Showing posts from November, 2019

Technique & Avoiding Repetitive Stress Injuries

Going into this discussion of repetitive stress injuries, I want to take a second to re-frame the way we think of playing a music instrument. I think for a lot of us who may not regularly play, sitting down to play an instrument seems like a relaxing, somewhat sedentary activity. And while there is a calming element to playing beautiful music, I would argue that it's more our mood or spirit that feels the calm, while our bodies are very engaged in the fine motor movements that make the music. A colleague of mine from the McPherson Area Piano Teachers' League describes playing an instrument as being a 'fine motor athlete.' And that is exactly how I want us to frame our thinking as we head into a discussion about technique.  I think to some extent most of us can understand the importance of learning proper form when playing a sport so as to avoid injury. We need to to do the same with learning to play an instrument. So my first two tips are going to be about form: 

"Here Come the High Notes" Book Review

I've recently received our studio copy of a brand new picture book that puts teaching the treble clef notes into a story format, it's called Here Come the High Notes and is written by Marin Marka, illustrated by Alexandra Tatu.  I am looking forward to using this book in lessons, especially with my preschool and primer students, as a way to both introduce and familiarize the treble staff. Learning note reading takes time, and the directional reading and abstract thinking required for music notation can be difficult for younger learners. This is why I use so many resources that gamify this skill. And with the addition of this book to our studio library, we can start putting the treble notes into the context of a story as well! One thing that I enjoyed in this book is that each note is given a little bit of personality that comes into play as they choose their place on the staff. This helps differentiate them without weighing down the story with too much detail. The book d

2019 Fall Video Recital

Welcome to our Fall 2019 Online Video Recital! Thank you for tuning in.  Over the past month or so, piano students have been working hard both at home and in the studio on their recital selections, and once a piece was prepared we would grab a video for this online performance. What you'll watch below is a compilation of all those collected videos. This online format for our first recital of the school year provides a lower stress performance opportunity, while still providing the essential practice in working a piece up to a performance level. It also provides a way for all of Dawn's Piano students, in McPherson and online around the country, to participate in a recital together. And I especially really like this format is because it's perfect to share with out of town friends and family who want to cheer on your piano kid but might not be able to attend a traditional recital setting.  Parents, friends and family, thank you for supporting your piano kids on t