I am very passionate about bringing the joy of music into the lives of the children and adults that I work with. I have been teaching for 50+ years and I hope to continue for a long time.

The Importance of Learning Different Styles of Music

If you look in Wikipedia for the different styles of music, there are hundreds upon hundreds. In preparing to write this blog I was searching for reasons to have my students study Baroque, Classical, Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, Popular and others.

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Thy Strong Word

Here is an arrangement by one of my students in my chimes group at church.  He arranged the hymn "Thy Strong Word" for the chimes and we played it a few months ago.

Click here to go to the ScoreCloud site and see the music and listen to the arrangement.

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The "Real" Scoop on Memorizing

My students are beginning to prepare for the upcoming Spring recital and their pieces need to be memorized. I am using the "real" and best way to memorize music so that they won't get that brain freeze in the middle of their pieces. The "real" way to memorize a piece so that you will never ever forget it is to be able to take a blank piece of staff paper and write the entire piece out from memory.

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A Funny Thing Happened...

​As Elizabeth and I get our students ready for recitals, we got to chatting about unexpected or unusual things that can happen in a performance situation.  ​I studied piano with Bette Wortman after my children were both in school and I want to share an interesting story with you that she told me.

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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.

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The Importance of Students Taking Ownership

Learning music is a personal journey.  Each student has their own moment when they realize that the music lessons are something important to them - it is then that they start to take ownership of their lessons.  Then the parents can sit back and enjoy watching and listening to the student grow as a musician.

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Week of Jan 25th Independent Lab Project

The students at Music Masters of Chanhassen spend 30 minutes in lesson with their teacher and then they have a 15 min Independent Lab Project.  We started having the lab projects over 20 years ago.  It gives the students a chance to work on a project that relates to what we were doing in the lesson.

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Score Cloud Application

“Like Google Translate for music” ScoreCloud instantly turns your songs into sheet music. As simple as that! Instant Score from MIDI or Audio Arrange and Edit your Score Print, Export and Share Music notation software ideal for musicians, students, teachers, choirs and bands as well as composers and arrangers. Many of my students are using Score Cloud to help them transform their musical thoughts into sheet music. They can create their music on their computer and then see it and hear it on their iPads.

For more information visit: http://www.scorecloud.com

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Getting Ready for Your Lesson

I have been participating in several Teacher Webinars since this past January and I have also had coffee with other private teachers to share teaching ideas.

 

The one thing that came up more than anything else was having the students make more progress from one lesson to the next. It was concluded that when we explain to a student at a lesson what and how we want them to work on their pieces - often times by the time they actually sit down for their first practice session they have forgotten what we said to them. Of course we write the assignment out in their assignment notebook but many students have confessed to me that they don't read what I write. As frustrating as that is to me, I do appreciate that they are being honest.

 

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Practicing vs. Playing

Practicing vs. Playing

I recently talked with my students about practicing and playing the piano. I wanted to find out if the students just work on the assignments that I give them each week or do they also spend just some fun time at the piano during the week.

It was about 50/50 who just practiced their lesson and never just played for the fun of it and those who practiced their lesson and also spent time just playing.

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