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?

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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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Oct 31st 2012 Halloween Lessons

Just a food for thought post on Halloween.  Does your piano teacher offer lessons on Halloween?  Are the lessons interrupted by trick-or-treaters?  Do you wear a costume to your lesson?

Hopefully there are no scary lessons today!

Brunner Studios will have our piano, voice, or oboe lessons at the regularly schedule times today.  Students were offered the opportunity to choose a different time slot for this week if there was a conflicting event for this evening.  Hopefully everyone will stay safe and have fun this evening.

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Oct 10th 2012 What A Problem To Have

I am teaching a wonderful group of students piano lessons right now.  In fact, they are so great they aren’t giving me much material to write about on how to run a studio.  What a problem to have!  We are learning Halloween music and Christmas music started leaving the studio this week. 

I am so proud of my younger students.  I have 3 students who just started lessons last year and are about to move from 30 minute to 45 minute lessons.  These kids are really practicing and excelling in their art. 

More students are participating in the National Achievement Program and one will be playing in a Piano Sonata competition later this month. 

This group of students is working hard!

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Mar 15th 2012 The Little Engine That Could

You know what is great?  When you get a student who just works at a steady pace.  The child isn’t doing anything spectacular or anything out of the ordinary, but is just doing the work.  The next thing you know, the student has zipped through 3 levels of books in less than a year. 

Keeping working! 

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Sep 28th 2010 Excuses that Piano Teachers Don’t Like to Hear

There are a few phrases that I hear from my students that make me want to run screaming from the room. Not because the student doesn’t have a valid reason but the vagueness is distressing. Let’s start with number 3.

3. “I didn’t know what to do.”- It is excedingly rare that I send a student home with a new piece with no explaination. This is generally limited to highschool students or a student who I feel needs quizzed on their note reading ability. Most often either the student was intimidated by the piece and didn’t practice it or waited until late in the week and realized the piece required more work than originally thought. More appropriate phrases would be “I put it off until too late” or “I don’t understand this specific part” or “Can you walk me through this piece.”

2. “I forgot about that piece, theory, technique…” This one makes me a whole lot grumpy. Why? I provide my students ample assignment sheets and organizational tools. If the student is writing down their practice time daily, then that means they are looking at their assignment sheet each time they practice. If you tell me you forgot to practice or didn’t do your theory because you forgot, then we have a problem. That means you are not recording your practice as it happens and just filling in the blanks at the end of the week. This makes your practice record less than accurate and often results in a less than complete assignment.

1. “We were so busy.” Now I get that families today are busy. But this one really makes me mental. I would rather have a student just tell me that they didn’t want to practice and spent all afternoon playing outside. Or that mom was out of town or granny watches them in the afternoons. These kinds of details can help me plan the student’s assignments. I feel that the “we were so busy” excuse is something that kids hear adults say and think it is ok to repeat. Everyone is busy and has different responsiblities.

My point is that students need to work on their communication skills and learning to own their time management issues. Students are still learning and growing but excuses week after week begin to wear thin.

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