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Performance is the arena for drama queens, right? And even they get nervous at times! For most of us, the very word "recital" strikes fear...but it doesn't have too. Here are some helpful tips for calming your nerves and enjoying your performance!
Remember that you are here to share your talent with others. Instead of focusing on yourself, focus on your friends, family, and others who have come to enjoy hearing and watching you play the music that you've worked so hard to perfect this semester. They can't wait to watch and hear you perform!
Don't think about what might happen. You'll only scare yourself if you keep focusing on all the things that could go wrong - all the wrong notes you may play, etc. Instead let your thoughts reassure you! We chose these pieces because you love to play them. Remember what you love about this music that you're about to share, and let us see how much you enjoy your recital piece!
Picture your successful performance. In your mind, imagine yourself at the recital as a guest, and watch yourself perform your piece with no mistakes. Every note is correct, every rhythm flawless, and your expression makes your piece extraordinary!
Take time to mentally prepare. Don't start to play as soon as you've sat down on the piano bench. Take a deep breath, hear the first few measures of your music in your head, and then start your performance. This is also important after you've finished your first piece and are moving on to your second. Don't simply go from one piece to the next. You know that I like for you to play pieces that sound very different! Take some time in between to let your mind adjust to the new rhythm and character of the second piece before you begin to play.
Remember, the recital is a time to enjoy this music! We've worked so hard to choose pieces that you love, perfect the details, and make them your very own. Now it's time to share the fun with your family and friends!
These colorful little castanets are perfect for little fingers to explore. Not only will your child experiment with rhythm, but he'll also work on developing his fine motor skills!
Sturdy Paper like poster board or a manila folder
Pairs of Buttons
Hot Glue Gun or Elmer's School Glue
Cut the paper into rectangles that measure anywhere from 4 to 6 inches long and 1/2 to 1 inch wide. Fold each rectangle in half so there's a crease in the middle. Next, choose two buttons and glue one on each end of the rectangle. The buttons will need to be the same size, and if your child is like my son, they'll have to be the same color too! Allow the glue to dry.
Let the fun begin! What types of rhythms can you create with your new instrument? Can you click the buttons together fast and slow? Can you make a steady beat? How about tapping the rhythm of your favorite song with your castanets? Turn on some music and experiment with all different types of rhythm!
***If doing this craft with young children or with young children present, do be careful to keep an eye on the buttons. Don't let young children put them in their mouths!***
When it comes to performance, the first ten seconds are the hardest and the most important.
"The most important part of any act is the first ten seconds and the last ten seconds...what happens in between isn't that important." - Singer and Dancer, George M. Cohan
So, what do you plan to do with those important ten seconds?
Grab the Audience's Attention as you walk up to the piano. Did you know that your attitude as you walk up to the piano is very important - for you as well as for the audience? Be confident! Be excited! And show that to everyone in the way that you walk up to the keyboard. Anticipate that you'll have fun and enjoy sharing your music!
Start with a bang! Well, not literally, but your first couple measures will set the tone for the rest of the piece. Even if you're not feeling confident, playing that beginning with strength and expression will calm your nerves. Once again, anticipate enjoying the beautiful sounds you'll create!
Anticipate the fun! Remember that we chose these pieces because you really, really liked them. What was it that attracted you to that piece? Was it the sound of all the notes blending together as you use the damper pedal or did you like the sound of those deep, low notes that finish the piece? I know for some, you enjoyed playing with both hands at the same time! And for my older students, it's so much fun to see how creative you can be with all the different styles of music that we've studied!
As you prepare to play at the recital, think about why you chose that piece in the first place. Why you enjoyed playing it so much during our lessons and your practice time! Make those first ten seconds exciting and the fun will continue throughout the rest of your performance!
Since the group formed in early 2011, The Piano Guys have become an internet sensation. YouTube followers enjoy a variety of beautiful arrangements complimented by thematic costumes and breathtaking backdrops. And on Friday, November 8th, you can enjoy their music first hand at the Straz Center!
