Piano Parent Podcast show

Piano Parent Podcast

Summary: The Piano Parent Podcast is your one-stop shop for all things related to parenting a piano student. From practice tips to piano geography and musical terms, common studio policies to teacher and parent interviews, this is THE best resource to help you and your child make the most of piano lessons. Whether you are a knowledgeable musician or a complete novice, there is definitely something for you here.

Join Now to Subscribe to this Podcast
  • Visit Website
  • RSS
  • Artist: Shelly Davis: Piano teacher, podcasting for the benefit of piano parents
  • Copyright: Copyright © Piano Parent Podcast 2016


 PPP123: This is Your Brain on Music – book review | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: Unknown

On this week’s show, Dawn Ivers and I discuss Dr. Daniel J. Levitin’s book, This is Your Brain on Music. Listen to the full podcast episode here. http://traffic.libsyn.com/pianoparentpodcast/PPP123__This_Is_Your_Brain_On_Music.mp3 Music activates the oldest and newest parts of our brain together. The old brain and new brain work together when playing an instrument. (pg 57)Listening to music activates brain regions in a particular order. (pg 191)You may have heard that music is good for the brain, and it’s true. The research shows that both playing & listening to music create more & stronger neural pathways between different brain regions. Melodic Memory is a combination of both abstract and specific. We store both abstract and specific memory of melodies. We pay attention to absolute pitch/tempo, as well as relative pitch/tempo. (pg 165)When we hear a familiar piece that has undergone a transformation, we still recognize it. (pg 137)Like the ragtime interpretations of classical themes in the video below. Most people, even non-musicians, when they sing a song will be within 4 bpm of the ‘original’ they are referencing. (pg 61)We also tend to sing at or very near the original pitch of a song, because we sing along with that specific memory representation in our heads. (pg 153-154) Experiencing a thing and imagining it or watching someone else do it will activate the same neurons. Brain scans were done on people while listening to music, and then while they only imagined listening to music. The same brain regions lit up both times. (pg 154)Our brains also react when we watch someone do something (the experiment referenced is a monkey reaching for a banana). This phenomenon is called mirror neurons. While there was no specific research into this with musicians at the time this book was written, there is speculation that while watching a musician perform, we may be trying to figure out how they are making those sounds, and our brains may essentially be ‘playing along’ ( pg 266-267)For piano students and parents,

 PPP122: Handel’s “Messiah” the IMDB(ish) Story | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 20:23

George Frideric Handel was born in Germany in 1685 to Georg and Dorothea Handel. His father was a surgeon-barber who didn’t want Handel to study music. He wanted him to study law. Handel’s mother helped him smuggle a clavichord into the attic so he could practice in secret. Finally, his father was persuaded by a duke to enroll Handle in formal music training. He did begin the University of Halle, Germany studying law, out of respect for his father, but eventually devoted himself entirely to music.   Listen to the full episode herehttp://traffic.libsyn.com/pianoparentpodcast/PPP122__Handels_Messiah_-_the_IMDB.mp3   Handel moved to London in 1712, was paid a salary by Queen Anne and became the musical director of the Royal Academy of Music. His London address, 25 Brook Street, which is now preserved as a museum, a permanent monument to his life and music. Even though he is now acclaimed as a well-respected composer from London, he met with many setbacks during his time there. Operas are expensive to produce and fickle singers were difficult to manage. There are lots of stories about his run ins with other composers and with singers and actors who got sideways with each other. Add to this, hard to please audiences. According to Kavanaugh’s book, the Church of England attacked him for writing biblical dramas like Esther and Israel in Egypt to be performed in secular theaters. Rival opera companies competed for ticket holders. Enemies of Handel would rip down his advertisements. By 1741 he was swimming in debt and facing debtor’s prison. Just when Handel was thinking his musical career was over, two things happened that set him on a new trajectory. First, he received an entire text of Scripture in the form of a libretto from his friend, Charles Jennens. All of the Scripture was about the birth of Christ (Part I), the death, burial, and resurrection, and ascension of Christ (Part II), and (Part III) the promise of redemption, the final victory over sin and death with the acclamation of Christ. This text was sort of Jennens answer to those who would doubt or flat out reject the divinity of Jesus and His relationship and interest in humanity. The story goes that Handel did not have to make any additions or corrections to Jennens text. Next, Handel received a commission from a Dublin organization to compose a work for charity. With all the rejection he had been receiving in London, I imagine Dublin would have been a nice change of pace. According to Kavanaugh’s book, Handel began writing on August 22 of 1741 and had the music for Part I completed in six days. Part II was done in nine days and Part III took another six days. With two days to wrap up the orchestration, the totality of Messiah was completed in 22 days – all 260 pages. I don’t think I could copy 260 pages of music in 22 days, much less compose it! According to Sir Newman Flower, a Handel biographer, “Considering the immensity of the work and the short time involved, it will remain, perhaps forever,

