There is a common presumption among music students that learning a piece of music is processed in this order:
1. The mind tries to understand what’s going on through analysis, reading, listening to the teacher.
2. The hands are told by the brain what to do so they can practice and learn their job.
3. The ears serve as audience and judge to see how it comes out.
More and more, I have come to realize that this presumption only serves to frustrate students and slow them down. For example, some students have trouble being asked to play a note if they do not understand why or how it fits into what they’re working on. Others might go over a phrase of music several times successfully, and then look up and say that they don’t know how to play it. A student may play several notes of a musical phrase and have their fingers poised correctly for the next note, but feel they can’t play it because they don’t “know” what comes next. Read more…
Two weeks ago, my student Addison entered my studio and declared, “I wrote a song for Paris!”
A little puzzled by what he meant, I probed further and learned that he improvised a piece on the piano based on his feelings about the terrorist attacks in Paris and posted it on his YouTube channel. It was Addison’s way of processing the tragedy, paying tribute to the victims, communicating his sorrow and as I thought about it more, this was Addison’s way to give what he could: he wanted to play it forward.
Ever wonder what the future of piano lessons will look like? The Wolfie app is it: a new reality. In short, it’s a virtual piano book bag for your students packed with power tools. No more forgotten books or torn pages as the WolfiePiano iPad App, developed by Tonara,efficiently stores lesson repertoire on the iPad AND much more.
I first experienced Wolfie at their exhibit booth at NCKP 2015, I played a Clementi sonatina on an acoustic piano (MIDI and cables were NOT required) and read the score from the iPad. Wolfie listened to my playing, turned my pages as I progressed through the piece and after I finished, gave me feedback on my timing and pitch reading accuracy. Isn’t this intelligent listening what we as teachers do at a lesson and wish our students had to assist them during their home practice? Loaded with repertoire of all styles, Wolfie is designed to be YOUR ears and teaching assistant so that your students stay on track and progress between lessons. Read more…
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The Savvy Music Teacher is a new book just out this month, offering a comprehensive look at what goes into making a decent living as a music teacher. The goal of the book is to provide a strategy for making a positive impact on your community and translating that into a good income for yourself. The book includes detailed discussions about music teaching options, a variety of income streams, financial explanations and strategies, and stories about successful experiences from over 150 savvy music teachers.
Author David Cutler, the Director of Music Entrepreneurship at the University of South Carolina, starts by asking the readers to become aware of their own teaching formulas and priorities, while highlighting numerous ways to freshen or rethink methods and content. For many teachers, this discussion might inspire some new ideas about how to match teaching approaches and formats with their personal interests and style.
A review of Cutler’s previous book, The Savvy Musician, can be found in an earlier Music Teachers’ Helper blog post at this link.
Read on, and enjoy an overview of the book, as well as a look at the book’s companion website… Read more…
NoteRunner Piano Jam! 2015 – Learn a song. Submit a video. Win cash.
The NoteRunner Online Piano Competition is a contest where participants of all ages have the opportunity to learn fresh new music by up and coming artists and receive feedback from talented musicians. Participants are required to learn a song from the song list and submit a video performance. Winners earn a cash reward of up to $150, a gift voucher to NoteRunner.com or feedback from accomplished musicians. Share your performance with friends and family for an extra bonus prize!
This contest is a great opportunity for music students, music teachers, or both!
Early Registration deadline: Sept 30, 2015
Late Registration deadline: October 15, 2015
Videos due: Jan 15, 2016
Website – www.NoteRunner.com (Check out results and performances from the NoteRunner Launch! summer contest)
Some time ago, I realized my students were getting a little bored of the same old routine. I thought they needed some stimulation, so I decided to re-think my rewards system. For a long time, I mostly focused on educational music games at the end of the lessons as being a good enough reward. But it didn’t help with energy levels throughout the lesson. I needed some help. Read more…
I remember it as though it were yesterday. The song was called “Moonlight and Roses.” I hated that piece. I still do!
With tears streaming down my face, try as I might, I was getting nowhere. My mum patiently sat with me, trying to coax me to work through my frustration but to no avail.
Things just went from bad to worse. As my progress on the song deteriorated, frustration turned to anger. “I HATE this song!” “I HATE my music teacher!” “I want to QUIT my music lessons!” “I GIVE UP!” I screamed, red in the face, anger exploding from every fibre of my 8-year-old body.
What happened next was my mum’s worst and finest hour of parenting! In hindsight, she should have Read more…
Count on Tin Pan Rhythm to boost your budding musicians’ understanding of harmonic progressions. Count on the appto trigger arranging skills thanks to the app’s intuitive interface. One more, you can count on students catching on to using the Tin Pan Rhythm in seconds–I’m not exaggerating–and charge up their creative juices.
Here’s an extended tutorial provided by the developers so I won’t go into details on how the app works. You may not even need to watch the tutorial as it’s so intuitive. I know you’ll enjoy learning the app as you go. Read more…
The intersection of technology and art is key to the evolution of life. One such example is the transition from standard instruments to electronic based instruments. No longer do drums need a special material stretched over the base, nor a piano need strings to sound like a grand piano. With electronic instruments, the world of self-taught musicians is becoming more common. With the surge of mobile apps, musicians are able to learn musical instruments at home, on the train, at the park or even at the beach. Below are a few examples of technology infused with art.
One new app that has surfaced is called Wolfie, named after famed composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Because the study of music is declining in the US and Europe, the idea of combining tech and music learning is essential to keep the attraction of the youth. The app includes a patented Magic Cursor, which follows the notes in real time, allowing students to not lose their place, or miss a note. The app has a wide variety of scores, ranging from beginner to advanced, and constantly adding new scores. After 12 months of development, the app is ready to go!