Music Teacher’s Helper

Isn’t it more work to put together duets and ensembles?

Maybe. But sooooo worth it! Check it out…

  • Group playing is a team sport. Participants must work together—listen to one another. They must be able to start together and end together. They lean on each other’s strengths in order to pull off a good performance. They bolster each other’s courage and support each other.
  • It is in duet and ensemble playing that musicians learn the importance of balance (one part should not dominate the others). A good life lesson!
  • As Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
  • A group musical experience transcends culture, age, gender, language and economic/social barriers. Depending on the arrangement, the musicians needn’t even be on the same technical level.
  • If there’s a good fit of musicians, it becomes a safe place for them to express themselves emotionally, to make mistakes yet still be accepted, appreciated and cheered on. It’s a great way to overcome the fear of performance. There is safety in groups!
  • In rehearsing duets and ensembles, students will be forced to confront their rhythm and work at it.
  • As a soloist, a performer chooses his/her own interpretation. As part of an ensemble, individuals sacrifice their own ideas to benefit the group. It’s an investment made toward excellence. And that takes any sting out of playing a part other than the lead.

Playing in a small group can become a life experience, not simply something done for a recital since opportunities to perform abound. Over students’ lives, there will be town festivals, community events, holiday performances and church services or functions, to name a few. Get ’em started young!

Here are a few ideas just to get you going.

Piano Ensembles

  • Lists of fun piano duets and trios compiled by Wendy Stevens at Compose Create.
  • A simple search on the internet will turn up dozens of piano duet and trio books.

Vocal Ensembles and Rounds

  • “Coffee Break” from the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
  • Taco Bell Canon (even though this is pre-recorded by one person, Jul3ia, I included it because it was in tune…).
  • Another recording of Taco Bell Canon (in my humble opinion, the next best), features 7 young men.
  • Here’s an easy-to-pick-up round, taught on youtube using “Dynamite”
  • “Dona Nobis Pacem” is a well-known 3-part round. Here are words I have my beginning students use:

Part 1. Quarter notes__ Quarter rests__ Give them each one beat.

If you should break them both in half, they turn into eighths.

Part 2. Three___ beats____ dot—ted half has them.

Three___ beats___ hold on just for three.

Part 3. Three____ beats___ dot-ted-half and then three eighth notes.

Wait__  wait__  Now you start a–gain. (the words dotted half are themselves 8th notes)

Other Duets and Ensembles to Consider

  • Add siblings, parents or grandparents as accompanists or on duet parts.
  • Create an ensemble of piano, guitar, and rhythm—maybe vocals, too!
  • Drum circles can be fun.
  • Create an ensemble of whatever instruments students can play. Have they learned recorder in school? Let them show off their skills here. If they know five notes on their band instruments they should be able to work into a piece you arrange for them.
  • Take simple two or three part rounds and have students play each part on piano or other instruments.
  • Let the audience be part of an ensemble with a call and response led by students. Or let all students participate.
  • Another way to let the audience be part of the ensemble is with Wendy Stevens’ Rhythm Cups.

I hope you’re as excited as I am to have a recital of Dynamic Duets and Excellent Ensembles! I thank my sister, Vicky Dresser, for sharing five of her magical music recital ideas. You can read about the other four here:

Really Rad Rock and Roll Recital 

Mickey Mouse Club Musical Review

Family Folk Song Celebration

Make it More than a Recital!

What are your favorite recitals? We’d love to hear! And be sure to post photos on your Music Teachers Helper website. 🙂

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Hi everyone!

Here we are in the 2nd week of Summer. Are you settling into a new pace or routine? Hopefully you’re including time of relaxation in the mix of what you’re doing.

Here are a few quotes on rest to inspire the valuable work that you do…

 

“Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well.”
Louisa May Alcott

 

“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.”
Alan Cohen

 

 

This week we have a few issues to report that have been fixed…
  • The “Set Later” attendance status now properly shows up on the calendar as the attendance not having been set.
  • An overdue invoice notification issue where notifications were sent when a balance wasn’t due has been resolved.
  • An issue where programming code shows up in lessons notes has been fixed.
  • The reschedule lesson feature was creating extra copies of the rescheduled lesson – this is now functioning properly.

 

 

 

Did you know that you can change what screen you see when you first log into Music Teacher’s Helper?

Maybe you’d like to see your calendar as the opening screen, or maybe your lessons.

To change that starting page…

  • Go into your Settings
  • Select the Studio tab
  • Scroll down to the Sitewide Preferences section
  • In the Start Page pulldown, select the page you’d like (choices are Home Page, Students, Calendar, Lessons, Billing and Reports)
  • Finally, click on the green Save Studio Settings button at the bottom of the page

 

To find out about this setting and more, go the Settings Tabs (1 of 7): Studio Tab knowledgebase article

Of course, if you have any questions for us or experience any issues, please reach out to support team at support@musicteachershelper.com.

Enjoy your summer, work, and rest time.

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Hi, everyone. As we head into Summer, we hope you’re enjoying maybe a break from the rigors of the school year, and easing into a relaxed summer lessons schedule. If you have more free time, now is a great time to learn more about some of the features you may not be using in Music Teacher’s Helper – like online billing, or building out your Music Teacher’s Helper website. If you need help, reach out to our support team and they can walk you through some of the basics.

This week we have a few issues to report that have been fixed…

  • A specific parent/student issue where, after entering credit card info and submitting it, the web page returns to the payment screen as if nothing happened – has been resolved.
  • An issue where changing the date of a rescheduled lesson makes the lesson disappear has been resolved
  • An issue where “Ghost” Students keep teachers from changing their plan level has been resolved

 

 

Did you know that you can hide the menu bar in Music Teacher’s Helper when you need to see the content (like the calendar, or a report) on the screen in a wider view?

Just click on the three horizontal lines to the left of your studio name to hide/show the menu bar. Click here to see the knowledge base article on this.

If you have any questions for us or experience any issues, please reach out to support team at support@musicteachershelper.com.

Happy teaching!

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