 PPP121: Helping Students Learn to Create Music for a Lifetime with Tim Topham | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 45:18

It is always such a joy to visit with other piano teachers to learn how things are working in their studio.  It is a special delight to visit with someone from another part of our world. Today, I am excited to share my recent conversation with Austrailian piano teacher, Tim Topham. Tim has a real passion for helping students find “their” music and giving them tools to allow them to create music for a lifetime. If you are a piano teacher, already familiar with the amazing resources Tim shares in the piano teaching industry, I think you will get a kick out of hearing his backstory and the wild journey that brought him to piano teaching. It all started with a small Casio PT-1 keyboard. Resources and Apps Tim mentioned Note Star app Garageband iReal Pro Musiclock Ningenius Staff Wars Super Metronome Groovebox Here are just a few of the composers Tim and I discussed Burgmuller Ballade Melody Bober Midnight Ride Pam Wedgewood Kevin Olson Phillip Keveren If you could visit with any composer or musician who would you choose and why? Though many people may see Tim as the “pop/chords” kind of guy, he does appreciate the value of classical music and scales and proper technique. In his own playing, Tim enjoys the music of Chopin, both for its beauty and for its challenge. To learn more about Chopin and hear some of his music, click here. Check out some of Tim’s blog posts and podcast episodes Ask more quesitons in music lessons Ten Pop Songs for Piano Students Best iPad Apps for Piano Teachers My favorite Tim Topham podcast episode is the one with Shelly Davis! (click here to listen) Connect with Tim Topham Tim’s Creative Piano Teaching Podcast TimTopham.com Tim is offering PPP listeners a great discount! Get $100 off Annual Inner Circle Membership As a valued podcast listener, you’re eligible for a $100 discount on an annual Inner Circle Membership. This discount lasts for as long as you’re a member and whatever price you sign up for today is the price you’ll pay as long as you remain a member. Copy this coupon code to use when you see the “Coupon Code” box:  PIANOPODCAST.

 PPP120: Ten Ways to Share Music During the Holidays | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 23:39

THIS is the reason you signed your child up for piano lessons! Now is their opportunity to share their gift of music with others to bring them joy. Here are a few ideas for how you can share music during the holidays. 1. Play for a school event. At different times, my students have been able to play for talent shows, choir concerts, and prelude music before awards programs. 2. Play for a church event. Prelude music before a worship service. Offertory or piano solo during the service. Postlude music as people are exiting the church. Play for youth Sunday School class or Bible study. Train them to become future musicians for worship service at church. One student had the blessing of playing “Amazing Grace” at her grandfather’s funeral. 3. Teacher Recital Even though this is a busy time of year, teachers recognize the value of providing music through their students. It gives students valuable performance experience and it provides holiday cheer for anyone who hears them play. Teachers try to be sensitive about cultural differences this time of year. Most are willing to have students play any music, not just holiday tunes. My studio does Piano Caroling at our local retirement center. Some teachers host casual come-and-go parties in their home where students provide background music. This is a much more comfortable atmosphere for anxious performers. Take advantage of this stepping stone performance opportunity. 4. Host your own Retirement Center Concert Maybe your teacher doesn’t arrange a recital at the local retirement center. That doesn’t mean you can’t. If you go visit family in the retirement home, bring your music and plan to play the piano while you’re there. What a gift to share with our senior generation who doesn’t have the independence to drive to a concert like they once had. Bring the concert to them. 5. Family Sing-a-Long I think one of the reasons many parents sign their children up to piano lessons is to, one day, gather around the piano to sing holiday tunes together. That can start happening right now, no matter your piano kid’s skill level. Let them use music that is very easy for them. Give them time to get comfortable playing on their own. Slowly add voices to sing along. Don’t rush your piano kid or call attention to mistakes. Be patient and encourage their effort and hard work. This will encourage them to do it again the next time. 6. Stage your own private concert. When my son, Justin, was about 10 he drew his own tickets, wore a nice jacket, set up chairs around the piano, and gave us our very own concert. Even though we heard him practice, this was different and special. Another mom in my studio shared that her sons and their cousins play a cousins concert at her mother’s home during the holidays. What a wonderful idea! 7. Virtual Concert What if there isn’t a piano in your host home?No problem – simply use your smartphone to record a video of your performance at home and show the video to Grandma and Grandpa when you get to their house. What if your family lives very far away and you aren’t getting to visit them this year?No problem – share that smartphone video directly to their email or upload it to YouTube.Even better, use Facetime or Skype to host a video call. This allows Grandma and Grandpa to applaud and react to your music right away! 8. Make a Musical Gift Take several videos or audio recordings and compile them into a CD or DVD as a gift for family members. Allow your piano kid to design the cover art and write some meaningful liner notes on the CD/DVD sleeve. Be sure to keep one for yourself. This will be a great mile marker for your piano kid to listen to in a few years. It will show how much they’ve progressed since the recording. 9. Book a Gig

