If you’ve been to therapy, you know about self talk. How is your self-talk supporting your learning process and how is it getting in the way?
One of the most heart-wrenching things for me to hear is the way my students talk to themselves in our lessons. Sometimes their interior language seeps out into their process of learning new songs, piano pieces or music theory concepts.
“I’m not good at that.”
“I’m bad at that.”
“I can’t do that.”
“It’s too much for me.”
These thoughts come easily in an achievement-oriented world. “Hard, difficult, challenge, conquer, win” all…
This Preschool counting trick will help your young ones stop doing one thing and start doing something else.
When I have a long to-do list, it’s easy for me to feel stuck. Even with clear priorities, getting started on any one thing can feel very, very new. That’s when I call on a tool from my early childhood musicians. Growing minds need time to make sense and meaning of commands.
Sneak in some quality processing time by counting down, like rocket blastoff, any time you or your children need a boost into the next task:
Counting down gives…
My mind tends to go extra fast when I have a lot on my plate, jumping from need-to-be-done tasks to concerns about things that haven’t happened yet. It can be easier said than done to take a deep breath.
When my mind is loud, it helps to have a physical sound to guide me into a mindfulness. During piano lessons, my students enjoy using piano keys as tools to find center with playful curiosity: We find a note or two to play together. (Pairs of black and white keys that skip over a note of the same color are harmonious.)…
I love this song and have wanted to play it for 25 years, ever since I heard it on KCSM radio in the SF Bay Area. There were a number of obstacles: the written music is not readily available. The song is in a musical range best suited to men with low voices. I’m not in a band. My spanish was not proficient.
Recently I received our family’s first piano, a gift from my late grandfather. It made a zig-zag journey from Oakland, CA to Indianapolis before finding its way to my Houston studio. What better motivation to pursue my…
I was shocked and saddened when a fellow teacher told me that when he was in gradeschool, his teacher told him to always write in pen. He had “outgrown pencils,” which were for little kids.
My grandfather used soft-graphite pencils up until he left this earth at 93. His father did the same. They were both musicians and preferred soft graphite to mark up their sheet music with notes from their conductor and notes to themselves. But musical markings, once memorized, can become visual clutter. Erasers take care of that. 😀
During the pandemic, I haven’t always been able to…
I like to use my active listening to turn moments like this into mindfulness games. As I absorb the song through my sticky ears (songs get ‘in my head’ really easily), I might hunt for the following:
*Where is the beat? Finding the beat of the song and tapping it lightly on my chest (if I am hands free) can help me feel more calm and grounded.
* Are there any bits of silence between melodic or rhythmic sounds? What would it be like to listen for those, and maybe breathe deeply into them?
* What instruments am I hearing…
“Rhythm and rhythmic movement are critical to the basics of life: almost all of our regulatory functions keep some sort of a beat, from the heart to the breath.” — Born for Love (Szalawitz & Perry, 2011)
Music is rhythm. Language is rhythm. Play is rhythm. Improving innate rhythmic sense makes life easier and more fun at any age.
The first sounds that a fetus hears are its parent’s heartbeat. Amniotic fluid also carries the vibrations from body movements and in time, a baby grows to hear family and friends’ voices.
Sounds that have meaning in daily life have a…
It’s difficult to create if whatever comes out has to sound or look a certain way, or if there is a list of things that ‘should not’ be done. Sometimes my music students know better what they don’t like than what they do. Exploring these preferences can help them feel more confident making up their own music and choosing home play songs based on their preferences.
As a teacher, I can sometimes lose myself in care for my students. I imagine this is not unlike what might happen to parents. …
At camp in California when I was a kid, we used to make rain as a game. In as big a group as we could manage, we would begin by snapping fingers, then tapping our laps, then clapping and finally stomping to make rain sounds even during the most dry summers. This game came to mind when I realized that I hardly ever use any of the many words we have for rain in Standard American English, except for the one I’ve used three times in just the subject and first paragraph of this blog :)
Really, rain is music…