Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fall 2013 Calendar

Strings, Keys, and Melodies Calendar
Fall 2013

Labor Day, Monday September 2 – Monday students – we will be available to teach on this day but please let us know if you need to reschedule.

Saturday, October 19 – 2 pm Retirement Home Program at Emeritus at Laguna Creek, 6727 Laguna Park Dr, Elk Grove

Thanksgiving, November 28 & 29 – Thursday and Friday lessons will be rescheduled.  The rest of the week will be lessons as usual.

Saturday, December 7 – 3:30 pmWinter Recital at the Valley Hi – North Laguna Library, 7400 Imagination Parkway, Sacramento

December 21 – January 5 – Winter Break, No lessons

January 6 – Regular lessons resume

Policy Reminders:

Tuition is due the first week of the month.

Make up lessons – please call 24 hours in advance if you can’t make it to your lesson.  If you do not call then we are sitting here waiting for you!  Our schedule is very full so make up lessons are not guaranteed (unless we are the ones who need to reschedule) but we will do our best if you call ahead. 

Questions?  Please call Ms. Tonya (916) 812-2875

Miss Rachel (916) 544-2414

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Spring Recital This Saturday, May 4!

I am looking forward to our Spring Recital this Saturday, May 4.  

We will be holding it at the local library where we had a Christmas recital.  It has a great big meeting room that had enough room for all of our students and their families and friends.  

This recital will include all of our Music and Movement students, violin students, piano students and voice students.  

Everyone has worked so hard this year!  This recital will be the perfect time to celebrate that hard work.

Here are the details if you'd like to join us!

Saturday, May 4
4 pm
Valley Hi-North Laguna Library, 7400 Imagination Parkway, Sacramento, 95823

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Performance of Love

Yesterday, we had a new experience!

We took our students to a convalescent hospital and shared our music!

Some of the little students were shy with all of the different sights and smells.  But I was really proud of all of the students for being friendly and loving with all the people.  Plus, they did a fantastic job with all of their songs.

Just like our other performances, we combined all of our violin, piano, voice and Music and Movement students.

The Music and Movement students started the morning doing a ribbon dance to Leroy Anderson's The Syncopated Clock.

This was followed by our piano, voice and violin students performing their songs individually and in groups.

We ended the time by passing out rhythm instruments to the patients and singing a variety of folk songs together.

This was the highlight of the morning.  The patients all shook their shakers and bells and sang along with us.  I love seeing people smile and sing as they remember songs from long ago!  

One lady even cried when we were done, saying she was so happy that we came to visit with them.

Another lady got as many hugs as she could from all the little ones!  

I think sharing our music is an important lesson to learn.  

Why keep all the joy of making music to ourselves when we can share with those who truly appreciate it?  

To all my students:  You all did an awesome job!  Thank you!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Singing Emotions: A Simple Singing Game

Singing Emotions - A Simple Singing Game photo
A simple singing game

When we talk, we use the tone and the mood of how we say the words to convey our feelings.  

Sometimes we use the same exact words but we change their meaning by changing our tone.

When we answer the question, "How are you?"

We may answer "I'm fine."  

If we say it with a smile on our face and in a pleasant way, it will mean we are happy.

If we say it sarcastically or angrily it will convey that something is wrong and we are really feeling the opposite of fine.

Singing is just like speaking.  We can change the emotions of the words by changing the emotions and moods of our singing voice.

Pick a song everyone knows such as Jingle Bells; Row, Row, Row Your Boat; or Happy Birthday

Have everyone sing the song using different moods.

I have a die I found from an old game that has emotions on it and I have my students roll to see how we are going to sing the song.

Emotion ideas:  

Happy - it is your birthday and you have a pile of presents to open

Sad - your pet has just run away from home

Laughing - everyone loves to laugh their way through a song!

Goofy - sing as silly as possible

Angry - you are really mad because someone has just kicked your dog!

Scared - you are afraid of the monster under your bed

In love - you are very much in love and feel wonderful

Gross or weird - this is another popular one, especially with the boys!

The whole point of this exercise is to show that it doesn't matter what words you are singing but you can control the mood of a song by thinking of that mood and making your voice match your ideas and thoughts.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Carnival of the Animals: FREE Printable

Carnival of the Animals:  Free Printable photo
FREE 33 Page Printable

Wise Owl Factory and Strings, Keys, and Melodies has teamed up to provide this printable to supplement music listening and appreciation with Carnival of the Animals.  

