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.
By Margie Meacham
Pythagoras, Greek philosopher and mathematician, is recognized for discovering the relationship between the length of a string on an instrument and the pitch that the string produces. He believed that this correlation was part of a harmonic relationship that connects everything in the universe, which he called “The Music of the Spheres.” While Pythagoras didn’t have the benefit of today’s brain imaging technology, he just may have been right.
Music May Be Our Native Language
Multiple studies in neuroscience and psychology suggest that infants demonstrate an innate ability to respond to music and suggest that, from a processing perspective, “spoken language is a special type of music.” Anthropology suggests that human language and music have a “shared evolutionary history,” demonstrating that as human language evolved, our musical expression evolved along similar lines. This observation originated with Darwin, who suggested that the first humans may have communicated in song, rather than in spoken language as we know it today.
It All Starts With Vibration
Vibration generates waves of high and low compression. Human brains interpret waves that fall between 20 to 20,000 Hz as sound. The vibration, typically carried by the air, enters our ear, eventually stimulates the auditory nerve, which sends a signal to the brain. Here’s where the fun begins: the more generalized sounds that we experience throughout the day are processed primarily in the auditory cortex, where specialized neurons have been tuned to specific frequencies through experience.
But music isn’t just a single sound; it’s a complex weaving of sounds, mixed with rhythm and sometimes language. Using brain imaging technologies, including fMRI and PET scans, neuroscientists have discovered that music engages multiple parts of the brain:
It is this powerful, widespread, and instantaneous effect on multiple parts of the brain that may explain the powerful ways that engaging with music enhances seemingly diverse brain functions. Playing a musical instrument enhances key cognitive functions, including problem solving, memory, planning, attention to detail, and emotional intelligence. Perhaps the best example of how frequent, disciplined playing of music affects these skills is Albert Einstein, who was an accomplished violist and often played his instrument to sort out difficult problems. Listen to just how accomplished he was in this rare recording of him performing.
Our Brains Are Predicting the Next Note.
During our workshop, Essentials of Brain-Based Learning, we investigate the predictive power of the human brain. This predictive capacity is believed to be a key factor in our survival as individuals and as a species. It also is a key part of the learning process and explains why stories are so powerful for engaging learners and changing behavior.
Your brain is constantly performing complex predictive calculations, based on sensory information and memories of experience. This pattern recognition plays out in our ability to read music and convert the written notes into specific movements of our bodies that generate sounds at specific pitches, volumes, durations, and rhythms. Even an untrained brain responds almost immediately to music and begins to predict the next note before it is even played. Watch artist Bobby McFerrin demonstrate how his audience predicts the next note in his performance without prompting.
Applications for Talent Development
As talent development professionals, we need to broaden our view of music and think of it as a core information processing skill, rather than an aesthetic “nice to have” pastime. Engaging with music can help your audience:
Margie Meacham is an adult learning expert with a master of science in learning technologies and more than 15 years of experience in the field. A self-described “scholar-practitioner,” Margie collaborates with like-minded instructional designers to find practical applications of neuroscience to instructional design. You can follow Margie on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter or visit her website at www.learningtogo.info.
By Renee Bordner
Attention all students, parents and instructors!
Are you interested in increasing your productivity? Are you interested in increasing your happiness and personal satisfaction? While I cannot make you more productive, efficient, or happy I can help you learn a little bit more about yourself and your way of thinking.
Carol Dweck's research has been out for several years. A few years ago, all of the local public school faculty members were asked to read her book AND attend training workshops. Teachers and coaches around the globe are talking about growth versus fixed mindset.
Personally, I truly believe that Carol Dweck's philosophies on Growth and Fixed Mindsets are accurate. One could say it is like the old saying, "Bloom where you are planted" but add your own fertilizer!
I read and listen to a lot of material about how to motivate and inspire students. I found this video today and I just wanted to share it with you. I like this one as it is shorter than many, it is animated AND it has a music example in it.
If you find this video useful, check out more information about Ms. Dweck's research. If you find another resource that you find helpful please share it with me as I enjoy learning about teaching, motivating and inspiring others.
