This summer, I’ve decided to add a new feature to piano lessons. I know that many families travel during the summer months and it’s sometimes difficult to practice.
These daily assignments, June through August will help you and your students learn a bit more about the pieces they’re learning during the year – or maybe give ideas for something that they’d like to learn.
Each piece has a bit of composer info and several different interpretations, some of which are very humorous. Some of the assignments appear in Piano Maestro so be sure to have that handy, if your student uses that.
Some days give hints that the assignment of the day may be played (or reviewed) at the next lesson so please be sure that your student takes note of that (no pun intended!)
Find them here, under Daily Listening Assignment starting June 1 at 9:00 am.
Have a safe and musical summer!
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was initiated to honor the soldiers for the Union and Confederate armies who died during the American Civil War.
Celebrations honoring Civil War heroes started the year after the war ended. The establishment of a public holiday was meant to unify the celebration as a national day of remembrance instead of a holiday celebrated separately by the Union and Confederate states. By the late 19th century, the holiday became known as Memorial Day and was expanded to include the deceased veterans of all the wars fought by American forces. In 1971, Memorial Day became a federal holiday.
The original national celebration of Decoration Day took place on 30 May 1868. When Memorial Day became a federal holiday, it was given the floating date of the last Monday in May.
The O’Connor Music Studio WILL be open!
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?
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.
It will be fun watching your child improve their piano skills all while having fun using Piano Maestro in lessons each week!
As your child’s teacher (or YOUR teacher!), I’m looking forward to seeing the progress they will make when they start using it at home each day. This guide will help you understand how this app will benefit your child and how to get it set up on your own iPad.
What is Piano Maestro?
Piano Maestro is the ultimate piano practice tool that will have students quickly playing their favorite classical, pop, rock, TV and video game songs and themes. It is available in the App Store and works on the iPad.
What skills does it improve?
• Note reading
• Sight reading
• Inner pulse
What makes it so fun?
• Upbeat background tracks
• Stunning graphics
• Instant rewards and feedback
• Satisfaction of playing REAL music
It works with an acoustic piano?
Yes! Your child practices on your real acoustic or digital piano. Piano Maestro listens from the iPad’s built-in microphone. No wires needed.
I’m already paying for lessons. What value does this add?
Sometimes I wish I could be there with your child to encourage them to keep practicing daily. I’m sure it’s not always easy, as unforeseen challenges will arise.
Since our time each week is just too short, this app will give me eyes on the ground and it will keep them practicing longer and improving more quickly.
How will it be used in lessons?
I will spend a few minutes of each lesson helping your child master a couple of new songs all while having fun! I will also teach them how to use the practice options at home.
At the end of the lesson, we will choose Home Challenge assignments within the app that will show up in your account at home. I’ll get updates when progress is made.
Wow, this sounds awesome. Now, how do I get started?
1) Download Piano Maestro on your iPad from the AppStore
2) Create a JoyTunes account with a parent’s email, under which, you can have multiple profiles for each member of the family.
3) Create a profile for each family member (that means you too Mom and Dad!) inside the Parent/Teacher zone (top right-hand corner of the main screen)
4) Connect to your teacher, me! After creating a profile in the “profiles” tab of the parent/teacher zone, select the student’s profile and click “connect to teacher.” Once I approve the connection to your child, they will receive full access to all content for FREE! I will then also begin receiving weekly progress reports.
5) Start Playing – I will now start assigning you homework, meanwhile, get started on Journey Mode.
When you connect to the O’Connor Music Studio, Piano Maestro is free for as long as you study here.
I have just purchased a set of Christmas Shades of Sound Listening & Coloring Book for the studio.
Please let me know if you do not want your student to participate in Christmas activities and I will assign alternate activities.
Each week, I will print out some of the pages for your student and put them in his/her notebook. After listening to the music on YouTube, the student may color the pages.
After they are colored, please return them to the notebook so that there will be a complete book when finished.
If you are an adult and want to listen and color, too, just let me know and I’ll print you a set.
From the website:
Get your piano students listening to great classical music!
The Shades of Sound Listening and Coloring Books are a great way to encourage students to listen to great piano and orchestral repertoire. Students of all ages will love coloring the fun pictures while listening to and learning from the music of the great composers.
This Shades of Sound Christmas edition includes 20 pieces of piano and orchestral literature for the Christmas season, from the Baroque to the Modern period. Includes background and historical information on the pieces and the composers, and a beautiful coloring page for each piece.
