Our instructors are absolutely paramount to carrying out our mission at Major Key Foundation. Instructor Vincent Adams was an integral part of the success of the ‘Pac Meets Bach pilot program this summer and is an engaging and active performer in Baltimore. We sat down with Vincent to talk music, teaching and performing.
Why did you decide to become a musician? It was kind of a given. It was generations deep in my family and all of my siblings and cousins played or sang at the time I started.
Who was the most influential teacher in your life or musical development? My oldest brother, John. He taught me about the music business, he shared his legendary friends with me and gave me opportunities to learn from them as well. He was a genius that was way ahead of his time on may levels; he was our Maurice White, when we grew up in our family band. That band was very much my training ground when I couldn’t afford to upkeep private lessons.
What do you like best and worst about working with students? I love seeing them DISCOVER that thing in themselves that their parents can’t explain. As a parent, once you see it, you have two choices – either support it or get out the way! What I like least is that when I see one with something special, we can’t work on it ALL the time. Everyone needs break now and then, but their uncontrollable need to ‘act out’ often gets the better of them (which isn’t really a bad thing). You see, the generation I grew up in had music as the escape for the strife around them in the world. Now, the digital age has created this alternate reality that they escape to, which doesn’t necessarily promote growth in relationships and the camaraderie and commitment that young bands like us found it easier to have because the digital distractions were not in competition for our attention. So we matured a little bit faster.
Describe one of your favorite performances. Our final performance held at the Living Classrooms Headquarters for our inaugural summer session for Pac Meets Bach was a big win on so many levels. The kids stood an delivered in a high pressure performance opportunity. The accomplished in 3 weeks what some can’t figure out in 3 years– how to play together (as a band). They really sounded like a BAND. Not every group of musicians that gets together nails that communal piece. What they may lack in skill or formalized training, the made up for in unity. They made believers our of everyone there.
What advice do you have for the MKF students and family? The music never ends. If nothing else, I want those kids to know that I love playing now just as much as I did when I was 7; thank heaven I have actually lived to see what happens when you learn what to do with that gift. I still perform because it still means something to me and speaks to me in a way that people can’t. The music allows me to talk and express, channel and project, see, feel and hear the spirit of others so inclined. So in that way, I guess it makes me feel kinda special.