Renee Bordner is the Studio Director of Note-worthy Experiences Music Studio, the Chair of the Sudbury chapter of the National Piano Guild, and a private piano instructor.
By Renee Bordner
Do you use a metronome when you practice?
Are you afraid to use a metronome?
Do you know how to use a metronome?
Are you using the correct metronome for you?
Over the past 12 years I have been asked countless questions about how to use a metronome, what type to buy, etc. I encourage students to try a variety of metronomes and to start with free metronome apps that are available on most smartphones and tablets. Some students prefer a flashing light and in the case of percussion students they may need a flashing light. Other students prefer to see the swinging pendulum in their peripheral vision. Yet some students prefer a dog barking sound versus a click or beep!
When using a metronome for practice, I do not expect for a student to use it for every piece assigned every day. Sometimes I have students only use it for their warm ups so they can practice steady beats. Other times I have students use a metronome to keep a consistent tempo in a challenging piece. I believe that it is important to play a piece correctly without a metronome as most performers do not perform with a metronome on stage.
Here is a terrific video on how to use the metronome correctly when practicing any instrument at home. Included in this video are some tips of things to avoid when practicing with a metronome. Enjoy the video and happy practicing!
Renee is the studio director of Note-worthy Experiences, the chair of the Sudbury Chapter of the National Piano Guild, and a private piano instructor.
On Sunday, March 24th, eight student musicians competed for a $250 scholarship at Note-worthy Experiences. Five of the musicians take lessons outside of Note-worthy Experiences.
Students performed on a variety of instruments including flute, trumpet, bassoon, cello and piano. Each student performed four pieces live in front of our panel of three judges. Our 2019 Live & Final Round of Judges were Daniel Beilman, Noah Dresser, and Matt Savage.
Prior to this final round, thirty students submitted two recorded pieces for our panel of judges to review. Our 2019 Recorded Round judges were Francois-Paul Aiche, Chris Oh, Maria Price and Renee Bordner.
Our 2019 Winner was Miss Ariel who performed on her flute.
If you are interested in hearing the finalists and winner perform, please join us for our Honors & Senior Recital on May 11th at 5 pm. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details and tickets.
By Pamela Jordan of PurpleTempo.com
Learning a worthwhile skill with potentially life-long benefits (like playing a musical instrument) can take a lot of effort and be a kind of marathon.
How do we actually achieve it?
Given we all have 24 hours in every day and 365 days in every year, how do we decide what to do in that time to take us to our dream?
Some of us don’t decide and perhaps by default prefer to allow life to happen around us and float along.
Whether we do or don’t is everyone’s choice.
What if though, we do decide and purposefully channel ourselves in that direction?
What if we decide to grab life by the collar and declare what we want to experience?
What if we set the intention to fully live, and have what we dream of?
The impact on our quality of life could be quite dramatic.
And, the impact on our children?
There is a school of thought that says children learn what they live.
This makes a lot of sense to me.
If a child lives in a household with parents who are making choices for their lives, setting goals and achieving them, and allowing them to witness the process and harvest of that, what impact might it have on their future?
So now, back to those pesky only 24 hours in every day.
Many of us want to cram far too much into our lives.
I am certainly guilty of that.
The fact is we can’t do everything all at once, no matter how much we might want to.
We have to learn to prioritise.
Declare to myself that I want this more than that.
Allow some things to go undone, untried, untested.
Say no to others and to myself when a possibility presents itself that is not aligned with how I want to experience my life and future.
Accept this offer and reject that offer. Not always easy.
When I do this, although it can be excruciating at the time, the rewards that come from it can be beautiful and bountiful!
development of my character
trust in myself
For kids to navigate the ‘marathon’ they need to learn how to prioritise and stay on track.
They will be distracted by many many things along the way, just like us.
It takes time and practise to learn, and it takes a lot of effort by parents.
And it is well worth the effort.
Motivation for the child comes through witnessing the rewards gained by their parents and friends, then having the internal experience of “I WANT THAT”. Then they will be on board with the effort. Once they experience the self-respect that comes with achieving what they want (begin with smaller easier things to achieve) they will become more and more hooked on the process. It will make their life much more exciting ultimately. At least that has been my experience.
