on Entertainment.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Today, For Many Kids, It's Not A Choice" (pt. 2 of 4)

"Are you okay with the fact that half your children don’t have access to programs?" - Robert B. Morrison on the mission of Quadrant Arts, the company he founded for the purpose of assessing arts education programs throughout the country.

On November 1st, Joe had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Morrison. Part 2 of 4 is the next installment in our regular column, "Elefante on Entertainment.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Karl Bruhn

In our most recent "Elefante on Entertainment" column, arts education advocate Robert B. Morrison mentions the recent death of his mentor, Karl Bruhn. We've taken the liberty of linking to the thoughtful tribute in Music Inc Magazine here:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"Today, for Many Kids, It's Not a Choice..."

Robert B. Morrison has a long history as a supporter of music education and is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading advocates for music and arts in education and in society. He is the founder of Quadrant Arts Education Research, the nation’s leading arts education research and intelligence organization. Mr. Morrison’s leadership in research, public policy and advocacy efforts has led to significant advancements in access to music and arts education programs across the nation.

Prior to founding Quadrant Arts Education Research Mr. Morrison was the founder of Music for All, one of the nation’s largest and most influential music education organizations where he remains Chairman Emeritus. Mr. Morrison helped develop and then served as the CEO of the VH1 Save The Music Foundation where he took a small promotional idea and created a major national brand donating more than $25 million of musical instruments to restore more than 1200 music programs. Previously, Mr. Morrison was a senior executive for the NAMM - International Music Products Association, where he served as Executive Director of the American Music Conference where he worked with the late Michael Kamen and Richard Dreyfus to create the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation.

On November 1st, Joe had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Morrison. Part 1 of 4 is the next installment in our regular column, "Elefante on Entertainment."

"Today, for Many Kids, It's Not a Choice...."

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Flies

Check out www.facebook.com/elefantemusic for a great new video featuring "The Flies," a band comprised of all Elefante students.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Elefante Newsletter October 2010

Here is the latest installment of the Elefante Newsletter: http://p0.vresp.com/Huehab.

And remember - there are still slots open for a few of our Performing Arts classes. Visit www.elefanteperformingarts.com for more information about our teachers and classes.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Arts Education Benefits Today’s Youth

Our latest column for the Alternative Press

All-Girl Video

The video of the final performance of "The Dynamite Girls," the Elefante Music Summer All-Girl Band, at the Crossroads in Garwood, is now up at www.facebook.com/elefantemusic. The camp and the performance were so much fun, I can't wait to do it again next year.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Music Theater Camp... a Retrospective

Music Theater Camp Session 3 is over, and all we can say is... WOW! Each session we were surprised (although I guess we shouldn't have been) by how much the performers were able to put together in so short a time. In addition to performing four full company numbers, two small group numbers, solos, three dance numbers, and three skits each session, the "Littles" helped write their own puppet show with Miss Clare and the "Bigs" wrote, staged, and built props for their own short plays. We had visits from casting directors Paul Russell and Bob Cline, designer Brian Lynch, our own Shakespeare expert Susanna Baddiel, mime Luana Jones, costumers C&J Costumes, and Broadway star Stephanie Kurtzuba three times!

Many thanks to Karen Cantor, Greta Martin, Suzanne Hevner, Caryn Elefante, and Clare Dill for helping to make this summer so special for all three groups. But, mostly, thanks to the students who all came to work, grow, and have a blast this summer. Please stay tuned to this blog and the Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts Facebook Page for video of all three of our final performances at the Oakes Center.

And, if you had as much fan as I did this summer, please check out our course listing for fall at the Elefante School.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Music Theater Camp

Session 1 ended with a bang last Friday, as the campers put together a fantastic final performance at the Oakes Center (video coming soon!). Session 2 is just finishing up its first week, and we are having a blast putting together all the new material.

There are still slots available for Session 3, which runs from July 26-August 6. Contact Stefani at shealey@elefantemusic.com or (908) 464-5928 to sign up.

Meanwhile, stop by www.elefanteperformingarts.com/classes.shtml to check out the great class offerings for Fall 2010!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Clips of Live Performances

Swing by the Elefante Music Facebook page for video clips of the most recent live performances at the Elefante School for the Performing Arts. Featured are clips of Cadence (January), NJCU Jazz Ensemble (April 8th), and WindSync (April 30th).

