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String Quartets Still Outrank DJs in Class, Cost

Renae Judkins

While many brides are fretting over their wedding colors or centerpieces, they all have the same opinion regarding their wedding music.

String quartets are the number one choice of brides and grooms according to Chandler Judkins, owner of the most popular musician contractor company in Las Vegas called Las Vegas Wedding Music.

Las Vegas Wedding Music receives more requests for string quartets than any other music group, even though they offer dozens of options including jazz quartets, piano soloists, big bands, and more.

Our string quartets alone have doubled, if not, tripled within the last two years, Judkins said. Las Vegas is fast becoming an elegant city to be married in and that means, more string quartets.

DJs are known for their affordability and usually nothing more. So couples on a budget might hire a DJ to save a dime, but they are oftentimes disappointed in the service and atmosphere. Those same brides and grooms are quick to state that if they had the funds, a string quartet would be their number one choice of wedding music.

However, string quartets are also starting to outrank DJs in costs. In Las Vegas, DJ costs are skyrocketing and in many major wedding chapels, couples have to foot a $2,000 to $5,000 bill. Judkins thinks this is outrageous.

Las Vegas Wedding Music will never gouge couples to make a buck just because this is Las Vegas, Judkins said. We want to promote live music so we keep our prices as low as possible. Any string quartet hired for a wedding should cost less than $1,000 for a few hours of performing, and if the quartet is only for the ceremony, it should cost less than $800.

Judkins said that couples should check prices before making a commitment on their wedding music. Couples should also be careful because sometimes wedding coordinators aren t always honest about live musician prices.

It s easier for wedding coordinators to use the same DJ for every wedding, so they don t have to bother finding a band, Judkins said. So many times they state that a string quartet will cost a lot more because of the time they will end up putting in to find that string quartet. They often take a cut off the musician s price because they have to work to find the perfect band.

Judkins advises brides to find their own string quartet through a wedding musician contractor. That way they know the musicians will show up, they can hear sound demos of the band, and brides won t have to pay a coordinator hidden costs to do the work for them.

To see an example of a musician contractor s site, go to www.LVWeddingMusic.com.

Those who come to me are the brides and grooms who truly know that nothing compares to live music for their wedding, Judkins said. No matter what DJs offer, they can never offer the same benefits that a live string quartet offers.

The Art of Effective Piano Teaching

American Music Teacher , April-May, 2005 by Kenneth T. Williams

The Art of Effective Piano Teaching, by Dino P. Ascari. AuthorHouse (1663 Liberty Dr., Ste. 200, Bloomington, IN 47403), 2003. 121 pp.

Novice piano teachers will glean practical advice shared by experienced teacher Dino P. Ascari in The Art of Effective Piano Teaching. Ascari uses non-technical language in a narrative style that is easy to read. The ten short chapters cover topics ranging from ideas for the first lesson, to preparation and planning for studio recitals, and each chapter ends with a clear and concise summary. There is a particular focus on teaching young beginners.

The book`s strongest features are its consideration of the personal dynamic between teacher and student, especially in the traditional one-to-one tutorial setting and its emphasis on motivation. Inexperienced teachers often underestimate the importance of a structured routine when developing practice habits for beginning students. Teachers will find ideas for establishing appropriate goals and consistently evaluating each student`s progress. He advocates clear practice assignments, including the number of repetitions for drills rather than time spent at the piano. Even experienced teachers could benefit from a refreshing reminder that structure and consistency are critical components in a child`s learning process. The one glaring oversight regarding motivation is the importance of repertoire as a motivator and the need for teachers to constantly explore new repertoire that will capture a young student`s desire to make expressive sounds at the piano. This book does not attempt to offer comprehensive cover age of the information and skills inexperienced teachers will need in the early stages of their careers, and it is not an appropriate choice as a textbook in piano pedagogy or a guide to preparing for professional teacher certification. There is no survey of materials or consideration of the criteria for choosing effective materials. Oddly enough, the author recommends using two method books so beginners have appealing music to play in middle-C position and a structured approach to reading notation using the landmark/intervalic approach. The reader should use discretion when considering some of the recommendations about keyboard theory and technique. For learning a new piece, Ascari recommends that students achieve proficiency playing hands separately at a fast tempo before attempting to put the hands together at a much slower tempo. Creative teachers would do well to search for alternative techniques, like tapping rhythms that develop coordination between the hands.

While there is no mention of technology as a teaching tool or group instruction, Ascari`s insights into the traditional piano lesson clearly are based on years of successful teaching. He conveys the importance of respecting each student as an individual and the tremendous potential for motivating students to gain self-esteem through music study. Reviewed by Kenneth T. Williams, Columbus, Ohio.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Music Teachers National Association, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group

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