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Musically Speaking: Musical youth of St. Croix

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JJ Rocks Article # 240: Musical youth of St. Croix
As many of you know, St. Croix is a small island. But that doesnt mean there are not great musicians here. When it comes to great players, they are hard to find on this island so when I find them I try to stay friends. Thats to be expected in a place that is only twenty six miles long and six miles wide in the middle. But that doesnt mean that this island cant produce a lot more professional level musicians. All I can do is my part to try to change things for the future by passing on my musical and professional knowledge to the youth of St. Croix. And I try to do it in a way that is very different from the teachers who came right from college and landed a job as a music instructor at a local school and never played any more than weekend gigs.

So whats my point? Well, in many cases our local music teachers just see students as a source of income. Some recite recipes from standard music books. Others are just players that know the basics, but are not real teachers and just take your money until their musical well is dry by showing very simple techniques that they really cant explain. I just felt that more needed to be done.

The young music students of St. Croix need more than that and it seemed like no one was putting in the effort. Yes, there are a few music teachers that give a little extra time in order to try to get a someone a scholarship and maybe some band recitals. And my hat is off to them! But what about the real world of playing gigs on places other than St. Croix and all that goes with it? How can anyone teach someone else to be a true on stage professional if they were never one themselves? There are so many things to learn about the real world of music that cant come from a book.

This article is not just about young music students on St. Croix. If you are a teacher somewhere out there in the 95 countries that come to The Spotlight Zone, I sincerely hope that besides the basic fundamentals of music, they you will also teach things like:
What its like to be on stage for the first time, getting along with fellow band members, knowing how to deal with jerks in the audience, being able to play the crowd, always adding to your song list, not letting attention from groupies go to your head, not allowing other people's opinions to effect the band, keeping your ego at a minimum (especially around other musicians), not wearing your heart on your sleeve unless its tragic, starting on time and ending on time, carrying yourself in a professional manner no matter how bad the gig is, staying away from jams where people that call themselves musicians are not, always trying to play with musicians that are better than you (when possible), never let them see you sweat, always leave the crowd wanting more, dont abuse substances that alter your playing, always be better than the last time you played, and most of all, be your real self to the members of your band and your audience. Dont pretend to carry yourself like a tough rock n roll guy in a biker gang, or an over intellectual nerd that knows everything. Reality seems to be the hardest word when it come to teaching music. Especially on St. Croix. My goal is to change that.
JJ Rocks - The Spotlight Zone