Music and Friendship
in the Beauty of Central Maine


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Not quite, but will be soon!

NQRP1"NQ WHAT???" Some of us feel like we are just "Not Quite Ready" to come to camp, or to play in Concert Band or to play in your band at home. Perhaps you just started your instrument, and maybe it is even your first sojourn into the world of music! (What are those little black marks on the paper?) Perhaps you have played music all your life, but you want to try this new instrument. Perhaps you've been playing for several years, but you still don't seem to be "good enough" (perhaps because your rhythm reading skills aren't strong?). Whatever the reason, if you feel "Not Quite Ready", this is the group for you.

IMPORTANT: notice that "Not quite ready" is not synonymous with, "I can't" or "I'll never be able to" or "I'm no good"; it simply means that on the continuum of learning, you aren't quite ready to play in the camp concert band! It is a very positive difference and implies that you WILL be ready sometime in the future!

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And, I don't think I'm ready...

AH! Perfect! You are exactly the person for whom we developed this program!

NQRP2I hear this so often, "I'm not ready." It is usually followed up with something like, "I'm going to practice at home until I get ready, then I'll play in band / take lessons / come to camp." The problem is, you will NEVER be ready!! It is impossible to be ready. Why? Because as adults, we know what the instrument should sound like, but it doesn't! Instead, the wind instrument (one you blow into) squeaks and squawks and sometimes doesn't speak at all, and the snare drum makes these awfully loud sounds and sometimes you miss the head completely!

Read more: But... I Am...

You probably have some questions; here are some commonly asked questions and my answers,
but feel free to email me for further elaboration.

Q. How do you define a "beginner"?

A. Our “Beginners" should have played their instrument for at least 5 or 6 months at camp time, or be adept on another instrument, but just starting this one. Not sure? Email Diane.

Q. I've only played for 4 months, but it will be 6 months by camp time!
Q2. I've only played for 2 months, but I'm almost done with book one in the lesson series. I think I can do it. May I come?

A. YES! You absolutely should come! Guidelines are flexible because everyone learns at a different rate.

Q. How do you define a "early novice"?

A. That is harder to define, but if you have played for a while, but find that the Concert Band music is just too challenging, or you’d rather not be stressed out by its challenges, you are welcome to take part in our Not-Quite-Ready-Players’ (NQRP) Band.

Read more: Frequently...

Below are some suggestions for getting started with the new music. ALWAYS, feel free to email me (or call) if you have questions. I can usually help quite a bit, even on the phone or in an email. So first, a bit about using sound files to help you learn the music.

There are several really good reasons for listening to the sound files of music you are playing:

  1. To get a sense of how the music sounds, its style, its phrasing, its harmonies
  2. Following your music while listening to the sound file (not playing) helps you learn how your part fits with the whole and helps you learn to keep your place
  3. Playing along with the music (once you can play it on your own) gives you more opportunities to "practice with the group" than you can get just in rehearsals.
  4. If you purchase the software, Amazing Slow Downer (from and you can practice with the sound file slowed down to where you can play along.
    (Sound files must be on the same device where the Slow Downer resides; you can not use YouTube or sound files that are streamed from the web). For those of you cautious about what you download, this software site is safe according to Norton. Slow Downer is cross-platform and available for Mac and PC.)
  5. You can also slow down YouTube by clicking the gear and adjusting the percentage. You don't have the minute control of the speed, but it is better than nothing!

Read more: Getting...

Here are a few things you might want to look at when you are feeling discouraged or looking for some inspiration:



There was a great article in the New York Times last December about the importance of being frustrated and even angry as you are learning. Gee, have any of you ever been frustrated? Well, should it happen (Wait! What? It happens all the time? Ah... you are becoming a true musician!) OK then,WHEN it happens remind yourself that it is a good thing and that it is helping your brain stay supple! Worth a read: How to Become a “Superager” New York Times Sunday Review, Dec 31, 2016, by Lisa Feldman Barrett. -You can search for the above info or click on this link:


(Click here to download a printable reminder of this practice reminder, then put it on your music stand!)

Slow Practice = Fast Progress
Fast Practice = Slow Progress
No Practice = No Progress

Read more: Articles,...

There are many seminars for you, the beginner or novice player.  Look for them!

Snow Pond Center for the Arts

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