Tacoma Workshop and Performance – November 4

On Saturday, November 4th, I’ll be presenting a workshop for music teachers and educators in Tacoma from 9:30 am to 3 pm. Then at 4 p.m. I’ll be playing a concert of original and improvised music that is open to the public.

The event is organized by the teacher association in Puyallup and Tacoma. If you have questions about any events during the day, feel free to email Mary Ellen Cavelti at molly60music@comcast.net.

You can find the event flyer, schedule and rsvp info by clicking here.

Passion Makes Perfect

Playing and practicing music can be a real grind. Just like anything that requires discipline and hard work, it’s easy to lose track of why we even do it. We often lose touch with what is really important to us or we never find it in the first place. We simply follow a path that has been well worn by teaching methods, peers or mentors.

This week I was reminded of what it looks like to be emotionally engaged in the music-making process. It was a very inspirational and informative moment for me.

Bjork Up Close

Bjork up Close

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Developing a Unique Voice from the Start How to build your story and sound in music lessons

In the beginning, my whole teaching studio at Creative Music Adventures was built on this phone call from teacher friends around the community:

“I have a student who has some potential but they are driving me crazy. They are supremely talented but won’t do anything I ask. Can I send them to you to see if there is any hope?”

Unique Voice » Read more

Rethinking How We Teach Theory Teaching and learning theory in real-time

While in college I started teaching piano lessons regularly. I could play piano, compose and improvise on a standard college level – but teaching was a whole different animal. Thankfully, I had great teachers growing up and could call upon my experiences with them to help the lessons become productive as quickly as possible. The methods were helpful to a new teacher because they had written out instructions for teachers and students. They also isolated concepts into lesson books, theory books and performance books.

Theory » Read more

Turning Off the Critic Being Critical Can Cut Ourselves and Our Students Off from the Music

After years of training in an area we accumulate patterns and habits that effect every aspect of our experiences. We acquire information and knowledge that was intended to improve the way we perform or express our abilities. Of course this makes us better, but this information and knowledge can also hold us back in the long run if we use it as a way to become overly critical and negative when experiencing our own playing, our peers’ playing, our peers’ students or anyone performing in our field.

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Taking Selfies with Sound Five Approaches to Use When Recording Ourselves

There have been times when I would feel that my rate of improvement didn’t line up with the large chunks of time I was spending at the instrument practicing. Sometimes practicing a lot isn’t enough. We need other methods to elevate our playing and bring cohesion to all the concepts we are working through.

IMAG1610_1 » Read more

The Secret Life of Triads Four Ways to Make Triads Work for You

One of the biggest breakthroughs I had when learning to play music came during a painfully frustrating time. I was trying to work out a lot of Bill Evans material in college and I just couldn’t make it sound good. I spent a lot of hours that didn’t equate to improvement. I was studying with an amazing teacher who could rip through the stuff with ease. He also sensed something wasn’t clicking and said, “You know, everything comes down to triads.”

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