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Signature Syracuse II: A new model for teaching music

Bass player, sound engineer and designer Tim Reppert, who also owns Rep Studios in Ithaca, grew up in a musical environment and he doesn't necessarily agree with Ford.

"I have some different ideas than Dick, but he does have some good ideas. I think music is recreation and academic, it's really a personal attitude," he said.

For Reppert parental support is essential.

"The key for successfully getting a child started in the music world is parental support. I think it's important to grow up in a musical environment, but also to have parents be good parents, encouraging their kids to find their passions and then encouraging them to love it and want to work on it," he said.

Ford agrees wholeheartedly with Reppert's parental support. But he also recognizes the unfortunate situation many of his students find themselves in -- they just don't have that parental support because of socio-economic reasons.

Reppert grew up in a musical family: "Fourth grade is when I started and many of my friends started in the Suzuki program in kindergarten, I disagree that it's a waste of time to start kids before 8th grade. I didn't start to excel until 7th grade but if I didn't have my experience before that I wouldn't have done as well. I think every person is different and there is no perfect model for starting out in music."

Singer and sax man Joe Whiting said, "Wow, Dick is right on. I hope he can get his theory to as wide of an audience as possible. I agree with virtually everything he says except 'the only reason to study music (or acting or dancing) is to entertain.' I always tell everyone that to study just for your own enjoyment is primary."

Whiting also said that Ford is a member of the Syracuse Area Music Hall of Fame, "For good reason, not the least of which is this new concept of his."

Teaching at Signature:

Voice -- Kate Paulson

Brass -- Gordon Finch

Woodwind -- Tony D'Angelis

Jazz and Brass -- Ray Sturge

Drums -- Jimmy Johns

To learn more about Signature Syracuse go to: http://www.signaturesyracuse.org or call Dick Ford at 478-7840.

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