February Notes

It’s been a quiet winter for studio announcements, but there has been a lot of great music going on!  Kudos to you all for the practice contest and scale contest successes, as well as for a lot of great music and technique accomplished!  I have been so pleased with what you all have prepared; I seriously considered setting up a last-minute winter recital, but unfortunately the timing did not come together.  However, I think almost everybody has gotten a big performance piece ready in the last couple months, and I would really encourage you to find someplace to share it, whether it’s with family and friends, over the phone to your grandma, or whatever!  Can’t wait to see what you all will have ready by recital time!

Coming up:

  • I am starting to plan our spring recital.  I am thinking of doing early June this year (though late May is still a possibility) due to some scheduling constraints on my part, and maybe doing things a little differently in a fun way!  As usual, I value your feedback on dates that would or would not work well for you.   I would hope to have our date set in stone by the end of March so you all can plan.
  • Please let me know when you will be off for Spring Break, if you plan to be gone at all.  It will help me to know this as soon as possible, as I may also plan a couple days away if there’s a time when most of you are gone.
  • If anybody is needing strings, I saw a sale advertised on SHAR this morning.  I did not get in to see how much of a sale, but thought that might be helpful to pass on.  Also, I have a few students who have been trying other brands such as Overture and Vision, that are a little cheaper, with good results, so don’t feel that you’re bound to the Dominants, which seem to go up in price every year!  (Just don’t buy Red Label, ok? For my ears’ sake?   Thanks! :) )

Also, I’m going to be trying to update weekly, and considering doing some articles on topics that would be helpful to the studio in general.  The one I have in mind right now is on “Organizing Your Practice Time.”  I’d love input from both students and parents if there are things you think would be helpful to address in this way!

Have a great weekend!

Mrs. Layug

Easy Music Markings

Recently I’ve started using a set of very simple music markings in my practice–they’re pretty basic, but I thought I would share! I’ve always marked practice spots, and encouraged students to mark their own, with a start or a circle or a bracket, but this is an easy way to be a little more specific.

Mark your music with:

  • R=Rhythm
  • N=figure out Notes
  • I=Intonation
  • B=Bowings
  • A=Articulation (accents, staccatos, etc.)
  • T=hmmm…I was using it to mean Tone, but thinking about it, I think it might be more useful as reminder for Technique awareness.  What do you think might be a good substitute for Tone?  S=Sound?  D=Deep Bow?  I would love your thoughts!

Apologies, by the way, to any blog followers who got the link for lasagna this morning!  I posted to the wrong blog!  If anybody does want my lasagna recipe though, you are welcome to head over to the correct link here!

 

Fall Contests

Here’s a preview of the cards for our two contests this fall!

 
practice contest card

This year’s practice contest is back to basics–5 days (my standard practice requirement) is a gold star; 4 days is silver; 6 or 7 is “bonus” and students can pick a “fun” color to put on.   Students set their own “time” goals together with me, but those function primarily as a guideline.  Exceptionally great achievement can result in bumping up a level for that week; exceptionally non-achievement may result in bumping down a level.  (Kudos to you all, though, based on everybody’s recent track record I doubt I will be doing very many bump-downs!)

The twist: Instead of a year-end prize, you can win music throughout the school year!   Every 15 silver stars, 12 gold stars, or 10 bonus stars, students can pick a CD out of my “music box” (and yes, I know it’s the digital age, but I haven’t figured out how to legally give away downloads yet! :))  There will be a good mix in there, from symphonic to fiddle to probably some soundtracks or who knows what–we’ll see what I come up with; hopefully something for everyone!

scales contest card

The scale contest is something almost all of the intermediate-level students are working on now. This is a systematic way to work through the 2-octave scales and arpeggios, becoming comfortable in many keys and at a consistent level of scale performance.  It is excellent preparation for the “standard” 3-octave scales that students will use at advancing levels.

For the contest, all the 2-octave scales and their corresponding arpeggios are divided into levels according to difficulty.   Students can win prizes each time they complete a level for either scales OR arpeggios, or variations such as thirds and different forms of minor.  Right now the prize box contains everything from pencils and bookmarks to baseball cards to packets of tea, coffee (decaf!) and hot chocolate–and I’m always looking for fun things to add!