 PPP119: Buckle Up, Baste, and Breathe | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 22:00

This week we will celebrate Thanksgiving. Along with that will come the tidal wave of Christmas shopping and events. As we approach the holiday season, it’s a good time to pause and make a battle plan for the craziness that is bound to happen with our schedules. This episode won’t give you any new revelations for balancing everything, I don’t have a magic formula for adding hours to your day or days to your week. It will simply be a reminder to both of us to cut ourselves some slack. We both know these sages of wisdom but we forget in the heat of the moment or in the expectation of perfection. I will intentionally make this episode short for two reasons: We’re both busy….it is the holiday season after all! The second reason is so you can come back and listen anytime you need to for a soft place to land if things start building up around you.What do you remember about the holidays? Surely your parents were stressed out too. How did they handle it? Well – you want to copy their example? Poorly – you want to give your children something better? Piano practice may drop way down on your priority list for this season. Remember, it is only for a season. Help your piano kid do the best they can to maintain their skills and enjoy the pieces they know. In two weeks, I’ll be sharing some ideas for incorporating your piano kid’s music in the holiday festivities. Mari mentioned their family concert In the meantime, take a deep breath……and go hug your baby.  I hope you and yours enjoy a relaxing and peaceful Thanksgiving.I mentioned the Lazy Genius Podcast. Here is the link in case you’d like to listen.

 PPP118: Musical Anniversaries and Thanksgiving Tunes | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 21:35

On today’s show, I thought I would share with you some of the things I’ve been doing with my students to commemorate a few anniversaries and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. U.S. Armed Forces Songs November 11, 2018, marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. With my 4th-grade classes at school, we took one song per week during October and learned a bit about the history of the song and how important music was for rallying the troops and even sending messages with bugle calls. Listen to U.S. Armed Forces Songs here. Disney Songs November 18 is Mickey Mouse’s birthday, the date his first animated short was released in 1928. Happy 90th birthday, Mickey!! My students have really enjoyed playing all the amazing music produced by the Disney company. Watch Mickey Mouse’s debut film, “Steamboat Willie” below. Recently, I hosted a giveaway of the new Piano Adventures Disney books. (Congratulations to Ally in Las Vegas, Nevada for winning the set of four books for your students!) Take a closer look at the new Piano Adventures Disney piano books. Thanksgiving Holiday Tunes With all the attention Christmas gets, and it seems to start earlier every year, I want to give Thanksgiving it’s proper due. Jingle Bells – This song, sung mostly during the Christmas season was written to be a Thanksgiving Song. Over the River and Through the Wood – I like this song for piano players because, even if they don’t know all the lyrics, they are familiar with the melody and rhythm pattern. It is set in 6/8 time which makes it a great piece to use when learning the concept of compound meter. Simple Gifts – I truly love the message of this little tune. In researching for this podcast, I discovered that it was originally a dance tune for the Shakers to use during their worship.  I’ve been singing this song with my students at school and I found a little lead sheet to use with my piano students. Simple Gifts lead sheet for piano students Another thing I love about this song is that Aaron Copeland used it in his music for the ballet, “Appalachian Spring”. I don’t know what I learned first, the orchestral music or the song lyrics but I love them both and enjoy sharing them with my students. Here is an interesting article about Copeland meeting the Shakers. I love this video excerpt of Aaron Copeland’s Appalachian Spring. Shout Out and PIANOVEMBER Update I mentioned the Disney Giveaway earlier in the show, which Ally from Nevada won the set. Thanks to Laura Tabler with Mundt Music, Tyler for partnering with me on the giveaway. She and I agreed that we should deliver the next giveaway in person if it’s going someplace fun like Nevada!! We are also in the throws of PIANOVEMBER and I have had the most fun watching the names change on the leaderboard! Currently, our frontrunner is Gayaneh (I’m sorry if I mispronounce your name) who has set the bar high with 300 practice tallies! Way to go! PIANOVEMBER runs through the last day of November so...

