36 results found
- When You Fall In Love (With Making Music)
There is an evolution to falling in love with music that occurs over time. The young child is excited about pressing keys and making sounds. There is more excitement when the young student plays their first recognizable song. "Baby Shark" can be learned in the first 3 lessons. Then comes "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Old McDonald." There comes a long period for beginning students, adult or child, where they are in "learning basics" mode. Basic note reading, basic good technique, beginning to understand scales and chords. I help them work through this, by making sure I include some "fun" or familiar tunes either by rote teaching, or arranged for their current level. Excitement can wain for awhile, but for those students (and their parents who can foresee the future) the student who continues to take lessons and practice as guided by their teacher will reach the next intermediate level. Here they are playing their first "Classical" pieces, or "Jazzy" pieces. When they work to prepare for a performance, the student learns their piece at a higher level, and it becomes more satisfying to play. It is when students reach a late intermediate/early advanced level that all their training comes together: technique, phrasing, style, the history of the music they are playing. Recently, I had two teenage siblings playing their first Chopin pieces. Even while they were learning the notes they were phrasing beautifully, with little guidance from me. After a few lessons, I could sit back and listen to them, and just say "lovely' when they were done. They were in love with the music, and it could be heard in their playing. For those in their teen years, music can be an important emotional outlet for all the many feelings they experience. Even now that I am in my 60's, I see music as my therapy. Like my students, I sometimes have trouble getting to the piano, but every time I do, I again realize that I truly do love music. Once you fall in love with making music, it is for a lifetime.
- Read The Policy, PLEEEASE!
All professional music teachers (and dance teachers, and art schools) have a policy in place that is required reading before students begin lessons. During the last year, more than ever before, I have had to put students "on probation" or dismiss them because they were ignoring my studio policies. This is hard on everyone involved, especially the student and teacher who otherwise may have a good relationship. Some of these polices are for the protection of everyone. I have an In Person Lesson Policy that states the precautions I take to keep myself and all my students safe during this Coronavirus Pandemic. Mask wearing, sanitizing, keeping distance as much as possible during lessons, only the student in the room with me. For some students, I have had to gently remind them when they started to get sloppy about following the rules. Others, I had to insist they either go online or discontinue for a time (and lose their place) or really change their ways by the next lesson. At the top of my policies page is my Practice Suggestions. It boggles my mind that students would sign up for music lessons and not be prepared to practice at least 3 days a week! Private music lessons are expensive, especially with an experienced teacher. Do you want to learn? Want to get the most out of your monetary investment? Make sure practicing is done 4, 5, maybe 6 days a week. The length of time is dependent on level, and your teacher will make individual recommendations about time. The thorn in the side of every piano teacher is the Make Up Policy. I clearly state in mine that make up lessons are not guaranteed! If I miss a lesson due to illness or a conflict, yes, that is my responsibility and I will either make it up or refund for that lesson. I intentionally create my studio calendar to include breaks when people would normally take them, July 4th, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas/Winter Break, a Spring Break that coincides with the local public schools. Summer can be scheduled with some flexibility, depending on how many camps students take. I have had parents pull their students out of elementary or middle school to go off on a big vacation, miss their lesson of course, then demand a make up lesson from me. Some parents have literally said "I paid for that lesson" or "You owe me." As I recently explained to one insistent parent, "You are paying for me to reserve a day and time weekly specifically and only for you. I cannot schedule new people in that lesson time. You are asking me to keep that time reserved just for you, and work another time, for which I will not receive payment. I lose money every time I make up a lesson." If someone has a gym membership and does not go to the gym for a month, they cannot go back to the gym and demand a credit because they did not show up to work out. I do try to make up lessons as a courtesy when an opening is available, but that is a courtesy, not my contractual obligation. After working with people from a variety of fields: professors, scientists, lawyers/judges, and business people, I have discovered that of all professions, doctors understand my policy the best. As one ob/gyn told me after I offered to make up a lesson with her "Please don't worry about it. I make my living by appointments. I know how missed appointments affect your time and income." If you want to have successful music lessons and good relationship with your teacher, READ the policies, ASK questions, and decide BEFORE you start lessons whether or not you can follow the policies. The policies are there to help you, and to avoid unnecessary conflict.