While you're at it, become a fan and get regular updates on all of the new content as soon as it's available...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Musical Theater Summer Camp Theme - 2010


We've chosen the theme for the final revues of our three musical theater camp sessions this summer. The theme for all three sessions will be: Broadway: Then & Now. The first half of the performance, Then, will feature Broadway shows before 1970, and the second half, Now, will feature shows since 1970.

I know, it's a very broad theme! But we feel strongly that this is a fitting theme for the first year of our camp. Plus, it means that we are free to feature you on whatever material is best for you.

We still have spots available for all three sessions, but they are filling up quickly, so make sure you call me or Stefani at (908) 464-5928 to inquire about the camp as soon as possible. I am particularly excited about the Wild Card period after lunch. I've already spoken to a Broadway casting director and a star of a currently running Broadway show about coming in to give master classes, and they are on board.

I also know a lot of you are looking to start auditioning for shows in the fall and beyond. Here at the Elefante School for the Performing Arts, we're dedicated to preparing students for auditions at all levels, including how to choose material, prepare material, prepare sheet music, dress, enter the room, present themselves, perform, and exit the room. We are going to be working on this a lot at the summer camp. But if you can't join us during the summer, maybe you'll consider joining us in the fall. Fall course selections will be at elefanteperformingarts.com shortly, so stay tuned.

Thanks for reading!

Joe Elefante
Artistic Director
Elefante School for the Performing Arts

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jazz in the Middle

The following post is from John Gillick, one of the band directors who brought his jazz band to the "Jazz in the Middle" festival at Chatham High School on Monday, April 19th.

As a music educator I am always looking for educational and fun performance opportunities for my students. At the Chatham Middle School Jazz Festival I found what I was looking for. This event was a top notch and well run festival. The commentary was very helpful and encouraging to the students to continue their progress in jazz music. I will not hesitate to attend this event again. Thanks to Elefante Music and Christie Spriggs from Chatham Middle School for coordinating this festival.

Regards,
John Gillick
Band Director
Terrill Middle School

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

NJCU Jazz Ensemble @ the Elefante School

Many thanks to the New Jersey City University Jazz Ensemble, who performed at the Elefante School for the Performing Arts on Thursday, April 8th at 6:30pm. Below is some video of the fantastic performance.


video
Thad Jones's "Little Pixie"


video
Don Sebesky's "Warm Valley"


video
"There Will Never Be Another You"


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Practicing What They Preach

One of my children’s teachers once told me that the best advice she ever received about becoming a teacher, was that she not ask her students do to anything she herself was not doing. As a result, she teaches violin and plays in an orchestra. There is something about performance that is different than just taking lessons or teaching.

This story applies equally well to two of the teachers at the Elefante School for The Performing Arts. Both Karen Cantor and Susanna Baddiel practice what they teach.

In addition to teaching Musical Theater classes, Karen recently appeared in A Light in the Piazza at the Cranford Dramatic Club. Karen played Franca Naccarelli, a woman who does not speak English, only Italian. As the mother of the young man who falls in love, Karen portrayed a woman who loved life, her son, and who knew how to behave within the norms and constraints of an Italian family in 1953. Her accent was flawless, her musical number captivating, and her presence on stage was always felt by the audience.

This week our Shake It up with Shakespeare teacher, Susanna Baddiel, performed as Titania, Queen of the Fairies and Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons in the Actors Shakespeare Company production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Jersey City. Susanna was stunning as the lovely queens, believable as the woman who captured a changeling child, and did not want to give him up, and sympathetic as the wife of a man who deceived her into believing she was in love with a donkey. It was a terrific performance!

We are lucky to have great teacher/performers teaching our children every week.

Article contributed by Paula Roper

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jersey Voices @ Chatham Playhouse

A Great Opportunity for Local Playwrights:

Hello New Jersey Playwrights

Hope it has been a good year for all of you. It is once again time to be thinking about submitting one-acts for Jersey Voices. For those of you who have already sent along submissions for Jersey Voices '10 - thank you! For those of you who have not, I want to remind you that the deadline is coming up soon - this years DEADLINE is MARCH 15th. So please put the finishing touches on those plays sitting on you desk/desktop and send them along. At this late date, I'd definitely suggest making submissions by e-mail to the address listed below.

Unfortunately, we've had some trouble with our ISP and our site has been down for a while now - including email. If you have been having trouble reaching us at jerseyvoices@chathamplayers.org, try submitting to jerseyvoices@optonline.net. The original address is better as it distributes the plays to those who need to have them automatically, but if that bounces, try the optonline address. Under the circumstances, we will stretch the deadline a little bit for those of you who have had trouble with your original submissions.