Pull out the scissors, drinking straws, and some tape to make this entertaining instrument.
4-8 beverage or milkshake straws
Cut the straws at different lengths, each one a half-inch shorter than the next one. If you can, cut at an angle. Line the straws in order from longest to shortest, and tape them together. Or you can tape them to the cardboard.
You'll play your new instrument by blowing across the top of the flat side of the straw. What do you hear? Since these straws are plastic, you won't actually hear a sound, but you will hear a different pitches as you listen to the air move over the pipe.
What songs can you play with your new instrument?
Music and exercise seem to be a great combo for both your body and your mind. Earlier this year, Charles Emery, a clinical psychologist at Ohio State University scratched the surface of this research with 33 men and women who were completing a cardiac rehabilitation program.
For this study, Emery used Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons." This piece of classical music is complex, stimulating the brain by forcing it to sort through a wide variety of neural transmissions. The frontal lobe of the brain comes into play as it organizes the tones, timing, and sequence of the music. Interestingly enough, the frontal lobe is also the center for activities such as planning ahead and abstract thinking.
If you're not a classical music lover, don't despair! While it hasn't been scientifically proven yet, Emery believes that other styles of music can also be helpful in awakening the brain during exercise.
For this study, each participant was required to come up with as many different words as possible which all began with the same letter of the alphabet. The time limit was one minute - One minute to come up with as many new words as possible. For those who exercised without music, the results before and after exercise were the same. For those who exercised to Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons," the results after exercise were doubled, on average!
So, if you're looking to sharpen your mind and tone your body, crank up the classical music and get on that treadmill!
"Music is the great uniter, an incredible force, something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common." - Sarah Dessen
Music therapists recommend Kindermusik to their clients for many reasons, as noted on Kindermusik's Blog:
In the first place, both developmentally normal and special needs children are naturally welcomed into the Kindermusik classroom.
Secondly, Kindermusik provides a group learning environment which gently develops and supports steps taken during individual therapy sessions.
And thirdly, music therapists already recognize and utilize the amazing benefits that music provides for cognitive development.
Being both a music therapist and Kindermusik educator has been a dream come true for Julie Wade. Hear her story on Kindermusik's recent blog post here.
Are you interested in experiencing first-hand the many benefits that Kindermusik can provide for your little one? Join us for a free preview class at our Wesley Chapel, FL location!
Here's a fun musical instrument that can be made with items you probably have around your home!
5-8 water glasses, all the same size
food coloring (optional)
Fill each glass with a different amount of water. If you’d like to make a colorful “keyboard” you can add some food coloring to the water. Use different color for each amount of water - You'll create a rainbow of color and sound!``
Now, try some of these fun musical activities:
Experiment with the tone of the glasses. What happens when you add more water to the glass? What happens when you take some water out?
Make a “keyboard” - organize the glasses from lowest tone to highest tone. Can you play a scale that matches the notes on your piano keyboard?
Now, you can use your new keyboard to play a song. You may need to adjust the amount of water in some of the glasses to get the right tune. Tunes with 3-5 notes are great to start. Mary had a Little Lamb, or Are You Sleeping are two good options.
Once you have your song perfected, make a video of your performance to share with your teacher during your next lesson!
Christmas time is here...well, for those who want to have several Christmas Carols under their belt for the holiday season! I had so much fun at the music store looking through Christmas books, and I have several for your child to choose from. We'll be looking through some of them during lessons this week!
