A New Study on the Benefits of Music Education

My next student is due any minute, so this is a short but sweet link. A friend sent me this article on the benefits of music study. It's stuff any music teacher will tell you - that it improves brain development and memory (among other things).

Read on.

(c) 2006 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

Musings at Musespeak's 100th post

Happy first birthday to Musings. I can't believe that I've made 100 posts since setting up this blog. Maestro is all set for the students. He's upstairs waiting to see if anyone is going to show up today. However, I'm not quite ready for them. I still have to go shopping for some new music (The Music Tree and My First Piano Adventure to name a few), prizes and supplies. I'm really excited about trying these two books. I've heard wonderful things about The Music Tree series and I think most teachers have been eagerly anticipating Faber & Faber's release of My First Piano Adventure for over a year. The CD accompaniment is very catchy.

Some students have been moving around to different time slots. I have to finish sorting that out. Then, I really need to book a church for the recitals, clean up my office again and my computer. That's not so bad.

As you can tell, it wasn't a complete week off - but I knew that going in. I've been good though - work a bit, play a bit, sleep a lot. It's all good.

(c) 2006 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

Four Weddings, Two Filing Cabinets and One QuickBooks

July is nearly halfway over already? Where has this month gone? The office temp work isn't going so well. So far, I've only had one one-day assignment. I did register with a second temping agency (Mark Staffing), which sounded extremely promising and cast my resume off to a few community businesses. Someone has got to bite.

Oh I typed that in too soon. I just got a couple of phone calls - one from another temping agency that wants to see me and another from temp agency number one with a one week assignment next week. Things are starting to pick up.

In the meantime, Maestro and I have been keeping busy. We're having a lot of fun with our summer students, who are enjoying improvising, exploring popular and world music, and composing. I have completely caught up on the bookkeeping, including the adjusting entries for depreciation. Perhaps the biggest project that I finished was the filing cabinet merge/purge/clean-up.

I've got four wedding gigs slated for the summer so far, with two on the same day. Last night's rehearsal went all right. Unfortunately, the church doesn't have a piano, so the couple had to rent me a digital piano. Thankfully, I've got over a week to play with the sound settings.

This one is a unique gig because the bride is a friend and former co-worker. In the span of two hours, I wore four hats last night - hired musician, friend, kitchen helper and anime otaku. I'm looking forward to the wedding, which will be in English and Spanish. Of course, that's not the only reason why I'm looking forward to it. I'm always glad to see a friend marry a good guy.

Well, it's back to the grind. I promised Maestro an adventure as soon as I complete this afternoon's tasks.

(c) 2006 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

Music Fun & Games for the Summer

Just two more sleeps before the end of the school year. I, like my students, can't wait. However, I do have seven summer students for July, which works out to eight more teaching evenings. With the exception of one student who is preparing for a theory exam, the rest get to enjoy a more leisurely musical exploration next month. I promised them that we will do plenty of pop songs, improvising and composing (with some finger warm-ups thrown in).

All students will have summer assignments, which consist of playing pop, movie, country, praise & worship and jazz songs, composing and improvising to their hearts content. I paid dearly for not touching the piano in the summer when I was their age. I gradually caught on that this was not a good thing (starting from scratch each year is a painful experience for everyone involved). Now, I stress the importance of keeping their skills up, but also encourage them to have as much fun as they want at their instrument. And yes, we teachers expect the students to have a more relaxed practice routine. Relaxed, but still consistent.

The exam students do have to start on their technical requirements and exam repertoire. If they work hard at it over the summer, then they don't have to work as hard during the school year.

Here are some music games for the students to goof off with over the summer:


(c) 2006 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

Piano Paperwork Musings

This past weekend, Maestro and I processed all the student registrations submitted during the Early Registration period. Maestro lounged on his bed as I inputted the student's registration information into my teaching schedule, Palm Pilot, e-mail groups, birthday lists, my website administration site and Quickbooks.Quickbooks and my Palm Pilot are already programmed to enter the monthly invoices (Quickbooks) or beep before each piano lesson next year (Palm Pilot). Maestro would shoot up out of bed as soon as he heard the stapler, paper slicer and hole punch - all of which he guards zealously. He vascillated from watching my every move intently to make sure I use all tools properly, to lunging for them. The latter leads to him being hip-checked. Why he thinks they are toys is beyond me.

(c) 2006 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB Canada. All rights reserved.