Yes, you read correctly! I follow along the American Hal Leonard website and google ‘VIP’ occasionally (and visit their website of course). I did sign up for them but because I am in Australia, they redirected me to Hal Leonard Australia, which isn’t as good.
What have they got in America that has me so interested? 40% off piano books, that’s what! (check their latest special out here: http://www.teachervip.com) - until 31 July 2011.
At the risk of getting myself into trouble – because I AM Australian and would dearly love to support our economy, what I want is just not offered here in Australia, or certainly not publicised. I want to be able to purchase music for ME, so I can recommend it to my students. Music stores here just don’t have what I envision. Perhaps that’s because I have been somewhat spoilt by the teaching workshops and conventions I have attended where we are given fantastic glossy magazines full of music books currently available and snapshots of a page or two out of those books so I can see and hear it in my head before I purchase that particular music.
As a teacher of two instruments I am not a walking encyclopedia of composers and music, I don’t like to recommend a student go out and purchase a piece of music or a book I have never seen or heard before.
So this is what I do:-
- Mosey along to the Hal Leonard VIP site (American site, not the Australian one).
- Troll through the music and either listen to snippets of what I’m interested in, or view the portion of sheet music they have available.
- Clicky clicky on what I like and TAH-DAH, that’s my order. You are only allowed up to two copies of any particular music or music book, so it’s basically for the teachers’ own personal use.
- Sit back and wait for my order to arrive. When it does – it’s a sight reading day!
- Have a good think about the music and whether any books would be suitable for my students.
- Ask students in their next lesson what they think, and if they’d like to learn it.
- Send Mum or Dad off to the music shop to order in the music.
Now if I could do this with Australian Composers, that would be awesome! That said, my American composer friends are just as amazing and make my life so much easier because my students LOVE the music I have ordered in.
I think our publishing laws are different here, and that is why publishing companies are not allowed to do this – I wonder if it is working for them?
I love the new book smell, the feel of being able to carefully bend back the pages of a new book, to start playing the first piece and working my way through to the end. To me it is like reading an exciting novel – each one is its own journey. That is what I have instilled in my students and hope to continue to do so.