Monthly Archives: July 2009

Showing off the perfect bow hold

Ashley has been working on her bowhold for a long time.  Everytime she makes a bowhold she wants me to take a picture of it.  So I’m being a proud teacher and showing it to everybody.

July 2009 011

Sorry for the blurryness, one day I will learn to use my camera. 

I think her Carebears shirt is my favorite.

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Priority Teaching

Teaching from the balance pointWhen I went to the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute in June I needed to re-read Teaching From the Balance Point by Edward Kreitman for my class.  I had read it before, but it meant so much more to me this time.  In the first chapter he talks about priority teaching.  This concept is not new to me, but I think I finally understand how to structure my lessons around this concept.   When you teach the Suzuki Method a lot of times you can get caught up in the pieces. ” The faster you learn the pieces the better you are” is a mentality that students, parents, and sometimes teachers slip into. 

What Kreitman pointed out was that if your posture is poor, or your tone is lacking, then it doesn’t matter how many difficult pieces you can play, your sound will be dreadful.  It won’t matter how difficult the piece, if it doesn’t sound good, then what’s the point?  I learned that I needed to ask myself the question, “what is your priority right now?” during every single lesson, every single piece, every single concept that I teach.   My priority needs to be posture, then tone, and then all of the other things. 

As I’ve been thinking about this concept I’ve tried to start asking it to myself in other situations.  There are a few things in my life like my family, my God, and my relationships with other people that are my priority.  If those things are lacking, then nothing else in my life is going to sound beautiful.

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2:00 and 3:00 are full, one more spot in the 6:00 open.

There has been some great response for my Kindermusik kinderbabypracticum classes.  My afternoon classes are all full and I have one more spot in my 6:00 class.  If there is enough interest (like 3 more people would like to sign up) then I will open a 4:00 class as well.  Please leave a comment below if you are interested!

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Music and the Brain

OliverSacksBigOliver Sacks is one of the premier neuroscientists in America.  He was recently interviewed for a special on PBS called, “The Music Insinct”.   He talks about how music changes the brain.  A selection:

Oliver Sacks: I said earlier that there’s no one music center. And one of the things which is now apparent from brain imaging is that music can involve many different parts of the brain, special parts for the response to pitch, and to frequency, and to timbre, and to rhythm, and to melodic contour, and to harmonic and everything else. In fact you may find that much more of the brain is involved in the perception and the response to music than to language or anything else. One aspect of this is that if one does brain imaging, you can often distinguish the brains of musicians from the brains of non musicians because certain parts of the brain may become so enlarged in response to music that you can see the changes with the naked eye. You can’t say that’s the brain of a mathematician or a visual artist. You may be able to say I think that’s the brain of a musician.

You can view a video of him explaining more about music and the brain here:

photo credit

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2:00 class is full-3:00 & 6:00 now open


We have filled up the 2:00 class on Wednesday so I am now offering a 3:00 and 6:00 class as well, same days (August 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th) at Harris Music Studio.  If you would like to sign up for the class please leave a comment below. 

Here are some benefits for enrolling your child in an early music education class taken from the Kindermusik website:

The research about music and children’s development is truly jaw-dropping. In the last couple of years, the eyes of the research community have turned increasingly to music, and the marvels and mysteries they have discovered are nothing short of amazing (though perhaps not exactly surprising to people who’ve regularly witnessed its effect). The bottom line: early, positive, age-appropriate experiences with music—like Kindermusik—can have a remarkable and research-proven impact on children’s learning, including language and literacy skills (e.g., vocabulary, comprehension, listening, expression); social and emotional development; mathematics and pattern-recognition skills; and even ability to plan, guide, and self-regulate behavior.

To read more research please visit the Kindermusik website:


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Free Kindermusik Course

kinderbabyAs part of my licensing with Kindermusik I get to offer a free 4 week course for a child (18 mo-4 years old) and a parent called ABC Music and Me.  The class will be held at 2:00 on Wednesdays in August at Harris Music Studio.  (27th and Pine Lake in Lincoln, NE)

ABC Music & Me is a research-based language and early literacy program built around music.. ABC Music & Me helps two to four-year-olds develop pre-literacy and language skills through a child’s most-loved rituals: music and story time.

ABC Music & Me supports the early childhood standards and requirements for “high quality programs” as defined by the National Institute for Early Education. Plus for the older age group, ABC Music & Me aligns with pre-K national and state standards.

What you’ll experience in class:

  • Songs and rhymes to develop phonetic awareness and early reading skills
  • Tapping, clacking, and ringing rhythm instruments in time with music to improve hand-eye coordination
  • Focused listening with music to improve skills in following directions
  • Instrument play to strengthen fine motor skills
  • Developmentally-appropriate songs to develop vocal chords and expressive speech
  • Learning that emphasizes storytelling, imaginative play, and taking turns

If you would like to be a part of this class please leave a comment below and I will be in contact with you!


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The OLLI experience

OLLI LadiesSince January I have been teaching a continuing education class part of the Osher Life Long Learning Institute.  The classes are geared for people over the age of 50.  I have taught about 20 people in all with these classes and I have enjoyed every second of it.  If you would like to learn more about OLLI check out the link in the blogroll.

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