The Miracle of Breath

I still remember the wonder of discovering my breath for the first time as a college student, after a debilitating over-use injury.  Just noticing the air flow swept my muscle pain away.  I was amazed at how simple it was.  As I slowly returned to the piano, I started to explore how to breath to enhance my phrasing, my accuracy, my artistry.  Nowadays, I teach breathing techniques to all my students, and here are some reasons why I find it so useful:

January 2018 Listening Quiz

Start the year off with some great Listening as an Event!  Send your students some links to great masterworks. Give them a couple of weeks to become friends with them. Then, gather together for a listening quiz!  Give bonus points if they can remember the composer, era, and performance styles! Here is a sample quiz:


1.  Brandenberg Concerto No. 5,  allegro


Baroque / J. S. Bach


Using Eye Contact to Practice Total Awareness

We have all seen talented students perform with their eyes glued to their hands, sometimes even being sucked into the keyboard, neck bent over in a contorted curve.  Thanks to the health and wellness movement in music, students and teachers are becoming more attuned to such issues.   The most musical method I have found is to ask students to maintain eye contact with me while they play.

May 2017 Sonata Allegro Form

Sonata Allegro Form


Sonata Allegro Form             

Many musicians play sonatas. These must be differentiated from sonata allegro form. A sonata is a piece for instruments and derives is name from the Latin, sonare, meaning “to sound”.  The term refers to a piece that is sounded forth by a non-vocal instrument. Cantata refers to a piece that is sung, stemming from the Latin cantare meaning “to sing”.  Sonatas can utilize sonata allegro form.

April 2017 Instrument Families

One of the first steps in teaching students to understand art music and listening is to acquaint them with the unique characteristics and timbres of orchestral instruments and instrumental families. Students can explore each of these instruments on the Classics for Kids website. Easy navigation tools lead them to information, pictures, and sound clips of each instrument. The site also provides other interactive musical activities including games.