For close to 15 years, the Lagond Music School has done more than teach its students how to play an instrument.
The school has served as a launching pad for the musical careers for some of the region’s most talented young musicians.
One of the programs that has stood out during that time has been the honors band consisting of high school and college students. Lagond Music School will be holding auditions for new members on Saturday, Sept. 22.
Roseanne Lana, who co-founded the Elmsford-based school with saxophonist Charlie Lagond, said those who audition must be accomplished on their instrument and will be required to perform two contrasting pieces of music as well as sit for an interview to gauge the dedication that will be needed from the youngster and their family.
The mission is to provide the roughly 30 to 40 budding musicians that will be selected with a feel of what today’s music industry is like and what is required to succeed, she said.
“Being in an honors or all-stars band is like being on the travel sports team,” Lana said. “There is a family commitment to this because you’re going to be giving up weekends to do performances, you’re going to go on a tour. You’re coming in as musicians and on a professional level, it will provide a snapshot of where you are in your journey.”
If selected, the initial leg of the honors band journey will require a group practice every Saturday afternoon at the school’s studios for three to five hours. The young musicians must also continue with their private lessons.
During middle to latter portion of the school year, there are maybe a handful of performances that are booked. Then next summer, they embark on a tour that could be almost anywhere in the United States, from midtown Manhattan to the west coast or anywhere in between.
“You might be playing a town square in Knoxville or you might be playing for 3,500 people at Terminal 5 in New York,” said Lagond, noting one of the venues where an earlier honors band performed.
A key requirement is being able to satisfactorily handle a diverse range of music, developing stage presence and even some writing, he said. The types of gigs that are booked by Lana and a professional booking agent also require some singing and a bit of musical theater into the mix. Lana said the school is also planning to bring interns who will serve as roadies and photographers next summer.
Proficiency at a wide range of genres is essential as being a team player who can take turns at sharing the spotlight, Lagond said.
“Yes, you could be that jazz virtuoso or you may make it really big as the next B.B. King, but how do you make a living until that happens?” Lagond said. “You’ve got to on many different levels. That’s why we teach diversity.”
“This program is great for the kid who loves music but is afraid to see if they can make it,” Lana said. “It’s a great thing to try out for because it will help you understand when you go to a college prep program and when you do something like that you’re getting the real world. You’re going to know exactly what you’re walking into in a music college education.”
While the honors band is perhaps the most visible program at Lagond Music School, there is a wide range of classes that typically serve 125 to 150 students at a time. from beginners’ level lessons for children as young as six right up to lessons for adults, Lana said. There are also prep courses for college programs, and songwriting and band workshops.
For more information on Lagond Music School and all the programs it offers, including the honors band, call 914-345-0512 or visit www.lagondmusic.org.