Yes some people have levels of passion and purpose and directness of vision that they are able to do this without training it seems. Other people need to work on it.
Which kind are you? Is your child the same?
How might your child be taught to prioritise appropriate to their character and abilities?
I wonder what the best version of you and your child might be?
If there is something substantial to achieve to make your life come alive, then mastering the art of a priority becomes essential.
Pamela Jordon is a graduate of Qld Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane and is an experienced Teacher Mentor with a demonstrated history of working in the music industry. She is skilled in Coaching, Classroom Management, Piano, Flute, Workshop Facilitation, and Pedagogy.
For more stories by Pamela Jordan www.PurpleTempo.com.au/blog
By Renee Bordner
Piano Guild Auditions are something that we offer our piano students each spring. Each year, I am asked by students, parents and even some teachers many questions about it. I am always happy to answer any and all questions as I want students to make an informed decision about participating.
There is a fair amount of information available on the website and a great deal of information available in the Guild Syllabus. However, I am going to attempt to sum up this information for students, parents and instructors here.
I have prepared students for Piano Guild for many years in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, I was the Co-Chair of the Concord Center for a period of time before creating a Sudbury Chapter in 2017. The Center Chairperson is responsible for securing the location of the auditions. I have elected to host the auditions at our studio in my home. This also means that instructors from outside of our studio are also welcome to bring their students to our audition center which does occur each year.
Students of all ages and stages may participate in the auditions. The student may register to play one to twenty pieces for the Judge. A student must register in advance with an instructor who is a Guild Member who submits the payment and registration card to Headquarters. Once the Guild Fee is submitted to Headquarters, it is non refundable. If a student wishes to change the skill level or number of pieces he or she is playing, there is a $10 fee to receive an updated certificate / report card. Headquarters will assign the dates and times that each instructor is allotted to have students perform for the Judge. The teacher is then responsible for communicating with the students and parents about the assigned dates and times. The scheduling department at Headquarters assigns the Judge to adjudicate at a center. The same judge cannot return to a center for three years.
According to the syllabus and website,
"The Piano Guild, as we are called (a division of the American College of Musicians), was founded in 1929 by Dr. Irl Allison. Since that time, the Guild has grown to more than 850 audition centers where thousands of students enroll annually in our international auditions, which are held throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Our primary function is to establish definite goals and awards--in noncompetitive auditions--for students of all levels, from the earliest beginner to the gifted prodigy. With the exception of our "special" programs, teachers have the flexibility to choose all repertoire for student auditions. Students are judged on individual merit, by a well-qualified music professional, in the areas of accuracy, continuity, phrasing, pedaling, dynamics, rhythm, tempo, tone, interpretation, style, and technique. Our purpose is to encourage growth and enjoyment through the study of piano."
"Students are adjudicated by an international panel of judges and receive report cards, certificates, and fraternity pins. Programs are diversified to meet the needs of both students and teachers. Programs are flexible and include repertoire as well as technical goals (musicianship phases)."
Guild offers students the opportunity to perform in front of one judge versus a large audience and or a panel of judges in a large university like setting. Each student receives a score and comment card full of constructive feedback. The scores are not posted or public. Students can compete with him or herself year after year to improve the score, increase the level of difficulty of pieces and or the number of pieces performed. This a format for students and instructors to set measurable and attainable goals each year. I often explain this to parents and child care givers by equating this to a third party audit. It is a platform for students to receive constructive feedback to help the student to improve. It is a great stepping stone for students who wish to explore other graded systems, competitions and festivals. Guild welcomes both the students who study piano for recreation and leisure as well as the students who intend to major or minor in music.
This year, I will be conducting a Piano Guild Prep workshop for our students. Details will be in our monthly newsletters. This workshop is designed for both students who are new to the Guild process and to students who are seasoned members.
I would be honored to answer any additional questions about Piano Guild, if I do not know the answer, I will find the answer for you. Best wishes in your musical adventures.
Renee Bordner is the owner of Note-worthy Experiences Music Studio and became a member of the Piano Guild Hall of Fame in 2019.