Sunday, December 30, 2012

Song Sunday and Prayer Requests

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Creating an Environment for Musical Development

Reposted from Organic Aspirations.

Creating an Environment for Musical Development

I'm the mom who gives my friend's kids drum sets.  Literally- I'm not exaggerating.  As a musician, I know that experience in music and creative movement in childhood can foster musical involvement and skills later in childhood and even into adulthood.  Read this article for more details about the many benefits of music for children.

Creating an Environment for Musical Development

Creating an environment for nurturing music is inexpensive and fairly easy to achieve. Try each of this ideas for making your home a place where music is part of your creative play.

  • Add music and movement into your daily schedule.  If you have young children, do fifteen minutes of music time each day, and for older children (first grade and up), schedule thirty minutes for them to practice singing or an instrument.
  • Create some instruments from things you have at home.  I have tutorials for shakers and drums.
  • Gather all of your rhythm instruments into one basket, and bring the basket out during music time.  Get different music and movement CDs or order them from your library. and use them to guide your time.  Scarves and beanbags are great props for music too!
Creating an Environment for Musical Development

  • Focus on beat with young children.  Always tap a beat rather than a rhythm with toddlers.  You can introduce an echo clap or tap at about four or five years old. 
  • Make music time available to children for freeplay.  Children learn through play, and many times they will even practice some of the skills that you have taught them.   Music takes practice, so the more time you make available, the better.
Creating an Environment for Musical Development

  • Lead by example.  If you play an instrument, practice every day.  If not, sing and listen to your favorite styles of music.  Talk with your children about the music you appreciate, and don't be afraid to sing along and let your love of music show!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bring the Whole Family

It's not everyday that I sing in a choir since my violin schedule usually does not allow it.  The last time I did, I had a cast on my arm! Tonight is the exception to the rule.  I am honored to be a very small part of my church's Christmas production for families to enjoy.  I hope that you will come out and enjoy this night filled with drama, music, and puppets!

538 Hickory Grade Road
Bridgeville, PA 15017
6:30 PM

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bringing Joy

On the holidays, and an time of the year, people confined to nursing homes love to have visitors.  It's nice to join them for a fun carol sing, and it's an excellent time for students to try their hand at performing.

Christmas Show

Christmas Show
Christmas Show
My daughter Ana plays the drum with the kids from her Bible Study who participated in the show.
Several of my students started just this month, so I'm looking forward to many more participants at the next show.  Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2012

My First Piano Adventures

I have just discovered that my favorite piano curriculum, Piano Adventures now has an amazing series for the very young beginner.  I have several very young students (including my own daughter), and I've already started using it!  It's called My First Piano Adventure, and it is perfect for young children.  It has an accompanying CD, so the kids can practice what they learned in lessons fairly autonomously without forgetting what to do.  In addition, it breaks down each basic skill into separate lessons so that the lessons don't move too fast.   My daughter has been enjoying the duet, and she even performed it at our Christmas Show on Saturday at a local nursing home. (I'll post photos this week!)  For those families where the parents don't play piano, the duet is on the CD for easy practice!

The duet has the students practice taking a bow at the end!
I am planning on using this curriculum from now on in my intro to piano classes.  All of my games and other fun activities that I'm already using are a perfect compliment to this series. 

Note: This post is not sponsored by Faber and Faber or their publishers, but as with any of my links, you support my studio by ordering from Amazon through my site. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Giveaway: Egg Shakers

Egg shakers are a great way to practice tapping beat with children.  I am offering two readers a chance to win your choice of a set of six handmade recycled egg shakers or a recycled bottle shaker with streamers.  For your chance to win, follow on Google Friend connect or like LMS on Facebook, and leave a comment.  The winner will be announced in two weeks!  Good Luck!
Shaker Giveaway
Comments are now closed, and the winning comment is:

I follow GFC! Angela Killingsworth

Congratulations Angela! 
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Friday, November 30, 2012

Susanne Lautenbacher

My Pastor has been telling me for over a year that his favorite violinist is Susanne Lautenbacher.  I had never heard her, so I finally decided that hearing her was a must.

 I was not disappointed, and I don't think that you will be either!

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Drumroll Please!

