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Being alone at the piano is a rewarding experience that brings together different facets of our being in enjoyable moments of self-realization. It may sound like a mouthful, but we've all had moments when everything just seemed to come together. Such moments are rare for most people because they happen, for the most part, by chance. Musical study helps us to create those moments. When immersed in sound, concentrating on a particular movement, we suddenly realize that everything exists right here, right now. It's a moment that is difficult to describe, but we've all had them. Time stands still, or we lose track of time. And we enjoy the sound or some other aspect of our surroundings, and we want to repeat the experience. Music can reveals the one-ness of being to us, and if there is an audience, it can be magical for them as well. And it doesn't take a virtuosic performance. Just a simple piece is an opportunity to experience the cooperative action of mind, body, and spirit each and... read more

1. Musicians all know the first rule of success is to practice every day. The first days of school should be no exception. Don't think of it as another chore or homework assignment. If you see it as an opportunity to relax and be creative, it can provide a refreshing break from more syllogistic subjects. Musical expression gets its impetus from unique parts of the brain, not to mention certain muscles that may not be getting used much during the daily academic routine. Don't forget, daily practice has a cumulative effect. By the end of the week, you will have accomplished something you can be proud of, and you will have conditioned your memory to accept larger bites at one time. 2. Be on the lookout for performance opportunities. The early bird gets the worm when it comes to snagging slots at assemblies, dance classes, theater projects, choral rehearsals, or even solo recitals. This is the ideal time to let people know you can play at their event, party, fashion show - whatever... read more

Your time spent memorizing can be made more productive through three simple activities. First, take small bites. The human brain remembers about 11-12 words before it starts to let go of an idea. Musically speaking, that could be as much as a measure or as little as a single chord. In fact, it is conceivable that several minutes might be spent recalling repeatedly a single note. Look at the page. Then, without looking at the page, imagine yourself playing the selected notes. It may take several repetitions of looking and not looking before you get all the notes right. When you can imagine playing the measure with correct fingering, dynamics and interpretation at the right tempo, then move on to the next measure. It helps to include the last beat of the previous measure in the memorization of the second measure. When the second measure is memorized, play through the first and second together a few times, then add some more notes. It's not how many notes at this phase are learned,... read more

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