 PPP117: Teacher Chat: On Teaching Preschoolers with Mallory Byers and Dawn Ivers | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 41:04

In our second teacher chat, Mallory Byers and Dawn Ivers and I discuss preschool music with all its advantages and fun challenges. Listen to additional teacher chats here. Mallory Byers Mallory is a teacher in California who travels to her students’ homes. About a third of her students are age six and under. She started lessons with her own father at the age of four. Dawn Ivers Dawn’s first student was a three-year-old preschooler. She recently moved her home and studio to Kansas. In establishing her studio in her new hometown, she has branded herself as someone who teaches preschool lessons. How can parents know when their preschooler is ready for formal piano lessons? Mallory – If they’re interested and able to take directions. They don’t have to be counting or reading yet; that’s part of what I teach and help students develop. Dawn – I often allow parents to bring their children in for a trial period of lessons. At this age, it is sometimes difficult for parents or children to know if they will be interested in piano unless they give it a try. What curriculum do you use with your preschoolers? Mallory – I use Wunderkeys, which is designed for students ages 3-5. It includes elements on the bench at the piano but it also offers lots of off the bench activities. The books are easy to follow and that helps parents when they reinforce concepts between lessons. Dawn – I also use Wunderkeys. In fact, Mallory is the one who introduced me to the books. In addition to what Mallory said, they also have helpful parent packets that let the parents know what the learning goals are for each activity and each stage in the books. Some of the activities don’t look like traditional piano lessons. Shelly – I enjoy My First Piano Adventures for preschoolers in piano lessons. For my preschool classes at the daycare center, I use First Steps in Music, which incorporates lots of movement and aural activities using traditional folk music as well as classical tunes. What are some advantages to starting at such a young age? Mallory – I’ve noticed my younger students develop a much stronger sense of rhythm. Hearing and moving to the music sets up a solid foundation for the pulse of the music. My goal for younger students is for them to have a strong sense of rhythm and beat, get acquainted with the patterns on the piano with the black and white keys, to be able to track left to right on the page. I want to give them a head start for when they get older and begin more traditional piano lessons. Dawn – One of the things I’ve noticed is a sense of confidence earlier on. They get performance experience before they have anything telling them they should be nervous about performing. My goal is to teach my young students contrasts like high/low, long/short. I teach aural skills early as well as math skills. All these concepts will help them when they start learning larger pieces of music.

 PPP116: How to Change Major to Minor | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 20:29

  Happy Halloween! No matter what you choose to do with this holiday, there is no denying that a lot of music we hear this time of year tends to have a more creepy, spooky spin on it and it seems like that’s what I enjoy talking about on the podcast.To listen to this blog post click here:Last year I talked about how young children tend to respond to music in a minor key. Episode 066 was about the powerful effect music can have on our emotions.I also interviewed Marcia Vahl (like wall), president of the Minnesota Music Teachers Association, in episode 067. On the episode, Marcia talked about the three forms of minor scales. I encourage you to go back and listen to both those episodes.In the past I’ve also talked to you about how I encourage my students to get SMART with their music. (Episodes 036 and 039). Once they learn a piece, they are free to get creative with it. They can change the Style, Melody, Articulations, Rhythm, or Tempo.  Today, I thought it would be fun to talk about changing the style of a piece from a major key to a minor key. I’ll be using samples from my favorite piano method: Piano Adventures by Randall and Nancy Faber.Without getting into all the details of music theory, the basic principle of switching a major song to a minor key is to simply lower the third and sixth notes within the scale.In the key of C major, C is called Tonic or Number 1. D is 2, E is 3 and so on. Therefore, to lower the third and sixth notes in the key of C major, move E and A down to E-flat and A-flat. It really is that simple!Firefly from Lesson Book 1 If you change all the E’s to E-flat this becomes quite a lonely Firefly.When the Saints Go Marching In from Lesson Book 2A This tune is written in the key of G major so students will need to move all the B’s down to B-flat. Now it sounds like those saints are marching in the rain on a gloomy day.Jumpin’ Jazz Cat from Lesson Book 2B To make this Jazzy Cat a little more mellow, change all the E’s and A’s to flats. This will be a bit tricky but it is a great workout for your fingers and your brain!.formkit-form[data-uid="a632c81889"] *{font-family:"Helvetica Neue",Helvetica,Arial,Verdana,sans-serif;box-sizing:border-box;}.formkit-form[data-uid="a632c81889"] legend{border:none;font-size:inherit;margin-bottom:10px;padding:0;position:relative;display:table;}.formkit-form[data-uid="a632c81889"] fieldset{border:0;padding:0.01em 0 0 0;margin:0;min-width:0;}.formkit-form[data-uid="a632c81889"] body:not(:-moz-handler-blocked) fieldset{display:table-cell;}.formkit-form[data-uid="a632c81889"] p{color:inherit;font-size:inherit;font-weight:inherit;}.formkit-form[data-uid="a632c81889"][data-format="modal"]{display:none;}.formkit-form[data-uid="a632c81889"][data-format="slide in"]{display:none;}.formkit-form[data-uid="a632c81889"] .formkit-input,.formkit-form[data-uid="a632c81889"] .formkit-select,.formkit-form[data-uid="a632c81889"] .formkit-checkboxes{width:100%;}.formkit-form[data-uid="a632c81889"] .formkit-button,.

