Friday was the last day of SHSM – I couldn’t believe how fast the week went! It was truly a sad thing to know that the following day I would have to go home. L The day began as usual, with a short trek to the cafeteria for breakfast and Chapel. Larry Buchanan taught our very last group piano class, he talked about “double vision.” Before he began talking about music, he lead us in a short devotion. He told us that his favorite Bible verse is Micah 6:8 “He has shown thee, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee. But to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.” He encouraged us to do what is right “until the stars fall down.” He then started teaching by saying, “You know what happens on the last day of school? You party! So that is what we’re going to do!” He then pulls a mini pack of Seven Up from behind the piano and announces that the first thing we are going to talk about is how the seventh chord pushes you up to the one chord. After explaining a few technical things about seventh chords, he goes back behind the piano and says, “we want our playing to be a 100 Grand, right?” – and he pulls out a mini pack of 100 Grand candy bars and starts to pass them around. (Yeah, our class really liked Larry as a teacher! In more ways than one!) The next thing on our list to talk about was double vision, where you play one chord in one hand and a completely different chord in the other ~ for this illustration Larry pulled out Double Mint gum. (Just wait! It gets better!) He went on to talk about crunching a chord, basically a fancy word for voicing. I bet you guys can guess what he pulled out from behind the piano for this one! Yes! Crunch candy bars. Are any piano teachers getting ideas yet? LOL. Then, just for good measure, Larry gave us some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups too, not for anything musical though, he said they are his favorite – so why not?
After the group piano class, I jotted over to the Humanities building to sit in on the songwriting class by Stephen Nix. He was talking about copyright laws, pitching songs, royalties and the music business in general. He gave us a LOT of information in that hour! I myself have three pages of notes in my notebook! By the end of that hour my mind was reeling with all sorts of information about different things. After class, I asked Stephen if he had an extra handout (I came in after the class already started), he didn’t, but on the walk over to the cafeteria for lunch he brought me up to speed on all the things I missed that he talked about at the beginning of class.
From 1:30 to 2:15 I had my private piano lesson with Larry Buchanan. We went over the “crunch” chords again, and he gave me an arrangement of Nothing But The Blood using crunch chords to practice with. He has such a great heart! I learned a lot from my lesson with him. . . . .and of course afterwards, he just so happened to have an extra piece of double mint gum!
I spent some time in one of the extra piano rooms practicing for a while, then I was off to the Songwriters Showcase that started at 3:15 in the Dixon Auditorium. There, ten different songwriters sung the songs they wrote that week. It was really neat to hear all the different ideas the writers came up with in such a short amount of time. They sure had some talented writers there this year!
The Graduation Ceremony began at 7:15, Steve introduced all the teachers that were present. (Many had already left due to traveling on the road.) Then, different teachers would read off the names of the students, and the students would stand to be recognized. After the concert with Tribute, we received our diplomas in the lobby. The concert with Tribute was great! They sang That’s Why I Love Him So, one of their popular radio singles that made it high in the SN charts this year. When Josh went to play a piano solo and Gary said, “Josh I want you to play my favorite song off of your CD, Every Day With Jesus.” Josh says, “Well Gary, since it’s such a special night, I think I might want to play my favorite off the CD.” (Josh goes and sits down at his keyboard.) Gary then asked, “Joshua, what is your favorite off of the CD?” Josh looks at him and casually replies, “Every Day With Jesus!” Tribute also sang a really powerful song called The Cross Wins Again. They featured their new tenor, Riley Clark, on a hymn – and he sang it with such passion and emotion! He is the perfect fit for Tribute!
In closing, I would like to say that my time at Steve Hurst School of Music was the best week of my year so far. Above all, the school was centered on Christ. When it came to spiritual matters, they took their time and made sure that every need was met. The staff and students were all so friendly and encouraging no matter what your focus was. The teachers were outstanding, not only did they teach you what you wanted to learn, they put you at ease from the very beginning. There was no need to feel nervous with these teachers! If anyone is considering to learn more about music, I highly recommend Steve Hurst School. Next year it will be held July 24-29th – so sign up when they start accepting applications, it’s a week you don’t want to miss!