Students Can Win $$ For Their Thoughts on SELMA

www.charityjordan.com

                                                                   Jordan Rice (SELMA actress) Charity Jordan (SELMA actress)

Last week I shared with you a lesson plan using the song “Glory” from the movie, SELMA. Since then, “Glory” has received an Oscar Nomination for Best Original Song! With that in mind, I am sharing info about an essay contest which is being presented by Charity Jordan, who plays a lead role in the movie. Even though this is not directly related to their piano studies (unless you used the lesson plan) students will benefit from expressing their ideas and possibly earning some spending money and… THEY WILL LOVE THEIR PIANO TEACHER FOR IT! Also be sure to LIKE and follow these actresses at www.charityjordan.com and on Facebook Actressjordanrice. Details about the contest are below:

Charity Jordan presents the Reflection of the Selma Essay Contest.

Youth between ages 10-18, are invited to participate in 500 word or less essay contest about their reflections after watching the film, “Selma.” This is an opportunity for youth to use the medium of writing to share their voice, feelings, and convictions. Students are asked to submit their essay via email to, selmareflections@gmail.com, no later than February 20, 2015.

Participants are asked to include a clear/recent picture of themselves as well as their name, grade level, and phone number with the essay submission. Each entry must conclude with this final sentence:

“I, _______________ (name) accept Charity’s call to action and commit to encourage, educate, and elevate my community by ____________________________ (action) on a _________________(time) basis this year.

Sincerely ____________________(name) ”

Winners will be announced on CharityJordan.com by March 23, 2015. Winners will be notified by email and phone call. Cash Prizes will be delivered by mail to the 1st ($150), 2nd ($100), and 3rd ($50) place entry. All essays and pictures become property of “Selma Reflections Contest” and are subject to be used by Charity Jordan in the future. Thanks for your participation. #CTA3e #marchon

New Piano Music Just In Time For MLK Holiday

Piano lovers have been given a special gift by artists John Legend and Common who teamed up to create the song “Glory” for the movie SELMA which opens in theaters nationwide THIS FRIDAY January 9th. This powerful song has received the Golden Globe Nomination for Best New Song and I for one believe they got it right! Piano students are often asking to learn the latest hit song but because not many of today’s radio songs feature piano it can be difficult to come up with an arrangement that a student can play as a piano solo. Thanks to John Legend, who himself is a pianist, we have the perfect song for the upcoming holiday.

“Glory” is a powerful anthem that will resonate with anyone who has ever struggled in any way and anyone who has faced adversity or opposition. That’s most of us, right? The lyrics video above features scenes from the movie which has received a total of 4 Golden Globe Nominations including Best Director, Best Picture, Best New Song, and Best Actor. 

It’s a new year and the perfect time for a piano studio challenge! With the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday just around the corner on January 19th, you have just enough time for this quick 2 week challenge. So here is the challenge:

1.Listen to the song with your students.

2.Challenge your students to use their listening skills to determine how many chords are used in the song.

3.Challenge younger students to count the number of beats in each measure – or how many beats each chord lasts.

4.Challenge more advanced students to play the melody by ear.

5.Challenge more advanced students to play the chords by ear.

(Perhaps some of these might even be good challenges for yourself as the teacher, especially if you usually use sheet music to learn new songs like I do.You just might surprise yourself!)

Sheet music for “Glory” is available at http://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic/mtdFPE.asp?ppn=MN0144617

Remind your students that in order to continue making great music, artists must be compensated. Remind them that as growing musicians themselves they may one day need people to purchase their music. Challenge your students to support their fellow musicians by purchasing the song at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/glory-from-motion-picture/id951104551?i=951104561

To find out what my connection to SELMA is check out the following posts:

http://bigdreamsconcert.com/2014/12/15/selma-actress-trinity-simone-to-make-guest-appearance-at-big-dreams-concert/

http://bigdreamsconcert.com/meet-the-performers/

Ideas For Your Next Studio Performance

Big Dreams Concert Poster

 

So my studio concert is THIS SUNDAY! That is mainly why it has been so quiet around Kids & Keys lately. I have been deep in concert preparation mode. I decided this morning, though to take a moment to share some of what our concert will look like. Anyone who reads Kids & Keys most likely already knows that I prefer to give concerts than recitals. I believe that when most people hear these two words they see VERY different pictures of both in their minds. Here is what I believe they see:

Recital – Formal. Have To Be Quiet. Long. Only classical music. Itchy clothing. FREE. Boring.

Concert – Fun. Entertaining. Sing Along. Cheer for Performers. Purchase Tickets. Ability to get concert memorabilia afterwards. Wear cool fashions. Lights. 

I did not just make this up. Over the years I have collected responses and reactions from adults who had lessons as kids and these are some of the things they have said about their experiences. When I talk to adults about their idea of concerts this is what they said.

As a piano teacher who is interested in helping my students see the career possibilities in music performance I ask myself what is one thing that gets kids/tweens/teens excited about performing? I understand that not every student or maybe not even most students want to perform music professionally, but for the ones that do and for the ones who haven’t considered it certain questions have to be asked. When kids are learning to play a musical instrument are they envisioning themselves playing in a recital where everyone politely claps at the end of each song but doesn’t get to interact with the artist otherwise? Or do they envision themselves onstage like so many of the young pop stars they see on Disney Channel?

I am sure that my piano teacher friends can certainly weigh in on this! But before you do, please visit www.bigdreamsconcert.com for some ideas I am using in my upcoming studio concert. Afterwards, please come back and weigh in on the discussion.

By the way, if anyone is in the Atlanta, GA area this weekend please come be my special guest at the Big Dreams Concert! Tickets are only $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

What Does a Piano Lesson Cost?

fame1444:

great question

Originally posted on Elissa Milne:

what does a piano lesson cost?

