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Showing posts from October, 2019

Lifelong Benefits of Music Study

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This post is a huge pat on the back for all of you studio parents who are giving your kids the benefits of a music education. There is always new research being published about the positive effects music education has on brain health. In this post, I'll be sharing two studies that illustrate both the immediate academic advantages of practicing and instrument and the long-term role that music study can play in protecting the brain from effects of aging.

The first study I'll be sharing is a large-scale study performed by Peter Gouzouasis at the University of British Columbia. In his research he compared the academic test scores of high school students who had studied music in elementary school, and continued to study it in high school, with those of their peers who had not. The findings were that across the board, regardless of socioeconomic factors, teens who had studied a musical instrument not only scored higher than their non-musical peers, but were on average 1 year ahead o…

Perfect Pitch

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Have you ever wondered what it's like to have perfect pitch? Or what perfect pitch even means? Do you suspect your piano kid might have it? How do we, as parents or teachers, train and equip young musicians who have this tool in their toolbelt to use it effectively? If you're curious about any of these questions, you'll want to check out this recent episode of the Piano Parent Podcast where Shelly hosted a Teacher Chat with two piano teachers who have perfect pitch. They discussed the benefits and challenges, as well as some teaching and home practice strategies for these students.  

You can listen to that full episode here, and if you want to know what some of my big takeaways were, read on below: 



I've been teaching for 13 years now, and have definitely had a few students in that time with some degree of perfect pitch. A few of the things that teachers Cheryl Reeder & Brianne Lundberg shared really made sense to me. 

First, perfect pitch is something of a spectrum, …

Pianovember Practice Challenge

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As I announced at the beginning of the year, instead of doing a year-long practice challenge this time, we are trying 4 short one-month practice challenges spread throughout this school year. I like to think of this as something like running intervals: we will do some short sprints with the month challenges, and we'll also have some time slow down to a walk to breathe in between. So, what's coming up next? Well, we wrapped up the "Fall Into Music" challenge in September, and our next one is going to start up in November when we'll be joining Pianovember hosted by the Piano Parent Podcast

In this practice challenge, students get one point every time they practice a song outside of lessons. Each student will need to keep track of tallies during their practice sessions each time they play a song, and at your lessons we will update the total tallies on the studio chart. 

But it doesn't stop there because this practice challenge is also global! This means at the e…

Open Piano Week

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During the first couple weeks of our Fall term, I had several students who were very interested in (and somewhat distracted by) the moving parts in the piano while they played their music. So I decided that during the final week of August, we'd have an "Open Piano Week" here in the studio. During lessons that week, the lid on the studio's baby grand was lifted and each lesson included in introduction to what goes on under the lid when we play music. Students had some great questions and observations, and were so engaged that I think for next school year, we will dedicate our first Piano Party to a detailed look at how the piano works!  So here's what we learned as we identified all the tiny moving parts that work together to make music when we strike the piano's keys: Strings - these are often the first things students noticed as we looked under the lid. We discussed how most of the notes on the piano have 3 strings that ring together, except at the lower regis…