Play submissions of any genre (including short musical and dance pieces), style and length up to 20 minutes running time will be accepted through March 15, 2009. Selected pieces will be performed in our Black Box Theater in Chatham on the last weekend in July and first weekend in August.

If we've not chosen your work in the past, please don't give up on us. Each year we have produced new pieces by an author whose work we've passed over in the past; it usually has more to do with trying to balance 6 separate pieces for an enjoyable evening of theater than it has to do with the quality of the piece which has been passed over. In fact, under these circumstances, we have often held over a piece we've liked and given it consideration in the following year. Some of these 'holdovers' have subsequently been chosen, produced, and favorably received.

I'm looking forward to seeing your work this year and, as I know that many of you come to see Jersey Voices, to seeing you again this summer. If you have not already introduced yourself, when you're in the audience please stay for the reception we have after each performance and introduce yourself. We'd love to meet you.

If you have any questions, visit our website at www.chathamplayers.org or send me an e-mail at jerseyvoices@chathamplayers.org. We're accepting scripts this year by e-mail (preferably) or regular mail (still ok):

Send submissions by e-mail to:
jerseyvoices@chathamplayers.org or Jerseyvoices@optonline.net

or mail Submissions to:
Jersey Voices c/o CCP
P.O. Box 234
Chatham, NJ 07928
Include a SASE ONLY if you'd like your script returned to you


Best regards,
Bob Denmark, Producer
Jersey Voices '10

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sprouting Elephants

Sprouting Elephants is a preschool enrichment program that teaches with children, not to children. Children are so open and willing at this age, and we want to keep that alive in each of them. Although the classroom will be structured, the atmosphere will feel relaxed and full of creativity.

Sprouting Elephants is for children ages 3 to 5. We offer a half day morning or afternoon program. You can choose from a 3 or 5 day a week program.

Our open house will be held on Wednesday March 10 and Saturday March 13 from 9 am to 1 pm. We will also offer showings and meetings by appointment.

Sprouting Elephants supports performing arts and will also provide opportunities in violin, ballet, and drama as wrap around programs. We invite you to meet our wonderful teacher, Melissa and see if Sprouting Elephants is the place for your special little one to continue growing!

What makes Sprouting Elephants right for your child?

Sprouting Elephants will allow your child to be him/herself while learning and exploring, making new friends, becoming independent and gaining responsibility. This will be done through creativity and a nurturing environment where your child will feel comfortable, cared for and excited to learn.

What is special about Sprouting Elephants?

Sprouting Elephants has elements that set it apart from other programs. Important areas of our curriculum are: The Performing Arts so that the children have endless ways to express themselves, Green Living which promotes community responsibility and Self Guided Learning which ensures the child will
be engaged in the process.

How are parents involved in the process?

Parents are often seen as mirrors of the community. Children learn roles and values from their parents and guardians. We feel that parental involvement is necessary and invaluable. Communication is constant throughout the program with a journal for the teacher and parent to write notes to each other. We are
always open to hearing your concerns. We offer three private conferences throughout the year: One at the start of the program, one during, and one at the end.

Sprouting Elephants
1790 Springfield Ave.
New Providence, NJ
(908) 464-5928

Summer Music Camps

We're really excited about our three instrumental music camps this summer. Click on the name of each camp below for more information:




Thanks!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Summer 2010 Musical Theater Camp

Summer 2010 Musical Theater Camp

Artistic Director – Joe Elefante, Broadway Conductor
Program Director – Stefani Healey


Camp at a Glance:

Morning: Each morning will be dedicated to classes in each of the following: Dance, Musical Theater, and Acting
Lunch Break
Afternoon: The first part of the afternoon will be set aside for a different and exciting class/event each day, such as: a visit from a casting director, musical theater repertoire, vocal lessons, pop singing, etc.
The second part of the afternoon will be spent in performance workshop rehearsing for the final production.

All sessions run for two weeks and are offered on the following dates:
Session 1- June 28-July 9, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Session 2- July 12-July 23, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Session 3- July 26-August 6, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

For Elementary, Middle, and High School levels. Participants can sign up for 1, 2 or 3 sessions. Each 2-week session costs $550.00.
Early drop-off and late pick- up options are also available.

