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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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Incorporating Music into Your Children's Everyday Routine

 Clank, CRASH, bang, BOOM!  What, doesn't sound like music to your ears?  For children, learning happens through doing.  The more they waddle around, the sooner they can run with ease, and the same goes for music.  The more they get the chance to bang out a beat, explore sounds, and belt out their favorite tunes, the sooner they can move on to more refined skills.  The best way to introduce musical activities to children is to find out their interests.  Use what you already know about your child to determine the activity.  For instance, a child who is interested in dinosaurs might enjoy songs about dinosaurs or a homemade drum decorated with dinosaurs.  Below is a list of great ways to incorporate music into your everyday routine.

1. Pull out those pots and pans.  Children love to explore music with a variety of materials, and the kitchen is the perfect place to look for inspiration.  Drying racks make great scraping noises, and what little one can resist getting to play with cookie sheets, mixing bowls, wooden spoons, and even Tupperware.  When your child is done, you can keep the selected "toys" out in a small stack for a few days, spreading them out now and again for some musical fun.  When the novelty wears off, simply wash them and put them away. 

2. Create a music station.  Your child's age will depend on what you put in your music station.  A small child can simply have a bin filled with rattles and other shakers and noisemakers.  As your child grows, you can introduce a small childproof radio (We have the Discovery Kids MP3 Boom Box). An older child could operate an iPod or CD player on their own to select their own music. 

3. Order Children's CDs from the library.  Set aside time each day to play the fun CDs, make up movements, use instruments from your music center, and just have a ball.  It's great when the parent sings along and participates in making up gestures and clapping a beat. Young children naturally imitate, and so you actually help them learn by getting silly and showing them what to do.

4. Sign up for an early childhood music class.  Music and movement classes are a great way to introduce musical skills in an age-appropriate environment.  There is also the added benefit of the children interacting.  They learn and grow together, and social skills are learned just as much as musical skills are.  Having the chance to play, sing, and explore with others their age helps them to learn to play appropriately in a social setting. In addition, you learn songs, movement, and rhymes that you can do at home to extend your child's learning.

5. Create songs that go with your child's routine.  Bedtime, morning time, washing hands, and cleaning up are all great times to introduce a musical cue.  It helps with behavior, and it brings one more element of music into your day.  It's great when the songs that you have been singing start to get sung right back to you.  For ideas about which songs to use, read my post on using music in routines

For more information about milestones and musical skills, click on my link above that pertains to your child's age. You will see the developmental goals for each age group, and you can assess where your child is in their musical development.  And next time you hear crash, boom, bang, put on a little smile, and let the learning begin!

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Your Big Day

I will have a booth here.

Next month will be my first bridal show.  I will be meeting brides, performing, and hosting a giveaway.  The giveaway will be a gorgeous honeymoon bag that says "Just Married..."  Inside are lots of goodies that will come in handy for a tropical getaway.  It will be fun to give away to a lucky couple.

I am also planning some popular wedding pieces to perform at Your Big Day such as:

  • "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" by Bach
  • "Bridal Chorus (Lohengrin)" by Wagner
  • "You Raise Me Up" by Grahm and Lovland
  • "Canon in D" by Pachelbel
  • "Ode to Joy" by Beethoven
  •  "Dona Nobis Pacem"
  • "Minuet" by Boccherini
  • "Moon River" by Mercer and Mancini
  • "All I Ask of You" by Webber
  • "Wedding March from A Midsummer Night's Dream" by Mendelssohn
What else would you like to hear?

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

An Elegant Affair in the Park

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of playing in Ashantae and Jermaine's ceremony at Frick Park.  The setting was lovely.  A huge stone gatehouse flanked by gorgeous flowers and an aisle that any bride would be pleased with set the stage for this ceremony.  The sun was shining, and butterflies fluttered throughout the entire ceremony.

Playing the violin at Frick Park Environmental Center
Photo by thruMYmascara photography

Some Highlights from this gorgeous wedding:

  • Prelude: "I will Always Love You" as performed by Whitney Houston
  • Processional: "Differences" as performed by Ginuwine
  • Flower Ceremony: "Thinking about You"  by Frank Ocean
  • Recessional: "Differences" by Ginuwine "Love on Top" as performed by Beyonce
During the recessional, they surprised everyone by stopping the song in the middle and doing a much more upbeat song for their first dance.   They threw the bouquet and the garter, and everyone danced and celebrated with the new couple.  All of these photos were taken by the bride's own photography company thruMYmascara photography, and I thank her for allowing me to use them here. 

Wedding rings on a violin

Wedding Photography

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Say Hello

Hello!  It's so fun to see the babies learn to clap and recognize their names! Register now- the first class is on the 25th, and we would love to sing "Hello" to your sweet baby!