From the Alfred Music Blog
Read the entire blog here.
From the Alfred Music Blog
Writing for the Alfred Music Blog, David Pope discusses the challenges presented to students, especially middle and high school students, in the age of instant gratification. He presents tips and strategies for engaging and keeping students motivated to persevere.
Read the entire blog here.
By Kristin McGrail
Spanish teacher, wife, mother, and traveler, Kristin McGrail reflects on the universality of the language of music and on how she has used music to help herself and her students to learn foreign languages. Music is universal but also culturally specific and can therefore help in learning about cultures not only through its lyrics and rhythm, but also through its cultural relevance. McGrail discusses the many ways in which music can aid in the classroom as well as in our individual lives as continual learners.
Click here to read Kristin's entire blog.
By Maria Price
Whether or not you celebrate any of the upcoming holidays, the end of the year is a great time to reflect with your student about his or her musical journey so far, and set goals for the year ahead. It may also be a great time to ask if your student is ready and willing to perform for friends and family, to show what pieces they have learned or the progress they have made.
Below is a list of some musical accessories that can greatly enhance your student’s home practice and lesson time. Other items are there just for fun!
I also encourage you to check out local brick-and-mortar music stores like Leonard's, Johnson String, Spencer Brook Strings, and Strike Up the Band. These places have great selections of sheet music and also fun music-themed accessories and gifts. Plus, you’ll be supporting small businesses in your area.
-- ALL INSTRUMENTS --
Lesson Notebook - This is a system that I use with my students. I encourage other students and instructors to give it a try!
I ask all my private lesson students to keep a small notebook like this one in their case. Ideally, it would be small enough to fit in their case or their case pocket. This allows me to write down what we covered in the lesson, and to write down their practice assignment. It is beneficial to me as a teacher, as it allows me to keep track of my students’ progress, and it is beneficial to the students, as they will be able to remember exactly what to work on in the time between lessons. They can also use it to log their own practice time and playing goals. Parents can also check their students’ notebooks to see what they are currently working on. The notebook is also a great place to put stickers, which I use with some of my younger students.
The notebook doesn’t have to be the version in the link above. Any small notebook you have around the house is fine. They can choose one for themselves to make it more personal and fun!
Music Stand - A music stand is extremely important for at-home practice. Many students start with a cheap foldable wire stand, but those can be extremely flimsy and can hardly hold anything more than a few sheets of paper. The stand in the link I’ve given is portable, but also very sturdy. Here is another great option that many of my students use. If you’re looking for a professional-quality music stand, the Manhasset brand will not let you down! (not as portable, although I have brought it in the backseat of my car at times for gigs!)
Electronic Tuner - Great for home practice for all instruments, but especially for strings students who can tune independently, or are learning to tune. This is a solid brand at an inexpensive price. However, if your student has a device he or she regularly uses like a smartphone or tablet, you can download a free tuner app. The one I use is called Tuner Lite by Piascore, but there are many similar ones out there.
Metronome - Essential for all musicians! Playing in time to a steady beat helps with rhythm, temporal awareness, and ensemble skills. While Korg is a very reliable brand, free metronome apps are also widely available for smartphones or tablets. You can also simply Google “Online Metronome.” I use an app called Pro Metronome (Free Edition).
If you like the look of an old-school metronome (which has appeal as a decorative item), you may want to get one like this.
NoteSpeller Books - I highly encourage these books for my private lesson students. They are workbooks that include lots of exercises meant to increase skills of reading music notation. Every week, I assign a few pages from the workbook for the student to fill out. I’ve noticed that it really helps students improve their music reading skills.
NoteSpeller for Violin
NoteSpeller for Viola
NoteSpeller for Trumpet
-- TRUMPET --
Trumpet Stand - This is the best $25 I’ve spent in my 20 years playing trumpet. This fits in the bell of the trumpet and the legs fold out. Students can place their trumpet on the floor during lessons, band rehearsals, or practice time. It avoids students trying to balance the trumpet on its bell (which never stays upright and could lead to a trip to the repair shop to get some dents out!), placing the trumpet on their chair (also a risky move), or on the floor (asking for trouble!)
