Showing posts from October, 2017

Snowfall - Winter Piano Collection

Some new sheet music! Those of you who have followed the blog the last few months will know that I've branched out into selling sheet music. Here is my newest release, just in time for the winter season! Snowfall, is a collection of 5 wintry piano solos for late beginner or early intermediate pianists. Each solo is in a different style that will bring some variety to winter recitals capturing both the cold, tranquil quality of the winter season and the fun and joy of the holidays. For an individual student, playing through the entire collection would provide practice in a variety of stylistic techniques. And for more creatively inclined students, two of the pieces (Hot Cocoa Blues & Snow Flurries) have optional improvisational sections. You know how we love to provide those avenues for creativity! Snowfall is available in both Single User & Studio Licensed formats. Preview the music with the player below or by clicking on a purchasing option.  Preview &a

What to Do With Little Ones at a Concert - Plus Free Concert!

 Looking for something to do on a Friday night in Pasadena? The Pasadena Community Orchestra has another concert coming up and it has a terrific looking program.  You can see the concert description here . First the basics:  When: Friday, November 10th at 8:00pm Where: Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene This is one of those perfect triple threats: Fun, Free & Educational. The Church of the Nazarene has  a very large auditorium and balcony seating, so even if you have younger kids and would like to show up for as much or as little of the show as they can handle, you can choose balcony seating, and not worry about disrupting the concert! I am planning to attend, so if you do come, please let me know! (I wouldn't recommend this for under 5's, especially as it is later in the evening, but older students would most definitely benefit.) And -insert drumroll- here is the program! The show will start with a bang with the epic Fanfare for the Common Man by Copland

What, Why & How of Playing Lead Sheets

Have you ever wished that you could be more creative with your interpretation of a piece of music? Or that you didn't have to learn every single note perfectly from a score to enjoy playing a favorite song from the radio? For beginning and intermediate students learning how to sight read, these can be fairly common feelings and frustrations. And there is a ready answer: Lead Sheets! So before we get into how these work, let's talk some lingo. In my mind, paper music is divided into 3 basic types: Sheet Music - traditional music on the grand staff with full, classical notation.  Chord Charts - lyrics & chord symbols only.  Lead Sheets - treble staff with melody, lyrics if applicable & chord symbols. This is the one we'll be exploring today. You can see an example of a lead sheet of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" here . Now that we're on the same page, we can talk about why I love lead sheets as a teaching tool so much.  Sight Reading :

What's on My Music Stand?

Any other Stephen Universe fans out there? Kevin and I really enjoyed watching the first 3 seasons of this show together once it popped up on Hulu, and by about the third episode my fingers were positively itching to play through the end credit theme. One of the things that I really enjoy about Rebecca Sugar's shows (Adventure Time, Stephen Universe etc.) is how they incorporate music. Music that is spontaneous, simple, heartfelt and catchy. But by their nature, these songs are often better suited to ukulele or guitar accompanying vocals, so this was one of the first times I heard the potential for a real piano solo I would really enjoy playing. (Quick side note: if your piano kid is a little Cartoon Network fan who watches Stephen Universe, I highly recommend this book that teaches you to play the music from the first season, and gives you tips on creating your own original songs.) Now, one thing you should know about me, waltzes are kinda my jam. I made my dad lear

Anticipation & the Most Addicting Sheep Game

Looking for a new app to mix up your practice routine? Want to improve your rhythm and hand-eye coordination? If you said yes, get ready to get hooked, because this article is all about The Most Addicting Sheep Game.  A constant theme in piano lessons is anticipation. Some days I feel like a broken record because I'm always reminding students to think ahead. One of the very real cognitive hurdles of playing the piano is that you have to be reading several steps ahead so you know where you're going while maintaining the music you are already playing. This is definitely an acquired skill that is not easy, and requires a lot of what neurologists call "regulation." It can also be a very difficult concept to explain to young students, and sometimes even harder to implement. The good news is there are a lot of tools we can use to build this ability naturally, to train the brain into regulating tempo and wiring hand-eye coordination to match it. And many of these trai