Holiday Sing-Along Party & Music Salon

All the students are doing fabulously well, and especially with their Christmas / Holiday songs.  Somehow having a hard time finding any Hannukah songs besides the Dreidel Song.  Anyone want to send me one?

Because our Winter Recital is not until late January, we have started a tradition of Holiday parties hosted at one of the student’s homes.  This is a great way we build community amongst our “music friends” as one of my little boys likes to say.

So check your inbox for the Evite from me.  Space is limited so we had to limit the amount of people.  As I currently have over 30 students weekly, there’s no way we could all fit in my home and we’re so happy that our student community has large lovely living rooms!

 

Summer 2015 Music Lessons in Park Slope, Brooklyn

summer lessons banner

Summer is usually the best time to get started with private music lessons.  There’s less distractions going on with other activities and homework and my roster is much more flexible and open.

  • Dates:  July 6 – August 6, 2015
  • Days:  Monday through Thursday
  • Times available:  10am – 6pm (last lesson starts 5:30pm)
  • You can register your child here.
  • Within a day of registration, you will be sent a welcome email as well as access to the calendar to schedule your times/days as you wish.
  • Cost per lesson is $59.
  • There is a $10 materials fee.
  • You will receive an invoice by mid to end of June.

For more information take a look at the homepage at Park Slope Music Lessons.com

Winter Recital 2015 is this Saturday Feb 7

WinterRecital 2015 Poster-2

Where: Park Slope Library (corner of 6th Avenue and 9th Street)

Brooklyn, NY 11215

Time:2pm

Day:  Saturday February, 7, 2015

Lower Level Auditorium.

Hopefully the weather will be cooperative.

We have a great lineup of kids from ages 4 to 14 playing everything from Peanut Butter Sandwich to Moonlight Sonata to Demons to Do You Want To Build A Snowman and everything in between.

Watch for the coming video deluge right here on our video page.

Teaching Strategies For Growth Mindset

What is the most important factor in a student? Many people would say it’s talent, or effort, or persistence, or luck or some combination of these.

Behind all of this is something that is more important – the proper mindset. Recent research (Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007) has shown that there are two different mindsets among students:
1) intelligence as a fixed, static trait or you got what you got
2) intelligence is a changeable, flowing trait, in other words:  you can learn whatever you put focus and effort to

Most of my music students do have a growth mindset, but may need some extra encouragement.   To do this I need to use a specific way of communicating.

The Dangers of Praise and How To Do It Right

Researchers have discovered that if you just praise the intelligence of the child, there are negative consequences.  So just being positive and saying “Good job!” is actually detrimental and has a backlash because given a new challenge, the child would rather not participate (quit) in order to “save face” and live up to the expected standard.  Rather if the child was praised for their effort, the next harder challenge was met with more effort.

Communicating Learning Goals

Almost daily I have a student who complains
“That’s too hard! I want to just stay on the same song!”

Here’s some things I say and you can too in your classroom, studio or with your own children.  Though I’ve made these specific to music, you can apply a variation of these to any subject.

  • Learning music is like playing a video game. Once you achieved the last challenge, we’re on to the next level.
  • You’re not supposed to know this already, this is brand new.

High Expectations For Forward Motion

  • I KNOW that you can do this, that’s why I’m showing you this.
  • This will be challenging, but I’ve seen you do amazing work before.
  • Remember how hard _____ piece was? And now you can play it so well. This is like that one only better.

Struggling Even With Effort

  • You are not there…YET (emphasis on the yet)
  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just remind yourself that you can’t do it…YET.
  • Let’s take a break and come back to this tomorrow.
  • I admire your persistence.
  • I appreciate your effort and focus on this.
  • I love how you never gave up on that last piece. Let’s do it here too.

Struggling But May Need Help With Strategy

  • Let’s work on just the one spot giving you trouble
  • What part is giving you trouble? Let’s just look at that.
  • How about we make a plan to learn this piece? You can do section A today and then section B tomorrow and then back to A…

By setting the proper belief system in place at an early age, we can guide our children to future success in music, and in life.

For more information, read this excellent article from Prinicipal Leadership, a magazine aimed at school principals.

For a free download on Growth Mindset Framing. You’ll have to register but it’s free and you can download a pdf.

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.

 

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 Recital 2012 Success!

