Cantina Band - Student Garage Band Arrangement

​Here is the first 2-thirds of one of my student's arrangements of the fun Star Wars song "Cantina Band."  

Artist Name - Cantina Band.m4a

Navigating the Rough Patches - Parental Support

I was thinking about which category to post this article under, and I decided on "practice tips."  Parents are usually the ones around for practicing, and their advice, encouragement and support are important to the students as they learn how to practice.

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Alphabet Stairstep Chart

​Here is a neat chart I came up with a few months ago to help the younger beginners to see the alphabet's up and down as both a direction on the piano and a direction in the staff.  It has helped out so much!!

Student Composition - Gravity

​Here is a song one of my students wrote last year.  The music fits the title so well!

Artist Name - Gravity.mp3

Guitar Tapp

​Guitar Tapp (available in Apple and Google and Windows) is a fun tab browser and tab storage app for guitar players.  It has a very simple search and you can see the different types of tabs available for the song (power tab, chord tab, etc).  You can store the tabs on your device and if you sign up for an account you can store them on the Guitar Tapp cloud.  The most awesome feature of this app is that you can edit the tabs!

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.

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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Fantastic Dance by Shostakovich

Here is is a song I worked on in my teens.  I never quite got the hang of the intricate fingerings and the big jumps.  Even now it is a challenge for me!  Here is my best attempt.  Or as one of my students put it  -  "with as little mistakes as possible."


Artist Name - FantasticDance.mp3

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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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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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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