I’ll never forget the first time my flute teacher suggested that I was going to stand in front of a judge and perform the solo that I was learning during my weekly lessons. I didn’t realize, until that moment, that my flute journey was about to unfold with performance opportunities that would so broadly expand my musical horizons. My road led to many unexpected and essential experiences that helped me focus my interests, mature as a young adult, and deliver high caliber performances.
When family and friends request holiday gift ideas for the young musicians and vocalists in your life, help them give experiences that will make a big impact on your student’s future. Music & Arts Lessons Gift Cards translate into meaningful learning opportunities that go far beyond the benefits of one-on-one attention from an expert instructor. If your students are putting in the practice time and leveling up their skills with intermediate to advanced level repertoire, it’s time to take the show on the road.
- Destination 1: Solo & Ensemble Festivals – I performed my first duet with a fellow flutist and a solo accompanied by a pianist. Both experiences required development of the collaborative skills needed to meld our parts harmoniously. Commentary supplied by the judge helped me improve my playing.
- Destination 2: Summer Fine Arts Camps – I mastered more difficult solo repertoire and auditioned for scholarships so I could continue growing as a player over the summer months. This further developed my independence and accountability while exposing me to varied symphonic band repertoire.
- Destination 3: Local & State-Level Honors Ensembles – I learned to record auditions in one or two takes for my state-level honors band, where I won the principal seat. Rehearsing a full concert program in a compressed time frame taught me to focus under pressure and exercise maturity as a young adult.
- Destination 4: Ceremonies & Religious Services – I was invited to provide special music at weddings, funerals, and during religious services at local places of worship. It was a privilege to set the tone for events with renditions of classical, sacred, and secular tunes or provide choral accompaniment services.
- Destination 5: Talent Shows – I showcased my skills as a soloist and win or lose, learned how to conduct myself with poise and dignity. Applause is validating, but so is the opportunity to see competitors as allies. The talents of others do not detract from our own when we offer them with a spirit of goodwill.
- Destination 6: Recitals – I prepared for weeks to perform in my private teacher’s annual recital and was excited for family members to hear a polished performance of the music I practiced at home day after day, minus the mistakes and laments over the passages that required a devoted effort to precision.
- Destination 7: Regional Youth Orchestras & Choirs – I now help prepare students as they audition for regional ensembles, found in most major metropolitan areas. These groups offer enrichment opportunities for large ensemble membership, as well as smaller chamber ensemble experiences.
Along the way, I learned how to calm my nerves, which could be quite unsettling and required consistent practice of breathing and visualization techniques to overcome. I continued to balance the challenges of a busy schedule and keeping my commitments in order. I amassed a ton of repertoire and an understanding of how to select an appropriate program for the audience and setting.
The gift of lessons took me to places unknown and back, and now I guide students on their unique musical journeys. I’m grateful that the people in my life cared enough to support my interest in music with a dedicated lessons teacher who could help me share my artistry with audiences. Many times, my lessons teacher was there in the audience, applauding my efforts and guiding my next steps.
If these skills and experiences sound like something you’d like to gift your musician, shop online anytime for Lessons Gift Cards or pick them up at your local Music & Arts location and take advantage of our in-store only, buy three, get one free lessons offer today. Private lessons students encounter many avenues to share their love of music, grow in their artistry, and achieve their goals, which blesses them for a lifetime.
Jennifer Witt is the School Services Marketing Manager at Music & Arts and the Flute Instructor at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. She works with flutists of all ages and abilities, as well as directs small ensembles, helping them achieve their goals and play their very best.