It was a great recital last Saturday at the Carroll Gardens Library in Brooklyn.  With 30 students performing and a house of over 100 guests, we had a lovely time and everyone did their best.  Thanks again to all the parents, grandparents, friends and family who came to show their support, love and appreciation of our young performers!  And special thanks to Jeff Schwartz and the entire staff of the Carroll Gardens library who graciously let us use their space and even set up the chairs for us!

 

Here’s some photo highlights.  Videos are posted here.

Students warm up before the music recital
Students warm up before the music recital
Music Students of Park Slope Music Lessons
Lining up to receive award certificates
Giving out awards
Everyone comes onstage
Students at Winter Recital 2012
Winter Recital 2012
Strumstick student Felix
4 year old Felix on Strumstick
Evan & Sienna perform What A Wonderful World
Evan & Sienna perform What A Wonderful World
Ryan performs Katy Perry's Firework
Ryan performs Katy Perry's Firework
Ava performs Lightly Row
Ava gets prepared to play Lightly Row
Stella & Tellulah perform Adele's Someone Like You
Stella & Tellulah perform Adele's Someone Like You

 

 

Spring Recital 2011 is June 11 at Carroll Gardens Library

We’ll be hearing the great work your children have been doing on Saturday June 11 at 3pm at the Carroll Gardens Public Library.  I’ll be there from 2:30pm to set up the room.  If you can, please come early to help and to let your kids get acclimated and to calm down any last minute nerves.

It’s free and open to the public, so invite your friends and family.  It’s also a good time to see the great resources of your local public library system – please support them!

 

Glenn Gould’s Finger Tapping Exercise for Piano Technique

Many of you are struggling with playing cleanly and smoothly. This simple technique can help you to relax your fingers to pay more fluidly. Developed by Glenn Gould’s mentor and longtime teacher Chilean pianist Alberto Guerrero, it aims to retain a relaxed muscle memory. You can learn more about this in the wonderful documentary Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould.

Winter Music Recital 2011 – Pictures and Video

Winter Music Recital 2011 at Carroll Gardens Library

What a great success our Winter Music Recital was last Saturday!  I hope you all celebrated the great achievements of your children.  No matter if they played some notes that were not intended, the entire process of going on stage, in public, in a crowded room of at least 80 people, and performing the piece they practiced for months – priceless!

I noticed many parents who were much more nervous than their children!  And, by starting your kids early in this process of focus, practice and performing publicly, you’ve started them on the road to success in life no matter what professional path they choose.  And the benefits of developing an appreciation for beauty, form, structure and communication through music is why I do what I do.  I love teaching your kids and thank you for supporting us on our journey!

You can see more photos on Flickr and here’s our YouTube Channel.

Below are some of the videos on YouTube.

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Jan 22, 2011 Winter Music Recital

We’ll be having our recital at the Carroll Gardens branch of the Brooklyn Public Library on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 2pm. The space looks nice and they even have a grand piano – though so out of tune it is unusable!

It’s located at the corner of Clinton and Union Streets.  The recital, as always, is free, and open to the public, so come early to guarantee a seat and to help me set up the room!  I appreciate your help in putting away the chairs afterwards as well.

So we continue our tour of the Brooklyn Public Library spaces as weekend hours have been cut at Pacific Library and Park Slope is still under renovation for another year! Please support your/our public library!
Brooklyn Public Library - Carroll Gardens branch

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.

Video from our Spring Music Recital

Last Saturday’s Spring Recital was a great success and I am so proud of all of my students!
Performing in public is a skill that only a small minority of people in this world have developed a comfort and ability with.  It is such a huge accomplishment even to get up onstage and then to perform a piece that they’ve worked hard on for months.   You as parents should be happy and proud of this achievement and I hope you celebrated this milestone in your child’s life.  Whatever small mistakes they made in the performance were greatly outweighed by the entire experience of publicly performing.

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Free Piano Checklist for Beginners

Many of my students have been forgetting some of the basics around technique.  Here’s a handy chart that you can post by the piano or on the first page of your music notebook.  Probably the most important one I’m finding is sitting the proper distance away from the piano.  Many kids like to sit almost with their bellies touching the piano.  This makes it so much harder for their fingers to be in the right shape to play well.   You should be sitting so that your forearms are about level with the floor, elbows bent and shoulders not hunched or lifted.

Curling the fingers can take some time to remember for the youngest students.  I usually tolerate the flat-fingers for a while until they get a few pieces memorized.

You can download this piano checklist as PDF to print out.

Hope this helps.

Enjoy, make music and have fun!

Andrew