Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Some teachers and students have mentioned that when accessing their studio website in Internet Explorer for the first time, a security warning appears telling them that the secure certificate may not be valid.

This can happen when you’re accessing your studio website incorrectly. Remember that your studio website does not have any www’s in it.

To access your studio website, go to:

http://[studio-name].musicteachershelper.com

NOT

http://www.[studio-name].musicteachershelper.com
(where [studio-name] is the name you chose for your studio website).

The SSL Certificate on the server doesn’t secure 2nd-level subdomains (having two sections with dots (.) before the domain name). So that’s why the warnings appear when you access the site using www’s. Therefore, make sure that when you tell others your studio website address, that you give them the correct address (without the www’s).

Update [Sep 13, 2007]: This problem has now been completely resolved. We have made it  redirect visitors coming to your page through www to the non-www subdomain. This eliminates the certificate warning.

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Of the many educational music games out there, some are free online games that kids and adults can enjoy.  Some help with eartraining, some teach about instruments, rhythms and more.

One page I ran across recently was on About.com’s Classics for Kids site, offering 4 simple games, including one to name notes, one to imitate rhythms, another to teach information about the lives and works of composers, and one to allow kids to compose a simple tune.  (Links from this page will lead you to many other music education sites of interest, quite apart from games.)

The New York Philharmonic has some fun and sophisticated music games and learning sites, including a game room with about a dozen games, a chance to compose, learn about instruments, and even make your own.

Less sophisticated but well worth a visit is a Flash Music Games site which offers a large array of ear training games, piano and guitar games.  For example, one ear training game called Noteshooter sounds a note each time a treble clef floats from the bottom of the screen towards the top; the player uses arrow keys to identify the name of the note, by maneuvering the clef so it passes over the right letter.  After you get one note correct (by luck, or by matching the note on an instrument–or if you have perfect pitch!), you can then listen and identify the relative pitches of subsequent notes as they come through.

Another game is called Trichords, a memory game where you match two cards, but in this case, clicking a card plays a triad of some kind, and you have to match the sounds of pairs of triads to win the game.

How you might use these games in working with students is up to you (and perhaps you could add a comment to share with us any suggestions you have for using computer music games in teaching), but games like these are certainly food for thought.

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We all understand that practice leads to perfection. The issue at hand is how to encourage our students to practice with enthusiasm instead of viewing the practice sessions as a chore. My first experience with Classical Music was Peter and the Wolf. I was not excited to be attending this performance and was saddened that there would be no speaking, actual animals or cartoons on this particular outing. I remember asking my mother “Do I Have to go with you?”

Much to my surprise I left the performance with the desire to create my own orchestra. Somewhere during the performance the music had captured me and the instruments had come alive. I often Get to listen to classical music and frequently to Peter and the Wolf. It has been thirty years since my first enchantment with an orchestra and not even one detail escapes me. Here are some widely known readily forgotten tips to inspire students:

  1. Suggest more frequent shorter practice sessions
  2. Encourage parents to spend time listening to the child practice
  3. Suggest that parents compliment the child instead of criticize
  4. Reward the child with the option of selecting a particular piece of music if the practicing improves
  5. Ask the student what type of music they prefer and create a common bond between what they listen to and what they play
  6. Suggest that parents take the student to live performances featuring the instrument the child plays if at all possible. Colleges or conservatories often have recitals or inexpensive performances through out the year.
  7. Include the child in goal setting on a regular basis

It can be difficult to motivate the reluctant student. Motivation is different for each student, once you find the motivating factor for the child you can change practicing from a “Have To” to a “Get To” with a little encouragement.

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