To the Parents
It comes as no surprise that we undergo some of the most challenging times as parents when our children enter the “golden teenager era.” Yes, “we've been there and done that”, but remember, we were on the other side…. And it was OUR parents who had to put up with our teenage fiasco. But just as a lot of our best memories trace back to our teenage days, our children are carving a sculpture of their best experiences and memories in their life, right in front of our eyes. Such an important time for them, RIGHT NOW!
I am a big fan of the AAAs. The 3 pillars of A’s that are essential to the growth of children. A for Academics (mind), A for Athletics (body), and A for Art (heart). I believe it is the harmony of each factor that helps the personal development in each person.
Living in Japan, I believe there are abundant resources for Academics, perhaps even a bit overdone considering all the cram schools at every corner. Athletics also seems to be well supported, providing unlimited choices of competitive sports and body training in and out of schools. But can that be said about Arts?
Leaving the visual arts aside and focusing on performing arts, the choices seem to be rather limited for this age group. You can learn an instrument through private lessons, but considering the housing situations, with all kinds of mutes and headphones muffling the sound, you can hardly say that instruments are being played freely as they were designed. Many people take piano and string lessons. There are brass bands institutionalized at schools for wind instruments. Of course, you can take guitar or bass or drum lessons anywhere. But for the most popular “instruments”, such as guitar and vocal, only a handful venture out to form bands and find venues to perform. All on their own. There are plenty of music schools catering to the high school graduates or adults, but very limited focus on supporting younger age groups, where it matters, where it can contribute to their personal development.
LiVEJAM was conceived on the belief that just as in sports, music can also provide a process of: goal setting, planning, hard work and achievement. And that we could make this into a FUN process by doing it with a group of friends in music that they like. Imagine all the skill sets developed from this process. Concentration, self-discipline, creativity, leadership, communication, cooperation, etc. and the list goes on. We also believe this could provide a much needed venue for self expression. Playing in a band, singing their original songs could provide a full outlet for all the pent up energy built inside them. This could even be therapeutic! And the ultimate reward comes with an emotional blast on stage, under the spot light, with all eyes glued to them. The unforgettable moment of truth and joy.
Although LiVEJAM will consist of some of the best talent in professional music education, we do not intend to advocate making professional musicians out of our students. We consider ourselves merely as a provider of just another option for music education and enjoyment. LiVEJAM should be a safe and healthy place for children to learn and grow with. For this purpose, we will be meticulous in providing the best environment for the students. Any behavior in violation of the law will not be tolerated either by staff or student, and any potential trouble as we can identify will be dealt with preemptively.
In fact, we have carefully selected our staff and instructors that we view as becoming good “big brothers” and “big sisters”, even good mentors for the students. We also commit to transparent communication with the parents, and hope that we may even play a small part in facilitating the “parent-teenager gap” where we can.
As a father of 2 teenage sons, I am doing my part in experiences all the different aspects of their growth and personal development. Each “A” has given me both grief and gratification. If it was Athletics, watching my son play soccer has been more exciting than the World Cup. For Art, watching my son perform on stage has been more exhilarating than the Grammy awards. Call me a fool parent, but if I can hear some of you acting just as foolish as me through your children's performance, I would know that there was a gem behind the creation of LiVEJAM.
Frequently Asked Question
I want to eventually form a band, but do not have enough members yet. Can I still join the school?
LiVEJAM is a band school, so we intend to help you form a band if you don't already belong to one. You are most welcome to join as an individual to start a new instrument, or to brush up on the instrument you already play, and after you reach a certain level, the instructors will advise students with similar interests to form a band within the school.
Q I have never played an instrument, but playing in a band sounds like fun. Will I be able to get into LiVEJAM?
A Absolutely. LiVEJAM aims to be a venue where new musical experience can be discovered and explored. We would like beginners in music to try all types of instruments to help find your passion, so please feel free to explore.
Q Even if we were to join the school as a band, would I still be able to take private lessons?
A Yes, certainly. We have designed a discounted private lesson programs to supplement the band rehearsals. We can also arrange tailor made programs so please consult with the instructors.
Q What will the Live Performances be like?
A We will book out a venue (Live Houses in Tokyo) used by real professional musicians on a weekend. You will be able to experience the feel of playing on a professional stage using professional equipment. Programs will be arranged according to the number and types of bands performing each time. Bring your parents and friends and get ready to jump and shout! (We will provide the earplugs for your parents :D)
Q I cannot read music, but would like to write my original songs. Is this possible?
A The skills and knowledge required in writing your own songs can be learned in the Composition/Sound Engineering (Music Composition Software) classes. Experienced professional songwriters will be your instructors to guide you through the process. Seeing the melodies in your head transform into real music has to be one of the greatest gratifications you will ever experience. Just imagine being able to put together your one and only virtual "band" together with only a computer, in the most versatile sound library you could ever imagine!