Spring Recital 2014 is on June 7 at 2pm

 

Our Spring Recital will be June 7, 2014 at 2pm
June 7 at 2pm, Park Slope Library

I’m looking forward to our upcoming Spring Music Recital on June 7 at 2pm.  It will be in our usual location, the auditorium of the Park Slope branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.

We have a great program of diverse music from folk classics to Suzuki standards to pop songs from Katy Perry, Imagine Dragons, One Republic, jazz standards in the style of Frank Sinatra and film and Broadway soundtracks all played by kids ages 5 to 13.

The show is free and open to the public.   You can see previous recital videos here.

Also, if you haven’t already signed up your child for summer lessons, I have some openings for our short summer session which runs 4 weeks in July from the 7th to 31st.   More info.

I’m also offering music lessons via internet (Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts) over the summer and into the Fall too.  This may be a good opportunity to continue practicing whilst at Grandma’s house.

Music lessons for Summer 2014


Summer Music lessons for kids in Park Slope Brooklyn Summer is usually the best opportunity for new students to join my private music studio.  Once you are on my roster, if the fit is good for teacher, student and parents, I will make every effort to accommodate you on the school year schedule.  I am incredibly grateful to have so many students who stay with me for years. This summer,  I will be offering private and limited group lessons beginning July 7. Music lessons:

  • Monday through Thursday 10am to 5:30pm.
  • July 7 through 31, 2014
  • Lesson are  $57 per half hour with an additional materials fee of $20 for the summer.

You can sign up for once per week or even 4 times per week for a super accelerated learning experience. The summer is a time for renewal, recharging and having some fun along with learning.  With that in mind, I’ve designed a few summer fun-tastic ways to learn basics of music, ukulele, guitar, piano or songwriting.  These music lessons are usually private, but I can accommodate small groups.  See below.

  • For ages 4 to 5, I highly recommend starting with piano and basic music theory in a weekly 30 minute private lesson.
  • For ages 6-7, especially if you have had some prior experience with music instruction, we can work on guitar, ukulele, recorder, piano, songwriting etc.
  • For ages 8 and up, we can usually move much quicker and move into pop songs, Broadway, blues and basic jazz.
  • Group discounts are available – if you know of other children the same age and experience level, I can accommodate up to 4 children for group lessons.

If you are interested, you can register here.  I will discuss specific scheduling with you.

You can now take  virtual lessons with me using Skype or FaceTime or Google Hangouts.

Roar, by Katy Perry, easy guitar chords

Easy sheet music for Roar, by Katy Perry
Hand drawn sheet music is more fun to read – notice the stick notation

This is very popular with  my guitar students.  It’s funny, I have recently acquired a bunch of young girl rockers who have switched or added guitar to their musical instrument repertoire and this is one of those songs that resonates with everyone.

It seems the new style of songwriting is to use the same harmonic structure, meaning the chords, over and over again.  The only difference between the verses and choruses are in melody, rhythm or the buildup in the production.

I use stick notation with all my students and it really helps them understand rhythms separate from pitch. Here’s a good overview of how I present rhythm using stick notation.

Enjoy the hand drawn sheet music!  Notice the CAPO is on the 3rd fret if you want to stay in the same key as the original recording.

Here’s a video of Melina performing at our Winter Recital on January 25, 2014.

Fun with Music Games For Learning Theory – Summer group classes

Summer Music Lessons 2013.

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I still have some availability for my Fun With Music Games for Learning Theory classes.  There is no prior experience necessary (for the beginner class) and it’s guaranteed to make music learning fun and memorable.

You know kids love games!  They instantly perk up at the slightest mention.  I so wish my music teachers knew about making games out of music theory.  It’s the fastest, funnest and most enjoyable way to learn some very abstract concepts.

In my private music lessons, I always use a game for the theory stuff.  Usually it’s just me and your child.

This summer, I’ve dedicated 2 afternoons for Music Games days – Tuesdays  for beginners and Thursdays for advanced.  This will let us enjoy the fun of a group playing the games – and learning at the same time. These classes are open to my current students as well as new ones who may have never even played an instrument.  No matter, it will be fun for all.

 

Music Theory can be fun when it's a game!
These girls are “thinking in thirds!”

What Are Music Games?

  • Here’s the core of what we’ll be learning through the fun and magic of games.  Advanced students will touch on these but go further faster.
  • Music alphabet – 7 letters – sequencing backwards, forwards, up, down and then skipping in intervals.  These girls are “thinking in thirds.”
  • Line and space notes – Learning the differences
  • Rhythm with Blue Jello words and symbols
  • Dictation – using numbers for pitches, developing listening skills
  • Solfege with Curwen hand signs – then Melodic Dictation and Melodic Bingo using solfege.
  • Grand staff – treble and bass clefs, pitch names, intervals
  • chords
  • And lots more!

I still have a few openings for both Beginner and Advanced.  Please note these are small groups of 6 students, so it will be fun for all!

Learning Rhythm using Stick Notation and Hand Signs. Plus really fun to say words!

