Archive for January, 2013

Jan 30th 2013 What Songs Take You Back

We all know that music has the power to transport and transform us.  Where do certain songs take you?  Here are a few of my favorites and what they bring back.

1.  Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden takes me back to my Sophomore year in high school and getting to drive myself to church and school as I had just gotten my license.

2.  Whiskey Girl by Toby Keith takes me back to the summer of 2006.  My husband and I were waiting to hear if he was getting a job here in Charlotte.  It was so hot that July.

3.  Stays in Mexico by Toby Keith was our road anthem for a trip out west in August of 2006. 

4.  Beam Me Up by Pink makes me remember September 2012.  Wayne was out of town for the whole month and I was getting ready for my first fiber festival.  The weather was warm and humid.

5.  And just because I probably need a classical piece on this list.  JS Bach’s Prelude in Bb minor.  This piece reminds me of October of 1999.  Leaving senior activities to go home and practice to get ready for college auditions.

These are just a few that came to me off the top of my head.  What songs take you back?

No Comments » Posted by heather / Charlotte NC Piano Lessons and Charlotte Piano Students and Just For Fun and Oboe Lessons Charlotte NC and Piano Practice and Recitals and Voice Lesson Charlotte NC

Jan 27th 2013 Visions Fugitives

Over 10 years after learning #10 of Visions Fugitives and progressively learning more, I still love this set of pieces.  There are still some that I just can’t manage very musically, but I love them all.  Prokofiev certainly knew what he was doing when he composed this set of pieces. 

Somehow I just now dragged out my copy to play these on my new piano.  It was magic.  When your favorite music sounds perfect on your dream piano, it makes all the effort worth it.

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Jan 18th 2013 NFMC Scholarship Paper Work

Well the paperwork has landed for the NFMC Scholarship Piano Festival.  It’s been sorted and organized and the schedule made out.  It was relatively painless on my part.  Once the system a system is in place it makes everything so much easier. 

All of the teachers and students work quite hard preparing for these events.  The chairmen of these events will only keep doing these jobs if it goes as smoothly as possible.  How can we work together to make everyone’s experience the best it can be.

1.  Teachers, check the rule book for instructions about special time request.  Some events are very specific as to when you can do this.  For most events, if the request isn’t turned in with the initial paperwork it probably is too late. 

2.  Teacher and Parents- check the calendar before signing up for a festival to see if there are any conflicting events.  It always makes me upset for the student to hear that they have prepared a difficult piece only to have to withdraw the week of a performance due to a scheduling conflict. 

3.  Teachers- WRITE NEATLY!!!!!  Excuse me, did I scream there?  Sorry.  Please take the time to write legibly so that the chair can read the student’s name and get the spelling correct.  The same goes for the title of the works to be performed. 

4.  Chairmen- Have a organizational system set up before the paperwork begins arriving.  Sort it as you go. 

5.  Chairmen- Learn to use Excel or a similar program.  The sorting capabilities will save you lots of time and effort.

Good luck!

No Comments » Posted by heather / Charlotte NC Piano Lessons and Charlotte Piano Students and NCMTA and NFMC

Jan 16th 2013 Dogs and Their Antics

 

IMG_0711Schubert has a known affection for my artist bench.  But notice this is not Schubert.  Gershwin decided to see what all the fuss was about.  His verdict was it is all hype and no substance.

IMG_0713Schubert thought I needed some help with the taxes.  It was a pressing matter.

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Jan 9th 2013 Setting Up For Success

The blog today is more of a thinking questions that anything else.  How do you help your students mentally prepare for a successful lesson?  So many of my students come into lessons with their minds just buzzing from their day.  The level of distraction is pretty crazy.  We spend the first few pieces just trying to get into the correct frame of mind to remember what we practiced and to slow down. 

For the next few weeks, I am going to ask my students to take 1 minute and close their eyes and try and clear their minds of any distractions.  Just take deep breaths and get into a piano frame of mind.  Think about how they practiced and what they want to remember.  My hope is that it will we will be able to focus better and have a more disciplined lesson.

For myself, I plan on taking 5 minutes before I begin teaching to go through the same process.  So often teachers just run straight into a lesson with no breathing room.  It sometimes causes our daily stress to bleed over into our teaching manner.  I want to try to minimize this impact.

So how do you help your students focus?

No Comments » Posted by heather / Charlotte Piano Students and Piano Practice

Jan 7th 2013 Intermediate Madness

Last week was the first week back from Christmas break for about half of my students.  There were highs and lows.  Trying to get everyone to focus was challenging since it had been the first day back at school.  The kids were all excited to tell me how their break went and to let me know that they had practiced.  I told everyone that practice was optional over the break.  I’m happy they (or their parents) kept working. 

 

It seems that many of these students are hitting the early intermediate music at the same time.  It makes me a little nervous.  It is wonderful that they are working so hard and have reach this level so quickly.  The challenge is caused by that same dedication.  Most of these kids still want to complete pieces in a single week.  Their music has just gotten to the point that it just isn’t feasible for the most part.  Trying to explain that they haven’t done anything wrong, but it is going to take more time doesn’t always go over very well.  All they hear is that they didn’t get a sticker that week.  The next thing I hear is that piano is hard, and they aren’t having fun.  Trying to find the correct balance is a challenge.  Learning to appreciate longer term goals is just part of growing up.  Practicing dedication even when things get difficult and it doesn’t seem fun at the moment is part of growing up.  Coaxing these students through these challenging levels is hard work for everyone.  I just hope the growing pains aren’t too bad!

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Jan 2nd 2013 Lessons Resume Jan. 2, 2013

Just a reminder that lessons at Brunner Studios will resume on Jan. 2, 2013.  I look forward to the chance to continue on a musical journey with my students.  Festival registration for NFMC and NCMTA ends next week.  More students than ever will be participating. 

Brunner Studios is currently accepting new students for piano, voice and oboe lessons.  Please check the contact page for how you can reach us to schedule your trial lesson.

Off to teach some lessons!

No Comments » Posted by heather / Charlotte NC Piano Lessons and Charlotte Piano Students and NCMTA and NFMC