=16pxThis class will serve the adult student who wants beginning instruction on a string instrument. Areas of focus will include how to tune, properly hold a violin, viola, cello or string bass, and basic playing techniques. The student will learn basic music reading skills, and listening skills that are an important part of ensemble playing. The level of music for this class will be the orchestra literature Grade 1 level.
It is the first class of the evening and it is followed by an intermediate class and then by a repertoire session. It all started out a bit stressful because even though we registered weeks before the cut off, no one got back to us to confirm registration. We had to call and pester the woman in the registrar's office, and she wound up trotting our forms to the teacher on the day of the first class. So that seemed bad but when we arrived for the first class, no one was at the classroom except one other new student. We had to go wandering down the halls until we found a group of string players on the other end of the building. And then, when the class began, the teacher asked if everyone had their music and seemed very annoyed that we didn't have ours. So she decided to have everyone work out of the book and everyone pulled out Book 2 of their series they were using. I raised my hand and asked if I was in the correct class, wasn't this the beginner strings class? The teacher said, "Well, I don't know who would have told you that." I pulled up the brochure and read off the class description, checking that we were at the right time and place (after all, we were definitely in a different room). And she said, no, it was the right class but the description should have said Part 2. As in a Fall through Spring class. Oh dear.
She offered to take my friend and I out in the hall and "get us caught up" but since I'd had lessons I could kind of keep up with the class so she just had my friend sit silently and watch the class that day. I was pretty grumpy about all this but she's offered my friend private lessons every week in lieu of the group class she'd signed up for, and that's a very good value for money... After the class a couple of the other students got in touch with me and got me the music. They explained that they've all been playing together for a couple years since the teacher starter the program and last semester they decided to merge the beginner and intermediate classes. So the way it works is the students meet at the beginner time slot and then during the intermediate time slot, the community orchestra arrives and everyone gets to play together for about half an hour and then the students leave and let the community orchestra get down to serious practicing. I'm not super thrilled with this because, I mean... the college is advertising and taking money for classes that apparently don't exist? Like, why wouldn't they get the classes changed with the college? Additionally they told me the teacher had had a couple of strokes last semester and so she's easily confused and you never quite know what music you'll be playing that day but that she's a very good teacher and I just need to go with the flow and appreciate this once in a lifetime opportunity to work with a teacher of her caliber.
I wasn't really thrilled with that and I got a lot LESS thrilled when I finally looked at the music - Adagio Cantabile, Lijiang River Landscape, Tum Balalaika, and Bahn Frei Polka. This stuff is way beyond me. There are notes I don't know, techniques I haven't learned. Everyone seems pretty nice and have helpfully suggested I "don't have to play all the notes!" but... Well. It's incredibly frustrating. In the subsequent two classes we haven't worked from the book, which I bought and can play along with (imperfectly), only from this music that's way beyond me. So I spend class feeling frustrated and the only thing I really feel like I'm learning is how to count the notes I can't play. My private music teacher has said we can work on the music but I really feel like fundamentals are important and taking time away from the basic techniques that are appropriate at my level isn't really something I super want to do. She has also offered my private lessons, like she offered my friend, but I'm torn on that.. first because she regularly invades my personal space (in response to a question she walked behind me, took my bow, and leaning over me, played on my cello. I'm not super cool with stranges touching me in the best of circumstances) and secondly because I work a regular 9 to 5 and she is only available on Wednesdays because she has to be driven to the college (strokes)... which are booked up for her from 5pm until after the community orchestra finishes.
So I'm left in this awkward place. I paid money for this class which is *not* what was advertised but my options are limited. I really feel like playing in a group class would be a valuable addition to my private lessons but I haven't been able to find an another adult group class in my area. I also wanted to make friends with, you know, other beginner / amateur players and I really want to play with my violinist friend. What I want is what I signed up for - an adult beginner class, but that doesn't exist anymore. So... So. I'm not really sure what to do. I could give up the money I spent ($235) and walk away from the class and never go back. I could walk away and come back some day when I've had more lessons. I could see if my private teacher has an open slot and we can do an extra weekly lesson just to work on the songs. I could go to the college and demand my money back, revealing this arrangement all the students and the teacher have come to that involves absolutely not teaching the classes the college is offering (I feel like this option would leave me with no chance of ever making friends / playing music in this community ever again). I could shut up and appreciate the practice I'll get counting time, swallow my frustration and disappointment in the interests of belonging to the community.
Anyway... kinda needed to rant about that. Does anyone have any advice?