Category Archives: Friday Favourites

Friday Favourites

Take a friday pause

Plenty of musical goodness for you this week, including responses to the BBC Young Musician of the Year final, and some rather appearance-ist reviews from Glyndbourne. And that’s without all the usual blog posts for teachers and learners alike.

Posts on learning

Slaying-the-dragon (Practicing the Piano) – “Piano playing can never be an exact science. We will not always be able to say with absolute precision or certainty how we arrived at a particular result in our playing. We may think we know, but in the end it will be a variety of different – and possibly even contradictory – means that bring about a result.”

What makes a ‘good’ singer? – it’s all about context (Christ Rowbury) – “Given that everyone can sing, what might it mean when someone says one singer is ‘better’ than another? What makes a ‘good’ singer any way?”

Does Perfectionism Get a Bad Rap? The Right (and Wrong) Way to Be a Perfectionist (Bulletproof Musician) –  “Well, the good news is that we may not have to throw out all of perfectionism quite yet. Perfectionism is not as black and white as we may have thought.”

Masterchef: redefining “amateur” (Cross-Eyed Pianist) – “Things which are described as “amateurish” are usually badly done or poorly put together. Not so these finalists in Masterchef: their dishes showed imagination, creativity, highly-developed technical skills and, above all, love for what they were doing.”

Posts on teaching

The Value of Singing at Piano Lessons.html (Heidi’s Piano Notes) – “Singing is such a powerful tool to accelerate learning and reinforce musical concepts in piano lessons, and yet I don’t recall any of my teachers singing at piano lessons, and I’m pretty sure they never asked me to do it.”

Learning Research Turns Music Teaching on It’s Head (Music Teacher’s Helper) – “A ten-year study of learning, just published 6 weeks ago, has come up with some surprising conclusions.   One is that drilling a passage of music over and over is not the way to master it.  For some students and teachers, this will come as a shocker!”

Teaching Adults Piano: Ten Tips (Diane Hidy) – “Jambalaya!” says James. “I absolutely LOVE Jambalaya! Can you teach me how to make it?” “Absolutely!” says the chef. “I’ll teach you to make Jambalaya. But first you need to learn how to cook my famous Lima Bean and Okra Soufflé.”

Posts about other things

Young Musician competition – let’s start with a level playing field (Guardian Music Blog) – “I have a dream, people; a musical utopia in which recorder players and percussionists aren’t discriminated against just because Mozart and Beethoven didn’t write concertos for their instruments; … a level playing field of musical opportunity in which it’s not just lip service that’s paid to the idea that all instruments are created equal, but something borne out in the decisions juries make in musical competitions”

BBC Young Musician 2014 (Melanie Spanswick) – Whilst I’ve always been a fan of the BBC Young Musician Competition (formerly Young Musician of the Year), I hadn’t previously had the opportunity to attend any of it. So when invited to the 2014 final, I took the plunge.”

Are opera singers now to be judged on their looks not their voice? (Guardian Music Blog) –  “How, then, have we arrived at a point where opera is no longer about singing but about the physiques and looks of the singers, specifically the female singers?”

Music in the News

Friday Favourites

Take a friday pause

 

Is it finally starting to feel like summer where you are? It’s definitely getting sunnier and warmer here. If you’re not out enjoying the sunshine this friday night, here’s a round up of the best of the blogs this week
Posts on learning

The myth of the perfect performance (Erica Ann Stipes) – the problem with this can also be that young musicians have no idea how human we are, that mistakes are an inevitability, and that much of our skill as professionals has to do with not sweating the things that aren’t “perfect.””

How Your Mom Can Help You Perform More Courageously Under Pressure (Bulletproof Musician) – And then, who is the “Mom” in your life? The one, who, no matter what, will love and accept you just the same? How might you prime yourself before performances to remember this person…?”

“Darling, your technique is showing” – don’t be a singer who is all style and no substance (Chris Rowbury) – It’s usually the case that professional singers have had some sort of training in a particular singing technique. But dontcha just hate it when that’s all you see when they perform??!! All style and no substance.”