This printable includes:
14 teacher cards/posters 
14 coloring pages for children to color 
featuring each animal in the Carnival of the Animals!

Carolyn has done a fantastic job and I can't wait to use these posters and coloring pages in my own Music and Movement Classes!

I believe children learn best while moving and having fun!  Each teacher card has a movement activity idea using dancing ribbons or rhythm sticks.  Your children will have fun while listening to this classical music!

There is also a Spanish version available!

You can find many versions of Carnival of the Animals on YouTube.     

Children love moving and dancing to these pieces.  


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Rock - a - Bye Rests - Learn the Names of Musical Rests

Rock - a - Bye Rests - Learn the Names of Musical Rests photo
Rock-a-Bye Rests

This is another easy song to help children remember the names of the most common musical rests.

Watch the video to learn the song!

Here are the words:

Rock-a-bye Rests
By Tonya Dirksen

Rock-a-bye notes
Its time to rest
We must be silent
While we take a nap

Quarter rest
Half and whole rests too

When we see one of them
Note time is through


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Learn About the Whole Note with an Easy and Fun Song

Learn About the Whole Note with an Easy and Fun Song photo
Children can remember just about anything if they learn it in a song!

I love to make up songs to help my students remember the names and beats of musical notes.

Watch the video to hear my Whole Note Song!

Whole Note
By Tonya Dirksen
Tune of Daisy, Daisy

Whole note
Whole note
Nice and round and fat
You look like a donut or a tire that went flat

You are often in a song
You are 4 beats long

Whole note
Round and fat
You are 4 beats long


Monday, January 7, 2013

FREE Relaxing Music from Amazon

The other night I was looking at Amazon's deals of the day and found several Free downloads.  I like listening to relaxing music-especially while homeschooling and thought I'd share the deals with you. 

These classical pieces are very famous and you and your students should be familiar with them!  Our favorite so far is  Sleep Like a Princess. It has crickets!  Enjoy!

Free MP3 Downloads from Amazon's Deal of the Day

Be sure to check the price before you download because these won't be free forever!

A Collection Of The Most Relaxing Classical Music In The Universe

Friday, January 4, 2013

ABC's of Music Practice

ABC's of Music Practice photo
26 Ideas to help practicing at home!

Happy New Year!  

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.

I am looking forward to a new year of blogging with more fun and creative music ideas.

A lot of parents have been asking me how to get their child to practice their instruments at home.  It is important to have the right expectations especially when dealing with children in the 3-8 year old range.  At this age we need to keep music fun and interesting in order for their love of music to grow and grow.

So to help with music at home, I have come up with 

ABC’s of Music Practice

Appreciate all efforts to sing and play
Believe everyone has some musical ability
Consistency-practice everyday!
Delight in accomplishments – no matter how small
Enjoy yourself and music
Find favorite songs and artists, listen to them and copy what you hear and like
Get the new assignments from your teacher
Have a set practice check list:  Posture, warm-ups, old songs, new songs, and listen everyday
Ignore the moaning-children will moan but don’t listen to it and keep going
Juggling too many after school activities will slow down progress
Kick start your day by practicing before breakfast!
Listen to good examples on CD’s, YouTube and live concerts
Muscles- build music muscles by playing and singing scales, arpeggios and chords
No quitting!  All desirable goals take time and hard work!
Orchestra and opera- listen and dream about playing in the orchestra and singing in an opera
Posture- are you sitting correctly at the piano, holding your violin correctly, 
standing tall for singing?
Qualify for a prize – fill out your practice charts and get a prize!
Relax –don’t hold tension in your shoulders, back or knees
Share your gift of music with others – play at recitals, for the family and at nursing homes
Time – play or sing each song at least 3 times before moving on to the next song.  Practice time for 3-6 year olds will only be 5-15 minutes per instrument.  Older 
children will be able to play longer.
Unite with other musicians- play in recitals and group classes
View lessons – as parents it is important to watch your child’s lessons, at least once 
in a while, so that you can help them at home
Warm-ups are important exercises to build strength in muscles
eXpect mood swings, waning interest, tired days from your children and lighten 
the load for the day but don’t quit!  Good days are just around the corner
You and your children can do it!
Zero in on strengths and weaknesses-Point out where your child is great (good rhythm, good listening skills)!  Some songs require extra practice before they are mastered so just gently encourage playing it one more time!