Here's the lineup, including a list of the songs in each book as well as which books are best for you or your child's level:
Music for Little Mozarts - Level 1
My First Christmas Carols - $5.95
Away in a Manger - Good King Wenceslas - Jingle Bells - Jolly Old Saint Nicholas - Silent Night - Up on the Housetop - We Three Kings of Orient Are - We Wish You a Merry Christmas
My First Pop Christmas Songs - $7.95
Winter Wonderland - Frosty, the Snowman - It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - The Little Drummer Boy - Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! - (There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays - Sleigh Ride
Music for Little Mozarts - Level 2
Famous & Fun Christmas, Book 1 - $6.95
Angels We Have Heard on High - Away in a Manger - Go, Tell it on the Mountain - Good King Wenceslas - I Saw Three Ships - Jingle Bells - Jolly Old Saint Nicholas - O Come, All Ye Faithful - The Snow Lay on the Ground - Up on the Housetop - We Three Kings
Famous & Fun Pop Christmas, Book 1 - $7.99
Blue Christmas - Deck the Halls - Frosty the Snowman - Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer - Home for the Holidays - It Came Upon the Midnight Clear - It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Jingle Bell Rock - Let it Snow! - Santa Clause Is Comin' to Town - Winter Wonderland
PreTime Piano Christmas - $4.95
Jolly Old Saint Nicholas - Jingle Bells - Good King Wenceslas - Away in a Manger - We Three Kings of Orient Are - Up On the Housetop - Over the River and Through the Woods - Silent Night - I Saw Three Ships
Alfred Premier or Basic Piano Course, Level 1A
Alfred's Basic Piano, Merry Christmas 1A - $5.95
Away in a Manger - Christmas Day - The Coventry Carol - Good King Wenceslas - Joy to the World - O Come, All Ye Faithful - Silent Night - The Snow Lay on the Ground - Up on the Housetop - We Three Kings of Orient Are
Alfred's Basic Piano, Top Hits Christmas 1A - $6.95
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) - Frosty, the Snowman - Happy Holiday - Home for the Holidays - I'll be Home for Christmas - Let It Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - We Need a Little Christmas
Premier Piano Course, Christmas 1A - $6.95
Away in a Manger - Dance of the Reed Flutes - Go, Tell it on the Mountain - Good King Wenceslas - Jingle Bells - Jolly Old Saint Nicholas - O Come, All Ye Faithful - O Come, Little Children - Up on the Housetop - We Three Kings
Alfred Premier or Basic Piano Course, Level 1B
Basic Piano Course, Merry Christmas, Level 1B - $5.95
Angels We Have Heard on High - Go, Tell it on the Mountain - Jingle Bells - Jolly Old Saint Nicholas - Silent Night - The Twelve Days of Christmas - We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Basic Piano Course, Top Hits Christmas, Level 1B - $7.50
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) - Do You Hear What I Hear - Frosty the Snowman - A Holly Jolly Christmas - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - I'll Be Home for Christmas - Jingle-Bell Rock - Rodolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Shake Me, I Rattle (Squeeze Me, I Cry) - Silver Bells - Suzy Snowflake
In Recital w/Christmas Favorites, Book 1 - $6.95
Good King Wenceslas - Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella - I Saw Three Ships - Jingle Bells - Away in a Manger - We Three Kings of Orient Are - O Come, All Ye Faithful - Jolly Old Saint Nicholas - The Coventry Carol - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - O Come, O Come Emmanuel - Up On the Housetop
Alfred Premier or Basic Piano Course, Level 2
Basic Piano Course, Merry Christmas, Level 2 - $5.95
Away in a Manger - Here We Come A-Caroling - Joy to the World - O Christmas Tree - Pat-a-Pan - Silent Night - The First Noel - Up on the Housetop
Basic Piano Course, Top Hits Christmas, Level 2 - $7.50
Feliz Navidad - Frosty the Snow Man - Home for the Holidays - Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! - Mister Santa - Nuttin' for Christmas - Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - The Chipmunk Song - When Santa Claus Gets Your Letter
In Recital w/Christmas Favorites, Book 2 - $6.95
Jolly Old Saint Nicholas - Over the River and Through the Woods - Sing We Now of Christmas - Go, Tell it on the Mountain - Jingle Bell Hop - We Three Kings - Hark! the Herald Angels Sing - In Midnight's Silence - O Come, Little Children - Sussex Carol - Toyland
Alfred Basic Adult Piano Course, Book 1
Christmas Piano Book, Level 1 - $6.95
Angels We Have Heard on High - The First Noel - God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen - Go, Tell it on the Mountain - Here We Come A-Caroling - It Came Upon the Midnight Clear - Jingle Bells - Jolly Old Saint Nicholas - O Christmas Tree - O Come, All Ye Faithful - Pat-a-Pan - Silent Night - Still, Still, Still - Up on the Housetop - We Three Kings - We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Christmas Hits, Level 1 - $8.50
Frosty the Snow Man - Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer - Holly Jolly Christmas - Home for the Holidays - I'll Be Home for Christmas - Jingle-Bell Rock - Let it Snow! - Merry Christmas, Darling - Mister Santa - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Silver Bells - The Christmas Song - We Need a Little Christmas - What are you Doing New Year's Eve
Christmas for All Time (Faber), Book&CD 1 - $14.95
We Wish You a Merry Christmas - Angels We Have Heard on High - Away in a Manger - Jingle Bells - We Three Kings - Home for the Holidays - It Came Upon a Midnight Clear - O Little Town of Bethlehem - Frosty the Snowman - Jingle-Bell Rock - I'll Be Home for Christmas - Little Drummer Boy - and more...
