Spring Is Beginning

​Here is a Garage Band project by one of my students.  We took a song and changed it from major to minor and then made a background for it.

Artist Name - Spring is Beginning.m4a

Imagine What You are Seeing

​Something I notice myself doing quite often with students is helping them to start imagining what the music sounds like before they play it.  This helps students get a sense of how correctly they are playing a song and get more out of their practice time.

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Electronic Song

​Here is a song one of my students created.  He created all the parts of this song by playing them in on the keyboard - no pre-set patterns!

Artist Name - SamGBProject.mp3

Practice Strategy - Chaining

There are several ways of getting your recital piece to the finished, "Ready to Perform" stage. Our students have one month and one day to get to this point. So that is why I thought this would be a good topic for the March blog.

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Memorization Mishaps

This is my second installment of things that happen in performances.  It is a short list of some memorization snafus that have happened to some of our students in recitals.

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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.

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.

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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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Music Down!

​Well Ellie and I are starting to share some performance stories as we get our students ready for recital.  Here one of my own stories.  I am in 7th or 8th grade and already have been doing accompanying for church and school choirs.  My older brother asked me to accompany him for a vocal solo in state contest.  I said "sure!"  And here is what happened.

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Our Favorite Composers/Books

  • 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!
  • 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.
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