You can shop around for a better deal if you like, but the brand I recommend is K&M.
This is my #1 recommendation for my trumpet students!
Trumpet Practice Mute - Insert into the bell and the sound is GREATLY reduced. Helpful if your student wants to practice something like scales or fingerings but doesn’t want to disturb anyone.
TRUMPET LESSON BOOKS/SONGBOOKS
(This list is by no means exhaustive. I encourage you and your child to use this as a springboard to find method books or songbooks that work best. I encourage students to have at least one “serious” method book for their lessons and one “fun” book to keep them motivated to play.)
My First Arban’s Book - Best for students in grades 4-8. Great book for scales, exercises, warm-ups, duets, and pieces.
The Arban’s Complete Conservatory Method for Trumpet - THE trumpet book for intermediate to advanced high school students.
The B-flat Real Book - Best suited for high school students who are interested in pursuing jazz seriously
The Big Book of Christmas Songs for Trumpet - for fun! Beginner to Intermediate
Easy Duets from Around the World for Trumpets - Beginner to Intermediate
The Big Book of Disney Songs for Trumpet - Beginner to Intermediate
-- VIOLIN/VIOLA --
Microfiber Cleaning Cloth - After a lesson, rehearsal, or practice session, it’s important to wipe off the violin or viola. Wipe off any sweat from your hands, and also wipe off the rosin from the strings. It’s great to have a cloth like this in your case.
Everest Shoulder Rest - This is my favorite brand of shoulder rest. If you are looking for an upgrade, this is a fantastic brand! Just make sure you get the appropriate size (½, ¾, etc.) Many of their shoulder rests are adjustable, so if you currently have a ¾ size violin, it will be able to adjust to accommodate a full size violin as well.
Bow Hold Buddy - For beginners, or older students who may struggle with bow hold. If your child needs or wants a little extra support with the bow hold, this tool is great! It does require loosening the screw and removing the frog of the bow, so I usually put it on for students during lessons. Otherwise I recommend that it be put on carefully by an adult. Comes in a variety of colors!
BowRight - This device fits onto the violin and helps to keep the bow straight and parallel to the bridge. If your student is struggling with keeping the bow straight, this might be a worthwhile purchase for home practice and developing good habits.
BowRight (¼ - ½ size)
BowRight (¾ - full size)
Practice Mute - a very inexpensive practice mute. Place it over the bridge to dull the sound. This helps to cut down the volume and resonance. Great if your student wants to practice without disturbing other people, or if they are a bit self-conscious about their practicing and want to sound quieter. Note that the link is for a full size (4/4) practice mute.
VIOLIN LESSON BOOKS/SONGBOOKS
For private lessons, I use the Suzuki method. These are great books for developing technique through enjoyable repertoire that gets progressively more challenging. As a supplement, here are some suggestions for developing technique, or just to have some fun with practicing.
(This list is by no means exhaustive. I encourage you and your child to use this as a springboard to find method books or songbooks that work best. I usually encourage students to have at least one “serious” method book for their lessons and one “fun” book)
Easy Violin Duets for Beginner to Intermediate Players
101 Christmas Songs for the Violin (Beginner to Intermediate)
101 Disney Songs for the Violin (Beginner to Intermediate)
101 Hit Songs for the Violin (Beginner to Intermediate)
101 Movie Hits for the Violin (Beginner to Intermediate)
Christmas Melodies for Violin Solo (for Intermediate Players)
Easy Songs for Shifting in the First Five Positions - for students who are learning how to shift on the Violin
Solos for Young Violinists, Volume 1 - for intermediate players
Written by Maria Price, Violin/Viola/Trumpet/Ukulele Instructor at Note-Worthy Experiences.
Is your child considering pursuing a degree in music? Researching music schools can be a daunting task, so the Music Teachers National Association has compiled a list of their recommended music schools to help in your search. From the MTNA: "We hand-picked more than 60 schools from the 1,200 in our data base for a deep-dive into the critical elements making for a great music school experience." Follow the link below for the entire list and more info about the schools.
