Wednesday, December 14, 2022 by Marcie Monaco | Uncategorized
Piano Safari Reminder Videos
Piano Safari Friends:
Piano Safari I:
Piano Safari Repertoire II:
Piano Safari Technique II:
Piano Safari for the Older Student I:
Piano Safari for the Older Student II:
Listening to awesome music:
Friday, November 11, 2022 by Marcie Monaco | Uncategorized
I learned an important lesson this year that I wanted to share with you. I made a quick video (less than 6 minutes long) about how I reacted when my kids really started to push back about lessons and practicing. If you're like me and you hate watching videos, let me give you a quick summary:
I am the mother of 8 children. I require that they all take lessons and that they practice every day. Two of my children started in piano and started to give me grief about having to practice pretty early on. We switched to strings before the year was out and stuck with that for quite a while. After 4 years of cello and violin lessons, my kiddos really started to be difficult and started asking to quit. I was reluctant to let them because it felt like they were throwing away years of progress on their instruments, but finally, I relented. One started taking voice lessons, and one had already started with the oboe but promised to spend more time on it.
I couldn't believe what happened. My children, who were pretty ok string players, really blossomed in the following months.
P is a fabulous oboist- one of the best middle school oboists in the state of Illinois (if not THE best).
M is a fabulous singer. Her vocal range is INCREDIBLE-larger than most professional singers.
I am so stunned. Who would have guessed?? It hurts a little to think that while I was just trying to be a good mom,* I was really holding them back from discovering the true musician inside.
*Music develops cooperation, discipline, and focus. Music provides a lovely skill/hobby children can enjoy for the rest of their lives. Music is a gift you can share with others. But you all know all of these facts already!
**I just want to state for the record that quitting isn't always the best idea! Often kids just want to be lazy and sometimes you have to push through that. Sometimes lessons aren't spectacularly fun, but if your child has a musical future (as a professional or enthusiastic amateur), they will need a variety of music skills to pull from and will just need to deal with the unfun stuff. Usually they will understand this. :)
Friday, November 11, 2022 by Marcie Monaco | Uncategorized
I can tell when my students don't practice because we have to repeat the exact same lesson as the previous week.
Do you know that students forget 80% of the information gained from a class or a lesson after only TWO days? If your child is only practicing 2-3 days a week (or not at all), then they likely will have forgotten almost everything they learned in a music lesson by the time the next one rolls around. That's why daily practice is SO IMPORTANT. If a student waits until the day before their lesson (or the day OF the lesson) to sit with their instrument and review their music, by that time they will have forgotten almost everything their teacher taught them in their lesson the previous week. This will make the practice experience frustrating for them since they will have to work out the issues in their music alone (What was that rhythm pattern again? What fingerings was I supposed to use? What does this symbol on the music mean?) Then, the lesson that occurs that day or the next will be an entire repeat of the previous lesson. It's not fun for a student or a teacher to have to repeat the same lesson week after week after week.
Even if a student just spends 10-15 minutes on their instrument every day, they can retain close to 100% of lesson material and will be ready for more information each week!
BUT HOLD ON! Do you know that if a student spends 30-60 minutes a day with their instrument, they will not only maintain the status quo, but they will improve! And they will improve pretty radically! This is the phenomenon known as PROGRESS.
This is the secret to success in music. Students think they don't practice because they don't enjoy music, BUT REALLY THEY DON'T ENJOY MUSIC BECAUSE THEY DON'T PRACTICE. Music is fun when you have enough skills to play a variety of music, when you have the technical ability to play well, and you feel successful because of the work you've put in.
Please let me know if you'd like help troubleshooting your practice headaches-whether it's a scheduling issue or an attitude issue. Trust me, I've seen it all before. :)
Tuesday, October 25, 2022 by Marcie Monaco | Uncategorized
June 3 4:00 Costume Karaoke and Swimming Party
June 5-9 Marcie teaches VBS (this is an evening event, so my days are still free for teaching! We might need to shift some things around a bit).
June 12-15 Marcie teaches at Midwest Flute Institute (This is a local program during the day, so I will be available for a few evenings M-Th and during the day Friday for lessons)
June 17 7:00pm, Marcie performs a recital, "Myths, Legends, and Lore"
Marcie helps with SIUE band camp
(I am canceling this! I have too many commitments this summer and need this week at home!)
July 23-29 Marcie at the American Suzuki Institute in Wisconsin NO LESSONS
August 1-6 Marcie performing at the National Flute Association Convention in Phoenix. NO LESSONS.
September/October TBD Chamber concert (with professional musicians)
Thursday, September 1, 2022 by Marcie Monaco | Uncategorized
Hello Pianists and Parents!
We've been focusing on wrist motion a lot in lessons because your wrists control your sound! I created several playlists on Youtube with a good mix of students and professionals who play with beautiful wrist movement. Sometimes I can explain things 100 different ways, but a picture (or a video) is worth 1000 words.
I would really encourage you to find time in your busy lives to watch one or two of these videos a day. Maybe you can play them while you're eating breakfast in the morning? Maybe you can watch a few videos right before bed? The music is beautiful and would be lovely to listen to at the end of the day. Maybe you can play them at the beginning or end of your practice session? Some are longer than 10 minutes and some are shorter than 1 minute, so you can pick and choose as your schedule allows
When my oldest children were in middle school we studied and listened to the works of one composer each month. I would just put 10 of the more famous pieces of each composer on loop and say several times a day, "This is Stravinsky! We're listening to Stravinsky! What do you like about Stravinsky?" After several months, they could identify the composer of music they were listening to, even if they had never heard the piece before, because they had internalized the style of each composer. They learned so much about music theory, history, musicality, and performance this way. I realized recently that, as the case usually goes, I've been neglecting to teach my younger children with the same diligence as my older children, so when I created playlists for my students to study piano technique and wrist movement, I organized the playlists according to composer so that the lists could serve double-duty: observing technique and and learning about composers
You are welcome to use these lists however you like, but I think it would be useful to focus on one playlist a month, carefully watch 1-3 videos every day, then a play the list on loop for a few hours every day while eating, sleeping, and driving, etc. If you're not crazy about streaming Youtube all day, you could use these playlists just for watching, then use Spotify or Apple Music to stream any composer-specific list while you go about your day. The lists I created here will at least get you started, though.
Please let me know if you have any questions, and happy listening!