Recital 2020 Performances!!

Recital 2019 Performances

Blog

Teaching Students the Joy of Music Since 2001

How to Learn to Play Complex Rhythms

One of my students several years ago had a recital piece that the rhythms between the left hand and right hand were really hard for him. As I had done with many of my students I told him to try what I called "lap-slap" the rhythms. So you take the rhythm of the left hand and the rhythm of the right hand and you slap them out on your thighs VERY SLOWY while saying something like:  right - left - together - left etc. Then you gradually work up to full speed.

So this year his recital piece has four different sections with very complex rhythms. So he tried the "lap-slap" technic and again it helped him a lot.

Here is an audio of Joe first demonstrating the four different rhythm sections and then playing the entire piece.

Artist Name - JoeFlemencoFireweb.m4a
  490 Hits
490 Hits

Black and White

If you were born back in the 40's, 50's and maybe even early 60's you only had Black and White TV. Of course we didn't mind because that was all we had ever seen. However, after several years of the joy of watching our favorite shows in color it was a real let down to see something in Black and White...​

Continue reading
  503 Hits
503 Hits

Using the Metronome - Eye of the Tiger

​Here is an excerpt from a practice video I made for one of my students.

  965 Hits
965 Hits

Zoom Lesson Example

​Here are some clips of things I would be doing in a Zoom lesson.  (Zoom is a video conferencing app like Skype)

  986 Hits
986 Hits

The Importance of Finger Numbers

​Choosing the right finger numbers for the student and the notes is important.  Here is an example from the other day with one of my students.


  913 Hits
913 Hits

Finding the Rhythm

​The most important part of rhythm is to have the student feel the beat as a part of them, and then use that to play the song.  I always tell my students they have rhythm or else the would not be able to walk without tripping or chew without biting their tongues.  The trick is to get them to tap into this normally unconscious rhythm sense, make it conscious, and then apply it to a song.

Continue reading
  1417 Hits
1417 Hits

Giving Structure to Composing

​Watching a student create a song is so much fun. Sometimes there are silly or unexpected things that happen with the music that become part of the song, sometimes there is a complete change in direction for the idea of the piece, and sometimes it takes a while for the piece to even begin! Having some structure can help speed up the creative process while still leaving opportunity for things to change as creativity flows!

Continue reading
  1171 Hits
1171 Hits

Developing Good Sight Reading Habits

​When I introduce new material at each lesson, the student is doing "sight reading" (playing music for the first time).  Until recently, this is all I would do with sight reading and students would naturally get better at it.  Now I have learned to identify the students that need extra help to develop good sight reading and some ways to help them.

Continue reading
  1177 Hits
1177 Hits

Improvisational Compositions

As Ellie and I are developing our teaching and recital preparation, we tried out some new things this year.  One of them was improvising and including improvisational performances in the recital.  In this article I will give a few tips about how I prepared students for their improvisational performances.

Continue reading
  1337 Hits
1337 Hits

How to Teach Dotted Notes

​When I ask a student what a dot does to a note, the answer I usually get is that is adds 1 beat. This is because in most schools students are first taught about the dotted half note. In the case of the dotted half note the dot does get 1 beat but the students don't know why. Here is a video that shows the most effective way I have found for teaching what a dot does to the value of a note.

  1429 Hits
1429 Hits