Three-in-One: A Review of Little Gems for Piano 

(and an MLT-based Application)

As I was driving to my studio this morning I was thinking about the early years of piano instruction. While they’re often the hardest for parents and children to get through, the first few months and years are the most important for several reasons.

First, we must engage our music students in a way that fosters a love of and a successful experience at making music. Second, we must develop a healthy technique so they have freedom at the piano from the start. Third, we need to introduce students to a variety of sounds, tonalities, and meters so they can hear, think, and engage in music with understanding. 

That’s a whole lot of goodness wrapped up into a student’s first experience at the piano!

Today I’m to going to share my thoughts on a book called Little Gems for Piano and how rote pieces like these can cover all three of these critical areas in one. We will focus especially on the last one as it is part of the philosophy I am slowing working to incorporate in my teaching called Music Learning Theory (MLT) by the late Dr. Edwin Gordon. Continue reading

2017 Spring Recital: The Magical Forest, A Narrative Suite

This year was my studio’s 6th Spring Recital. For the last several years I’ve been trying to mix things up a bit to keep the big recital fresh and exciting. Everyone plays a solo in the first half of the recital followed by a 10-minute intermission.

The second half of the recital changes from year to year. Two years ago everyone played a jazzy style and I explained to the audience before each style set what they should expect to hear. Last year we did collaborative pieces including duets, trios, and two pianos with four hands (some pieces with a live drummer).

This year, we did a studio-wide collaborative project. I pulled out a book I’ve been itching to use for several years but didn’t have enough students at an early intermediate level to have performed them until now.

I’m going to share the process of pulling something like this together and also share a free download to help you plan your own production of this narrative suite.

 

The Magical Forest Narrative Suite

The Magical Forest- A Narrative Suite for Piano by Nancy Lau combines short narration with pieces. Each piece also has a representative drawing.

Pieces include: Entering the Magical Forest, Forest Fanfare, March of the Critters, Bear Dance, Waltz of the Deer, The Fairies Delight, Backwoods Bop, Woodland Farewell, and Leaving the Magical Forest. Continue reading

Course Review 

Creating a Studio Policy and Sticking to It!

I am pleased to post my first review on this blog!

I’ve been a long time follower and fan of Jennifer Foxx over at Music Educators Resources. She has developed a new course, “Creating a Studio Policy and Sticking to it!” I love that title because policy development is not just about creating a policy, it’s about implementing and not being afraid, as she says, to “stick to it.”

My first impression as soon as I logged in was that both the program itself and the platform it’s presented on are very clean, simple and professional-looking. I love that! It’s very easy to navigate. When you log in, you can see how much of the course you have completed.

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Modules

The curriculum is a set of 7 video modules ranging from 2-minutes to 37-minutes. The videos follow a nice Powerpoint as Jennifer talks you through the program.

Modules include:

  1. Introduction
  2. Policy Myths and Benefits
  3. Tips on Creating Your Studio Policies
  4. What Should a Policy Include?
  5. Understanding Conflicts and Resolving Confrontations
  6. How to Say NO and Have it Stick
  7. Create Win-Wins.

Continue reading