About Our Director:
Joe Elefante has been musical director, conductor and/or keyboardist for Jersey Boys at the August Wilson Theater on Broadway, the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ, Plays in the Park in Edison, NJ, and dozens of other theaters and schools. He has been on the faculty of the Paper Mill's Summer Conservatory, the NJPAC Jazz for Teens program, and Centenary College's Young Performer's Workshop. His big band has been featured on ABC's Nightline, The Fine Living Network, BigBandJazz.Com, and AllAboutJazz.Com, and in The Wall Street Journal, The Star Ledger, and Jazz Improv magazine. At only nineteen years old he was musical director for a professional production of Me and My Girl at the Williams Center for the Arts in Rutherford, NJ. At age eighteen, he composed and recorded a full-length musical, A Paris Affair, and has since written compositions for big band, small groups, pop/rock bands, and chamber ensembles. As a performer, Joe has toured extensively throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. For more information on Joe visit his website at joeelefante.com.

About our Faculty:
Karen Cantor's professional credits include the role of Venus in the long-awaited revival of Kurt Weill's One Touch of Venus at the Goodspeed Opera House. She played Louisa in The Fantasticks with the Miami Opera, toured as Susan in The Desert Song with Ron Raines, played the title role in an NYC production of Naughty Marietta, Josephine in HMS Pinafore, The Mistress in Evita with Carolee Carmello, Anna in Tintypes, Maria in The Sound of Music, and Starting Here, Starting Now in the Cayman Islands.

Suzanne Hevner has appeared on television and in films including: Doubt, Broken Flower, Changing Lanes and Late Night with Conan O'Brien. She played the Widow Mason in The Broadway Revival of The Music Man. Suzanne also appears in many Regional Theatre productions around the country. With over 15 years of teaching experience, Susanne has taught acting and improvisation for all ages, notice to professional, as well as corporate executives. She teaches acting at the New York Film Academy, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, and the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts.

Greta Martin studied dance on scholarship at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. She has appeared on Broadway in Guys & Dolls, Oh, Kay! and Jerome Robbins’ Broadway and toured internationally with West Side Story playing the role of Anita. Regional theatre credits include Sweet Charity and Victor/Victoria, Peter Pan, as well as TV appearances on Law and Order: SVU and Law and Order: CI. Ms. Martin earned a B.A. in mathematics from Spelman College.

For more information or to sign up contact Stefani Healey 908-464-5928 or shealey@elefantemusic.com.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Joe Elefante Presents Clinic at 2010 NJMEA Conference

Elefante Music and Jupiter Band Instruments© are pleased to invite you to the

2010 NJMEA Conference
Friday February 19, 10:15-11:30am
East Brunswick Hilton & Towers
3 Tower Center Boulevard
East Brunswick, NJ

for

Sight Reading for Large Ensembles
Clinician: Joe Elefante
w/ the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School Moonglowers

Congratulations...

to Columbia High School and Elefante Music student Kip Zenowich for being accepted to the Region 1 Symphonic Band!

Be sure and let us know if your child is accepted to the Region 1 or 2 Junior High band, choir, or orchestra next month so we can post it in the February newsletter.

Cadence performs @ The Elefante School for the Performing Arts

Cadence performs @ The Elefante School for the Performing Arts

Sunday, January 24th @ 3-4pm

$10 adults/$5 students

Cadence - New Jersey's premier contemporary a cappella group that delivers harmonies that are both soulful and upbeat. Influenced by a wide range of styles and artists, Cadence arranges music from such greats as the Beatles, Bee Gees, Queen, Indigo Girls, Rockapella, as well as selections from the legendary doo-wop era. Cadence is pure vocals... four friends who understand blend and know how to keep it fun for everyone.

"Why Study A Musical Instrument", by Dr. Edward Joffe

Why Study A Musical Instrument
By Dr. Edward Joffe

Throughout much of the first half of the 20th Century, the study of music was considered one of the important disciplines in a learned individual’s education. Every student had at least one mandatory general music course in middle school (junior high school) as well as in high school. Most importantly, many also had the opportunity to participate in a band, orchestra, or a choir in grades K—12. In fact, during the 1950s and into the 1960s when the U.S. was engaged in a Cold War with the Soviet Union, the Arts in our country were given great priority (funding) since we needed to demonstrate superiority in this sector in addition to military might, space exploration, athletics, etc. There were also numerous jobs in the music industry during this period. Steady work could be found in symphony orchestras, opera and ballet companies, Broadway pit bands, television and motion picture studio orchestras, dance bands, jazz big bands, Latin music ensembles, and an endless amount of freelance recording. However, today we find ourselves in a radically different environment.


What Happened?