 PPP115: PIANOVEMBER Practice Challenge 2018 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 16:04

Many of you participated in our last Practice Challenge: Fall Into Music back in September. In fact, some of you are using the challenge for the remainder of the fall season. It’s been a lot of fun seeing your piano kid’s pictures on Instagram. Now that November is just around the corner, it’s time to start our next practice challenge. What do you get when you combine piano with November? PIANOVEMBER! Here’s how it works. Students, you will tally one point for every piece you play, every time you play it. You can play review pieces, old pieces, new pieces, memorized pieces, songs by ear, original compositions, or even songs on piano apps. Older students may count smaller sections of larger pieces they are studying. Count tally points when you play at home or at grandma’s house. You may count anything EXCEPT what you play at your piano lesson…..nice try for thinking that would count but this is for music you play on your own. Every Sunday, the top five people with the most tallies will be featured on our Piano Parent Podcast Facebook Page and Instagram account. (Be sure to follow these pages so you can see if you made the top five!) New this year will be a live leaderboard on the Pianovember page of the website. You will be able to see how many tallies the top players have collected. Also new this year will be a live total tally count on the website as well. Anytime you go to the website, you will see the latest total number of Pianovamber Tallies. Do you think collectively we can log 100,000 tallies?  Wouldn’t that be exciting! And you will be contributing to that number every time you practice your piano pieces. Step one: Signup Go to www.pianoparentpodcast.com/pianovember and click the form to get on the mailing list. Everyone on the mailing list will receive incentive emails throughout the month to keep you motivated to get to the piano. Step Two: Schedule While you’re on the PIANOVEMBER page, click the 168 hours chart. There is a great quote by somebody (Benjamin Franklin? Sir Winston Churchhill?) “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”No matter who said it, it is a true statement. Our schedules can get so busy and full that we unintentionally leave out piano practice. We don’t mean to skip practice, it just happens because we didn’t give it a place in our schedule. Step Three: Share Share this episode with a friend! Any challenge is more fun with you share it with others. The more people adding PIANOVEMBER tallies, the more likely we will be to hit 100,000 altogether. Review Thank you, Jason for the kind iTunes review. Jason writes, “I have a four year old and was thinking about starting some piano lessons to see if they were interested. This is the perfect podcast for me and other parents!” Shout out Leah Drake, a piano teacher from California whose students did a super job with the PIANOVEMBER Challenge last year. She sent me a facebook message a few weeks ago asking if we were doing Pianovember again this year. First of all, thanks for reaching out to me, Leah. I love hearing from other teachers. Thanks for letting me know your students are excited to compete again this year. Second of all, tell your students to get ready for another practice throwdown!! This race is on!!! Thanks for listening! To share your thoughts: * Leave a note in the comment section below * Ask a question at pianoparentpodcast@gmail.

 PPP114: Find Your Musical Voice with author Lisa Donovan Lukas | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 38:42

