Posts

Showing posts from June, 2020

What's on My Music Stand?

Image
Summer is a time to unwind a bit and have fun exploring music that makes us happy. And since I have been encouraging students to play through favorites, I thought I'd give you a glimpse into some of my soothing favorites that have been on my music stand lately.

As we all know, the past few months have been hard, weird and overwhelming. We also know that the arts and music can be really valuable as a way of emotional relief or shelter, or to work out some of those harder feelings. I've been sharing some music on my personal instagram page to connect with friends and bring peaceful little breaks from the news cycle into their routines. These are just casual, spur of the moment videos, and they are what I've sharing with you today. 

Merry Go Round of Life by Joe Hisaishi
This is the main theme from one of my favorite Studio Ghibli movies Howl's Moving Castle, which happens to be based on my favorite book of the same title written by Diana Wynne Jones. It's a happy little…

Go To for Popular Music - FM Sheet Music

Image
Anyone who's followed the studio for a while will know that I love to arrange music for my students on request. However, sitting down to arrange a piece of popular music with a specific level in mind, while retaining enough of the song's elements that it sounds right and is still fun to play can sometimes be time consuming. Some weeks, I simply don't have the time to dedicate to arranging and engraving (typing notation) music. On those weeks, enter Jennifer Eklund over at FM Sheet Music. I'm not affiliated with FM Sheet Music in any way, it's just a resource I've come to really appreciate, so I'm sharing about it. Especially as I know students sometimes like to look up and download new pieces on their own, and if that's you, this may be a good place to start. 

So there are lots of places online to buy digital sheet music you can print at home of popular works. Why is FM Sheet Music becoming my go-to? Here's what I like about it. 

The arrangements are …

Playing Note Rush on Zoom

Image
As you all know, we got to explore a full-time online studio the last 6 weeks of our school year session, and one of my favorite techy things that we managed to do was to use our sight reading apps on the iPads over Zoom in real time. Here's how we managed it: 


First, Open the Note Rush app on the iPad.

Second, Screenshare the iPad in Zoom using Airplay, be sure to 'share computer audio' so the student can hear the little 'dings' when they get the note correct. 

Then, choose your level and start the round! The student begins playing the notes they see in the screenshare. The iPad *should* pick up the computer sound and register the notes correct or not, but here are a couple things to try if it doesn't. 
Make sure your computer volume is all the way up & position the iPad so the mic is closer to the computer if it's not already. Watch what the student plays, and play along with them on your instrument. This way if the audio blips, or the iPad doesn't re…

Musical Summer Reading Recommendations

Image
It has become something of a summertime tradition that I put together a list of some favorite children's books that involve music or art. As a former children's bookseller for 12 years at Vromans bookstore, books and literacy will always be special to me. And in the summertime I like the idea of letting go of some of the structure and looking at the value of what we learn during the year with some fresh eyes. So, without any further ado, here is this year's list.
Picture Books


I See a Song by Eric Carle
This book features a musician and his violin. As he plays the instrument, a world of colors and shapes grows on the page. This is the perfect book for stimulating a young artists' imagination and artistic sensibilities. Recommended ages 3-6.


My First Classical Music Book by Genevieve Helsby
The cool thing about this book is that it is available as a physical book, or as an app. You can grab both to use in tandem, or either one individually, and let your piano kid explore the…

Lord of the Chords - game review!

Image
Sometime last year our studio contributed to a kickstarter for a tabletop card came called 'Lord of the Chords', and several months later received our physical copy of the game. Not too long after that I scheduled a game night with a couple local music teachers so we could get the hang of game play before implementing this game in our teaching. Today I'm writing up a short review of Lord of the Chords, and how I look forward to implementing it in lessons. 

A short sum-up of game play: You try to build chords, and when you've built a chord in the chosen key signature, you get that key signature tile. Whoever gets 3 tiles first wins. It sounds fairly simple, but there's lots of fun strategy opportunities built in like 7th steals, and action cards that create all kinds of surprises as you go along. Also, when you first sit down to play, you look through the instrument cards and decide which one you'd like to be. Each instrument offers different advantages specific …