Homemade Recycled Drums

 The drums are now a top pick at the Studio since I've given them a makeover.  These colorful favorites are easy for anyone to make at home, so save a containers, and enjoy personalizing your own instrument.

  • Oatmeal or formula can
  • Fabric scrap
  • Yarn
  • Beads (optional)
  • Felt
  • Hot Glue
  • Large Needle
  • Scissors
  1.  Carefully hot glue a scrap of fabric to your container with the lid on.  Run the bead of hot glue along the top of the container where any staining of the fabric will be hidden by the felt. Fold the raw edge over and glue in place.
  2. Trace two circles in the felt about an inch larger than the container, and hot glue them to the top and bottom of the container
  3. Use the needle to lace the two circles together.  You can lace beads onto every other stitch if desired.  Carefully tighten the laces before knotting them and trimming.
Variation:  For extra large drums, use empty popcorn tins.

Homemade Recycled Drums

Homemade Recycled Drums

Homemade Recycled Drums

Homemade Recycled Drums

Until 2/22/2013, you can enter to win a custom made drum of your own!

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Piano Finger Number Beanbag Game

A very important part of learning to read piano music is learning to identify "finger numbers."  In addition, it greatly helps to know left hand from right hand.  This simple game addresses both.  To play, simply draw two large hands on a piece of cardboard.  Be sure to draw them with the thumbs pointing towards the middle.  To play the game, the student gently tosses the beanbag, and wherever it lands, the student has to identify the hand and finger number.

For additional practice with finger numbers, try this song with gestures as well:

Where is Finger One?
(To the Tune of "Are You Sleeping?")
Where is finger one? (Hold up left hand thumb)
Where is finger one? (Hold up right hand thumb)
"Here I am!" (Wiggle left thumb)
"Here I am!" (Wiggle right thumb)
"How are you today sir?" (Wiggle left thumb)
"Very well I thank you!" (Wiggle right thumb)
Run away! (Put left hand behind back)
Run away! (Put right hand behind back)

*Repeat for each finger number
1- Thumb
2- Pointer
3- Middle
4- Ring
5- Pinky

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Wedding at Old Economy

Saturday I played a wedding at Old Economy.  It was an elegant and beautiful event.  The flowers were in full bloom, and the weather couldn't have been better.

I had the honor of playing the violin.  The music was simple, elegant, and well-selected. Here are some highlights:

Minuet by Boccherini

Wedding Party- Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
 Bride- Bridal Chorus

Wedding March

It was an honor to be a part of such a special day.

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Your Big Day is Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the big day- Your Big Day!  It's the Your Big Day Bridal show in Pittsburgh.  It's a free bridal show in Pittsburgh.  I will be giving away this great "Just Married..." tote bag featuring my own violin in the photo to one lucky bride, and I will be performing as well for anyone who is interested in hearing me play.  There are lots of other vendors to check out including photographers, wedding planners, a DJ, and many many more.  I hope to see you there. Don't forget to stop at my table for a chance to win this great tote bag!

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Online Music Games

Try some of these music games!  Learn about music while having fun!

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Number Recognition Game

An important part of learning to read music is number recognition.  Young children can learn to play by ear, but it's great to teach them to read music as well.  I focus on the numbers 1-5 since each hand has 5 fingers.  This activity is interactive and fun while it teaches, and it incorporates recycling to boot!


  • Egg Carton
  • Permanent Marker
  • Bottle Caps (or any small item to count)
  • Scissors
  1. Cut the egg carton in half.
  2. Use the marker to number each slot of the egg carton 1-5 (or 6 if you want to use each slot)
  3. Fill each slot with the appropriate amount of bottle caps.  
To play the game, simply dump the caps and have the little one count enough caps for each number.  Supervision is required since the pieces are very small.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Never Too Late

It's never too late to register for music classes.  There are still openings for every age group, but the spaces are filling fast.  Early Childhood classes begin tomorrow, and it's not too late to get involved. Click on the tab for your child's age group for more information. 

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dona Nobis Pacem

This video is the first of many in my repertoire series.  I hope you enjoy my playing, and please keep me in mind when you are planning your next event.  Weddings, banquets, cocktail hours, dinner music, luncheons, parties, and showers are just a few of the examples of events where a violinist would add a touch of class and beauty. 