It is a delight to welcome Lisa Donovan Lukas back to the podcast. You can catch her previous interview at www.PianoParentPodcast.com/091. During that interview Lisa mentioned her book, “The Young Musician’s Guide to Songwriting: How to Create Music & Lyrics” and today we get to dig into the details of her book even more. Who is this book designed for? Tweens and teens. Students of this age a making big leaps in their emotional development. They are discovering who they are. They have social challenges at school. Music is a creative and safe way for them to work through emotions: joy, love, relationships, trials. “The Young Musician’s Guide to Songwriting” gives them tools to use and learn to work through all the ups and downs of the teenage years. How did the book evolve? Through a combination of my teacher’s influence and my own desire to learn to play pop artists when I was a teenager myself. My mother would read books and poetry to us at night. When I was twelve I discovered Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan. I would use their songs as a type of template. I would study the chord progressions and rhythms they use and add lyrics of my own. Analyzing other songs is a great tool for developing your own tastes and style.  The book contains lists of my favorite artists and songs as well as books to read for musical inspiration. Wouldn’t it be fun to write a musical based on your favorite book? How do you help your students get started with songwriting? Songwriting is a great way to teach theory. Songwriting and composition share a lot of the same concepts. As students are learning another composer’s music, they gain a greater understanding of why they wrote the music the way they did. Branching off from theory and analyzing other compositions gives students a place to jump start creativity. Each chapter has exercises to help students generate ideas and develop those ideas. Depending on the interest of the student, we work slowly over time. I try to incorporate one exercise in the lesson and see how the student connects with it. We might analyze a song in the lesson for a few minutes. Notice the structure of the song. Listen to how many bars are in each section of the song. Listen to new musical ideas in the song and what chords help establish that new section. Identify the chord progressions. Automatic Write: This is a great exercise to combat the blank page. Set a timer for five minutes and free write with no editing or criticism. Dump your thoughts on a blank piece of paper. When the timer goes off you’re done. There may be nothing there but there might be a germ of an idea that you can move forward with. Some students start by writing a poem. We speak the poem to find rhythm patterns in spoken language. Then the student might add a melody and record it with a phone. In this creative part of the process, we don’t necessarily worry about notating these ideas. Many times, their musical ideas are more involved than what they currently capable of notating. Doing an audio recording captures the idea without interrupting their creativity. Recording also helps if a student has too many ideas. We can record other ideas to save them but choose one or two ideas to develop one song at a time. Teachers might consider a hosting summer songwriting camp or a monthly songwriting class. Encourage your piano kid every step of the way. Recording and Notation Lisa is a self-proclaimed non-techie. She prefers to simply record piano and vocal using her iPhone. Some students might be interested in adding percussion or bass...

 PPP113: The Legacy of Van Cliburn, presented by Annette Morgan | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:32:18

Today’s guest, Annette Morgan, is a former student of Rildia Bee O’Bryan Cliburn. In today’s interview, Mrs. Morgan shares her experiences in Mrs. Cliburn’s studio as well as the story of Van Cliburn’s rise to fame after he won the first Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, in 1958.This episode is dedicated to the memory of Ann Saslav, a well-respected pianist herself, who was the catalyst for Annette Morgan’s presentation to East Texas Music Teachers Association and for today’s interview.Ann Saslav interview with Tyler Morning TelegraphAnn Saslav obituary  Mrs. Cliburn, piano teacher Rildia Bee O’Bryan was born October 14, 1896. She was a student of Arthur Friedheim who was a student of Franz Lizst. She could have has a successful musical career but she gave up that opportunity at the request of her parents who were concerned about a young woman traveling the country.Mrs. Cliburn was a very positive teacher but she was also a very disciplined teacher. She expected her students to be disciplined as well.She hosted two music club gatherings in her studio each month where students would perform for their peers. She would accompany the solos of her students, which made them feel more confident in their playing.Mrs. Cliburn expected her students to learn the rudiments of music theory and sight reading. She expected them to master and memorize their pieces. As her students advanced she would teach them all the standard classical piano literature.She assigned exercises and etudes to teach a specific musical concept and prepare students to literature that also used that concept.She expected a beautiful tone, originating from the upper body with fingers curved and relaxed but firm. With a strong technical foundation in place, she also taught her students to incorporate musical expression. She would encourage her students to imagine they were singing the musical line and then transfer that musical line to the piano.Mrs. Cliburn never compared her students to her son, Van. She expected them to be and do their best without comparison to anyone else. Read more about Rildia Bee O’Bryan Cliburn at the Texas State Historical Association website.  The Legacy of Van Cliburn Mrs. Cliburn first noticed her son’s talent when she heard him playing a previous student’s piece by ear. She thought it was her student still playing and she went to tell him it was time to go home. It was not her student,

 PPP112: Down in Front! (and other concert etiquette rules) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 32:41

