Treblemaker!

 

When my students are first working with the Grand Staff, they are often confused about the placement of the various clefs.

In piano music, we generally use only the G-clef (Treble clef – not “trouble clef” as some think!) and the F-clef (Bass clef)  I try to show students how the curvy part of the G-clef wraps around the G above middle C and the F-clef looks sort of like an F marking the F below middle C.  I draw out G and F on the staff to show how these could have looked.

Originally, instead of a special clef symbol, the reference line of the staff was simply labeled with the name of the note it was intended to bear: F and C and, more rarely, G. These were the most often-used ‘clefs’ in Gregorian chant notation.  Gregorian chant developed mainly in western and central Europe during the 9th and 10th centuries, with later additions and redactions.

Over time the shapes of these letters became stylized, leading to their current versions.

 

 

A Helpful Book For Parents or Adult Students

 

I have several copies of this book for the music studio so parents can check it out to see if it would be useful for them to buy for home use.  If any of the studio parents have this book already, please let me know what you think.

Some of my adult students have this and have found it helpful in doing theory assignments.

 

From Amazon:

Help Your Kids with Music is a step-by-step visual guide to music theory and is the perfect primer to help students gain a solid foundation in music, no matter their age, skill level, or instrument.

Help Your Kids with Music clearly explains key concepts in five step-by-step chapters:

  • The Basics explains the types of instruments, notation for keyboard and stringed instruments, the “musical alphabet,” and counting a beat.
  • Rhythm covers the length of notes and rests, as well as basic rhythms and meters, phrasing, syncopation, tempo, and using a metronome.
  • Tone and Melody includes everything a student needs to know about tones and how they work together to build a melody.
  • Chords and Harmony shows how intervals work together and includes examples for horn and woodwind instruments.
  • Form and Interpretation helps students understand how musical form can aid appreciation and interpretation for classical, jazz, blues, and other musical styles.

Sample pages:

 

2022 Fall Piano Lesson Registration

 

Thank you for your interest in the O’Connor Music Studio!

Available times are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the day and after school for all ages and levels.  There may be other times available if requested.

After you register, you will get a confirmation email with the information you need to access the Student Portal. After logging in you may choose from the available lesson times or request something different.

If you are a transfer student, please have your most recent method book(s) and notebook available for the interview.

Prospective students must have a piano, organ or electric keyboard to use for daily practice. 

Roadtrip! students (ages 4-5) are scheduled for half-hour lessons with their parents present.

Beginning children (ages 6 to 9) are scheduled for half-hour lessons.

Youth (ages 10 and up) may be scheduled for half-hour lessons or forty-five minute lessons.

Adults are highly encouraged to take hour-long lessons but are always welcome to schedule half-hour lessons at first.

I look forward to meeting you!

 

 

Daily Listening Assignments ~ July 27, 2022

 

Today we listen to Hot Cross Buns.  “Hot Cross Buns” is an English language nursery rhyme, Easter song, and street cry referring to the spiced English bun known as a hot cross bun, which is associated with the end of Lent and is eaten on Good Friday in various countries.

 

 

This is from Keyboard Kickoff:

Theme and Variations

 

This version gets harder and harder as it goes

 

 

 

In case that made you hungry

 

More about Hot Cross Buns

Summer Camp is officially in session!

 

Take a bow, Alon Kaplan, for creating the first fun Summer Camp song, Disney hit “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”🙏
Available in three versions, it can be found in the new ‘Summer Camp’ category in the Library or tap the button on the main menu.
Tune in each week to see which other free songs will be released in Summer Camp to keep your students sharp. And remember, every 3-star performance gives your students the chance to win an Amazon Gift Card. Enjoy!

Daily Listening Assignments ~ June 6, 2022

 

What can I say about John Cage’s 4′33″?  Pretty much anyone can play this anytime.

It consists of the pianist going to the piano, and not hitting any keys for four minutes and thirty-three seconds. (He uses a stopwatch to time this.) In other words, the entire piece consists of silence or rests.

On the one hand, as a musical piece, 4’33” leaves almost no room for the pianist’s interpretation: as long as he watches the stopwatch, he can’t play it too fast or too slow; he can’t hit the wrong keys; he can’t play it too loud, or too melodramatically, or too subduedly.

On the other hand, what you hear when you listen to 4’33” is more a matter of chance than with any other piece of music — nothing of what you hear is anything the composer wrote.

With orchestra and soloist

Next time you come to a lesson and haven’t practiced, just tell me you’re playing Cage’s 4’33”!

Daily Listening Assignments ~ June 5, 2022

 

Happy Birthday is a song that I like to have each of my students learn at various levels appropriate to their level. When a friend or family member has a birthday, it’s great to be able to sit down and play.