Oblique Strategies in practice (and practising) (Cross-Eyed Pianist) – “It also struck me while listening to the radio programme that Oblique Strategies Cards could be used in practising”

Posts on teaching

What to say if someone asks you if they can sing (Chris Rowbury) – What can you say without hurting their feelings or putting them off singing entirely?”

Worksheet: About the Piano Scavenger Hunto (Color in My Piano) – “Here is a simple worksheet I used at the beginning of class to kick things off”

5 ways to keep your singers focused (Total Choir Resources) – As irritating as chatter can be to you as the choir leader, if the room was completely silent all of the time it would be a bit un-nerving and you’d be convinced no-one was having a good time!  Striking the correct balance is therefore vital to the choir’s health. “

Music in the News

Friday Favourites

Take a friday pause

Hoorah! I actually have Friday Favourites up this week 🙂  Enjoy some of the best of the web while you slob around (after you’ve done your music practice, of course!)

 


Posts on learning

The Fine Art of Page Turning (Cross-Eyed Pianist) – ““You read music! You play the piano! You must be able to turn pages!” is the cry I frequently hear, and while all these statements are true, many people do not realise that page turning is an art in itself…

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT SONG CHOICE (We Need to Talk About Opera) – “It is now almost mandatory for there to be a classical vocal performance in a television talent show… opera is being broadcast into living rooms all over the world.

Starting Practice With Intention (The Musicians Way)- “The beginnings of practice sessions set in motion everything that follows.When we start with clear intentions, we accomplish more in the shortest time…

Posts on teaching

Teaching Unmusicality Part 1 (Music Teacher’s Helper) – “If, as our mythologies of human musicality suggest, Man is ‘naturally’ musical, where do these apparently ‘unmusical’ students come from? What can, and indeed should, we do for our apparently ‘unmusical’ students, and what, if anything, can they offer us as teachers?

Listening With Eyes (Music Teacher’s Helper) – “So why then can it be so hard to actually hear what you are playing whilst in mid performance?”

Posts about other things

You will only make it as an Actor if… (Bloody Hell Brennan) – “You know how to respond to the following sounds without even blinking: zip, zap, boing...”

Party (Don’t Shoot the Pianist) – “My girlfriend is an Italian model”

Essential Choices on BBC Playlister (BBC Radio 3) – “BBC Playlister allows you to keep track of the music you enjoy listening to on the BBC

Music in the News

Friday Favourites

Take a friday pause

March marches to it’s end, and Easter is looming near. Are you working hard for an Easter concert this year, or are you in the middle of exams? Easter is a great time to catch some of the great choral works, so why not have a look and see what’s on this weekend?

 

Posts on learning

Process vs. product: are you along for the singing ride or just the final performance? (Chris Rowbury) – Some of us are interested in the outcome, others the experience. Chris discusses both approaches and gives some thoughts on how to enjoy both parts of performing.

Not an Optimist? How to Make Pessimism Work for You. (Bulletproof Musician) – Pessimists do some things better. Find out what they are and how to harness them to become a better performer.

How to Compose a Madrigal [Challenging] (MyMusicTheory) – Ever wanted to sound like a Renaissance troubador? Now you can!

The Number-One Motivator of Music Practice (The Musician’s Way) – No prizes for guessing the answer, but it’s good to be reminded of what it’s all about!

Posts on teaching

Using MTH creatively – Part IV – Emergency info + more! (Music Teacher’s Helper) – Here are some useful tips for keeping emergency contacts in Music Teacher’s Helper.

“Themes” Add Focus to Your Teaching (Music Teacher’s Helper) –  Some ways to bring new creativity to your teaching.

Posts about other things

Music in the News

 

Friday Favourites

Take a friday pause

 

Good news, everyone! Normal service should be resumed from now on!

 

Posts on learning

How to Get Those Distracting Thoughts Out of Your Head When You’re Trying to Practice (Bulletproof Musician) – Did you know it’s normal to get distracted? It’s true! And, as a bonus, you can read some great tips on how to deal with those distracting thoughts too.

