Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Podcast interview with Oclef

Here is my NEWest adventure of being a featured guest for a podcast interview! The host Julian Toha, who is the Oclef music app developer and co-founder, and I had lively discussions on the topics of parents role and practicing quality in music learning!

My episode will be released on this Friday, June 2 tentatively 😊.  Meanwhile, the "standout quotes" and show notes are now available on the Oclef website. If you like a preview of this interview, please click here

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Van Cliburn International Piano Competition 2017

Van Cliburn International Piano Competition 2017 is going live now!! May 25th - June 10th.
Look forward to watching these 30 elite pianists from all over the world!

Van Cliburn International Competition 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Workshop handouts and books reviews

New Updates in this blog!

1. Handouts for Music Apps and Duet Repertoire workshops are now available at the Pedagogy Workshop page.  Both of them contain lists of "hall of fame" apps and duet repertoires favored by teachers and students! Hopefully, they will make it to your teaching library!

2. Summer is a precious time to rejuvenate and start to plan the new academic year. I have always enjoyed summer time reading which gives me tons of teaching ideas and helps me to reflect on my teaching methods as well.

So, here is the new page, Teaching Resources. It contains my favorite teaching websites and books reviews, which will be posted periodically. The books are listed by categories from piano pedagogy, repertoires to performance practice and more. Hope theses resources will bring benefits to your teaching as they did to mine.

Have a sizzling and relaxing summer!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Effective Practice Strategies - Notes Reading

Notes reading is such a fundamental skill for beginner and elementary students to have. As a piano teacher, I deeply felt that it is my responsibility to constantly check these young students' reading ability to ensure that they stay on track and continue their interest in music learning.

Because the beginner pieces are often written in five-finger position with fingering indications, they are easy for students to figure out without actually knowing the notes. Therefore, I use the following tips to routinely examine if these young students are failing or getting behind on their notes reading:
  1. Single out any note without fingering or hand position indications and ask them to name and play it. It can be a note within the five-finger position that they are currently learning.
  2. Evaluate their concept on "correct register," for example, middle C vs. base C
Teachers shall detect signs of any reading deficiencies during the learning process and use methods to prevent possible future reading obstacles.

  • Practice individual notes reading. I like doing this in almost every lesson based on the pieces that they are currently working on. For example, if students are learning specific ledger line notes, working with them on those notes to reinforce their memory and reading speed. I love notes reading Apps like Flashnote Derby, Note Rush, and Noteworks. My students have so much fun and eager to see how much they have improved every week!
  • "Landmark" notes and the concept of skip and step. By teaching students landmark notes, such as middle C, base C, G clef, F clef or "treble clef space notes FACE," they will have reference notes to work with the concept of step and skip. (you can be quite creative when introducing landmark notes to suit individual student's learning style!) 
  • Seeing "patterns" is essential for advanced students. It fosters a successful sight-reading ability. Students shall be able to analyze a piece and quickly spot patterns such as "C major scale," "chromatic scale," or "certain hand position like broken triads."

When students establish a solid foundation in notes reading plus accurate rhythmic counting, they will soar in playing! And that's when the real fun begins!

Please share your favorite reading tips, can't wait to hear them!