Signing up for piano lessons means committing to practice, attending lessons and paying the fees on a regular basis. What should your budget be expecting to include when you sign up your child (or yourself) for piano lessons?

In some parts of the world there are music teacher organisations which provide recommended minimum rates for their (qualified and experienced) members to be charging, but no matter where in the world you are you will find a massive range of prices being charged for a piano lesson. Why?

Education and Qualification: Some teachers have spent many years studying music at a university level and have multiple degrees and diplomas in performance, piano teaching and music theory, even composition and musicology. Other teachers have never taken any kind of study toward a diploma, degree or qualification, not even a piano exam… Some teachers engage in ongoing professional development every year (attending conferences, taking…

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The Trouble With Average

fame1444:

Something for piano students to think about as they prepare for the remainder of the season’s recitals

Originally posted on Big Dreams Concert:

Average

The Big Dreams Concert is not your average music recital. It is a concert in every way. Check it out on Facebook. Get your tickets today.

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What Is Your Dream?

fame1444:

It’s concert time in my studio. This year’s theme is Big Dreams. We want to know what your Big Dream is!

Originally posted on Big Dreams Concert:

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10 Helps For The Non-Piano-Playing Parent

Help For Non Piano Parent

Parents who have never learned to play a musical instrument often feel lost when it comes to helping their child practice at home. This is a real concern, but doesn’t have to be! Even if they can’t carry a tune in a bucket, couldn’t play their way out of a paper bag, or don’t even know what a treble clef looks like, PARENTS have the tools necessary to help their children learn how to play music. If you’re a parent reading this right now, you might be thinking “There is no way.” Let me assure you though THERE IS A WAY. Neither of my parents nor my grandparents ever played an instrument and nobody in my family ever played the piano before I did. In fact, for many years we could not even afford a piano. In spite of this (or maybe even because of it) I not only learned how to play but have taught many other people to play as well. Here are 10 things the Non-Piano-Playing Parent can do to speed up their child’s piano learning:

1. Listen To Music Out Loud! – Connect your iPod, cell phone, tablet or mp3 player to a speaker and play music that you enjoy so that EVERYBODY in your house or car hears it. Listen to music in the car, during dinner, while cleaning the house, while getting ready for school. LISTEN TO MUSIC ALL THE TIME!!! Make sure the music you are listening to is music that your child is learning to play AND music that you would like to hear them play. Be sure to include music that highlights piano if your child is studying piano.

2.  Make Practicing Like Brushing Teeth – My friend, Derwyn Brown of Childbloom Guitar always says that parents must insist on practice just like they insist on brushing teeth. You wouldn’t let your child go a day without brushing his/her teeth would you? Of course not! Brushing teeth is an EVERY DAY thing and so is PRACTICING! Insist on Practice!

3. Learn to say the word, “AGAIN” – Listen to your child when he/she is practicing and when they finish tell them to play it AGAIN! If you hear something that doesn’t sound quite right – IT’S PROBABLY NOT RIGHT! You might not be a musician, but you are a music listener and your ears know when something is not right. Tell them to keep working on it until they fix the problem or you can simply say “AGAIN”

4. Use The Teacher’s Words– Take time to read any instructions the teacher has written in your child’s book or notebook and repeat this to your child.

5. Be Nosy – This one will come naturally to some! (I couldn’t resist). Ask your child questions about what he/she is playing. If you see things circled on the book or sheet music, ask your child what it means or why that is circled. It is OK if YOU don’t know the answer! You are trying to get THEM to think about the answer.

6. Brag Out Loud– Let your child hear you bragging about how well they are playing or how diligently they are practicing.

7. Be An On Time Taxi – Take your child to the piano lesson ON TIME. ALWAYS. This lets your child know once again that piano is important. It also gives your child the much needed time with the teacher. If you are 10 minutes late for a 30 minute lesson, your child has just missed 1/3 of the entire lesson! That translates to: slower progress, possible chaos in lesson due to rushing. It creates a frustrated student and a frustrated teacher who both just want to make you proud.

8. Be Consistent – Continuous learning is the difference between students who progress quickly and students who are stagnant or are always playing below expectation. Children who continue lessons throughout the summer when school is out do better. If your child takes off lessons in the summer and does not return to lessons until September your child is losing about 6 months of learning due to the time taken off and the skills lost during the time off.

9. Make Them Pay For Lessons– No, I do not mean that you should have your children pay the teacher for lessons. That is your job, but their job is to provide you with FREE ENTERTAINMENT. Once they have completed several days of practice – AND BEFORE THEIR NEXT LESSON – have your child give you an at home concert. My kids often made “programs” entitled “The 1 Song Concert” or “The 3 Song Concert” depending on the number of songs they knew how to play. Repeat this when visiting friends and relatives. My grandparents (non-musicians) did this EVERY time I went to visit them. It became such a routine that I knew once dinner was over I had to play for them. Eventually I learned to prepare for these impromptu performances!

10. Act Crazy – Yes, I said CRAZY! Crazy is making your kids practice when other kids are playing games. Crazy is insisting on practice even if they are crying. Crazy is not letting them get away with saying they don’t have anything to practice. Crazy is EXPECTING them to do better. Crazy is driving them to a place that has a piano if you don’t have one of your own. Crazy is signing them up for every performance opportunity your teacher offers – even if they say they don’t want to do it. Crazy is signing them up for summer music camps and scheduling your vacations around those camps. Crazy is asking hotel staff if your child can play the hotel piano during your stay there. Crazy is letting your kids know that quitting is not an option and that they must “Play To Stay” (in your house). If they want to quit, they can quit once they move out. Crazy is what works.

I know it because

I. Am. Crazy. But. My. Kids. Know. How. To. Play. The. Piano.