Attending a live, stage performance is different from going to a movie or sporting event. One is casual with a come and go atmosphere, the other is more formal with certain rules you need to know and follow if you don’t want to embarrass your piano kid or yourself. Before the Concert Performance Preparation – make sure you are ready to present a nice gift to the audience. I tell my students the performance is not for them, it is a gift for the listeners. Sometimes this helps relieve some of their performance anxiety. If you are prepared and know your piece inside and out, you will feel more confident to give your audience a beautiful performance. Does your teacher require your recital piece to be memorized? Work diligently to meet their expectations. Make sure you know your piece accurately and have memorized it fully so you can perform it confidently at the recital. For more details about dealing with performance anxiety, listen to PPP076. Dress for Success – make sure you practice performing your piece while wearing the clothes you will wear at the recital. You want to look nice, yes, but you also need to feel comfortable in your clothes. You don’t want your mind distracted from thinking about your piece because your headband is giving you a headache or your tie is so tight you can’t breathe. Guys, check your jacket to make sure you still have full movement of your arms when you play the piano. Girls, can you use the pedals well with those shoes? If not, find something that will work for you, not against you. For more details about concert attire, listen to PPP028. Arrive Early – Piano Parents, unless your piano kid is driving themselves to the recital, you have total control and responsibility for helping your child arrive early so they (and you) are not stressed out before you ever get to the venue. Your child has enough to be nervous about without hearing you bark at slow cars on the road. Give your piano kid a peaceful drive. Give them time to get a drink of water and visit the restroom before they have to find their seat. During the Concert No distractions – no talking or fidgeting. You don’t want to distract the performer or those who came specifically to hear them play. If you are holding a program or your music, keep it still and quiet. At the beginning of my spring recital, I tell my families to silence any cell phones, electronic devices, and small children. It’s a corny joke but it’s still a good reminder. Put your phone on silent, and be considerate of those around you if you have small children. Sit toward the back of the room, close to the aisle. Be prepared to make a quick and quiet exit if your child starts to cause a distraction. Normally, during formal concerts, the performers should not leave at all and audience members should only exit or enter between performances while the audience is applauding. In the case of an unhappy child, however, get out quickly with as little distraction as possible. Give the performer your attention – this is closely related to the no distractions rule but slightly different. Not talking and paying attention are not exactly the same thing. Listen with your eyes. Look at the performer. Pay attention to the music they are making. Make mental notes of compliments you can give them after the recital. Applaud politely when their piece is finished – this has two aims: 1. Even if the performer completely bombed their song, you still give them applause for the courage they exhibited just walking to the piano. 2. Applauding politely means that you simply clap your hands. Piano Parents, when your son or daughter scores points in the big game, you are welcome to hoot and holler, maybe even whistle.

 PPP111: Start With What You Know For Sure, Andrea Miller | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 36:12

I first met Andrea Miller on Instagram when I started following her page, Music Studio Startup. She was announcing the launch of her new podcast so I direct messaged her. Later, she called me, we met face to face when she presented a workshop at the Texas Music Teachers Association Convention last June, and now I consider her a friend. I am grateful to have her on the podcast. Tell us your piano story. We had a piano in the living room when I was growing up and I was a very determined and curious kid, so I tried to figure out how to play it. My mom gave me one piano lesson, where she explained how the grand staff worked and I took it from there. I taught myself for a year or two and then my parents enrolled me in lessons when I was about 8.I started teaching when I was 15, like a lot of other teachers — because someone asked me to! Before that I had no plans for a career in music. I had known for years that I was going to study business, but my teacher at the time just assumed I would be a piano major and kept pushing me along that path.I eventually decided to double major in Entrepreneurship and Piano Performance. I continued to teach and ran a house-painting business to pay my way through college. After I graduated, I started a music school in St. Louis.When my husband’s job brought us out to Maryland I decided I wanted a new entrepreneurial adventure, so I worked with some startups in a few different fields – tech, education, legal, but I started a small studio on the side. Now I continue to teach part-time and coach music teachers. Were you a good student? I don’t think I have any special “talent” for the piano, but I have always been a hard worker and someone who likes a challenge. My very first teacher was really good at finding challenges for me to work toward, so I think that’s what cemented my interest in the instrument. What is one thing you often say to your piano students? “I don’t know. What do you think?”I had a great Economics professor who really influenced how I teach piano. He was adamant that we understood how the principles worked, not just the right answers, so we could think like economists and (fumble) through new problems we had never seen before. I teach my piano students with the same philosophy. Is there a common struggle your piano parents deal with? How do you help them through it? I teach in a suburb of D.C. that is highly-educated and highly Type A. A lot of my students excel in school and are used to things coming easily. This makes piano a humbling experience because the lessons always adjust to challenge them wherever they’re at.

 PPP110: Ten Ways to Genuinely Compliment Your Piano Kid | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 25:12

