Thursday, December 28, 2017

MTAC Pedagogy Workshop in January, San Jose!

Just scheduled another exciting workshop presentation for MTAC Santa Clara Branch January Program Meeting in San Jose.

In addition to the Handout, you can find detail information such as pedagogy books, music apps reviews, and learning triangle on this website for today's presentation.

Essential Teaching Tips for Beginner-Elementary Students, and Beyond

Experienced awkward hand position, bent joint, very little practice or counting problems? This workshop provides solutions to these common issues by focusing on three aspects of teaching: (1) the fundamental techniques that enhance the future advanced playing, (2) the efficient practice strategies that ensure successful at-home practice, and (3) the hall-of-fame music apps that make reading/counting drills and ear training so much more fun!

Date: Wed, January 10th, 2018
Time: 10-11:30 am
Location: Licon Glen Church, 2700 Booksin Ave. San Jose, CA.

It's a blessing to have such a fantastic group of teachers attending today's session! I value your opinions, please feel free to leave feedback or comments.

Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 18, 2017

RCM pieces for quasi-rote teaching

Tip: Rote pieces are often identified as "pattern pieces." Therefore, any piece that contains recurring patterns can be easily adapted for rote teaching. They are a great way for beginner and elementary students to experience full sonority and be familiar with the keyboard range.

Here are two of my favorite pieces from the RCM Celebration Series Repertoire level 1 that I used for quasi-rote teaching: 

"Robots" by A. Gaudet 
This energetic piece covers the full range of the piano and yet, it introduces patterns of perfect 5th, 3 black keys, chromatic scale and the 16th notes rhythm.

I teach this by quasi-rote to guide students familiarize with the patterns which, at the first glance, seems very difficult to read because they constantly moving and switching clefs:
  • playing the P5th patterns and its moving range
  • work on the rhythm taping of changing between 8th and 16th
  • working on the positions/moves between 3 black keys pattern on the 16th notes and the chromatic scale contrary motion (2nd line)

"Toy Solider's March" by D. Rahbee 
This is an effective performance piece with "patterns" centers on two black keys and C Major triadic notes. This piece appears "strange and confusing" to the students because of the overlapping hand position and two treble clefs, but it is not hard to read once the patterns are analyzed. Here is my lovely students Jessica's performance, it is the 2nd piece she played.

Music examples: The Royal Conservatory. Celebration Series Piano Repertoire level 1. Toronto: the Frederick Harris Music Co., 2015.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Upcoming Piano Pedagogy Workshops in the Bay Area 2018!

I am thrilled to present these two topics for CSUEB and CAPMT-SCV in the Bay Area. Please join me and start the NEW YEAR 2018 with some inspiring teaching information!

"Effective Teaching Strategies for Beginner and Elementary Students" 

This workshop shares essential aspects of teaching beginner and elementary students that target three components of learning: Fundamental technique, Practice strategies, and Music apps

Date: 1/20/2018, Sat, 9-12
Host: Piano Pedagogy Symposium at CSU East Bay
Location: California State University East Bay Department of Music, Recital hall
Parking: Lot K nad L

"The Nitty-Gritty of Comprehensive Curriculum Programs" 

This workshop provides detail information of various curriculum programs including RCM, ABRSM, and CM. It will help teachers to determine which curriculum program/exam is best suited to their student's level and study plan.

Date: 2/28/2018, Wed, 9:30 am
Host: CAPMT Santa Clara Chapter Meeting
Location: Greene Music San Jose
Parking: on site

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Explore Rote Teaching

Rote teaching has always been a debatable subject to me, partly because of my personal learning experience and the other is that I had quite a few transferring students who were taught by rote could play such advanced pieces but not so good at reading. 

However, in recent years, especially after admitting students who are visually impaired or have a visual learning disability, I started to attend workshops hosted by rote teaching experts and incorporate quasi-rote in my teaching. Here are few benefits that I like:
  • Majority of the rote music was composed and known as "pattern music" such as playing groups of black keys that appear easier to play than reading. This particular trait allows beginner students to experience more "fancy sound" and the full sonority of the keyboard, hence, help to develop physical comfort on the piano in addition to the traditional five-finger position. 
  • These more "fancier pieces" serve a good motivation and are appealing to students for recital choices. 
  • You can discover music that can be easily i.d. by "patterns" and teach it by rote.
  • Many of the rote teaching music incorporates theory concept like the use of perfect 5th as repetitive patterns.
  • Some rote teaching methods include notes reading and rhythmic counting instructions. Visit the links below for details.
Here are some reputable resources that inspire and help me to start. Although I am a firm believer in drilling reading and counting, sometimes, it is fun to experiment beyond notation as long as we keep our students in check. I also find a couple of my favorite RCM pieces that can be taught by quasi-rote and I will inlcue those in the following post! 

Have fun in experimenting!!