Alfred Basic Adult Piano Course, Book 2
Christmas Piano Book, Level 2 - $6.95
Deck the Hall with Boughs of Holly - Foom, Foom, Foom! - Go, Tell it on the Mountain - Joy to the World - March of the Three Kings - Mary's Cradle Song - O Holy Night - O Thou Joyful Day - Silent Night - Sing Noel, Noel! - Twelve Days of Christmas - Ukranian Bell Carol - We Three Kings - We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Christmas Hits, Level 2 - $8.50
A Marshmallow World - Christmas Is - Do You Hear What I Hear - Happy Holiday - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas - Last Christmas - Let it Snow! - Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Santa Baby - Shake Me I Rattle - Silver Bells - The Christmas Song - The Christmas Waltz
Christmas for All Time, Book&CD 2 - $14.95
Angels We Have Heard on High - Away in a Manger - Silent Night - The First Noel - What Child is This - Pat-a-Pan - O Little Town of Bethlehem - O Come, All Ye Faithful - God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen - Joy to the World - Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - Winter Wonderland - Let it Snow! - Sleigh Ride - and more...
Finding the perfect piano keyboard for your beginning student takes some time and research. Here are three of tips that I share with the parents of my students:
Your keyboard needs to have weighted keys. Portable keyboards are typically made with light, plastic keys which take hardly any weight to depress. It will be very hard for your child to transition from that light touch to the heavier touch which is required to play the digital or acoustic piano during lessons. Look for “weighted keys" or "touch sensitive" - like the keys featured on the Yamaha YPG-235.
Number of Keys
The number of keys on a keyboard can vary widely – from 61 to 88 on the typical instruments used for beginning lessons. If you plan to purchase a beginner instrument and upgrade later on, a keyboard like the Casio LK240 or the Yamaha EZ-200 with 61 keys is fine. We rarely use the notes on the extreme ends of the keyboard during our first couple years of lessons.
However, if you’d like for this instrument to be a one-time purchase, it’s better to choose a keyboard with either 76 or the full set of 88 keys. The Yamaha P35B or Korg SP170SBK are good options to consider.
Two of the best accessories to consider adding to your very first keyboard purchase are headphones and a damper/sustain pedal. Your child will be using the pedal and possibly the headphones within the first couple months of lessons.
Headphones are especially helpful if you want your child to be able to practice without disturbing the rest of the family. Most keyboards offer a plug for headphones so that your child can practice and be the only one to hear what he’s playing.
A damper pedal sustains the sound of the notes so they sound even after your finger has lifted off of the keys. Most keyboard models have a plug to add a damper pedal. It’s a great option to have from the beginning, since we begin using it within the first couple months of lessons.
Jessica's Piano Studio
Teacher at Jessica's Piano Studio to many talented students! Here's some helpful tips and interesting information to create a wonderfully educational musical experience!