Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday's Muse

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. ~ Mark Twain

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday's Muse

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.”  ― Confucius

Friday, December 20, 2013

CTO … Learn to Sing with the Hammered Dulcimer

Check This Out … Marya Katz will be offering her winter workshop once again on Martin Luther King Monday. The topic this year: Singing with the Hammered Dulcimer.  The workshop is intended for anyone who …

  • wants to accompany a singer or singing group
  • wants to learn how to accompany themselves while singing

Marya says, "It's not done with mirrors, and it's really not as hard as you might think!"

Monday, January 20, 2014
9:00am - 3:30pm

College Park Baptist Church
1701 Polo Road
Winston Salem, NC

Registration Fee:  $60
Materials and lunch provided
Pre-registration is not required, but the organizers would appreciate advance notice of participants so that sufficient materials and lunch may be available.

Marya Katz
(540) 961-4435

Check Out Marya's Website: Dulcimations

Alternate contact:
Terry Lefler
(336) 692-8613

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Have You Tuned Lately?

Oh, boy! 'Tis the season when every minute counts. One of my students explained why she had to cancel her lesson this week … "I'm under done and over booked." Ha! I can relate.

Then there's this crazy NC weather … warm and humid one day, cold and dry the next. The heat system is on. The heat system is off. The windows are open. The windows are closed. Don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy these variations and I'm always thankful for a sunny warm day this time of year. It's what allows me to garden year round.  BUT the dulcimer can be temperamental, subject to major mood swings. You know what I'm talking about. Don't you hate it when the instrument is so far out of tune you can't stand to play it in the solitary space of your personal practice? I think I speak for most players when I say I'd rather play than tune!

On the other hand, I'd rather tune a dulcimer than tune a fish, wouldn't you?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday's Muse

‘How did it get so late so soon?

It’s night before it’s afternoon.

December is here before it’s June.

My goodness how the time has flewn.

How did it get so late so soon?’  ~ Dr. Seuss

Friday, December 13, 2013

CTO … A Christmas Cannon

From the Finale Blog, here's a piece of creativity!

I've used several versions of the Finale music notation software over the years with more functional and mundane outcomes. Here's what can be done when one thinks outside the box! Check This Out … A Christmas Cannon Yep, that's spelled correctly!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

One More Thing to Make Your Life Easier Next Holiday Season

Last week I encouraged all you holiday revelers and Christmas carolers to mark up your music with notes that will help you remember your holiday repertoire from year to year. You certainly don't want all those fantastic arrangement ideas to fade into oblivion!

Are you thinking it's too much work to get it all down in writing? Here's an alternative idea … Create a recording of your holiday tunes.

Of course you'll want to start by playing through each tune. Then include a little monologue speaking to your future self. Give yourself tips for choreographing the tune to the instrument, what you learned about playing the tricky parts, which tunes were especially popular with your audiences, etc. Be sure to include additional arrangement ideas that you'd like to develop next year. You'll thank yourself later!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday's Muse

"You should sit in meditation 20 minutes a day, unless you're too busy, then you sit for an hour." ~Old Zen Saying

Friday, December 6, 2013

CTO … Rhythmic Notation in LEGO

Here's a non-threatening way to think about rhythm.

Check This Out … Posted on his website November 9, 2013 (under "Blog, Pedagogy, Theory") pianist Tom McPherson describes a creative way to visualize the relative time values of notes in written music using LEGO blocks. I like it! Check it out!

Rhythmic Notation in LEGO

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

One Simple Thing You Can Do to Make Your Life Easier Next Year

Mark up your holiday music.

Don't you hate it when you spend a significant amount of time on a piece of music but when you come back to it in a day or two you've forgotten how to play it? If you think it's difficult to remember tunes you're playing regularly, wait until you try to recall how you played your favorite Christmas carols a year ago!

Many of my students are busy practicing Christmas tunes this month. Some are preparing for gigs. Others are playing for their own enjoyment. Most are attempting to create a repertoire of seasonal music that will be improved upon and added to year to year. The sad fact, though, is that once the Christmas season is over most of these holiday tunes will be shelved, not to revisited until next fall.

The good news? Many of these tunes have fairly simple melody lines and they are familiar - locked into our brains in such a way that allows our hands to find them with some ease on the instrument. But chances are you've taken these tunes beyond the basic melody. I'm guessing you've worked out some arrangement ideas or have spent time figuring out how to play someone else's arrangement. You're going to want to remember that in the future.

Mark up your music.

Make notes directly on the music to help yourself remember all the stuff you've figured out during your practice sessions, i.e. hammer patterns, where to cross the bridge, which duplicate note to use, hints on how to play difficult phrases, etc. That way, you won't have to reinvent the wheel next year.

If you think this is a great idea but don't want to mess up a book of music or would rather have a clean original piece of sheet music, simply make a copy or two, then mark away!

Read more about Marking Up your music for Efficient Practice in my previous post, dated March 12, 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday's Muse

“The key to life is accepting challenges. Once someone stops doing this, he's dead.” ~ Bette Davis