The Christmas Shades of Sound book includes 20 different pieces, including:
- In Dulci Jubilo from the Christmas Tree Suite by Liszt
- Pastorale from the Christmas Oratorio by Bach
- Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring by Bach/Hess
- Farandole from L’arlesienne Suite #1 by Bizet
- Christmas Sonatina by Reinecke
- Elegy #4 by Busoni
- The Adoration of the Magi by Respighi
- Winter Sonatina by Rowley
- Christmas Concerto by Corelli
- Ave Maria by Schubert/Liszt
- Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Gillock
- Diversions by Dello Joio
- Nuit de Noel by Busoni
- Sheep May Safely Graze by Bach/Petri
- Carol Symphony by Hely-Hutchinson
- Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy by Tchaikovsky
- Trepak by Tchaikovsky
- Arabian Dance by Tchaikovsky
- Waltz of the Flowers by Tchaikovsky
- Hallelujah Chorus by Handel
Today, since it’s a “teaching day”, I’m thankful for my piano studio, my students, and my pianos 🙂
When I was growing up, my dad was a minister, meaning we lived in whatever parsonage the church chose to let us live in. The one we had in Pawcatuck, CT had an upright piano that someone had put out in the sunroom. Not the best place for a piano, but I digress.
Since we had the piano already, someone – probably my mom – decided that I would take lessons. We had the organist from the Baptist church just across the river in Westerly, RI
Apparently, Clara Pashley was fondly remembered at the church (now Central Baptist Church) since she was mentioned in an article from 2010.
I started with Ada Richter’s classic Teaching Little Fingers to Play, which has now been morphed into the John Thompson library.
From there, it was the Michael Aaron series, and some sheet music.
There was no music store in our town, so I have no idea where any of this music came from – but I still have it all.
My parents did very well for their quarter a week investment, especially since my mom paid good attention and was able to beef up lessons she’d had as a child. Later on, she played well enough that she was church organist for a local Roman Catholic Church.
But I digress…
In those days, kids couldn’t do a whole lot of activities, so in 6th grade, I decided I wanted to be a Girl Scout. Bye, bye Clara.
Girl Scouts didn’t last long but I did play piano in a talent show. I remember, I carefully cut Burgmüller’s Ballade out of my Michael Aaron book and made a nice construction paper cover. (I still have this, too)
I doubt that I played this well but here’s what it was supposed to sound like:
A few years intervened and we moved to Springfield, MA. The parsonage piano there was in terrible shape and in the dark, never-used basement. But I decided to make it mine and cleared up the area around it and started “practicing”.
My Junior or Senior year of High School I decided I wanted to major in music in college. I decided to learn, on my own, a piano arrangement of Aragonnaise by Jules Massenet. I have no idea why or where that sheet music came from but I started working furiously on this piece.
Hopefully, at some point, it should have sounded like this:
I started pedaling (no pun intended!) my music to the Universities of Connecticut and Massachusetts and ended up at UMass Amherst since we were state residents.
Early morning gym classes (usually swimming), then wet hair traipsing across campus to music theory in winter 5 days a week. AARRGGH!
But I stuck it out.
My wonderful piano teacher, Howard Lebow, was killed in a car accident my sophomore year and I was devastated. There was about him in a post on January 26, 2018 here: https://oconnormusicstudio.com
I took yet another break from piano lessons – but I kept playing.
After DH graduated, we moved to Milwaukee, WI for his graduate school. Besides working 2 jobs, I found time to commandeer the practice rooms at the University of Wisconsin. I also found a teacher at the Schaum School of Music. She was amazed that I had no piano at home to practice on.
When we later moved to Alexandria, VA my DH gave me a choice of new car or piano. So, I found a used piano. The owner had acquired it in a divorce and wanted it gone. Yesterday. She even paid to move it out of her apartment.
The new-to-me piano took up half our living room. When my parents came to visit, their feet were under my piano as they slept on cots.
I found yet another new piano teacher and she is still my best friend to this day.
That piano moved to several locations before I bought a brand new Yamaha grand piano. The movers accidentally brought in the wrong one and I made them return it. The people who lived in an apartment were probably unhappy when they had to return my piano and take their own new baby grand back.
I started teaching as a traveling piano teacher in Silver Spring, Maryland. I continued that in Wilmington, DE.
When we got to Fairfax, VA I decided no more traveling. Students would come to me. And so they have since 1973.
What is supposed to be our living room is filled with music books, electric keyboards, the grand piano, 2 organs, 2 violins, 2 clarinets, a hand-made (by me!) dulcimer, tenor and soprano recorders, and other musical “stuff”.
Piano playing has gotten me through the worst times of my life. Teaching has been a lifeline for me, as well.
I am so thankful for the students who have stayed with me over the years.