Repetition in Musical Learning

Maybe you’ve heard the expression, “Repetition is the mother of all learning.”

There’s a reason for this. Repetition improves speed, increases confidence and creates neural pathways in the brain that commit that skill into memory. Once we’ve been down a pathway before, it’s easier to find the second and third and fourth time around!

Obviously, repetition is an important tool in musical learning. When my piano students are working on a piece of music, I might ask them to play a section “one more time” to help them become more fluent in a skill.

But sometimes, I can tell a student is getting frustrated or even bored if I ask him to repeat a passage of his piano piece again and again. Continue reading “Repetition in Musical Learning”

Why Music History Matters.

Does your child ever ask you, “Why do I need to know this?”

Sometimes it can be a difficult question to answer. I remember asking my trigonometry teacher that question in high school. Every now and then, a piano student will ask me such a question when we’re going over a challenging concept. I might be explaining the theory behind diminished 7ths and a student will politely ask, “Ms. Carly? Why do I need to know this?” Continue reading “Why Music History Matters.”

Teaching Rhythm to Piano Students

Whether I’m having my first in-person piano lesson with a new student or a student is logging in to view their first piano lesson in my online program, that student will be learning the same concept: rhythm.

Teaching rhythm is SUCH an important part of being a piano teacher. There’s an underlying theoretical — really, mathematical — understanding that needs to happen. But, I also have to help my students “feel” rhythm. Continue reading “Teaching Rhythm to Piano Students”

Musical Symbols

Learning to play an instrument is not unlike learning to speak a new language. It’s important to listen, follow the rhythm, understand new vocabulary and structure. Repetition and practice are not just helpful but necessary. Continue reading “Musical Symbols”

Building Strength and Finger Independence

If you’ve ever watched an accomplished pianist play, you may have been amazed at the way her fingers moved quickly across the keys — even when playing a complicated piece of music. It looks so easy, doesn’t it?

If you are working with a younger beginner, however, chances are you’ve realized that there’s a lot of work that goes into building that kind of strength and dexterity in a person’s fingers! Your student may become easily frustrated when trying to play each note one-at-a-time, with a different finger. It might seem impossible for a 5-year-old to keep his fingers round and firm while striking a piano key. Continue reading “Building Strength and Finger Independence”

Preparing for A Piano Recital

Your student is preparing for a piano recital. You’re probably thinking, “Well, she’ll have to practice a lot!”

That’s sort of true. However, getting ready for a piano recital involves a bit more of a strategy than just additional practice. Continue reading “Preparing for A Piano Recital”

Women in Music

Because March is Women’s History Month, let’s take a moment to learn about and celebrate five great women in music history.

Nora Holt (1885-1974)

Nora Holt was born in Kansas City. She was the first African American in the United States to receive a master’s degree in music.  Singing at night clubs and parties in Paris, Monte Carlo and London, she was known as a free-spirited socialite of the Harlem Renaissance. She co-founded the National Association of Negro Musicians and worked as a music critic for the black newspaper, Chicago Defender. Continue reading “Women in Music”

February Member of the Month

Meet David and Rene Parsons from Tucson, AZ. They have five children, Ella who is 10, Ben who is 8, Owen who is 7, Clara  who is 4 and Jonathan who is 1. Four of their children are members of the Busy Kids program.
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What is your musical background?

Continue reading “February Member of the Month”

Careers in Music

I believe piano lessons are important because learning a musical instrument has all sorts of fantastic cognitive and emotional benefits. I also believe piano lessons are important simply for the sake of learning to play a musical instrument — for adding richness, beauty and balance into a child’s life. Continue reading “Careers in Music”

Reducing Performance Anxiety

As a piano teacher, I make sure my students have many opportunities to share their musical gifts through piano recitals, playing for church or school talent shows. Even with my online students, I provide an online recital hall and suggestions for holding recitals at home. But what if your student suffers from performance anxiety? Continue reading “Reducing Performance Anxiety”