Friday, February 28, 2014

Dance and Music Part 1

Watching the Ice Dancing portion of the Sochi Olympics, I was reminded of the value that dancing can have on musicianship and music education.
Now, I'm not talking about highly competitive, take-over-your-life, super-stressful dancing (à la Dance Moms), I'm talking about learning to dance for fun. Not that it shouldn't be taken seriously, but it doesn't need to cause a bunch of extra stuff, and kids definitely don't need to be going around in close to nothing. *end of rant*
Anyway, dancing can edify music education in all kinds of ways. Through dance, students are exposed to music repertoire and history (did you see Scheherazade and Swan Lake in the Olympics?), learn posture and become aware of their bodies, and learn to feel the music. They can learn expression and teamwork through dance experience.
Many forms of dance can be musically beneficial, but I will focus on a few specific types of dance. Follow along with this series exploring the benefits of ballet and tap for musicians!


P.S. Don't forget about modern dance! Check out my post on Dido and Aeneas.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Teaching inversions with building blocks

Apps used: PicCollage, Photogrid, Over

Here's a way to help you teach inversions...using building blocks! All you do is line up the blocks as if they were on a staff, then move them to show an inversion. I think this visual approach can help cement the idea or make it more clear for students. You can include a space in the inversions to further give a visual representation of the inversions.
What are your tips for teaching inversions?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

App used: InstaCollage
harp pictured: Camac Clio (although I think my column is a little different than the one pictured on the website)
Happy Valentine's Day!
Since this post should be published on Valentine's Day, that's what I'll be posting about :)
I have a questions for you this time!
Do you do anything special with/for your students for Valentine's Day? Do you bring special prizes or stickers? I hope I remember to bring Valentine stickers to my lessons!
Hope you're having a lovely Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of All Ages...

How old should my child be to start music lessons? Am I too old to learn to play the harp? These are questions you might hear from prospective customers.

inside of Lyon & Healy Prelude (I think)
text added with Over app

I have taught students from ages 3 (I think she was almost 4) to 80 (so far!). And you know what? Each age has its own great advantages. I have been blessed with some really great students of very different ages.

Especially with the popularity of Mommy & Me and Kindermusic classes, parents seem to want their children exposed to music. The minimum age that you require your students to be is completely up to you. Some people are more comfortable with older students, and that’s completely fine. Do what you think is best for the students, his or her family, and what you think you can or can’t reasonably handle.

One of the strengths that I see in younger students is their inhibition (edit/correction) how uninhibited they can be. They haven’t been exposed to as many “rules,” so often restrict themselves less than those of us who have been exposed to what might be considered “acceptable” or “unacceptable.” Because of this, they are often more willing to express their creativity.

One of the strengths of older students is that they are generally taking lessons because they WANT to study the instrument. They truly desire to study and learn, their parents aren’t just making them. Two of my senior citizen students are some of the most inspiring people. It is so very cool to see them truly interested in becoming better musicians.

The age of your students is up to you. You can even handle it on a case-by-case basis. You can have a preliminary/trial lesson to see the behavior of the child as well as how well your personalities mesh. If it’s something you don’t think will work, feel free to recommend the student to a colleague whose strengths might include that age of student or even tell the parent that you think it would be more beneficial to wait 6 months, a year, etc. Don’t forget to throw in that they would probably get more for their money if they waited awhile to start formal lessons! J You can also recommend age-appropriate resources for them to explore in the meantime.

What ages have you taught? What are your suggestions regarding different aged students?


P.S. The links don't benefit me monetarily (that I know of, but if they should end up doing so, that'd be peachy). However, if you should choose to purchase a Lyon & Healy Prelude as a result of this post and mention my name, it might be (again, not sure) financially beneficial for this harp teacher. :) Just trying to be upfront with y'all! :)