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 […]

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 […]

2311, 2014

Expectations and Why They’re Such a Big Deal

By |November 23, 2014|Expectations, Practicing, Teaching, Work Ethic|

It’s amazing how expectations affect us! If I expect someone to invite me to something, I’m deeply hurt when he or she doesn’t. If I don’t, I’m elated to receive an invitation. If I expect something of myself, I’m frustrated when I can’t fulfill it. If people I care about expect things of me, I’m inspired to please them. Expectations are powerful! We should consider how to use them as tools in our music studies.

Using Expectations as a Student

As a student, setting expectations for ourselves is extremely beneficial. How long and how often do you expect yourself to practice? This […]

1210, 2014

5 Skills to Develop Before Music School

By |October 12, 2014|Melody's Story, Music School, Practicing, Teaching, Work Ethic|

I’ve been blessed with incredible piano teachers that have prepared me wonderfully for music school. But music is such a huge field, and there’s only so much you can cover in 30 minutes or even 1 hour per week. Teachers must prioritize and decide how to best use the small amounts of time they have. I’ve faced this challenge weekly for years, and still haven’t figured it out. Obviously, as private instrument teachers, the main goal is to teach performance of the instrument. We want to work on pieces with our students. Most piano teachers also find it incredibly important […]

2809, 2014

The Power of Encouragement

By |September 28, 2014|Melody's Story, Teaching|

One of the most memorable characteristics of my second piano teacher was her encouraging spirit. She was so sweet and kind. Something special that has stuck with me from the one year of lessons with her was her hugs. Not all teachers feel comfortable connecting with their students in this way, but it meant a lot for me at the time.

Since her encouragement had such a positive impact on me, I have striven to have the same affirmative attitude in my teaching. There are three main benefits to purposefully complimenting the promising aspects of a performance and presenting our criticisms […]

1409, 2014

Practice vs. Play: The Constant Struggle For Efficient Practice

By |September 14, 2014|Music School, Practicing, Teaching, Work Ethic|

My violinist friend and her pianist sister finish playing a short piece for their family’s friends. Making music together is so much fun! “It must be so wonderful having kids who play instruments!” their guests tell my friends’ parents. Their parents look at each other, thinking, “This isn’t what they sound like for hours every day . . . there’s a big difference between playing and practicing.” At least there should be.

Learning to Practice
Have you ever considered that you or your students need to learn to practice? We want to learn to perform, of course, but in order to do […]