The song Dona Nobis Pacem is a traditional piece whose title means "Grant Us Peace."  It was used in the Latin Mass.  Although the composer is unknown, it is attributed by some to Mozart.  It is a beautiful piece of music at any event.  The sound is simple and clean.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

An Amazing Instrumentalist

This video features one of my violinists playing a piece from one of my favorite composers.  I listen with goosebumps each time I hear it.  Listen to how he creates tension and anticipation so masterfully.  Music is an art form, and there is a certain drama that makes it more exciting to watch and listen to.  Joshua Bell certainly does an excellent job of creating a sense of drama and urgency that makes us listen on the edge of our seats.  Enjoy!

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Gift of Music

 Music is a special gift, and this fun activity helps children and teens to practice their basic skills and warm up in the format of a game.  The concept is basic, but the possibilities for practicing skills are endless.  Parents and teachers alike can easily make this game, and it can be used alone, with siblings, or at a group or duet lesson.

Making the Game


  • Gift bag
  • Music or other fun colored index cards
  • Sharpie
  • Lesson Book or Music Curriculum

  1. Use the lesson book or other curriculum to establish the skills that you want to cover.  This is not limited to piano. The same concept can be used with any instrument.  
  2. Write each skill on a card with a Sharpie.
  3. Put the cards into the gift bag.
Playing the Game

  1. Ask the student to choose a skill from the bag.
  2. In the case of non-readers, read the card to the student.
  3. Wait while the student does the action on the card.  Instruct and guide the student if necessary- or give praise if it is done correctly.
  4. For group lessons, the teacher can evaluate the knowledge of each student in the group by asking them to tell the student performing if they were correct.  Then, the teacher can instruct if necessary.  
  5. For home practice, the students can use the game independently if they are readers.  
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's Educational, but FUN

Shake, jump, stamp, and tap are only a few of fun things that kids enjoy.  My goal in the early childhood program is to make the children think that they are having fun and playing games.  They don't need to know that they are actually learning!  Many of the musical props that I use are aimed to do just that- instruments, scarves, beanbags, and canopies create such an exciting and fun environment that the students may not even know that they are learning important foundational music skills. (ie. fast and slow, soft and loud, marking a beat, echoing rhythms, number recognition, etc....)These are a few of the fun things we play with.

Rhythm instruments are key!  They allow a child to mark a beat along with favorite songs, and they give them experience experimenting with different sounds as well.  These can also be use to play more complex rhythms as the child progresses to higher stages of musical development.

Scarves are a great way to show expression through movement.  Different movements can be used for soft and loud, and they can learn to love the music that they are moving with.

Shaker eggs are great when the teacher would like everyone to use the same instrument.  In addition, the sound is light enough that it is easier to mark a beat as a group with these.

A canopy is yet another movement too that allows gross motor movements in time to music.  They can show expression, and they must work as a team to make the canopy work.

Homemade drums are a favorite.  Mine are still just recycled containers, but I plan on decorating them soon. Drums are great for marking beats, and they are key for learning basic rhythmical concepts and echos.

Bean bags are extremely versatile.  They are great for movement games, and they can teach, beat, rhythm, body part recognition, and more.  In addition they can be used for many music reading games as well.

Finally, the piano is always a part of my classes.  Children love to explore the piano, and in many cases the goal is to teach the children to play piano.  From the very youngest, they get time each class to explore and play the sounds on the piano.  The older children start using the piano to play rhythms, and they start to develop a five finger hand position.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Appreciate This!

Unlike my last music appreciation share, I can't play this whole piece yet.  I say YET.  LOL  It's just amazing though.  It's one of my husband's absolute favorites for good cause.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Marriage Proposal

Imagine a quiet walk. The sun is setting, and the wind is blowing through the leaves.  A violin is playing beautiful music.  Soft words of love are spoken, and a ring is given.  A memory that will always be special is made. 

Call me guys, I can help make this dream a reality!

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Motivating Your Young Musician

Photo by Paul Vladuckick
Amazing Job!  This is just one of the many ways that you can let your child know that they are doing well at their instrument.  Success is an important part of motivation, and you as parents can give your kids lots of encouragement to let them know that they are successful!  Here are some links for great ideas to help you to motivate your young musician. 

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