Make Theory Alive!

​There are many ways to teach theory. There are worksheets and tests and exams, but those methods are only motivational for students who enjoy taking tests ( that would be me!) I prefer to teach theory in an experimental and experiential way. Here are a few examples!!

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Back Into Fall!

​Well today is the first day back to teaching after letting the students have a few weeks off!  Let's see if I am ready for it...

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Haunted House - Student Composition

​Here is a song my student Kenzie created this summer.  I like how she uses many different octaves on the piano.  She even switches between 3/4 and 4/4 time signature.  It makes the song interesting and fun to play!

Artist Name - HauntedHouse.mp3

Suggester

Suggester is a fun app for iPad, iPhone and Mac.  There is a free version that allows you to save only one song, has only the Major scales, and you cannot export your sound file.  The full version includes all these features but is a bit spendy at $5.99.  However you can still get great use out of the free version of the app with its library of popular chord progressions to jam along with for improvising ideas, and when you create your own chord progressions you do have access to the full library of chords which is quite extensive.

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Invenzione by Vittorio Rieti

​Here is the first part of this composition.  I like the way he is uses accents and the pedal to shape the song.  There is also some hand-crossing and the melody passes between the right and left hand, so balance is very important, too.  These neat details make it so much fun to play!  

Here is his wiki page if you want to know more about the composer Vittorio Rieti.

Artist Name - invenzione.part1rieti.mp3

Summer Wrap Up

​I have really enjoyed the summer of teaching, camping, house renovations, and relaxing in my hammock! 


To find out what my students have been up to over the summer, continue reading:

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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.

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Recital Performances - Round 1!

​Well as per usual despite my best attempts I entered a state of hibernation from about March-April.  Being an introvert I gather strength from alone time where I can have my reflection and deep thoughts.  It is especially important for me to do this around recital time so I can save up all my energy to organize all 4 recitals over our 2 weekends of performances, as well as encourage students for their final push, bring parents on board if need be, and just get as much recital information in my brain as possible!

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Yamaha Synth Arp and Drum Pad App

This app is super-fun and amazing!  It is a synthesizer with so many fun arpeggiator patterns it is mind-blowing.  In the drum pad you can set up drum patterns to be triggered, and also chord patterns.  You can go back and forth between the drum pad and synthesizer seamlessly to perform a song live, and there are 16 sound channels you can preset to switch on the fly.  I think some of my students will end up doing this for their recital project!

I am planning to make some instructional videos for some of the features, but I must plan this out because there is so much to learn about this app - AND IT IS FREE!!!!!!!!!!!

Garage Band Composition 1

​I was having some fun with Garage Band this weekend.  ENJOY!

Artist Name - My-Song-3.mp3

Our Favorite Composers/Books

  • Frederic Chopin
    Chopin is Elizabeth's favorite composer for the piano. In fact, he composed ONLY for the piano. It is no wonder many of her more advanced students enjoy playing his music also!
  • John Williams
    John Williams has been composing music for movies for such a long time! Many of the students enjoy playing the music from "Star Wars" and "Harry Potter," two of his most loved musical scores.
  • Melody Bober
    Melody Bober is such a popular composer with our students! We think it is because she is from Minnesota. So she knows what Minnesotans like in their music!
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