After fourteen years of teaching about forty students a week and being hands-on at Creative Music Adventures, I’m taking a little break. As many of you know I was up at 4:45 a.m. five days a week to be at a high school where they participated in a curriculum I developed. Keeping that schedule, working on finishing the books/method, performing and producing left little time to sleep.
Several years ago I had an adult student who was a great jazz player. She felt all of her issues in playing music came from not understanding the circle of fifths. She came in with the diagram and explained it to me perfectly. I said that it sounded like she knew the information really well. But she insisted that I help her use the information within the context of a performance/piece, rather than in a theoretical sense – and especially not restricting it to key signatures.
It took me a while to wrap my head around what she was looking for, but I’m glad she was so adamant about this. Because the series of exercises we worked through and I later refined has become a staple for all of my students from and intermediate level and up. It helps with learning and memorizing large volumes of repertoire (in any genre), improvisation, composing, ear training and reading… Just to scratch the surface.
Here is the first step:
After a lesson with a student who has been working with me for nearly 14 years, I took a moment to assess the state of our room as I walked out, letting him tear down his gear. I was inspired to take a quick picture after realizing that this may not be a typical scene to many folks who teach, practice or took lessons at some point in their lives.
Here is piece that can be played on 2-4 pianos by four pianists called “Dancing Dots”. It emphasized dotted-quarter + eighth notes and dotted-eight + sixteenth note rhythms among other things.
Here are the links to the parts and score:
All of us who have played, taught, listened to or experienced music in any way know the power it holds. Many people can trace certain important times of their lives to specific recordings. Several musicians, myself included, can trace the reason we play music back to one or two recordings. Many people who play music have often been pulled out of major ruts in their practice/playing after hearing a recording. There are people who don’t have anything to do with playing music who simply can’t function without it.
Creating a community of musical peers is something that rarely gets emphasized in the music teaching/learning world. There are many studio events, ensembles, recitals, festivals and competitions that have students cross paths with one another. However, the bonds from these events only scratch the surface of what could potentially be formed between students.
I want to thank everyone who took part in the launch of the new method last week. It is greatly appreciated and I hope you’re enjoying the books and membership area of the website.
The books are now available to anyone and everyone – click here to order your copies.
If you still would like to become a member of the membership website, it’s still available at $30 per month here.
Here are the details for the membership site:
Access to the membership area is $30 a month. Membership will grant members a 20% discount on all books and teaching materials in the method.
- Once a membership has been purchased you will receive 20% off all book orders. The first four levels of books are typically $9.95 each.
- You will have access to 10+ hours of training videos, 5 hours of accompaniment tracks and teacher scores for all the music in the method.
- There is no minimum – you can cancel the membership anytime.
- You will be billed $30 per month until you cancel the membership.
An in-depth look at the membership site with a video demo:
I’ve always said that there is no better time than now to be teaching kids to play music. The access that students and teachers have to music from all styles, genres and eras makes it nearly impossible for anyone to lose interest in creating something musical. The result may end up sounding like a concert pianist, or it may end up being a kid learning to produce quality dance music on their laptop and becoming a producer. But to have so much music and music-related content at our disposal is a huge benefit to teaching and learning music today.
Overview of Teacher Accompaniment Tracks How to Use the Teaching Scores and Accompaniment Tracks with My Method
One of the main concepts my favorite teachers hammered home when I was a student and hopefully I’ve continued the tradition; is an emphasis on playing in time, developing a strong time feel and learning how to make musical decisions on the fly. Hence the large library of accompaniment tracks with this method.
After years of accepting transfer students who wanted to learn classical, jazz, popular music and composing; I realized that much of the information they wanted to know was in the music they already knew how to play. Somehow the information they had accumulated paralyzed them when it came to “creating” their own sounds – even when playing written music. They were either overwhelmed by all the options or going through their mental checklists of everything they were supposed to do to play “correctly”.