My kids know when I’m not really listening to them because I will nod and say, “That’s great!” in the wrong places. Sometimes my husband will add crazy made-up details to a story to see if I’m paying attention. We all know what it feels like to be ignored or, worse, to be complimented insincerely. Saying “That’s Great!” or “You’re Awesome” requires little effort on our part and doesn’t really give the confidence boost we think it does. Today I’d like to share with you some compliments I’ve received and that I try to share with my students. I hope they will give you some ideas of how you can put in a little more effort to genuinely compliment your piano kid. 1. “That is my favorite piece” This morning, at her lessons, Peyton said “Under the Sea” was her dad’s favorite piece. I know he isn’t the kind of man who actually loves children’s movies but he does love his daughter and she remembered that her dad was listening to her play. 2. “Grandma would love to hear you play this song!” I’ve said before that grandparents make the best cheerleaders! It thrills me as a teacher when I hear that my students call or facetime their grandparents to play their music for them. 3. Sometimes a smile is enough Kathie Storey is a lady who also attended my church when I was growing up. I remember seeing her smiling at me from the church pew when I would sing in church. She was a safe place for me to look if I was scared. Her smile and attention gave me confidence to keep going. 4. “I can tell you’ve been working on that part” You don’t have to say whether their music is good or point out the mistakes, just compliment the effort. 5. “You’re almost there!” Travis attempted to play a piece from memory yesterday. He knows most of his piece but had to have a few hints. He knew that I knew it wasn’t quite memorized. Rather than pointing out all the problems, I simply told him he was almost there. I helped him work through some of the memory lapses and gave him some practice goals for this week. I am confident that he will have it memorized next week. He is confident that I will tell him the truth in a kind way. 6. Hum or dance while they play This could terrify them at first so you may need to build up to it. Often when I’m working in my studio, my husband is preparing our evening meal in the kitchen. He can hear us and we can hear him but we make it work. If he sings or whistles while my student is playing I will tell them that is a huge compliment! He recognized your piece because you were playing it so well. 7. “Did you notice….?” Sometimes students forget to listen to themselves. We need to help them become active listeners. Ask them if they noticed how smoothly they played that tricky passage or if they noticed that they add dynamics and musical expression. 8. “Do you remember….?” Just like students need to be reminded to listen to themselves when they play, they also need to be reminded of what they’ve accomplished. Sometimes I ask my students, “Do you remember when you first saw this piece and you thought it was way too hard for you?” “Do you remember when your fingers kept getting tangled in this spot?” “Do you remember how you had to slow down to be able to play this tricky section? Sometimes students only see their current obstacle. Remind them of the obstacles they’ve already overcome. 9. “You beat me to the piano!” This is something I ask my students to do at home. “See if you can beat your mom to the piano by practicing before she has to remind you.”  If this happens in your house, acknowledge it with genuine gratitude. You could even thank you piano kid. They made your job easier. 10. “Did you see how he responded to your music?” One of my most favorite piano lesson memories has to do with Mrs.

 PPP109: Practical Tips for Practicing WITH Your Young Piano Kid | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 28:54

This week’s show is my answer to a recent question from a piano parent. Beth writes, “What is the best way to help a kindergarten student practice?” Thank you for the great question, Beth! Kindergarten is a wonderful time for students be to begin learning to play the piano. They are excellent learners, eager to soak up any information we give them. This is a great blessing and a great responsibility for parents. Young children have not yet learned responsibility and discipline or time management and self control. Unless you are actively involved in their home practice, they will not make progress and both of you will become frustrated. Today I’d like to share some things to consider when practicing with your young piano kids. Notice, I said WITH your piano kid. Just like personal hygiene, household chores, and school homework, YOU must be the driving force behind your child’s training. Develop a Love of Music Cultivate a relationship with your child through music Dance and sing with you child Enjoy music together Listen to Episode 10 for more details and ideas Timing is Everything You can go with the flow but you can also influence the direction it goes Set up a practice routine (Episode 105 Blessing of Routine) Set up a schedule for practice Follow the schedule Sometimes we all get in a funk, we’re just not feeling it Investigate to see what the underlying cause could be Maybe they think the music is too hard or too easy.  Nicole Douglas shared some great tips about this in Episode 85. Maybe they’re distracted by other sounds in the home. Dawn Ivers talked about the importance of a good practice environment in Episode 061. Maybe they’re just having an off day. Pick Your Battles Attitude is everything – not only your child’s attitude but also your attitude. Your child’s attitude If they are having an off day, wait for a better opportunity. In Texas, we say if you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes, it’s bound to change. Give them some time to unwind Read a story, play outside, have a snack (drinking water really helps those brain neurons get fired up!) After the activity come back to the piano Make sure you are the one dictating the schedule. Don’t let “I don’t want to practice now” become “I don’t want to practice today or this week.” Your attitude I taught all my children to play piano and read music and I realized my shortest fuse was with my own children. I could be very patient with other people’s children but I had higher expectations with my own. Maybe you need a short break so you can gear up to offer your child a pleasant experience. What to do at the piano with your piano kid Here are some practical suggestions for how you can help your young child practice at home. Follow your teacher’s instructions – email or assignment book Start with a familiar piece first to warm up? Start with a new challenge while they are fresh and ready to think? Sit next to your child – at the piano or in a chair close by. I heard a great tip on another music podcast (Beyond the Music Lesson Podcast) today. Practice the same number of items as your child’s age. Write 5 items on a whiteboard (in order of priority) and let your child erase as they are completed.


Login or signup comment.