- Playing Gracefully (In an Ungraceful Time)
Most students can successfully learn to play notes, rhythms and basic dynamics reasonably well with a teacher, and sometimes even through videos. But can they learn to play gracefully? I have used the word several times in the last few weeks with students of various ages, and there is usually a "What?" response. They do not know the word. It is not part of our culture. One 10 year old is a ballet student and I asked her when she finished her fast and note precise Minuet : "How do you usually move in ballet? She extended, her arms, and lifted slowly in a relaxed, arcing motion. "We need to play a Minuet like that! " I said. How DO you play gracefully? Good tone, legato, sticky staccatos, paying attention to phrases, lifting gently off phrases, especially 2 note slurs.. Usually dynamics change mildly, not dramatically. Have control of all fingers, so none are "whacking" the keys in the wrong place. The tempo is rarely fast when you are playing gracefully. I love playing blues, rock and roll, dramatic Romantic period pieces. They are "let-it-all-hang- out in-your-face" pieces that can be good for the soul. But it is also good for the soul, to relax, be gentle, to let the music flow without strain. That seems very important to me when so many today seems to want to compete with or constantly challenge others with ferocity and even downright cruelty. That type of emotion is unsustainable, and IS wearing us all out. So let's use our musical studies to take a breath, relax, be grateful and learn to play gracefully.
- Blog | Marsha Medley, Piano Plus | United States
Share When You Fall In Love (With Making Music) For those in their teen years, music can be an important emotional outlet Read The Policy, PLEEEASE! All professional music teachers (and dance teachers, and art schools) have a policy in place that is required reading before students beg... Playing Gracefully (In an Ungraceful Time) love playing blues, rock and roll, dramatic Romantic period pieces. They are "let-it-all-hang- out in-your-face" pieces that can be good f What Is the Most Important Musical Skill I Teach? It is not technique, music reading, theory, transposing, ear training, singing while playing, phrasing. Those are all skills I teach and ... Students Teaching Teachers Learning is not a one-way street. Teachers teach students, but students also teach teachers. I was reminded of that recently while workin... Judge As Thou Would Be Judged (Music Festivals) I recently helped run a local music festival/audition for area music students K-12 grades. Some Festivals and Auditions are very serious... The Music Machine (The Piano Is) One of the sweetest gifts a student gave me years ago was a poem she had a written for an English class titled "The Music Machine." It w... What do you do when a student REALLY wants to learn a piece that is too difficult for their level? You make an arrangement for them! One of my students came to her lesson and was trying to play "Lift Every Voice" by ear. "I REALLY want ... Learning To Play Songs, or To Be a Musician? Learning by rote versus learning musical skills such as reading music, technical skills, understanding styles. _______ Has Decided to No Longer Take Lessons Although it has happened many times in my years of teaching, my heart sank again this summer when I received this text the night before t... 1 2 3 Share Share Featured Posts Playing Gracefully (In an Ungraceful Time) Meaningful Critiques Recent Posts When You Fall In Love (With Making Music) Read The Policy, PLEEEASE! Playing Gracefully (In an Ungraceful Time) What Is the Most Important Musical Skill I Teach? Students Teaching Teachers Judge As Thou Would Be Judged (Music Festivals) The Music Machine (The Piano Is) What do you do when a student REALLY wants to learn a piece that is too difficult for their level? Learning To Play Songs, or To Be a Musician? _______ Has Decided to No Longer Take Lessons Archive February 2021 (1) 1 post January 2021 (1) 1 post December 2020 (1) 1 post August 2020 (1) 1 post July 2020 (1) 1 post March 2020 (1) 1 post January 2020 (1) 1 post December 2019 (1) 1 post November 2019 (1) 1 post September 2019 (2) 2 posts July 2019 (1) 1 post April 2019 (1) 1 post July 2018 (1) 1 post October 2016 (1) 1 post February 2016 (2) 2 posts December 2015 (1) 1 post November 2015 (1) 1 post October 2015 (1) 1 post September 2015 (1) 1 post July 2015 (1) 1 post June 2015 (4) 4 posts May 2015 (3) 3 posts Search By Tags critiques education gifts keyboards learning by ear learning music motivating piano students music music competition music education music lessons music lovers musical style pedagogy pedal technique performing piano piano auditions piano lessons piano technique pianos playing by ear practice rote learning science of piano songs summer lessons teaching Share Share
- Philosophy, Marsha Medley, Piano Plus
Where Learning and Laughter Live! a beginning 5 year old student recently told me. I funny, but I am also serious about teaching every student to play well and to understand music. From the first lessons, every student whether 5 or 75, starts learning good technique and practical theory through 5-finger scales and major chords. As students progress, they learn how to "swing those blues," gracefully play Minuets, and "rock" those popular songs they like. Over time, rudimentary reading skills progress to advanced reading skills so that all students can become independent and confident musicians! "You're funny!" am But just because I am serious about teaching does not mean we cannot have fun during lessons! Beauty Versus Competition As a member of the St. Louis Chapter of the National Music Teachers Association, I can offer motivated students the opportunity to participate in area Music Festivals and Auditions. However, I encourage students to study music for the beauty and emotional/intellectual satisfaction of it, rather than for the sake of competing. Engaging in music lessons can affect brain development like no other activity! Low Pressure, When You Are Ready Performances For interested students, opportunities to perform for family and friends are offered twice a year, usually in the Fall and Spring at local venues. Students learn to perfect and memorize their pieces (duets are played with music books) and master their "nervousness" in front of a friendly audience. All performances are optional.