Never tell someone they can’t sing – it is brutal, damaging and untrue (Chris Rowbury) – Why we should be really careful what we say, and what the truth is about whether people “can’t sing”.

How Much Practice Should  I Do (Helen Russell Music) – A really great video that Helen’s found to remind us all how to do practice properly.

How to Compose a Mnior Pentatonic Piece (My Music Theory) – Ever wanted to try your hand at composing? Here is a step by step guide to writing a simple melody using a minor pentatonic scale.

Why You Should Be Hearing Music in Your Head (JazzAdvice) – What is it that makes the difference between playing and really making music? It’s the internal sense of music.

Posts on teaching

Ten Reasons Why “Music Teachers Helper” Pays for Itself! (Music Teacher’s Helper Blog) – Yes, I know it’s shameless advertising, but as a MTH user, I can vouch for how useful and effective it is.

How to introduce composing to Piano Students (Compose Create) – Here are some great ideas to get students making their own music.

Posts about other things

10 Best Piano Judging Comments (ComposeCreate) – We’ve all had bad comments made in exams and competitions, but here are 10 reminders that we often get really helpful ones too.

Friday Favourites

Take a friday pause

Looks a lot like the theme of the week is practicing, doesn’t it? I’ve even been hard at it, trying to get ready for the Edinburgh Competition Festival in a fourtnight, and some of these tips have been really helping.

 

Posts on learning

Efficient Practising for Busy People (Practicing the Piano) – Short on time? Graham Fitch explains why slow practice can actually mean fast learning.

Recipe for a Successful Practice (Practice Makes it Easy) – A really cute printable to help families understand what makes good practice.

On the days when you don’t feel like practising… (The Cross-Eyed Pianist) – Here are some tips to fight off the inertia that leads us to stall in our practice.

5 Benefits of Self-Recording (The Musician’s Way) – It might be scary, but sometimes, recording yourself can be really helpful.

Piano Practice and Grace (Heidi’s Piano Notes) – Some thoughts about how practicing can build good character, but also needs us to learn to have grace for ourselves and others.

Here’s an Easy Way to Help Your Brain Learn Faster (Bulletproof Musician) – Why practicing all hours of the day and night isn’t necessarily the best way to learn things.

Posts on teaching

10 Tips for How to Teach Piano to Dyslexic Learners… (Teach Piano Today) – A very useful post to help teachers working with dyslexic students, and other learning difficulties.

Joining an established choir: a guide for how choir leaders can help new singers (Chris Rowbury) – Following on from last week, here’s some tips to help integrate newbies.

Music in the News

Are you ready for a new music venue Edinburgh?

Music Matters — Everywhere!

Edinburgh’s St Stephen’s Church could be arts HQ

Music Education For Creativity, Not A Tool For Test Scores

Friday Favourites

Take a friday pause

I hope you have better plans tonight than reading music blog posts (with it being Valentine’s Day and all), but even if you’re loved up tonight, enjoy the best of the blogs over the weekend.

 


Posts on learning

Is This the Key to Being Less “Robotic” on Stage? (Bulletproof Musician) – Some great thoughts about providing a really engaging and emotional performance.

Reality Check: Motivating Yourself to Better Musicianship (JazzAdvice) – Lost sight of those New Year goals? Here are some tips form JazzAdvice to get you back on track.

Joining an established choir: a guide for new singers (Chris Rowbury) – We’ll be doing a couple of posts on joining a choir soon here, but this is a great guide on how to join in with a new group.

Posts on teaching

Rhythm Counting: Ta, Ta, 1, 1, Walk, Walk, What?! (ComposeCreate) – How do we teach rhythm? Wendy at ComposeCreate reviews the various methods.

How we learned a lesson from our audience (Total Chior Resources) – Here’s a great warm-up round for a small group. Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter to get some more ideas for free.

Choir Tech Know-How: Part 2 (Total Choir Resources) – Ever wondered what goes into a sound-system? Here’s a great summary.

