melody

About Melody Zimmerman

Melody is a young musician and has been playing piano since she was 8. She is currently a piano performance major at Ithaca College and teaches privately through the teaching intern program. She loves her family, children, teaching, designing, and making music. Read her full bio here.
2005, 2015

On the Spot: Czerny and the Role of Improvisation in Classical Piano Education

By |May 20, 2015|Improvisation, Memorization, Music School, Practicing, Preparing to Perform, Talent, Teaching|

Thank you so much for your patience as I finished up a busy semester! As my first post back, I thought I’d share one of the things I was up to while I was gone. Below you’ll find my music history research paper. It’s kind of long for a blog post, so I’ve included an abstract too. Enjoy!

Abstract:
Throughout his career as a piano instructor, Carl Czerny emphasized teaching improvisation, an art that may have contributed to the harmonic understanding, technical development, and musical memory of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century pianists. Improvising publicly was common practice during Czerny’s life. His treatise on […]

2203, 2015

Notes or Music?

By |March 22, 2015|Performing, Talent, Teaching|

Since I’m super busy and I was unable over break to write enough blog posts for the entire semester, I’ve decided to take the opportunity to post something different today. Someone shared this video with me as a good reminder that every single note we play should have character. It’s also really funny. Enjoy!

View on Youtube at this link.

So let’s not just play notes, let’s make music. Please share your responses in the comments section!

Photo Credits: “Finger face with a question” by Tsahi Levent-Levi. CC BY 2.0 Text added to original.| Derivative of “Music sculpture” by Ruth Ellison. CC BY-NC-ND […]

903, 2015

How to Pick Good Music Schools

By |March 9, 2015|Expectations, Melody's Story, Music School|

It’s easy to find a list of good music schools. According to FindTheBest.com, the top ten are

But what makes a music school a top school? Are the “best” music schools in the United States necessarily good music schools for you?
How Rankings Are Done
FindTheBest.com’s rankings are “calculated by looking at representation of alumni in ten major orchestras, 2013 Grammy Awards recipients, and 2013 Monterey Jazz Festival participants.” Though this can be helpful if these are your goals, it does not consider many other aspects of what makes a good music program.

Other college ranking services calculate music school rankings using other […]

1502, 2015

Finding Motivation to Practice

By |February 15, 2015|Expectations, Motivation, Music School, Practicing, Preparing to Perform, Work Ethic|

Are you having one of those days? Are you looking for every possible reason why you don’t actually have to practice today. I can relate. Sometimes the biggest challenge is just finding the motivation to practice. So what do we do when we don’t feel like practicing?

1) Just start

If you just start practicing, you’ll often notice that you want to finish what you’ve begun. Once you’ve started, it’s much easier to keep practicing longer.

2) Plan to do it first thing in the morning

Having a specific plan for when you practice will help. Often doing it first thing in the morning […]

102, 2015

On Stage (Preparing to Perform – Part 2)

By |February 1, 2015|Nerves, Performing, Preparing to Perform|

As you might recall from Part 1, there are 3 steps to performing in a concert. Now that we’ve covered the practicing and the practicing performing, it’s time to actually perform.

How do we deal with those annoying butterflies in our stomachs and play as well as ever?

There’s no magic trick, but here are a few suggestions when preparing to perform.

1) Try holding a high-power pose for 2 minutes before your performance

Research shows that this increases risk tolerance, lowers cortisol levels, and increases testosterone levels, configuring your brain to be assertive, confident, and comfortable.

2) Breath and take your time.

It feels much […]

1801, 2015

Performance Practice (Preparing to Perform – Part 1)

By |January 18, 2015|Performing, Practicing, Preparing to Perform|

Performing in a concert or recital involves 3 basic steps:
1) Practicing (preparing the music itself)
2) Practicing performing
3) Performing

Since it can be difficult to practice performing without just performing, we often skip step 2.

If our performance practice is limited to the performances we do throughout the year, however, we’re setting ourselves up for inconsistent performances and years of practice before reaching our goals.

I’d like to share a few strategies I’ve learned to use as performance practice before every concert or recital.

1) Simulate Nerves

a) Get your heart rate up (run up and down the stairs or do jumping jacks)

b) Record yourself […]

401, 2015

5 Characteristics of Good Private Music Teachers

By |January 4, 2015|Expectations, Practicing, Teaching|

This post is intended to serve as a helpful guide for parents and students looking for teachers, but I also hope it helps inspire teachers to continue pursuing growth in these areas. These are some of the goals I’m working toward in my own teaching.

Good private music teachers . . .

1) Have Teaching Experience

No matter how amazing people are as performers, if they can’t teach, then students won’t be able to benefit from their skill. If you’re seeking lessons for a young child, do they work well with kids? The amount of teaching experience of even an excellent musician can […]

2512, 2014

Christmas Gift: Free Winter Recital Program Template

By |December 25, 2014|Christmas, Free Download, Performing, Teaching|

Merry Christmas! I wanted to do a special post for Christmas, so I decided to provide a free download. If you read my biography, you will know that, aside from music, I’m also interested in design. So as my Christmas gift to you, I’m providing a free template for a winter recital program.

The Word document is pre-formatted: just fill in student names and pieces. If you like to do more customization, I’m also providing a PDF of the background only. Please enjoy and share!

I hope you had a very merry Christmas!

-Melody

 

If you have any trouble, please let me know. Thanks!

2112, 2014

Mental Memory: 7 Strategies to Engage the Muscle of the Mind

By |December 21, 2014|Memorization, Performing, Practicing, Teaching|

We all hate that moment in the middle of a performance, or even before it starts, when we just go blank. We find it frustrating when we can play a piece well but memory gets in the way of a beautiful performance. How do we prepare to prevent that from happening?

As a kid I didn’t understand the concept of memorizing music. By the time my teacher asked me to memorize something, I already had it memorized. That was easy! If I played it enough times, it was in my fingers. But I was depending solely on muscle memory, an important […]

712, 2014

The Story of My Piano

By |December 7, 2014|Melody's Story, Piano—the instrument|

“I wish I could make that into a grand piano for you,” said the lady from church after complimenting my performance on a digital piano. Little did she know that comment would play a major role in leading me to my grand piano . . .

It was Christmas Eve. I was a junior in high school and had just finished playing “We Three Kings” at my church’s Christmas Eve service. You know that painful performance on a digital piano with a squeaky pedal connected to a sound system? It was one of those. At the time, I had been practicing […]