Piano Safari by Katherine Fishers and Julie Knerr

Little Gems for Piano by Paula Dreyer (her primer level is a supplemental book to Irina Gorin's Tales of a Musical Journey)

Repertoire by Rote by Dennis Alexander and Amy Greer - African Adventure and Holiday Rote and Reading Pieces by Wendy Stevens (she has composed some cool pieces that can be easily taught by rote)

Monday, November 20, 2017

CAPMT 2017 state conference my session video clip 4 - Music Apps

Video clips on Music apps that are favored by the students and parents. They are effective teaching tool when used it well. Includes helpful teaching tips!!

NEWS!! Flashnote Derby's new IOS 11.3.1 version is now added with accidentals and key signatures. Make sure to update this new version for more comprehensive notes reading!!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

CAPMT 2017 state conference my session video clip 3 - Level of Progress

Video clips of helping parents understanding Level of Progress in music learning so they can set a more realistic goal. Includes solutions for beginner/elementary students (RCM prep - level 1) who wants to play famous songs like "For Elise' (RCM level 7)

My go-to resources for simplified arrangements:

Favorite Classical Music Series by Bastein

ShowTime Classics level 2A by Faber (there are also playtime and chord time series for different level of students)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

CAPMT 2017 state conference my session video clips 2 - Practice Quality

Video clips on how to address "Practice quality" in the lesson, the most essential and success key element, and the reception by the parents. Includes a practice chart idea!

Friday, October 13, 2017

CAPMT 2017 state conference my session handout and video clips 1 - Parenting Types

Here is the handout for my session Parental Support: A Key Element to Music Learning Success at the CAPMT State Conference!

Video clip of understanding "Parenting types" - Bear/guardian. Just like understanding our students' learning patterns and our teaching styles, it is beneficial to learn various parenting styles for better communication.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

CAMPT State Conference in Fresno!!

So honored to present again for the CAMPT State Conference in Fresno on 10/14 Sat 11 am. If you are in the area or happen to visit the beautiful Yosemite National Park, come to join us!!

My topic "Parental Support: A Key Element to Music Learning Success" So look forward to vivid discussions with other teachers on this subject!!  Session contents include:
  1.      “Parenting a music student 101” which addresses at-home practice, parents’ expectations and concerns
  2.      "Hall of Fame Music Apps" that ease non-musician parents burden when assisting their children’s learning
  3.      Pros and cons of parents’ involvement in the lesson
  4.      Answers to common parents’ FAQs

I will share the handout on the day of the presentation 😄

Fun Music Theory/History/Listening App Part III

Want your students to know more about classical music composers, their backgrounds, timeline, and compositions? These two apps are designed to help your students access that information with lots interactive features. 

Informusic -Classical Music History & Composers by Informusic
This is an excellent app for high school and music students, and even teachers to gain cross-reference about composers' works and bios. You can search the composer based on the timeline or the names. They have listed each composer's bio with a historic background, representative works, and even provide sheet music to go with the music examples!!

It is such an informational app that serves as a teaching aid to both private lessons as well as music appreciation and history class.

My First Classical Music App HD by Naxos Digital Services Ltd.

Absolutely adore this fun interactive app! Not only my students enjoy it, their families too!! it is so relatable to daily life and easy for my students to make connections with. you can either listen to or read it. 

It provides a huge amount of information with categories of When?Where, People (composers), and Instruments. Some of the trivia is very interesting and engaging. For example, Classical Music is often played in outer space to wake astronauts from their sleep on the space shuttle.

Overall, this app is like a classical storybook with interactive features. It is the perfect introduction to classical music for students age 4 and older. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Fun Music Theory/History/Listening App Part II

If you have students who like to learn the proper way of pronouncing music terminology/symbols or those who still call bass clef "left hand", this is a fun app to shovel and learn 50 basic musical notation symbols plus bass and treble clef notes at home or in lessons!

Musicnotes Decks: Music Flash Cards by Musicnotes

There are two modes, "Flashcard mode" (card view) where the symbols are shown but titles and definitions are hidden until you want to see them. "List mode" (list view) allows you to flip through the symbols in an easy-to-browse list for use as a music notation resource. 

Fun fact: you can shake the iPad and the card deck will re-shovel again for a new one to play!


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fun Music Theory/History/Listening App Part I

Many of my lovely piano students have a very little knowledge about the "Classical Music World".  It is not that they don't want to know but rather don't know how to CONNECT. Here are couple wonderful apps that I introduced to them and have gotten exciting responses. Now they know who Beethoven is, his timeline and representing works!! Even better is that they will no longer call the bass clef "left hand"!

Classical Music I: Master's Collection Vol. 1 by MagicAnywhere
This app has a very informative collection of 120 representative classical music of all genres and periods like Bach Air on G Sting. They offer a free version of shorter samples. You can upgrade the app to a deluxe version for $4.99 and gain the access to the full version of every piece which also links to youtube performances.

In addition to listening to repertoires that my students are currently learning either the original music or a simplified version of an orchestral work, we use this app to observe and compare various periods styles as well as performances.  If you are teaching a music appreciation class, this app will get your students familiarize all the classical repertoire that they ought to know.

Even as a professional musician, I found this app beneficial. It refreshes my memories of some music that I less heard.  A great app for both teachers and students, and even family members!