Unfortunately, Bi-weekly Lessons Don’t Work

 

7 reasons why bi-weekly lessons do not work…

 

Now and then, our studio gets asked if we offer bi-weekly lessons. I mean, doesn’t it make sense that if you take lessons every other week, you have half the number of trips into the studio, you have double the amount of time to practice, and you can save some money, right?

WRONG.

Aside from the fact that it is a scheduling nightmare for the teacher and studio, I want to outline a few reasons why (in most cases) bi-weekly lessons do not work.

Source: Bi-weekly Lessons – Why they won’t work – The Piano Studio

All you Need to Know About Music Theory

theory

 

As all my students know, I teach theory with all piano and organ lessons.  Sometimes, it’s from a theory book that matches a lesson book, sometimes on the fly on an “as needed” basis.

This book looks like it would be interesting to use as a review or to look ahead and see what’s coming.  I have just ordered a copy for the studio if you want to check it out at the next lesson.

From amazon.com:

 If you wish there was a fun and engaging way to help you understand the fundamentals of music, then this is it. Whether it’s learning to read music, understanding chords and scales, musical forms, or improvising and composing, this enjoyable guide will help you to finally start understanding the structure and design of music.

This fun-filled, easy-to-use guide includes:
* Music notation
* Scales and modes
* Melody harmonization and counterpoint
* Chord progressions
* Song form and structure

Listen and learn with the CD that has 90 tracks, including over 50 popular songs such as:
* Beauty and the Beast
* Candle in the Wind
* Imagine
* In the Air Tonight
* Killing Me Softly with His Song
* Let It Be
* Message in a Bottle
* Misty
* Satin Doll
* Take the ‘A’ Train
* Unchained Melody
* What’d I Say
* and more!

maryOivoryandroses

Technic: Scales and Arpeggios

scales

PDF Article on Scales and Arpeggios

In music, a scale is any set of musical notes ordered by fundamental frequency or pitch.

An arpeggio (it. /arˈpeddʒo/) is a musical technique where notes in a chord are played or sung in sequence, one after the other, rather than being played together like a chord. This word comes from the Italian word “arpeggiare”, which means “to play on a harp”. An alternative translation of this term is “broken chord”.

Make any scale or chord here

 

Piano Exercises by Charles-Louis Hanon

hanon

Since the first release of this classic Schirmer edition over 100 years ago, almost anyone who has taken piano lessons for more than two years has played from The Virtuoso Pianist.

Most anyone who has ever played piano has a love-hate relationship with the “Hanon”.

The Virtuoso Pianist (Le Pianiste virtuose) by Charles-Louis Hanon, is a compilation of sixty exercises meant to train the pianist in speed, precision, agility, and strength of all of the fingers and flexibility in the wrists.

First published in Boulogne, in 1873, The Virtuoso Pianist is Hanon’s most well-known work, and is still widely used by piano instructors and pupils although some teachers are getting away from the mechanical playing these can produce.

Personally, I’ve sometimes played these on “auto-pilot” since all one really needs is to get the first pattern going, then move up a step, up a step…

hanon1

Notes by C. L. Hanon: Preparatory exercises for the Acquirement of Agility, Independence, Strength and Perfect Evenness in the Fingers. For studying the 20 exercises, begin with the metronome set at 60, gradually increasing the speed up to 108.

From Wikipedia:

The exercises are intended to address common problems which could hamper the performance abilities of a student. These include “crossing of the thumb”, strengthening of the fourth and fifth fingers, and quadruple- and triple-trills.

The exercises are meant to be individually mastered and then played consecutively in the sections they are placed in.

Apart from increasing technical abilities of the student, when played in groups at higher speeds, the exercises will also help to increase endurance. The exercises are divided in three parts:

  1. Exercises 1 – 20: Labeled “preparatory exercises”, these are also the most famous exercises, and are used to develop finger strength and independence. Each exercise contains a sequence of 8 semiquavers, beginning on C, which is then repeated starting on D, and so on across two octaves. The exercise is then repeated in reverse down two octaves to the starting C. The exercises are intended to be practiced in groups of three, except for the first two which are practiced together.
  2. Exercises 21 – 43: Labeled “further exercises for the development of a virtuoso technique.” This more difficult section is meant to be played after the pianist has fully mastered Part 1. Part 2 includes scales and arpeggios.
  3. Exercises 44 – 60: Labeled “virtuoso exercises for mastering the greatest technical difficulties.” Since this section is considerably more difficult, Hanon recommends the mastery of both previous parts before proceeding to this one. This part includes repeated notes,, and more.

After all three parts are mastered, Hanon recommends all exercises be played through daily to retain technique.

The O’Connor Music Studio has several editions of this work.

From Remind, Our Messaging Service

As you may know, we use Remind for various communications and music game challenges.  Here’s info from them about an upcoming change:

 

We’re sorry to write with disappointing news. Recently, we learned that Verizon will be charging Remind a new fee that makes it impossible for us to continue supporting free text messaging for anyone who has Verizon Wireless as their phone carrier. Please read on for all the important details—we promise to keep this as short as we can.

What’s happening?
To offer our text messaging service free of charge, Remind has always paid for each text that our users receive or send. Now, Verizon is charging Remind an additional fee intended for companies that send spam over its network. Your Remind messages aren’t spam, but our efforts to resolve the issue with Verizon haven’t been successful.

As a result, the Verizon fee will increase our costs of providing text messaging by 11X—pushing our annual costs into the millions of dollars. This isn’t financially feasible for us to support, and it’s forcing us to end Remind text messaging for everyone who has a wireless plan with Verizon.

How will this affect you?
Beginning January 28, 2019, the people in your classes who normally get your Remind messages as texts will no longer receive these messages if they have Verizon Wireless as their phone carrier.

What can you do?
To make sure people in your classes continue receiving your messages, ask them to download the mobile app or enable email notifications—both of which are free of charge. Our team’s also working hard on a solution that allows your classes to continue to use Remind by text, and we’ll share more details with you before January 28.

In the meantime, we’ll keep fighting to make sure educators, students, and parents have access to effective communication. To do this, we need your help: If using Remind has made a positive impact in your classroom, at your school, or anywhere in between, please ask Verizon to reverse the fee here: www.remind.com/verizon-fee

We’re very grateful for your support, and we’ll be in touch soon with an update.

Sincerely,
The Remind team

 

“Intervals Roasting”: The Most Educational Christmas Carol Ever

music-theory-song

Music theory has never sounded so catchy with this witty remake of the holiday classic The Christmas Song (with apologies to Mel Torme) Try not to laugh at the ending.

Though it is a bit humorous, this version titled ‘Intervals Roasting’, with lyrics by David Rakowski, attempts to encapsulate the fundamentals of music theory in just over two minutes.

It does a good job of explaining the intervals and harmonic structure of the song and also gives you an idea of how to use music theory to analyze or compose music.

The O’Connor Music Studio has a copy if anyone wants to learn this 🙂