Friday, June 28, 2013

Teacher Feature: Meet Multi-Instrumentalist Jay Bryan Sandifer

Jay Sandifer doesn't play just one instrument....he plays many. He has been playing since 1982 and has taught over 150 students. Jay strongly believes music education should be an enjoyable experiece and here's why:

Q: How did you first come to learn your instrument? 

A: Somewhere around the age of nine years old, I was practically, no!...literally, forced by my mom to take piano lessons. I hated it. I continued private piano lessons thru eleventh grade. In seventh grade I joined the school band not knowing anything about instruments, let alone which one I wanted to play and the teacher handed me a baritone (which I played thru eleventh grade). My tenth grade band teacher suggested private lessons because I was apparently having difficulty reading the bass clef.  I also started jamming with some friends around eighth grade. At that time I picked up playing keyboard, drums and guitar ...and haven’t put them down yet!
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Jay Bryan Sandifer

My earliest  musical influences consisted of simple classical pieces like the Minuet, Sonatina, Prelude, Toccata and Fugue and the music my dad listened to; most notably,  The Beatles, Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac,  Neil Diamond, and the “oldies”.  As a teenager in the 1980’s, my first contemporary musical influences consisted of  Michael Jackson, Foreigner, Asia,  Styx, Journey, Billy Squier, Joan Jett  and taped top 40 radio mixes. As a budding rebellious teenage musician, I reached back 20 years into the music from  the british invasion progressing quickly into classic psychedelic and acid rock groups. I stopped for quite some time on groups like The Grateful Dead,  Jim Morrison and The Doors,  The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Pink Floyd,  Steve Winwood and Traffic, The Eagles,  and of course ….Led Zeppelin.

Q: Did you take music lessons? 

A: Yes, I took music lessons! I had  four different piano teachers because we moved a lot.  I had three different band instructors. One piano teacher said I would probably never be professional, but also said I had nice hand position. I am convinced one teacher should never have been teaching because she would leave the TV on during my lesson.  One of the band instructors used to get mad and throw his eraser across the room.  One band instructor had me writing sentences like, “I will not be a distraction during band class”....thousands of times. And I wonder if one of the teachers was having some promiscuity issues with her students.....but not me. None of the teachers seemed to be able to help develop my ability to play by ear.

Q: What's the best thing about teaching music?

A: Online teaching is not much different than teaching in person. Teaching is like coaching, and often times coaching is hands off observation followed by intuitively wise, inspiring and encouraging instruction. Instruction translates pretty well thru video.  The compliments students give their instructors so that others may read is very satisfying. Those compliments come from students who are genuinely affected by quality training and coaching. A positively changed life is a satisfied life.

Q: What's your best piece of advice for musicians? 

A: I believe one of the best pieces of advice for anyone is this: don't quit. As you may have heard it said, “Quitters never win and winners never quit.” Follow your heart and passion. Decide what it is you want  and where it is you would like to be and then make plans . Write down your plans. Find ways to spend time with others who are already there....and don’t let anyone talk you out of it!

Q: The highlight of my musical career is...

A: The highlight of my musical career happens when I am leading such intense worship  it actually  feels like the room is about to explode with the very vibration of light and power!

Q: Every musician should know....

A: Every musician should know why he/she is a musician. If a musician does not know why he/she is a musician,  there will never be a secure and satisfying sense of purpose.

Learn more about Jay Sandifer on The ZOEN and book a guitar, drum, voice or piano lesson.

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