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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 are all very important., The most important skill I teach is - - -listening. I am insistent from Day One of lessons that students learn good technique, how to use their hands, elbows, shoulders, feet to produce the sound that best fits the music. All my students learn to read music, understand at least basic theory, how to phrase using slurs, staccatos, dynamics, etc. etc. But they are not true musicians until they learn to listen to what they are doing and then improve it using all the other skills I have taught them. I have listened to students blissfully playing wrong notes (not just the "sort of" wrong notes, but the "cringing" kind), wrong rhythms, playing staccato instead of legato and vice versa, changing tempo constantly and ignoring dynamics. For beginners, there is a lot of correction that must be done, but even then I do not just tell a student the correct note, or show them how to play the rhythm. In order for them to become problem-solving musicians, I will ask them to tell me the name of the wrong note, then play it for me. For rhythms, they have to clap and say the rhythm themselves, then play it. This takes longer to learn a particular piece, but this way they will become independent musicians. For students who have been with me for 2-3 years, I sometimes just ask them to stop playing. "Go back. Without me saying anything, just listen to yourself, and see if you can play it better" Sometimes they struggle. I might then play the piece, and say "Yell too fast" if I change the tempos. It is a fun game, and makes them more aware of what they are doing. If they are playing slurs and staccatos wrong, I might play the piece the way they did, and ask them to point out when I did not play the staccatos. They then play again, and listen to make sure they are playing with the best articulation. For ear training, one of the games I play is playing the wrong note (or more) in a sample, and the student has to find it and tell me the exact note I played instead. And then there is the importance of listening to what the music is trying to say. If it is a sad piece, what should our tempo be like? After they play, I might ask, "did that sound sad? How can we make it sound sadder?' LISTEN to what you are doing this time." Unless it is a really bad day, students almost always play a piece better when reminded to listen. Teaching a student to listen to what they are doing, can, and I believe, does, carry over in to the kind of person they become. We live in a world where everyone wants to express their opinion in CAPITAL LETTERS no less, but too few want to listen to what they themselves are saying,what it means, and what others are saying, and what that means. Let's all be better listeners.

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  • Piano Lessons St. Louis | Marsha Medley, Piano Plus | United States

    Where Learning and Laughter Live! Experience/Education Teaching Style Suggestions, Policies and Rates More than just piano, lessons include music history, and depending on your interest, ear training, composition, improvisation, music theory, and casual singing. ​ NEW: For your health and mine, I now use an air purifier during in my home lessons! Heading 6

  • Suggestions, Policies and Rates, Marsha Medley

    Suggestions, Policies, Calendar, Rates Practice Lessons are not enough. Schedule time to practice at home! 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. ​ Helpful hints: 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 at least once a year. Heading 6 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 or take an online lesson through Skype. THE MORE NOTICE I HAVE, the more likely I can work out a make up or partial make up of the time. 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 possibilities. Please give 2 weeks notice if you should, sadly, decide to discontinue lessons. ​ 2021-22 Studio Calendar Teaching schedule and rates based on 46 weeks of once-a-week lessons. Wed. Aug 18 Lessons resume for new studio year. Mon. Sept 6. NO SCHEDULED LESSONS. LABOR DAY. SAT. NOV. 6 STUDENT PERFORMANCE . Lacefield Music in Chesterfield. 3-5 pm. THANKSGIVING BREAK. NO LESSONS Wed. Nov. 24 through Sun. Nov. 28. Mon. and Tues. lessons do meet! Lessons Resume. Mon. Nov. 29 WINTER BREAK. Tues. Dec. 21 through Sun. Jan 2. Monday lessons do meet Dec. 20! Mon. Jan 3. LESSONS RESUME. SONATINA FESTIVAL. TBD. SLAMTA EVENT. Check back for updates. For the serious classical musician. Fee required. SPRING BREAK. Sun. March 20 through Sat. March 26. No lessons. Mon . March 28. LESSONS RESUME. SAT. APRIL 23, 2022. STUDENT PERFORMANCE. 3-5 PM. Location TBA. Students and their family only. MEMORIAL WEEK BREAK. Sun. May 29 through Fri. June 3. Sat. June 4. LESSONS RESUME. FOURTH OF JULY BREAK. Sat. July 2 through Mon. July 4. No Lessons. Tues. July 5. LESSONS RESUME Last day of lessons for 2021-22 is Mon. Aug. 8. Tentative start date for 2022-23 is Tues. Aug 16. ​ Rates For Aug 18 , 2021 to Aug 8, 2022. 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* $180 monthly or $540 quarterly. 60 minute minimum for two students $240 monthly or $720 quarterly. 30 minute for third student $120 monthly or $360 quarterly. (Based on $31.30 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 at $139.50 monthly. Usually this involves a 30 minute lesson (with various learning activities), then a review with a parent/guardian. This plan may also be an option for other students if I can schedule your lesson less than 10 minutes before or after a nearby student. ​ In my home lessons. 30 minute lesson for one student $95.50 monthly or $286.50 quarterly 45 minute lesson for one student $143 monthly or $429 quarterly (Based on $24.90 per 1/2 hour) In my home students: I do have 2 cats, which are kept away from students during lessons. Substantial discounts are available for in my home students who can come on weekday mornings during the school year. Call/email for a quote. (Excellent opportunity for retirees, home schoolers, second shifters!) ​ New: Online interactive piano lessons available through Skype . Contact me through mmedley1958@gmail.com to schedule a skype chat. ​ 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 not included in the quoted rates. No charge for performances opportunities through the studio. Tuition Payment Monthly : Payment Due the 15th of each month . Please be prompt! I prefer to spend time teaching rather than rechecking accounts! Quarterly : due Aug. 18, Nov. 5, 2020, Feb. 15 , May 13, 2021. Payments are approximately 11.5 weeks apart. Thanks for being prompt in your payment! Checks, auto pay, cash, Zelle transfers (check with me on the email used). Returned checks: it happens now and then, but unfortunately, someone has to cover it! Students/parents are responsible for return check fees.

  • Blog | Marsha Medley, Piano Plus | United States

    Share Featured Posts When You Fall In Love (With Making Music) For those in their teen years, music can be an important emotional outlet 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... 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... Learning To Play Songs, or To Be a Musician? Learning by rote versus learning musical skills such as reading music, technical skills, understanding styles. Take Your Foot Off That Pedal!!! You know the driver that "puts the pedal to the metal" all the time? Never slows down, does not know what a brake is? Eventually that... Gardening Students Last summer I moved to a different house, leaving behind a wildflower garden, roses, hostas, rose of sharons, and many other plants that... Playing for the Joy of Others Student Performance as a Community Service. 1 2 Share Playing Gracefully (In an Ungraceful Time) Recent Posts When You Fall In Love (With Making Music) 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) Learning To Play Songs, or To Be a Musician? Take Your Foot Off That Pedal!!! Gardening Students Playing for the Joy of Others Archive February 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 November 2019 (1) 1 post July 2019 (1) 1 post July 2018 (1) 1 post October 2016 (1) 1 post February 2016 (2) 2 posts December 2015 (1) 1 post September 2015 (1) 1 post June 2015 (3) 3 posts May 2015 (2) 2 posts Search By Tags education keyboards learning by ear learning music music 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 teaching Share Share Share

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