How to be a choir leader Part 3: Networking to get your choir started (Total Choir Resources) – It’s not what you know, but who you know, as they say…

Music in the News

 

Friday Favourites

Take a friday pause

I’ll be honest, it’s been a long month, but now, a new year is well under way, and so are the best blog posts about music and music teaching!

 


Posts on learning

3 Elements of Showmanship (The Musicians’ Way) – Find out what three traits you should be developing to really add pizazz to your performance.

What Leads to Better Performances: Telling Yourself to Calm Down? Or Get Excited? (Bulletproof Musician) – How to manage your emotions to boost your stage presence.

Posts on teaching

How to be a choir leader Part 1: Why lead a choir? (Total Choir Resources) – A great introduction to why leading a choir is worth all the work!

Conducting Your Choir: From Novice to Know How (Total Choir Resources) – A lovely review of the ABCD (Association of British Choral Directors) beginner and intermediate courses which makes me even more keen to take part in one eventually!

Posts about other things

We are Music Therapists (Listen & Learn Music) – Ever wondered what music therapists do? Find out here.

Music in the News

Music therapy class strikes a chord with autistic children in Beijing

Arts head: Mark Tinkler, English Pocket Opera Company

Music improves young minds

Classical music improves concentration and social skills

Mike Russell to hold talks on music tuition

Friday Favourites

Take a friday pause
It’s been a quiet week in the blogosphere. I guess everyone is getting ready for Christmas! If you are, I hope you’re also taking time to enjoy the season and reflect too. Haven’t done that yet? Grab a cuppa and have a read of these gems.


Posts on learning

Words of encouragement and a reality check for young musicians (Beyond the Notes) – A reminder that no matter how amazing another musician seems, we are all still learning!

Why Write Programme Notes (Dr Marc’s Blog) – Some really important advice that will help you write better programme notes.

Posts on teaching

Tips for Ticks: How to Teach Piano Kids To Use a Metronome (Teach Piano Today) – Four key aspects of using a metronome to help candidates to

Free Christmas Singing Game (Helen Russell Music) – A gorgeously cute singing game which works for small groups, and is Kodaly friendly too 🙂

Music in the News

Pioneering online music degree set to launch (Music Week)

Singing ‘boosts mental health’ (Wirral News)

Plan to cut music lessons (Daily Record)

Music in higher education: what is it worth? – roundtable discussion (The Guardian)

Friday Favourites

Take a friday pause
Advent begins this weekend, and with it so does the season of Christmas carols and winter concerts. Stay tuned for an advent series on the history of Christmas song. For singers this can be a trying time of year, so stay warm and hydrated. If you’re not out tonight, take a look around at some of these great posts and articles.

Posts on learning

Digging deeper to facilitate learning thorny passages (Beyond the Notes) – why taking the time to really know your music can help you learn better.

What motivates you to turn up for choir (Chris Rowbury) – Clue: it’s some of the same things that will see you succeed as a singer!

How to Reduce Practice Room Angst (and Boost Creativity) (Bulletproof Musician) – and don’t we all want to know how to do that?

Overcoming Mental Limitations (Jazz Advice) – A long and detailed post on how to push through those negative thoughts and perform to your very best.

Tilted Larynx (Wonder of Voice) – a technical post, but one which explains very well what tilting the larynx is all about!

Posts on teaching

How To Play “Where’s Wolfgang” in Your Piano Studio Waiting Room (Teach Piano Today) – A lovely game to keep bored students or siblings happy while they’re waiting for their lesson!

Posts about other things

Battling for Britten (Dr Marc’s Blog) – is Benjamin Britten the greatest English composer of all time? Who else is in the running?

Music in the News

Gove: ‘I have the worst taste in music of anyone I know’ (ITV)

Ofsted challenges Music Education Hubs but it is the government’s attitude to music and arts education that will handcuff them (Local Schools Network)

Education bosses hit out at Ofsted over music lessons (Birmingham Mail)