Playing Simple Melodies Well

 

Connecting notes successfully in a melody means the difference between sounding like a typewriter and sounding like a singer with a beautiful voice. I often use the phrase “passing off the pinch” to help describe the principle of correct left hand movement that occurs between notes of a melody. The basic principle is simply […]

FINDING MORE GUITAR TIME

Lately, I have been spending more and more “guitar time” with my oldest son, Max (5). Though I used to sit down with him once or twice a week and let him have lightly structured “fun” (which is what I refer to as the “babble phase”) I realize as these days go by that […]

More Home Practice Tips for Parents

Internet, television, video games, sports, chores, and homework ferociously compete for your child’s music making time at home and, unfortunately, they often win. If we truly want our children to succeed in music, to enjoy the rewards of mastering a musical instrument, both indirect and direct, and to lead culturally rich lives, it helps […]

Empathy

As an educator, I’ve both learned from experience and learned from research about the importance of empathy. Teachers and parents who empathize with their students and children can transform a negative dynamic to a constructive one.

Reflect on your language at home during guitar time and if you are an educator, during class. Phrases […]

EMPHASIZING EFFORT

While coaching in class and at home with my own children, I have been working on emphasizing effort. It takes courage to try something new in front of a teacher and in front of peers and classmates. And, it takes courage to try something that is likely to fail on the first try. However, […]

INDIRECT PROGRESS

Several weeks ago, I had a very talented student work on a difficult section of a piece she was preparing. We went through it slowly, broke it down into bite size pieces, sang it the way she wanted to play it, considered many, many fingerings for the left hand and right hand, kept at […]

Parental Involvement

Here is a question many parents probably ask themselves when they enroll their children in music lessons: How important is my involvement and how do I do it successfully? The younger the child, the more parental involvement is necessary. Learning to play a musical instrument is much like learning a language or even, perhaps, […]

RECENT GUITAR TIMES

A wonderful and very young student recently performed for the first time in our winter concert. Before the concert we worked really hard to make everything feel easy. There were many moments of frustration and lack of focus but also many, many moments of great music-making that were fun. After having worked so hard […]

MUSICAL ENVIRONMENT

My children, 6 and 2, spend a good portion of their day playing music, hearing me practice, pounding at the piano, strumming the various stringed instruments (guitars, a few cuatros that I brought from Venezuela, odd instruments my older son occasionally makes with strings and chairs), shaking maracas (and in my two year old’s […]

By |December 30th, 2009|Practicing, Uncategorized|0 Comments|

On Practice Time

Playing time should consist of a variety of activities. Depending on the amount of time spent playing each day or each week, young students and their parents should mutually agree to prepare for the upcoming lesson and to spend some time refining playing and improving skills. The positive correlation between increased time spent on […]