Music Teacher's Helper Blog

I recently received an email from a paying subscriber:

“I have used this website for 2 months, and I don’t know how I lived without it before!! it’s great! Thank you. Starting about a week ago, I’m getting all the time a window that says: ‘Security information: this page contains both secure and nonsecure items, would you like to display the nonsecure items?’ How do I get rid of it?”

Since we added SSL Data Encryption for paying plans, some teachers have noticed a warning when they login saying that there are secure and non-secure items on the page. This is a warning that Internet Explorer gives if not all the references to files on the page are https. Unfortunately (and incorrectly), it also gives the error if any of the links are pointing to about:blank, or null – which is still secure. Other browsers (such as Mozilla Firefox) do not warn about this since it is not a security issue.

But to get around this IE bug we changed a few links. It turns out the culprits were the bar chart on the home page, and the question mark help icons (when you hover over them).

Paying subscribers using Internet Explorer should no longer get warning about this unsecure items on a page. Thank you to those who pointed this out to me!

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A recent study published in the Oxford Journals confirms that young children who take music lessons have improved memory functions over children who do not. That’s not a huge surprise, and we’ve all heard studies like this before done on slightly older children. One interesting difference here, however, is that this is the first study to actually identify the effects on brain measurements in young children.

Read review at News Medical
Read the full artcile

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teaching older music students

I once had a beginning student named Harry, who was 72 years old. He did quite well, generally, but one day I heard him playing a tune all wrong.

The tune had the rhythm of quarter, eighth, eighth, repeated four times.  Then there were two quarter notes and a run of eighths.

He had played this tune fine before, but that day, he played all the notes straight through as eighth notes–da da da da da da–regardless of the written rhythms.

I said, “Harry, what are you doing? You know this tune.  See the quarter notes, and the eighth notes?”

Said Harry, “I didn’t want to waste time.”

Well, maybe this says something about older students.  After all, I have noticed that some of my older students allot a fixed time for themselves to “get good” at the instrument. But it’s true for kids, lawyers, business people–there always seem to be reasons to “not waste time.”

The thing is, music is time.

Sometimes I will play a tune like Happy Birthday to a student, with beautiful tone and intonation, but in all sixteenth notes.  They never recognize the melody.

Then I play the same tune with the right rhythm and they light up.  I even play it badly, with horrible sound and pitches but in the right rhythm.  They still know what melody it is, and they still like the song.

Sometimes people get so focused on pitches and tone that they sacrifice good timing, or destroy the continuity of a passage just to fix the pitch of one note.

But in the end, it seems to me, music is timing.

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