Berklee School of Music and Grammy Award winning music producer Paul Hoyle details his journey in understanding the key to a producing a Grammy Award willing album: a great song. He says, "In my opinion, the artist should check the songs to be recorded in front of an audience first, to get a real reaction of the people that eventually will buy the music. Sometimes a slight chance of pace in the music makes a big difference." Follow the link below to learn more about Paul's music industry experience and tips:
By Renee Bordner
The retailers have been telling us for weeks that it going to be back to school season soon! Usually, families receive a checklist from the teacher of items needed for the student to be successful throughout the year. These lists are often checked multiple times and the supplies are carefully labeled with each child’s name (in hopes that the child can hang onto the items for the entire year). In our family this ritual of purchasing these supplies and labeling them was a symbol of a fresh start for a new year. One of hope, promise and excitement to start a new adventure.
For most people, they think of crayons, glue, scissors and paper as back to school supplies. At Note-worthy Experiences Music Studio, our back to school supplies also include staff paper, music stands, metronomes, tuners, rosin, cork grease, instrument repairs and even new instruments! We want our musicians to have that same sense of hope, promise and excitement as they dive into new music and or audition for a new role in their band, orchestra or chorus! We want our music student to begin the year with confidence that they can accomplish lofty goals and chase big dreams. Sometimes it might be a new piece of music or a fresh assignment notebook that can spark this energy. However, it can be very challenging for student to keep this excitement going if they are working on a broken, untuned instrument or one that they have outgrown. Please be sure to check in with your child AND your instructor to make sure that they are using the proper instrument for the child to take their music to the next level. Piano students should be working on weighted action digital piano with a pedal or an acoustic piano. Viola, viola and cello students should be working on an instrument that coordinates with their height. Drum students should work with full sets and guitarists should work with a youth or full-sized guitar. In some situations, it is more cost effective to rent an instrument until the child reaches the full-sized instrument size and level. Our instructors can assist in answering many of your questions about which instruments and other supplies to consider adding for your musician.
Incidentally, while I was writing this post, I received this from Steinert’s piano. Please feel free to use this certificate for a deal on the purchase or rental of a piano. https://msteinert.com/note-worthy/.
Choosing repertoire for competitions can be tricky, and requires a different criterion than choosing repertoire for auditions and juries/examinations. It is important to first understand the difference the requirements for competitions versus the requirements for auditions and juries. Where juries and auditions are geared towards evaluating the skills and technique or the student, competitions also look for the virtuosity and performance quality of the musician or student. The below article from the Music Lesson Resources website covers everything you need to know about choosing repertoire for competitions. Follow the link below:
By Suzanna Parpos
Note-worthy Experiences guitar mom Suzanna Parpos recently published an opinion piece in Wicked Local - Framingham in which she discusses three items that have impacted her life. One of these items is the guitar that she bought 17 years ago and which her son now plays on. Suzanna explores what these items would say if they could speak for themselves. Her touching story shows the impact they can have on our lives and the formation of our own stories. Click the link below to read the entire piece.
The 2019 Senior and Honors occurred on May 11. 2019, featuring the studio's graduating seniors and the 2019 scholarship competition winners. A huge thank you to Stuart Beeby Photography for providing the wonderful photography service for the Senior and Honors Recital! Please see below for some highlights from the recital.
Recitals photos may be viewed and purchased here.
By Renee Bordner
By now, all of us have heard that having a child study music helps them to become well rounded and score better on standardized tests. Some of you have heard that studying music can delay or prevent dementia and memory related conditions. However, did you know why and how these are all inter related? Did you know that studying music can be an energy boost and increase multi tasking skills? This article was sent to me by my friend Deb Beck, the Chief Creative Rabbit at BigBunny Marketing. The article explains how studying music positively impacts our brains. So you can now skip the energy drinks, sudoku and SAT prep courses to study music instead. The "side effect" is having terrific live music fill your home.
Note-worthy Experiences Music Studio LLC, located in Sudbury, Massachusetts, provides private in-home music lessons to students of all ages in the Boston MetroWest area including Concord, Wayland, Weston, Wellesley, Newton, Lincoln, Lexington, Sudbury, and Boston. Contact us at 978.443.0480 or email@example.com
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