 

Mark Your Calendars

Here’s the dates:

Tuesday Beginners – 4pm to 5:15pm ($45/each student/class)

July 9, 16, 23, 30 and Aug 6

Thursday Advanced – 4pm to 5:15pm ($45/each student/class)

July 11, 18, 25 and Aug 1, 8

Please contact me know if you are interested as soon as possible.

 

Teaching Kids How To Read Music Using Solfège, Hand Signs & Kinesthetic Learning

Learning Solfege with Curwen Hand Signs

Teaching young kids to read music is quite a challenge.  I approach through a long process of micro-steps.  It’s the reverse of peeling an onion.  It’s a layering technique of building up from tiny kernels of understanding, expanding outwards. The first lessons are always performance focused – get them excited about playing a song!  It’s fun and within reach to play a song in 5 minutes!  That is so awesome! Then over the course of many lessons, we explore basic concepts of music theory through a series of games.  One of these “games” is learning solfeggio (Italian pronunciation), also known as solfège (French pronunciation).  This is the system of pitches with words that was created in the eleventh century by a Benedictine monk, Guido de Arezzo.    

To make it easier, I always look for ways to engage other learning modalities besides visual or aural.  In this case, an Englishman by the name of John Curwen did this work in the 1800s by creating a system of hand signs to go with the solfège system.   This engages the brain to have another way of remembering these pitches.  Kids love it and it certainly is fun! Another great educator (and composer) the Hungarian Zoltan Kodàly took these hand signs and made it easier by associating a height with each sign to correlate the rising of the pitch with each syllable. In my lessons, I teach my students using 2 hands to make it even easier as it balances both left brain and right brain.  Plus it’s easier and more fun!  Did I mention that fun is important? I created a printout for my students that features…them(!) – to help remember these. You can download this here. Get Download

Learning Solfege with Curwen Hand Signs
Solfege is fun!

  Hopefully we’ll all be singing and signing at our next recital. Here’s a video from another teacher (who also produces wonderful educational tools which I use and heartily recommend.)   After internalizing these pitches and then connecting them with notes on the staff, reading music becomes connected with the aural, visual and kinesthetic.  It has become much easier to move into any standard method book after a few weeks of this.   [button link=”http://themusicolormethod.com/blog/” type=”big” newwindow=”yes”] Click here for more music teaching tips[/button]   http://youtu.be/zCbDD5kfp-g

Summer 2012 Music Lessons still available

If you are interested in piano, guitar, strumstick, ukelele, voice, songwriting and music theory lessons this summer, there are still slots available.  The summer lesson schedule runs 6 weeks from July 9 through August 16 Monday through Thursdays.  There are morning and afternoon sessions.  Lessons are $60 each or $330 for the full 6 weeks.

Contact me if you are interested.

Winter Semester for Music Lessons

The Fall semester is fast coming to an end with the last lesson on Saturday November 20, 2010. We’ll have a break for Thanksgiving with the new Winter session starting Tuesday November 30, 2010 and running until Saturday February 19, 2010.

The cost for the new semester is $550 with an early bird discount of $50 if paid before November 15, 2010.

There will be no lessons the week of

* December 24 – January 2 – Winter Holiday Recess

If you are not currently studying with me, space is extremely limited, but you may register on the waiting list here.

How To Teach Rhythm to Beginning Music Students

Teaching rhythm using stick notation & hand signs

I’ve been teaching how to count rhythm to most of my students using Michiko Yurko’s genius method of naming note values with easy and fun to say words.  I highly recommend her book Music Mind Games for all music teachers and home-schoolers and interested parents..

  • For example, a one beat (quarter note) is called BLUE.
  • Two eighth notes are called  JELLO.
  • An eighth note triplet, where the three notes are played in one beat is PINEAPPLE.
  • And four sixteenth notes is HUCKLEBERRY.
This is so much more fun and easier to remember than when I was in school learning, “one -eee- and – ah.”

Practice counting the beats of any song you already know and other new ones as well.  It becomes a much easier task to learn a new piece if you have internalized the rhythm already and can then focus on the pitches and fingering.
This past week, I did just that by having several of my students learn “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” by first counting out the song in this Blue Jello way.  Then, by teaching the distinct hand signals for each, which adds another level of kinesthetic learning, I played the melody while the student counted out the piece.  After 3 or 4 times, the melody and rhythm are so ingrained, that playing it on the instrument becomes just a minor technical matter.  It’s already in the body, brain and ear!  The results?  Everyone learned much, much faster and without the stumbling and frustration.
A book I recently read describes the importance of communication using multiples levels of engagement.  Made To Stick, by brothers Chip & Dan Heath, is a NY Times Bestseller and popular among business and marketing types, but is equally usable by teachers and parents.  Anyone, looking to make their ideas “stick” can benefit.  So one of the main principles of the book is  the concept of CONCRETIZATION.  By making abstract concepts concrete, giving a physical nature to the abstract, it makes it easier to grasp.  So by adding hand signs to the funny words for each note, we add another layer of concretization.  By saying it aloud, making the hand gesture and using the Blue Jello words, we are creating a unique kinesthetic experience of what was just quarter notes, eighth notes, half notes and whole notes.
And besides, how much more fun is it to say HUCKLEBERRY, GOOSEBERRY, JELLO BLUE?

Here’s another article with a video that made about this.