Apps and Games, Music literacy, Music theory

Flashnote Derby

Back in the 80’s when I was taking piano lessons, the most advanced part of my lessons were the color drawings in my method books. Now, there are so many tools that help in learning. Today, I’m going to share a great resource that has helped my students.

Flashnote Derby is an app that helps students with note identification. You can choose what notes to focus in on, choose how many notes are asked (the default is 10) and you have the choice of a horse race, a Pegasus race and a space battle! Students can either choose the letter on the screen or play on the piano or keyboard.

The game is lots of fun and my students have enjoyed it. I’ve noticed that it’s helped them really improve their note identifying skills, which is a very essential skill to have as a musician!

Check it out at: https://flashnotederby.com/

Music literacy, Music Motivation, Practicing, Science of Music

Why Should Children Take Music Lessons?

There are lots and lots of benefits as to why children should take music lessons. Here are just a few.

Music builds coordination

When it comes to piano, or really any musical instrument, it’s building hand-eye coordination, using the dominant and non-dominant hand, and in the case of the piano, can have different motions for each hand at the same time!

 

Music strengthens academic skills

There are many things that can be strengthened when it comes to musicianship, be it math, or language, especially when it comes to learning about phrasing and shaping the phrase, music helps to strengthen skills that students need in the classroom.

 

Music makes students more empathetic

Learning how to be a musician takes the student from making robotic music, to interpreting the music in their own way, making certain parts louder or softer than others, as well as bringing out the overall ethos of the music.

 

Music build discipline and patience

Learning how to practice and the discipline of regular, daily practice helps to build a positive habit that can translate to other aspects of life, as well as helping students be patient and persistent in practicing.

 

 

These and many more things help students grow and build skills that benefit as musicians and in life. Harmanny Music Education can help! Summer lessons for June and July are currently being scheduled and you can find out more and more about the ukulele camp to be held the week of June 27th here.

Different styles, Music literacy, Music stories

The Four Seasons

The Four Seasons, by Vivaldi, are exquisitely written and the Spring theme is one of the more famous melodies out there. But why did Vivaldi write it?

The Four Seasons is a concerto, one of over 500 written by Vivaldi, who was born in 1678 and died in 1741. The thing about this concerto, though, was that it was radically different than all of the other concertos written at this time. What was different about it? It was themed. Up until this point, concertos were just….concertos. Typically labelled by what key they were in, each movement was typically titled by the tempo, or speed of the piece.

But Vivaldi radically changed the musical landscape around him in writing The Four Seasons. You see, he encouraged the players as well as the audience to use their imaginations. If you’re listening to music, do you typically associate it with a season? Probably not. But, if you listen to the Spring movement, and you’re thinking about all of the things that happen in springtime, it doesn’t take much work to imagine the music being the background for it.

We can definitely thank Vivaldi for many masterworks of music that are in the world today. Personally, one of my all time favorite choral works is his “Gloria”.

Check out Gloria, The Four Seasons and many other compositions by Vivaldi. You may find a new favorite classical composer!

Challenge, Different styles, Music literacy

Enter Sandman

I came across this video and was amazing. Larnell Lewis is a drummer who plays with the jazz band Snarky Puppy, one of my favorite jazz groups! The whole point of the video is that he listens to the song once, and tries to drum along with it. Watch and see what happens.

I tell students this all the time. While your eyes, hands and feet are helpful for music making, hearing is essential. You noticed (and it was pointed out on the video) that for about half of the song, he was just listening and noting, not trying to play along. Then near the end, he was doing a little bit of “air drumming”

But it was what he did after he listened that was the most important. He walked back through the song. No matter what style, music can be broken down into sections. And that’s exactly what he walked through. And he kept up really well!

Of course, he’s a drummer with years of experience and practice. For me, I’ve never really challenged myself to do something like this on piano or organ. I’ve done it from time to time on the trumpet, trying to pick out melodies and play along, but never really an entire song.

Honestly, for musicians, this is a huge challenge, and I totally love that he took it on. Especially a song that he had never heard of at all. I loved what he said at the about challenging yourself to try different styles. It does make you a better musician overall and definitely stretches your boundaries. You may not find something that you like, but you have a deeper appreciation.

The Harmanny Music Education Podcast will be coming soon! Stay tuned!