Failure Is a Learning Tool

I do not even know how many times I have heard students say "I can't do it" or "It's too hard."  A variation on this theme are the moans and groans that accompany those many little failures that come with learning a new concept or a new song.  It is a very important life skill for students to learn that these failures are the path to mastering a concept or achieving a goal, and to accept their mistakes as something important and positive.

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Writing Stuff in the Music

Writing stuff in the music - when is it helpful?  Is there ever such a thing as writing too much in the music?

When students are working on songs I take the minimal approach to writing things in the music.  It makes sure they know what to really pay attention to.  And I encourage them to write things in themselves once they have seen some examples of how I write practice reminders for them.

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Gavotte by Prokofieff - (first section)

Here is the first part of a cute little gavotte by Prokofieff.  Enjoy!

 

Artist Name - ProkofieffGavotte1.11.2016.mp3

Learning How to Teach Improvising

Well after 15 years of teaching I am going into new territory...I am working with students to develop their improvising skills.  It seems strange that I have not specifically done this yet.  I have used improvising as a fun "extra" thing to do, or an afterthought, or a means to an end for creating a composition - but never really on its own as something special and important.

I was not sure how my students would respond, but I am happy to say I am so amazed and impressed at their creativity and ideas!!!!  It is getting me really excited about working with them to learn more about improvising!

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Finding Songs for Students

This is the time of year where Ellie and I are finding recital songs for our students.  I have such a fun time with this!  It is neat to share music with students that they have not heard before and see them get interested in it and excited about playing it. 

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Students School Band Performances 2015

Many of our students are in their school bands, and these past few weeks there have been many performances.  Congratulations to our students on their performances!!

Go See Pippin at Chanhassen High School!

One of our students is playing percussion in the pit orchestra for Chanhassen High School's Production of "Pippin."  Get tickets here!

 

The shows starts this weekend - December 4th.

Go see A Christmas Story Musical at Chaska Valley Family Theater!

One of our students and his grandfather are in this year's production of "A Christmas Story!" Click here for more details!

 

The show starts December 4th.

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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Finding the Student's Motivation

For many private lesson teachers, finding a student's motivation is one of the most important tasks. It makes everyone's job easier - the student will enjoy things more, the parents will not have to be getting after them to practice, and the teacher will know the student is looking forward to their lessons each week!

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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!
  • 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!
  • 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.
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