Monday, June 7, 2010

We've Moved...

In order to have a more uniform on-line presence, my Let's Play Music blog has moved!

Come find me here:!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Now Registering for Fall!

It is time to make plans for the fall!
  • See the column to the right hand side for potential class times.
  • There are 3 time slots listed on the registration form, but there will only be one or two 2nd year classes. The actual class times will be determined by the first choices of those who get their forms turned in soonest. If you have a difficult schedule, please turn in your form right away, and let me know your conflicts.
  • The number of first year classes will depend on interest.
  • See the sidebar for tuition and registration fees. Tuition is slightly higher for 2nd year as classes are longer (50 mins.).
  • You have the opportunity to save a little money! Turn in your completed registration form and materials fee by the evening of our recital (April 22), and I will waive your $15 registration fee.
  • For each student you refer to sign up for the program, I will deduct $15 from your first months' tuition. Just have the student note that you referred them to the program on their registration form.

Recital Time!

We will have a short recital on April 22 at 7:00pm, here at my home, to show off what the students have learned this year. I will probably have a couple of my private voice students perform then, as well. The program won't be long and refreshments will be served.
  • This means my Thursday PM class for that week, will be moved to Tuesday @ 6:15pm (lesson 15)

  • You are welcome to bring family (grandparents, etc.), and encouraged to bring friends who are interested in learning more about the program that night. Please, email me ( and let me know, if there will be more than your immediate family there, so I can be prepared with seating and refreshments.

  • Although this recital is fairly informal, I would encourage your students to dress nicely, as it will help prepare them for performances to come.

  • This should be a special time for the students. Certificates will be handed out, and they will feel great about how far they have come this year. Please plan to attend! If for any reason, your student cannot come that night, please let me know a.s.a.p.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

News and Lesson 9 (Blue Bugs)

First of all, I wanted to let you know about a cool new feature on the Let's Play Music Website!

If you write a testimonial about the program, and it is published on the site, you can get $10 off the current month's tuition. Go here for details.

I hope everyone is having a fantastic Spring Break. I gave you tons of new stuff to work on during our last class, so I hope no one is too bored! :-)

I wanted to review some of the parent notes I gave you during class, since I only have a minute to explain things to you then.

B-I-N-G-O: It's an old favorite you've probably sung a million times, but it teaches so many good things: Audiation, Rhythmic Balance, and Beat! It is a great one to do during a road trip or driving around town. Kids think it is just for fun, but it is helping them to develop great skills!

Jungle Rhythm: This is our theory assignment this weeks. Page 47 in the Reference section of your manual should be helpful. You can help your students see the "math" in this chart. What we are doing is called "subdividing." The chart does a nice job of showing that visually and helping your students develop "spatial awareness" which is necessary for their success in math. Play the CD as you look at the chart so they can see and hear the subdivision at the same time.

El Gallo: We ran out of time to do this together in class, but if you can at home, listen/sing "El Gallo" with your students as you point to to the color chord triangles. What we are trying to instill is the repeated pattern "red, red, yellow, red" in this song, which is call its "harmonic rhythm." When they learn the patterns, they will be able to predict which chord will come next.

Drunken Sailor: I wonder if this song has prompted any discussions about what a drunken sailor is, in your homes. :-) It is a well known folk song, and was chosen for its clear form. By doing the dance to the song, we are teaching them the form of the song. For example, the gallop one direction, and then the other, shows the repeated phrase. Turning around on "Early in the...", emphasizes the cadence that takes us to "...morning." Also, joining hands on the beat for "morning" emphasizes the red chord and that we are back, "home." They probably just think we are doing a silly dance. Isn't that great?

One more note this week about your children's progress. I am often blown away by the knowledge they are demonstrating each week and the new things they can do. I know some of you have expressed concern about the level of mastery of your child, and if they will be ready for the 2nd year. Not having taught the program before, I have had some questions, too. But having communicated with the creator of the program, Shelle, and other experienced teachers, the word I am getting is not to be too concerned about mastery of every concept/skill we have presented this year. Some of these things are best learned over time and will sink in. For example, some kids match pitch with Echo Ed, easily. Others really have to concentrate. Just because we are starting on keyboards next year, doesn't mean that we won't continue to work on developing these skills. These things are foundational and will be reviewed through out the program. Greater concerns would be if your child just can't sit still or be part of the group, but at this age a lot of growing-up occurs over the summer. And as they enter school, they tend to gain a lot of maturity. If you'd like to talk about your individual student and where they are at, feel free to email me, or call me.

But for now, back to Spring Break! I will see the kids on Thursday!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Let's Play Music on TV

Shelle (the creator of the program), and Jenny (my trainer) were on TV today. You can get some fun glimpses into what is coming up in future semesters.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lesson 8-- Blue Bugs

During class we looked at the notation for The Dinosaur Song and saw that it was all skips and babysteps. Your child should be ready to color the skips and steps for the homework assignment, and have fun singing as the notes go up.

We also did B-I-N-G-O, for the first time. It is a fun one to help them practice clapping their rhythms. And speaking of rhythms, as you work with your students on their bug flashcards, see if you can get them to clap the appropriate rhythm with out saying the word. Sometimes, the kids say "but-ter-fly," the right way, but clap a steady eighth note rhythm at the same time. While keeping rhythm is a great skill (and one we will practice more with our jungle animals), we want them to feel each rhythm, and not just hear it. You can make it a game: "Can you clap a caterpillar for me with out saying a word?", "How about a grasshopper?", etc.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lessons 6 & 7

First some news: There is a giveaway going on at the Let's Play Music blog. It is the first giveaway ever! Go check it out!

Here are a few notes from our last couple of classes:

In lesson 6, we had fun singing about El Gallo (the old rooster…he’s dead and won’t be saying cock-a-doodle anymore). It’s interesting to hear how children speaking other languages interpret the sounds that animals make! To learn the words to this song, I recommend you look up the lyrics in your parent manual. Each song is back there. When you come to class, it may be helpful to follow along if you don't know the songs as well as your students do.

We also learned to match the term MAJOR to songs that sound happy and MINOR to those that are sad, tired, or mysterious. Help them remember these terms, and see if they can identify which songs are major and minor as you listen to music.

While singing the Jungle Rhythms, encourage your child to use his voice along with his hand actions. This adds another dimension and will help him to stay on his rhythm. We tried keeping the elephant rhythm while I did the lion. See if you can help your child stay on elephant while listening to all the other animals on the CD. This may take some practice.


When we put each bell on a line (or space) on the giant staff, it helps introduce the idea that each bell (note) has a representative line or space that corresponds with it. Next year each key on the keyboard will have a line or space that corresponds with’s an easy mental transition to make.

Take this idea a few levels forward and you have...the song How to Skip! The music is printed in the parent’s manual for you. Not all students will master this song, but if your child enjoys playing the short melodies, she’ll probably like to work through this one, and she’ll feel so accomplished when she learns to play a REAL song! Most of the melody can be figured out note-by-note (is it a step up or down? A skip up or down?). On those occasions where there is a leap, the solfeg is written below the music to help your child find the right bell.

The Dinosaur Song is one that everyone probably WILL master – and a great example of skips and babysteps. We’ll see it many times in the next few weeks.

If your child finds writing small notes to be challenging in this week’s homework, feel free to help as needed. You can also copy the page or draw 5 quick lines of your own so you can repeat activities like this as many times as you like for practice!

I suggested you use your bug flashcards for a memory/matching game. This is a fun way to reinforce what we are doing in class. btw, I found a set of flashcards at the LDS church around the corner, on Sunday. If you are missing yours, let me know.