Monthly Archives: October 2010

2010 MMTA Conference (4): Functional Skills are Important by Martha Hilley

What follows are the notes I took from a session with Martha Hilley at the 2010 Michigan Music Teachers Association conference. FUNCTIONAL SKILLS ARE IMPORTANT TO EVERYONE ~ by Martha Hilley “Functional skills” include skills such as harmonization, improvisation, transposition, rhythm, and theory.  There are many fun ways to incorporate functional skills into group/private settings.  Today […]

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2010 MMTA Conference (3): Classical Improvisation by Brian Chung

What follows are the notes I took from a session with Brian Chung at the 2010 Michigan Music Teachers Association conference. CLASSICAL IMPROVISATION ~ by Brian Chung Introduction Is improvisation really for jazz only?  Why can’t we classical pianists learn improvisation from our own tradition (as did Liszt, Clara Schumann, and others)? Two goals for […]

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

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DIY: Silent Mini Keyboards

I recently decided that I wanted to own a set of silent keyboards for doing introductory piano activities with young children, and for using during group theory activities.  Unfortunately, buying a set of silent plastic keyboards (view them at musicinmotion.com) can be a rather large studio expense.  Of course, a cheap alternative would be to simply […]

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2010 MMTA Conference (2): Theory & Improv as the PB&J of Music, Part 2

A continuation of the previous post……see Part 1 here. THEORY & IMPROVISATION: THE PB&J OF MUSIC ~ by Martha Hilley Activities Continued….. 5. Progression Based Improvisation 1) Show the student a progression such as: A  |  D  |  A  | Bmin |  E  |  A  |  E  |  A  || 2) Be sure the students […]

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2010 MMTA Conference (1): Theory & Improv as the PB&J of Music, Part 1

The first of a series of posts summarizing the 2010 Michigan Music Teachers Association conference. In this post: my notes from the “Theory & Improvisation as the PB&J of Music” session by Martha Hilley (Part 1).

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

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Teaching Tip: Count Like a Musician!

At the 2010 Michigan Music Teachers Assocation conference this weekend, our conference clinician Martha Hilley had some wise words for us that I thought I’d share here: Always be a musician, even when you are counting aloud! As she led us through some various exercises during one of the sessions, Martha Hilley encouraged us to […]

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9 Ideas for Motivating Piano Students

We have all had students who are low on motivation at one point or another. It’s not always easy to keep students practicing week after week. To make matters more complicated, every student is different: something that motivates one student might not work for the next. This post contains 9 great suggestions for increasing motivation among your piano students.

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Book Review: “Returning to the Piano” by Wendy Stevens

Summary Title: Returning to the Piano: A Refresher Book for Adults (click to view on Amazon) Composer/Arranger: Wendy Stevens Publisher: Hal Leonard Number of Pages: 96 Level: Elementary – Early Intermediate (pieces are in order of difficulty). Other Information: Includes a CD. Review As the title suggests, this book is intended for adult piano students […]

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

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Teaching Phrase: “Pretend It’s Easy”

Lately, I’ve trying out this phrase with my students, in situations when a student is struggling with the technique of playing a particular passage: “Pretend this is really easy for you to play.” This phrase works best in a situation where the teacher observes that the student is holding far too much tension in his/her […]

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