For students beyond the beginning levels, the studio class is an important component of music education. It allows students to "try out" their works in progress before actually performing them at a recital or competition. Students share their own experiences, and learn from each other's challenges. The faculty carefully direct the discussion so that students are not "critiquing" each other, but instead are lead to discover solutions to problems together.
COMPOSITION: Ideally, all students of a studio class will be of the same level. If there are not enough students in the same level to form a class, groups of levels will be combined to include students of similar abilities together. For a studio class to be effective there need to be at least 3 member students but never more than 10. The preferred number of students is 5-8 as the most beneficial due to the group dynamic and performance demands. The same group of students will likely remain in the same studio class for many years, as the students progress together.
GROUP ORGANIZATION: Each studio class will choose a name for themselves for identification purposes. As a group, the studio class may organize special activities or projects, such as picnics, performances or recitals, concert trips, T-Shirts, presentations to other students, special activities for regular KMI recitals, etc. Each transfer student will join an existing studio class that is appropriate to her/his level. A studio class will be split into two groups, or two or more classes will be combined into one, if the numbers require such changes to ensure a better balance of students. In the case of such splits or mergers, the group with the more senior students has the right to retain its name or choose a new one. Split off studio classes may (and are not required to) keep the old name if the more senior group chooses not to keep it, otherwise they must choose a new name for themselves.
FREQUENCY: A studio class will be held on a monthly basis, are an hour in length, and all students belonging to the studio class are required to attend. A total of 3-5 students will perform at any given studio class, and all students are required to perform at least once each term. (Most students will perform 2-3 times per term, because they will be working on at least that many difficult repertoire pieces.)
SCHEDULING: Studio classes will usually be on Saturdays or Sundays, at a time selected that works for all participating students. Since most students in a Studio Class are also likely to be studying the same musicology classroom course, the two classes will be scheduled together so that parents may drop off the students and pick them up 2 hours later (once a week). One or two of the students may be able to schedule a lesson to precede or follow the classes, only if it is feasible and absolutely important in the family scheduling to do so. Preference is given based on seniority. Attendence is required because of the importance of this class and classes will be rescheduled to accomodate conflicts that are truly important (holidays, school events, etc.) to ensure that all students can attend. Regular studio class times will be scheduled for weekday evenings only if Saturday and Sunday are totally not available.
FORMAT: Prior to each performance the student must present the piece, including: 1) biographical information on the composer; 2) general formal analysis of the piece; 3) description of technical difficulties; and 4) explanation of how she/he approached and learned the piece. Following the performance: 1) the studio class members may ask the student questions regarding performance and anything about the piece and composer; and 2) the faculty will teach and demonstrate one or more specific concepts or techniques about the piece to the class.
(See BEYOND BEGINNER for more understanding of the learning processes that take students to the next levels of ability.)
(See MUSIC APPRECIATION and YOUNG ARTIST programs for more understanding of the programs that utilize a studio class as part of instruction.)