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 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 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.
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.
Music educator and profession development specialist Michael Griffin discusses the misunderstood idea of talent, its intersection with hard work, and whether or not it is a genetic phenomenon. The "learning mindset" vs. the "talent mindset" can lead to drastically different results in students, and although each individual's perception and environment affect these outcomes, reliance on talent can lead to a decrease of effort he argues. Click here to read the full article by Michael Griffin.
For more music education and professional development please visit professional-development.com.au/
Note-worthy Experiences Music Studio LLC, located in Sudbury, Massachusetts, provides private in-home and online/virtual 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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