Introducing the Studio Concert
Middleway Music has pioneered the idea of the Studio Concert: the full-on, no-nonsense, professional level concert simulation. An all-pro backing band. An esteemed local venue. Professional photography. Full-production videos. Memorable show posters. Huge audiences. World class sound and lights—it’s all there, and it’s awesome. From the moment it’s booked to the moment we pack up the stage, we treat it like a professional concert—the real deal—and because of that, it sounds like one. Students who have never played live can make their debut on one of the region’s finest stages, with pro musicians, complex arrangements, and an audience of over 200 rapturous fans. It is a truly wild ride, and one of the many things makes Middleway a music school unlike any other.
How it Works
Studio Concerts are organized twice a year, Spring & Fall, and participation is 100% voluntary. The Spring show is the bigger production, featuring 5-10 piece arrangements and largesized venues. For contrast, Fall performances are “more or less unplugged,” consisting of 4-5 piece arrangements and medium sized venues. Each student chooses one song of their own and then collaborates with others for a total of two to four songs. Once songs have been chosen, several months of intense preparation begins—learning and memorizing parts during individual lessons, refining them in small group settings, and finally putting them to the test in two massive, full-band rehearsals in the final weeks before each performance.
Not only is it the thrill of a lifetime for most students—often times quite literally a dream come true—it is also a genuine opportunity for meaningful collaboration. Learning to play with others is a vital skill, and an integral part of the development process. But in our experience it is rare to find even simple recitals—let alone fullblown concerts—that showcase the talents of adult learners. In consequence many are never given the chance to transcend their isolation, and really connect with other musicians in a meaningful way. The Studio Concert is our attempt to break this cycle of isolation, and to ensure that every Middleway student is given regular opportunities for musical collaboration and self-expression.
Lessons, Concerts, Community
Over the years these musical productions (and the marathon rehearsals that precede them) have come to feel like company parties or family outings. Along with jam sessions and recording sessions, they are time that we all get to know each other, to share our stories and talents, and to make music on the highest possible level. Our flagship Silver Spring studio has now completed twelve studio concerts, and it’s students have performed collectively at various clubs and theatres in the DC Metro area including Jammin Java, Hill Country Live, Bethesda Blues & Jazz Club, and most notably, The Howard Theatre, where the most recent Spring show drew a crowd of over 300 people. As our audience has grown, so has the size of our venues, the boldness of our arrangements, the confidence level of our performers, and the cohesion of our community. To our students, fans, family & friends, the studio concert is the culmination of the Middleway experience—a collective expression of joy and artistic striving—that is both the fulfillment of our teaching method, and the binding force of our growing community.