Five Tips for Reducing Tension and Allowing the Music to Flow Playing a musical instrument can be intimidating, nerve-racking, and stressful. There are so many notes, fingerings, and rhythms to get right, not to mention dynamics, articulation, and phrasing to express. Students try to get all these things right, impress their parents, do what their teachers say, AND pull off a beautiful performance with effortless flow! The following 5 tips will help reduce stress and tension in the lesson, create more non-judgmental awareness, and enable music to happen. 1. Jump Right In I like for my students to jump right in and start experimenting. In the first lesson, I don't spend time lecturing th


Suggestions for Summer Reading OK, I admit it—one of my weaknesses is reading. I love to read! Unfortunately, my nose is often buried in a thriller or a novel with twisted plots and subterranean character development, instead of reading books which would enhance my professional skills. But I have to admit that lately three engaging books about teaching music have managed to pry me away from those entrancing novels, and I'm going to recommend them to you today. The first one I chanced upon is Making Music and Enriching Lives: A Guide for All Music Teachers by Bonnie Blanchard with Cynthia Blanchard Acree (Indiana University Press). Now, Bonnie is a flute teacher, and I am a piano teacher.

Did you know...?

Did you know that... People who participate in music making: Become more relaxed, feel better, and respond more positively to stress Increase their resistance to disease and enhance their immune system function Experience improved physical and mental health Experience: Improved mood Increased energy Less boredom with life Decreased feelings of loneliness Increase of social interaction Boost their memory (Consumer Reports, Oct. 2011) Train your brain. Learning anything new can help, including music. Your brain thrives in a social environment. Adults 50 and older who connect with lots of family and friends are least likely to show declines on certain memory tests.

Creating Pianists for Life

This article is dedicated to teachers who want to create a positive learning experience for the everyday students who have no desire to major in music or play in prestigious competitions. These are the students who love to play the piano and will hopefully keep playing long after formal lessons have stopped and will have a lifelong appreciation for good music. They often take lessons until they leave for college, and continue to play and enjoy the piano. One of by biggest thrills as a teacher came a couple of years ago when a former student called from California after college graduation to say that he was getting a piano as a graduation present. I find that showing a genuine personal intere

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