Feb 282012
People consider sports and music at opposite ends of the spectrum but they aren’t. The verb itself is the same. One plays football and plays basketball and plays piano and plays violin. In music, only singing and drumming have their own verbs and they are the oldest of all musical activities. Both sports and music involve endless amounts of practice. read the rest
Feb 272012
NotationIn Emblems of the Mind: The Inner Life of Music and Mathematics (Times Books, 1995), Edward Rothstein talks about musical and mathematical notation as secret symbols, undecipherable by the uninitiated. “Uninitiated” is a good word for music teachers to remember when working with beginning adult students because that’s how these students feel. They feel a sense of magic about music and they feel ignorant. read the rest
Dec 162011
It was a dark and stormy night when the Adult Music Student Forum held its first Special Event. The subject was performance anxiety and the presenter was Rodger Ellsworth. After talking for about a half hour, some Adult Student Music Forum (AMSF) members volunteered to perform as experimental subjects for his ideas. An intermediate student named Anne Williams performed first. read the rest
Jun 172009
The question of choosing a music teacher comes up often on the Musical Fossils message board so I’ve decided to review the topic in detail. Choosing a new teacher, getting rid of an existing teacher, or being dismissed by a teacher are all complex situations. In this article I will discuss what I’ve learned over the years about these issues. read the rest
Nov 282007
Recent exchanges on the MusicalFossils message board expressing concern about memory lapses offer valuable insights. I would like to talk about this issue from a different perspective than I have before. I often hear my adult students bemoan that they don’t memorize as well as they did as children. The next statement usually has something to do with aging and memory loss. read the rest
Dec 102004
This article was part of a workshop given in May 2003 and contains suggestions by the participants, Libby Francisco, Pat Malmgren, Pat Onufrak, and Deb Selby. Listening to students talk about their practice, I hear of many insidious feelings that I failed to fully appreciate, even though I experience them myself. I’ve touched on the feelings throughout these chapters, but they deserve more focused attention. read the rest
Dec 062004
Getting the body settled at the piano is easy compared with getting the mind settled. The mind flies off in all directions when we practice. Concentration, the word used to indicate someone is thinking, is not a word I like. In our youth we heard parents and teachers say: “You’re not concentrating.” “If only you’d concentrate, you could do so much better.” “Don’t let your mind wonder.” “Hello, where are you?” All these experiences give us the feeling that concentration is a moral value. read the rest