Societies for thousands of years understood the benefits of an education that mandated a wide array of arts as a part of the curriculum. “Plato’s ‘music’ included not only what we call music today, but also the dance, poetry, fine arts, literature, history and other areas of study known as the Liberal Arts.” (Assemblyman Edward C. Sullivan, ALLEGRO, 10/98) European culture dating back to the Middle Ages defined an educated person as someone who was musically literate. As European immigrants migrated to the U.S. in the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries and brought their traditions and customs with them, musical education became a vital part of the American definition of a well-rounded education.

Technology has altered the way we consume and listen to music today. Changing musical tastes have redefined the means by which music is produced and the number of musicians required to perform newer musical trends, resulting in a loss of most steady work. In addition, educational curriculums have moved further away from the concept of a liberal arts education to an educational policy of increased specialization at an early age. America is obsessed with a left-brain education that can easily be quantified through standardized testing procedures. The creative aspect of the brain—the right side—has been left in the rear and parents are left to pick up the pieces. Educational policy in America is now being determined more and more by businessmen and schools are being run like a corporation. And they are failing! Combined with the economic downturn of the last decade, this has resulted in politicians and education supervisors allocating less money for the Arts. All of these forces have created a different attitude in this country’s view of the study of music and the Arts in general. This discipline is now perceived as an extracurricular activity that’s nice to have on a student’s résumé if one can afford the time and expense, but not essential.


Why Should One Study A Musical Instrument?

The answers to this question are multifold. The study of music requires commitment, patience, attention to details, and an ability to organize one’s time. Learning to read musical notation and employ it in manipulating an instrument is akin to learning to read any language and therefore reinforces those skills in addition to improving hand/eye coordination. The performance of music also demands that one learn to interact with others in rehearsals and performances in order to create successful presentations. Performing in front of audiences helps to build self-confidence and can enhance one’s ego. All of these characteristics are necessary to succeed in any discipline—the study of medicine, law, business, education, athletics, etc. However, these should not be the principal reasons for someone to begin studying an instrument. Here are my ideas behind the rationale for music education:

a. Sophisticated music making of any style is an art form and requires both talent and intellect to produce and perceive.
b. Both performer and listener are able to explore emotions through music that words alone often fail to elicit.
c. Music allows one to gain a greater understanding of world cultures.


What Can A Parent Do?

In the same manner that children are enrolled in after school activities such as soccer leagues, tutoring programs, and religious instruction, parents need to find the cultural outlets for their children that the schools don’t provide or don’t do well enough. This includes music instruction.

The goal of providing a music education should not be to see if one’s child has enough talent to become a star, elicit a scholarship from a college, or become a professional musician. I believe the philosophy should be to allow any youngster to become a lover of music and the arts. One doesn’t develop a lifelong passion for music by taking a music history, general music, or theory course in school. Humans get it when they are actively involved in the process—whether studying music performance privately, participating in a band, orchestra, chamber ensemble, jazz ensemble, choir, rock band, etc. One learns to love baseball by playing the game, not by studying statistics. Once these performing opportunities are made available to youngsters at an early age, they are more likely to have a greater understanding and respect for those artistic endeavors and will tend to support them throughout their lives.

There are many musical instrument companies that make decent quality student-level instruments at affordable prices. Any parent willing to provide their child with the best education possible should do everything they can to offer them the opportunity to study music privately in addition to whatever music may be offered at their schools. As parents, it’s our obligation to define what type of education we desire for our children and not leave it in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats. I can think of no better way to do this than by allowing our kids to experience the thrill of owning and playing a musical instrument.

Versatile woodwind artist Dr. Edward Joffe has been a vital part of the New York music scene for over 35 years. He has performed in every type of musical situation including jazz bands, orchestral work, Broadway shows, recording dates, chamber music ensembles and solo recitals. He has offered numerous clinics on woodwinds and jazz at music education conferences and universities over the last two decades. A graduate of the Juilliard School, Dr. Joffe has studied with some of the most respected woodwind artists including Joe Allard, Eddie Daniels, Thomas Nyfenger, Paul Dunkel, Michael Parloff, Joseph Rabbai, Peter Simerauer, Ronald Reuben, Keith Underwood, Bob Porcelli, and Bob Mover. For the past 19 years, he has been a professor of music at New Jersey City University, where he acts as Coordinator of Jazz, Woodwinds & Brass Studies. Under his guidance, New Jersey City University has engaged a faculty of adjunct instructors who are among the finest performers in America and have helped attract a high level of student performer.