- Suggestions, Policies and Rates, Marsha Medley
Suggestions, Policies, Calendar, Rates Practice Schedule time to practice at home! Lessons are enough. not Ideal: 5 days Very Good: 4 days Good: 3 days (not including lesson time!) Length of practice 15 minutes to an hour depending on level and goals. keeping noises and distractions away from students in your home will help the student focus. Also, remember to look for good lighting and having your piano tuned once a year. Helpful hints: at least Cancellations If I cancel, I will make that time up. If you cancel, makeups are not guaranteed, especially for in-your-home students which are scheduled not just by time but by the "route" for the day. If given at least 24 hours notice, I will try to offer extra time or alternatives as they come available. In-your-home students might be able to come to my home. THE MORE NOTICE I HAVE, the more likely I can work out a make up or partial make up of the time. Other times may be available if you are willing to have an online lesson using Skype. For families with two or more students taking lessons, if one is ill or unavailable, the other students (or parent) can take the entire lesson time. Sick: In person lessons: Notify me IMMEDIATELY if you have any coronavirus symptoms. Lessons may be taken online. Bad weather: skype or reschedule are possiblities. Please give 2 weeks notice if you should, sadly, decide to discontinue lessons. 2020-21 Studio Calendar Teaching schedule and rates based on 46 weeks of once-a-week lessons. Sat. Aug 15 new studio year begins. Sat. Sept 5 through Mon. Sept 7. NO SCHEDULED LESSONS. LABOR DAY BREAK. Sat. Nov. 7. at Steinway Piano Gallery on Dorsett. 5:30 -7:45 pm. TENTATIVE! STUDENT PERFORMANCE THANKSGIVING BREAK. NO LESSONS Tues. Nov. 24 through Nov. 29. Monday lessons do meet on Nov. 23! WINTER BREAK. Tues. Dec. 22 through Sun. Jan 3. Monday lessons do meet Dec. 21! Mon. Jan 4. LESSONS RESUME. SONATINA FESTIVAL. TBD. SLAMTA EVENT. Check back for updates. For the serious classical musician. Fee required. SPRING BREAK. Sun. March 21 through Sat. March 27. No lessons. Sun . March 28. LESSONS RESUME. Sat. April 17. Small group PERFORMANCES or INDIVIDUAL RECORDINGS at Lacefield Music in Chesterfield. 3-5 pm. Details will be finalized two weeks before the event. MEMORIAL WEEK BREAK. Sun. May 30 through Fri. June 4. Sat. June 5. LESSONS RESUME. FOURTH OF JULY BREAK. Sat. July 3 through Mon. July 5. No Lessons. Tues. July 6. LESSONS RESUME Last day of lessons for 2020-21 is Sun. Aug. 8. Tentative start date for 2021-22 is Mon. Aug 16. Rates For Aug 12, 2019 to Aug 1, 2020. ( No rate change for Aug 2020 to Aug. 2021. We are in this together! ) Based on 46 weeks of once- a-week lessons, divided into even-billing monthly or quarterly payments. In your home lessons. 45 minute minimum for one student* $176 monthly or $528 quarterly. 60 minute minimum for two students $235 monthly or $705 quarterly. 30 minute for third/waived student $117.50 monthly or $352.50 quarterly. (Based on $30.66 per 1/2 hour) *For students 5 and under, a 45 minute lesson can be overwhelming. I can offer a 35 minute lesson for 1 to 2 quarters. Usually this involves a 30 minute lesson (with various learning activities), then a review with a parent/guardian. Cost is $136.50 monthly. In my home lessons. 30 minute lesson for one student $93.50 monthly or $280.50 quarterly 45 minute lesson for one student $140 monthly or $420 quarterly (Based on $24.40 per 1/2 hour) which is kept away from students during lessons. In my home students: I do have a cat, are available for in my home students who can come on during the school year. Call/email for a quote. (Excellent opportunity for retirees, home schoolers, second shifters!) Substantial discounts weekday mornings . New: Online interactive piano lessons available through Skype Contact me through to schedule a skype chat. firstname.lastname@example.org No refunds on lessons. Use the monthly plan if you are uncertain of your future. Books and entrance fees for SLAMTA and MMTA events are in the quoted rates. not included No charge for performances opportunities through the studio. Some SLAMTA performance events have a fee. Tuition Payment : . Please be prompt! I prefer to spend time teaching rather than rechecking accounts! Monthly Payment Due the 15th of each month : Payments are approximately 11.5 weeks apart. Quarterly due Aug. 15, Nov. 4, 2020, Feb. 13 , May 12, 2021. Checks, auto pay, cash, Zelle transfers (check with me on the email used). Thanks for being prompt in your payment! fees. Returned checks: it happens now and then, but unfortunately, someone has to cover it! Students/parents are responsible for return check