Sometimes it can be inspiring for a student to “see” their piece being played in an over the top way!
Here is another great read about music in Black History that I found at my recent trip to the library.
This literary offering by Husband and wife team, Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome tells the interesting story of Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George who was the son of a slave and Slave Owner on an island in the West Indies. He became a great musician who played for the King and Queen of France and inspired Mozart himself with his beautiful music.
Click the picture to purchase on amazon.com
Books On Songs and Singing:
By: George David Weiss & Bob Thiele
Illustrated by: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
This book can be used while listening to Louis Armstrong’s famous recording of the timeless song. Children and adults will enjoy the colorful pictures.
A collection of African American Lullabies including music notation, pictures, and brief descriptions of many of the songs’ origin and uses.
By: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
by: Pam Munoz Ryan
Age Level: 6 and up
Books On Piano and Pianists:
The Little Piano Girl: The Story of Mary Lou Williams, Jazz Legend by Ann Ingalls, Maryann Macdonald and Giselle Potter
DUKE ELLINGTON, The Piano Prince and His Orchestra by Andrea Davis Pinkney (1999)
Video Picture Books:
This is a just a quick post to share something one of my 3 year old piano students said this week while we were learning about Quarter Notes. We were playing the Valentine Card Hunt game designed by Susan Paradis where she had to find notes scattered around the room and tell me the name of them. She brilliantly breezed through all of them – whole note, half note, etc. and when she got to the Quarter Note she said, “That one’s a Quarterback!”
As music teachers we are in a powerful position to influence young people. While it is certainly true that not every child who enters our studios desires to become a famous musician on any level, there are definitely some who do! Actually everybody wants to be a rock star at something! If we are honest with ourselves we will admit that this desire is not completely for the love of being good at something. No, we also want the perks that go along with being good at something. When you excel at something, people like you. People say you’re wonderful. It makes you feel good. With music and the arts the potential for large crowds of people giving us this kind of attention is even greater and it can come at a very high cost.
I am often frustrated because most parents do not want their children to pursue music as a career even if they are providing their children with music lessons. Knowing all the temptation that can come with fame I can see why parents feel this way. I’m a parent too! The fact is that if your child is talented and makes it big they will face temptations of all sorts… just like Whitney Houston and so many other artists. They will constantly have to make difficult decisions about drugs, fitting in, money (possibly large sums of it), and other addictions. Yes, everybody has to make these kinds of decisions, but for artists the level of pressure involved is often so much greater.
Do I think that we should steer young people away from the arts and show biz? By no means! I do, however, believe that as teachers we have a responsibility to help prepare them for the special types of challenges that they will encounter in the music world if they are preparing themselves to become professional musicians. This is just as important if not more important than helping them develop the craft. We must let them know that they can have wonderful careers in music without becoming a victim of fame. Here are 5 simple things we can do to help our students grow into HEALTHY musicians:
1. Always, always make sure that we teach them to love themselves! Let them know that their gift of music is not what makes them wonderful. They just are!
2. Provide them with recommended reading lists of artist biographies.
3. Include inspirational quotes on assignment sheets, studio websites, tweets, or other means.
4. Ask them what they want to be when they grow up and why.
5. Be someone they can talk to if needed.
If you are interested in getting resources that you can use to help prepare students to deal with a life of FAME, please visit my studio website at http://www.thefameschool.com
As piano teachers, we are always looking for ways to get students to “Play It Again” or “Play It Till You Get It”. Unfortunately, this usually equates to being locked up in a prison in a child’s mind. So, like me you are probably always on the lookout for a practice game. Here is a video of the latest practice game from my studio presented by one of my students. Enjoy!
Every year my students look forward to the BIG CD RECORDING PROJECT. Every week from August to January they ask, “When are we going to do our CDs?” Well the time is finally here. Last year they designed their own CD Covers as well. I have found that this project is the single biggest practice motivator for my students. They want their CDs to sound great so they take extra care to practice well. And… the number one rule in the recording studio is that we do at least 4 takes of each track and then listen to each to choose the best. This helps them develop and refine their listening skills and ability to discern good quality playing.
Throughout the process you can see each child becoming more of a musician in thought and action. This is especially evident in the way they answer the questions in the interviews I do with them as part of the project.
To celebrate all our hard work we have a big CD Release Party once the CDs are complete.
I can’t wait to hear the titles that they give their CD Projects this year. Last year we had titles like ” Wonderful Songs”, “Piano Praise”, “Piano Playing Princess”, and “Music Splash Down”. Kids are so CREATIVE!!!
Do you do CD Projects with your students? I’d love to hear how you do it!
The uses for play doh in the music studio are endless! To help one of my beginners understand how to play harmonic and melodic intervals we recreated the note from the printed page with play doh. This way she could see and feel that the harmonic notes stay together and must be played together. Using the same colors for the melodic notes helped her to see that it is the same notes just played differently.