Just received word of the following one-day PD for piano teachers coming up in June. Also don’t forget your registrations for the Australian Piano Teachers’ Conference in Toowoomba in July!!
New Materials and Techniques to
Revitalise your Piano Teaching
Certified as a Master Teacher by MTNA, Nancy Bachus will discuss the performance practices of various style periods, and how to teach the necessary skills to play the piano with technical ease.
All participants will receive a free book, handouts and special discounts for materials purchased on the day.
CLICK HERE FOR FULL DETAILS ON THE WORKSHOPS AND NANCY BACHUS
This is a questionnaire I found online for new potential students to fill out before their first lesson, which I thought might be relevant for other teachers.
Most of my teaching is school-based and I have little opportunity to ask these kinds of important questions before students start lessons, however it’s definitely something I’d consider using for future private students.
Student and Family Questionnaire.
No need for any explanation – just make sure you watch it if you haven’t done so already! Also viewable via the ABC iView app on iPhone/iPad.
I don’t think these past episodes are available forever so get onto it soon.
ABC Television – ABC1 – Parkinson: Masterclass – Lang Lang – 10:00pm Sunday, May 12 2013.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been testing out Notion for iPad.
I’m very impressed.
If you regularly use an iPad in your studio and are looking for an easy way to notate music in a professional way, I’d highly recommend checking it out. I’d previously struggled to get my head around Symphony Pro (which cost a bomb and is no longer supported in any case) and while Finale and Sibelius have music viewers (here’s a good summary of the options), nothing, in my opinion, has the functionality, features and ease-of-use of Notion.
- Fully featured – this app can do everything!
- Unusual note heads? Done. Percussion notation? Done. Articulation and Dynamics? Sure. Ornaments? They’re all in there. Instrument-specific signs and symbols? Yup. Lyrics and chord symbols? No problem!
- The MIDI note input is excellent (i.e. you can connect your keyboard via USB and Apple Camera Converter adapter, and play directly into the software – fastest way of notating anything!). Although it doesn’t have a quantize function, it does allow you to select a ‘margin of error’ (minimum velocity and minimum duration) of between 20ms – 60ms when you record to allow for notes not being playing at exactly the right time or keys being accidentally half-depressed. This worked really well in testing and was a big feature lacking in Symphony Pro.
- The layout is easy to use once you know the main sections.
- There is a good help feature for when you can’t work out how to do something, including a quick overlay reference to show you what all the buttons do. I couldn’t instantly work out how to change key signature in the middle of a piece, but with a quick look at the in-built help file, I found where the key adjust was.
- The quality of the final print-out was excellent.
- Can output to lots of different formats incl wav, output to PDF/MIDI/XML, email, save to Dropbox, etc.
- I liked some of the tricks like “fill score with rests” and a number of other time-saving features.
- Recent updates have solved a number of bug and crash issues that have been reported in previous reviews.
Granted, I don’t need to notate on a daily basis, however when I need to quickly write and print something, this will be my first port of call from now on as it’ll be just as easy as (and far more professional than) hand writing.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary download of this app for review purposes. I was not required to write a favourable review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own.
Given my posts about teaching improvising, a number of people have asked to see me in action!
At my last recital, I opened the second half with a short 3-minute (non-jazz) improvisation. I had not planned any aspect of this prior to stepping on stage. It was completely off-the-cuff, but based on my understanding of harmony, theory, chord structures and progressions. It’s mainly in C major/A minor and something that I hope my students can do themselves as they explore chord theory as part of their lessons and practice.
It takes practice of course; the more students experiment and explore chords, patterns and accompaniments within the framework of the Circle of 5ths, the better their ear will be and the more they’ll be able to call on ideas and progressions that work in the future.
To me, improvising is one of the most musical activities that any student can do on the piano. It develops all aspects of playing and listening and is a really enjoyable way to spend time at the keyboard without the pressure of reading or ‘getting anything right’.
If you’d like to read more, here are some of my other posts about composing/improvising:
Chord progressions for beginners
Using 12 bar blues to inspire beginners
Strategies for teaching improvisation to beginners
Using ‘sus’ chords to inspire beginners
Brilliant article for all parents, teachers and students explaining the scientific evidence of the detrimental effect of media multitasking while trying to study.
Students’ “on-task behavior” started declining around the two-minute mark as they began responding to arriving texts or checking their Facebook feeds. By the time the 15 minutes were up, they had spent only about 65 percent of the observation period actually doing their schoolwork.
This can immediately be applied to instrumental practice too. I wonder how many of my teenage students actually turn off their computers/close Facebook and messenger windows and silence their phones before commencing practice? Can they stay focussed for longer than 2 minutes at a time when working on a computer? Can I?
The great thing about this post is that rather than just bemoaning the current state of today’s youth, it gives parents and students themselves useful strategies about how to manage their study time better by setting aside completely uninterrupted blocks of say, 15 minutes of study, followed by a 2 minute all-out Facebook binge!
Here’s the article!
I’ve just received a reminder from my teacher, Caroline Almonte, that her Sutherland Trio are performing tonight at the Melbourne Recital Centre from 7pm – 8pm with all tickets just $15.
Sutherland Trio embarks on an exploration of the beauty of Brahms through the inspired writings of renowned composers Andrew Ford and Reza Vali, as well as featuring its own interpretation of the exquisite piano trio in C minor and the lively Hungarian Dance by Brahms.
More information is available at the MRC website.
If you send students for AMEB exams, you may not be aware that exam results are generally available within a day or two via the AMEB online teachers’ portal called AMEB Connect (click for more info). No more waiting a week for the exam report in the mail!
To get access or to login, head to this page. I keep it bookmarked for easy reference. Through this portal, you can check you students’ enrolments, results, update your details, etc. There is also a school-wide login option for music administrators – info is on the above AMEB Connect link.
On a side note, the AMEB is finally publishing its syllabi in PDF format (although at a small fee). You can access the downloads at their online shop.