 

It’s only been fairly recently that piano students could have this music in their books.

“Happy Birthday to You”, more commonly known as simply “Happy Birthday”, is a song that is traditionally sung to celebrate the anniversary of a person’s birth. According to the 1998 Guinness World Records, “Happy Birthday to You” is the most recognized song in the English language, followed by “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”.

The melody, or part you sing, of “Happy Birthday to You” comes from the song “Good Morning to All”, which has traditionally been attributed to American sisters Patty and Mildred J. Hill in 1893, although the claim that the sisters composed the tune is disputed.

Patty Hill was a kindergarten principal and her sister Mildred was a pianist and composer.  The sisters used “Good Morning to All” as a song that young children would find easy to sing.  The combination of melody and lyrics in “Happy Birthday to You” first appeared in print in 1912, and probably existed even earlier.

“Happy Birthday” in the style of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt, Dvorak, and Stravinsky.  Find the melody!

 

Lots of legal stuff below which you can skip…

None of the early appearances of the “Happy Birthday to You” lyrics included credits or copyright notices. The Summy Company registered a copyright in 1935, crediting authors Preston Ware Orem and Mrs. R. R. Forman. In 1988, Warner/Chappell Music purchased the company owning the copyright for US$25 million, with the value of “Happy Birthday” estimated at US$5 million. Based on the 1935 copyright registration, Warner claimed that the United States copyright will not expire until 2030, and that unauthorized public performances of the song are illegal unless royalties are paid to Warner. In one specific instance in February 2010, these royalties were said to amount to US$700. By one estimate, the song is the highest-earning single song in history, with estimated earnings since its creation of US$50 million.In the European Union, the copyright for the song expired on January 1, 2017.

The American copyright status of “Happy Birthday to You” began to draw more attention with the passage of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act in 1998. When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Act in Eldred v. Ashcroft in 2003, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer specifically mentioned “Happy Birthday to You” in his dissenting opinion. American law professor Robert Brauneis, who extensively researched the song, concluded in 2010 that “It is almost certainly no longer under copyright.”

In 2013, based in large part on Brauneis’s research, Good Morning to You Productions, a company producing a documentary about “Good Morning to All”, sued Warner/Chappell for falsely claiming copyright to the song.  In September 2015, a federal judge declared that the Warner/Chappell copyright claim was invalid, ruling that the copyright registration applied only to a specific piano arrangement of the song, and not to its lyrics and melody.

In 2016, Warner/Chappell settled for US $14 million, and the court declared that “Happy Birthday to You” was in the public domain.

Legal stuff is finished and people can now sing and play “Happy Birthday to You” whenever and wherever they want.

One of my all-time versions of Happy Birthday, in duet form – and I have the music if you want to tackle it.

 

 

Daily Listening Assignments ~ June 4, 2022

 

I’m sure many have you have learned Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by now.  Did you know its’ the same melody as the ABC Song?  You know…

Don’t believe it? Sing them both in your head or out loud.

The French melody first appeared in 1761, and has been used for many children’s songs, such as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” and the “Alphabet Song”.

This is one of the first pieces a student learns in piano methods, since it has them reach just a bit outside their accustomed hand position on the word “little”.

 

Twinkle

 

I try to remember to let students know that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed a set of twelve variations on the theme “Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman” for the piano and it started as the same basic Twinkle tune.

The sheet music is available at the O’Connor Music Studio if you want to borrow it or download it here about 1/3 of the way down the page under “Scores”.

I always enjoy these graphical scores.  Watch the colors as the melody gets more and more complex:

Who knew?  There’s an accordion version.

Have a great day!

Daily Listening Assignments ~ June 1, 2022

 

Today, we start with Spring from the Four Seasons by Vivaldi.  Many OCMS students have played this already in one of their Piano Pronto books.  It’s also available in Piano Maestro.

If you have it in your piano book, today would be a great day to review it. (HINT – there might be a quick review at your next lesson!)

Vivaldi was born in Venice, Italy, March 4, 1678 and spent most of his life there. His father taught him to play the violin, and the two would often perform together.

He taught at an orphanage for girls and wrote a lot of music for the girls to play. People came from miles around to hear Vivaldi’s talented students perform the beautiful music he had written.

Many people think Vivaldi was the best Italian composer of his time. He wrote concertos, operas, church music and many other compositions. In all, Antonio wrote over 500 concertos.

His most famous set of concertos is The Four Seasons which is a group of four violin concerti.  Each of which gives a musical expression to a season of the year. They were written about 1721 and were published in 1725 in Amsterdam.

Here’s a piano version similar to the one in Movement 1 but in a different key.

 

And the original with Itzhak Perlman playing and conducting!

Want to play a version of this but aren’t using these books? Just ask!