KinderGuitar Winter Concerts

Every winter and spring, my students celebrate their musical achievements in front of an audience. It takes courage, hard work, focus, practice, and it is impressive to see the results. A week ago I was reminded once again how lucky I am to be part of such a wonderful community of parents and children […]

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, […]

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, […]

Mastering the First Melodies

In our classes we progress through a series of melodies, musical activities, and parts (accompanying voices). We use an easily decipherable code to aid musically illiterate parents guide and play with their children at home. Today, I taught a part of a German folk song to two seven year olds and broke it down […]

By |October 23rd, 2009|Practice Aids, Practicing|0 Comments|

Mountain Climbing and Music

A few days ago, a particularly talented student played through three songs beautifully. Over the course of the last several months, she has tackled challenging pieces and has improved dramatically from lesson to lesson. She is very determined to play guitar and she has a strong desire to play music. I told her that […]

Approaching Practice Time

Approaching practice time is as much a psychological commitment as it is a time commitment for both parents and children. In order to strengthen the psychological aspect of the commitment, students must have success or they must at least perceive success. To this effect, approach music (or anything requiring consistency to master) from its […]