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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Inspiring Podcast on Creating a Musical Environment from the Womb

Building Noble Hearts has a lot of resources for parents wanting to understand how to nurture their child through musical education and environment. Listen and be inspired as you see how doing something as small as playing quality music to your baby before it is even born can foster an appreciation for good music and develop and train the musical ear. I will be adding more to this post as I discover more great podcasts for parent training. Start with this one.

Building Noble Hearts Podcast

Sunday, August 6, 2017

I really found it exciting to be able to attend/participate in the annual Los Angeles Suzuki Institute training this summer in Claremont this past June sponsored in part by the Association of the the Americas Suzuki Music Association of California. For an entire week, teachers conducted training workshops for teachers, students, and parents, and every day there were recitals and group play-ins as well. The highlight was hearing a virtuoso violist, Matthew Lipman perform in concert. One of the take aways from this busy week was the motto, "Don't practice until you get it right. Practice it until you cannot get it wrong!" The gentle methods of correction and psychological ploys to help young people find music exciting was something I really resonated with. A momentum built up inside of me, and I decided to register in Santa Rosa just a month later for the "Every Child Can" introductory course for Suzuki teacher training. Suzuki had a dream that every child could benefit from a nurturing and loving musical environment that brought together the teacher/parent/student triangle which enabled a child to be the winner. Dr. Suzuki has a wonderful philosophy of child education that mirrors a Christian viewpoint. He respected the students and learned how to reach their hearts through a sensitive understanding of the a child needs for love, a kinesthetic learning, breaking skill sets down into small bite sized "dessert" chunks, and encouraging them with noble endeavors to master any skill. He excited them with group discovery classes and inspired in them a noble sense that all were valuable and capable of achieving anything they set out to do. Suzuki philosophy is one that encourages students to develop an ear by having them listen repetitively to music that they are learning just like they pick up how to speak their mother tongue by listening intently and repetitiously. Rooted in the Suzuki philosophy is the belief that learning to play music with the proper tone must necessarily precede learning to read musical notation. In other words, a beautiful tone is central to Suzuki training. So tone development begins with the earliest lessons. All technique is in service to beautiful sound.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Take the Godly Music Test

Ever wonder if what you are allowing to be poured into your ears is helping you to be closer to God or causing you to feel farther away from Him? Is it waking up your spiritual faculties or shutting them down? Christian Berdahl, of Shepherd's Call Ministries has created a special way to put all music through the checkpoint, or filter, of your conscience. Are you aware that certain types of music act as an alcoholic beverage or trance would in essence, by putting the mind to sleep? Certain music leads the brain to go into "alpha rhythm" within 30 seconds of being doused by ear.  The place where it especially affects the person is called the prefrontal cortex (the location in your brain where you judge right from wrong), and some believe that this area of the brain is the very special place where God can speak to our minds. Marketers understanding the powerful use of the medium of music suggest that their clients are able, simply with their choice of music, to successfully manipulate patrons into buying more of their products. Bars and nightclubs are very well acquainted with the effects of the type of music that will best encourage immoral behavior. (One can guess how few would go to these places if they were playing classical music or sacred hymns!) Shepherd's Call is a very educational site which I highly recommend that you visit. No doubt can remain after hearing the impressive array of research that music is not amoral; music in fact has a very powerful influence on our souls, either positive or negative, with temporary and long range effects on the nervous system, hormones, moods, and thinking process. Find out more about the powerful speaking agency of the "music bed," and how it's body language is affecting your thoughts, behavior, and personality! 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Check out these great exercises for improving bow control and tone production with relaxation.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

5 Ways to Keep Practice Interesting

There are many rewards that come with practicing at home with your child.   You have the opportunity to find out how your child learns new concepts, you have daily one on one time with your child, and you both get to experience music together which can be a great bonding experience.   There can also be challenges with daily practice sessions and sometimes getting the instrument out and getting started is the hardest part of all.

Young children (I’m mostly talking about preschool and younger elementary school students) like to play.   Often the problem with starting to practice is that we are asking students to stop (or postpone) something fun they want to do.  It is a good idea to add in some fun and interesting activities to practice, a few times a week, to help keep it interesting and fun.

Here are a few ideas to get you started. . .

1.  Pull out a game spinner or pair of dice:   Rather than telling your child to play a difficult measure over and over, have them spin a game spinner or roll 2 dice to see how many times they should play it.  It is amazing the attitude shift that happens when the dice tell them to play it 1o times vs. me as the mother.   There are no power struggles involved which is great and the practice ends up feeling like a game.   My rule is that the number has to be bigger than 2 or we spin again! 

2.  Line up favorite stuffed animals or dolls:  If your house is anything like mine, there are bins full of stuffed animals and action figures – let your child bring some of them into the practice room.  Have your child line them up and play to each one.  A fun idea is to have them play one review song to each different stuffed animal. 

3.  Play somewhere fun and unusual: If the weather is nice (and you have a portable instrument) have your child take their instrument outside and play on the back porch or under a tree. Many students also love the sound when playing in a kitchen or bathroom.   Sometimes the change in scenery is just what a student needs to enjoy playing that day. 

4.  Play Fishbowl:  Write down each practice assignment (scale, review pieces, new piece etc.) on slips of paper and fold them up.  Place them inside a bowl or shoe box and have the student pick them out one by one.  Everything on the practice list will get accomplished but it will feel like a game. 

5.  Hold a Family Concert: Gather the family together and put on an informal concert for them in the living room.  Students can play one piece or a number of them.  Encourage them with enthusiastic applause :)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Straight Bows

Check out this cello tutorial on how to get a great straight bow stroke. Abigail McHugh.