Friday, January 31, 2014

On Replay: Dido's Lament

This post strays a little bit from the teaching aspect of music...but not really. Music history is an important part of a complete music education and dance shares a lot of history with music.
Ever keep playing a song over and over? Or it seems to play itself over and over in your head? Well, Purcell's "When I Am Laid In Earth" (often referred to as "Dido's Lament") from Dido and Aeneas is such a piece for me right now.
It's pretty cool how time periods and disciplines are meshed with the use of part of Virgil's Aeneid (literature) as inspiration for Purcell's opera, which then had a modern dance set to its music (see video), eh? And more than just operatic performers have sung Dido's Lament...did you know Jeff Buckley (whom I don't know much about) also sang it? You can listen to this podcast from the BBC for more info.
Below is was a clip from the Mark Morris Dance Group's performance set to Purcell's Dido and Aeneas.*

Also, here's an interesting interview with the choreographer. I think knowing some of the history of a work adds to its interest (especially the part about sign language in the MMDG performance). What do you think? *Warning: there is some language in the interview :(*

Was this a kind of rambling post? Maybe I'd rather you not answer that. :)
Have a lovely day!

*Edit: I decided to remove the clip, since it wasn't from the MMDG YouTube channel.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Positive praise is a very important part of teaching, and stickers can be one method that you use to encourage student success. I even got stickers as a practice incentive during part of my stint as a music major in college...and I think that it really helped me to practice more!
Any kind of sticker will work; there's no need to spend a lot of money on stickers. You know those free return address labels you might have pages and pages of? Just cut your name and address off and use those!
Stickers are also a fun way to end a lesson. No matter how the lesson went, it's a positive note (ha ha) to finish on and something the student can regularly look forward to. You can also use stickers throughout the lesson (especially of you're swimming in stickers like I might be :) ) when the student does something particularly well. The student can place them in his/her book, on or in his/her lesson journal, have a sticker page, or even just wear them on his/her shirt.
The students might or might not act like they like stickers, but chances are, inside, they'll like them.
Do you use stickers with your students? How?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Planning A Studio Recital

I recently planned my first studio recital. Let me tell you, it was so rewarding! It might seem like a daunting task, but planning a studio recital is totally do-able!

I’ll break it down into some steps (order them as you see fit)...I might or might not have followed my own suggestions :)

·         Venue

o   Options include: student’s home, Senior living facility or daycare, Church

·         Date

o   Find a date and time that work with both the venue and your students. Mine ended up being during school hours, so a few students couldn’t make it, but we needed to work with the availability of the venue. My view is that there’s more to education than formal schooling and it won’t hurt a kid to leave school early once in a while for something like a studio recital. J

·         Invitation

o   Make sure students and parents are aware of the recital and your expectations. This is something that I can improve for our next recital. Make sure you get the info out as soon as you can (the beginning of the semester or year would be ideal, but isn’t always possible). Include proper attire for students (remember skirt length!) and guests if applicable, if students can invite friends and family, and the time that you expect students to be there (allow time for tuning and warm-up if applicable). Consider padding arrival time a little to allow for the students who run late. This could help your nerves.

·         Prepare

o   Don’t forget to prep students on what to expect. It’s a good idea to practice stage entrance/exit, questions you might have them answer, and bowing/curtseying.

The most important thing is to have fun! This is a great opportunity for you and your students to give to the community, give your students a great experience, and get free publicity!

More than likely, most of the audience will love your recital.

Have you had a studio recital or performed in one? Do you have any ideas? Be sure to share in the comment section!

Friday, January 10, 2014


Welcome to Practice Your Lasagnos!

On this blog, I hope to share various ideas regarding the profession of private music education. Many things will likely reference harp lessons particularly, as that’s my primary instrument, but many of these posts should still be useful to teachers of various instruments.

I have taught music lessons on and off since middle school and it has become a profession that I really enjoy. The title of this blog, "Practice Your Lasagnos" comes from a young student who had a hard time with the word "glissando." One time  she joyfully referred to it as a "lasagno!"

Hopefully, a post will appear each Friday (at least that’s the plan for the time being).

Are there any specific things you’d like to read about on this blog?

Thank you for checking out Practice Your Lasagnos!