Spring Announcements!

Our annual Spring Recital will be held at Friendship Village in Schaumburg on June 3rd, 7pm.  Mark your calendars and stay tuned for details!

Please let me know your spring break schedules by our March 6-7 lessons.

Please be thinking ahead to auditions!  Schaumburg Youth Orchestra holds theirs throughout May, while Elgin‘s are usually the week after Memorial Day.  Some of you also have school auditions coming up.  If we haven’t planned your repertoire yet, please talk with me about it at our next lesson.

Finally, just a reminder to take advantage of all the fantastic concerts in our area!  You don’t have to go downtown and pay a lot of money to hear a good one (though I highly recommend both the CSO and the Lyric Opera and love attending both when I can!)  We have local orchestras all around.  Elgin hosts its own professional orchestra.  Our youth orchestras put on their own excellent concerts as do our schools.  Get out when you can and enjoy the music!

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Studio Notes-Winter 2015

Hi all–just a couple quick things.

  • I am tentatively planning our recital date to be Friday night, June 5.  I will be setting up the venue soon, so please let me know if for any reason that date does NOT work for you.  Also, I would love your opinions on which you prefer–a more formal venue (a la Friendship Village) or a more relaxed venue that we can do a reception (like last year).  It’ll depend what’s available, of course, but I’d love to know what you guys value as I set it up.
  • Many of the students are accumulating a lot of Music Points from their practice 🙂  Just a reminder, if you want to redeem Music Points, please let me know in the lesson so we can count off how many you have, and then please email me if you don’t mind so I remember to send you the credit!  Often when I go home it’s into the bedtime whirlwind and I try to get back to my teaching notes in a timely fashion, but sometimes I forget…as some of you know…so please do not ever feel bad reminding me  🙂
  • Related to that, there is now a Music Picks page up on the sidebar with a ton of ideas for great music you can choose with your points.  You are not limited to what’s there but there is a ton of good stuff there if you need any ideas!

Thanks so much–a wonderful weekend to you all!

Practice Contest 2014: Practice Notebook and Music Prizes

Something that’s been on my mind for a while is helping our students better learn to organize and track their practice.  We’ve already got a “Smart Practicing studio–I am so impressed by the way our students have grown into using their practice very well and coming up with great ideas to get the job done.  But especially in the past year, as many students are starting to work on multiple pieces or multiple fronts of technique, I thought it might be a good time to try…

The Practice Notebook!

notebook cover

(Although I am apparently part of the tech generation, I cannot for my life figure out how to get this right side up…)

There are ready-made practice notebooks on the market, but we’re going to use one that I’ve designed especially for our studio and will be providing to each student when we start up next week.  The notebook has two pages set aside for each week: one for lesson assignments and goal-setting, one for practice recording.

(view practice notebook pages)

The way the contest works is this: In the lesson, we write down our assignments basically as usual, except that I could use the “day” grid to pencil in suggestions for helping the student plan their practice week.  The student has a space at the bottom of the assignment page to think about and set their own specific goals for the week.  Then, the student needs to WRITE DOWN every day they practice.

It can be super-simple: just writing down the basics of what you did (scale, technique, pieces) and the time and leave it at that.  Or, you can use the space to journal a little more specifically–what worked, what didn’t, what needs more review the next day, etc.  The more detailed you are, the more helpful it will be; but start by just recording something, each day you practice.

Then, every day of recorded practice becomes 10 Music Points.  These Music Points can be redeemed for a Music Prize, which basically means that instead of physical CD’s, Mrs. Layug is finally catching up to the virtual world and offering digital music prizes!  🙂   (At this point that looks like Amazon gift cards which *ahem* you are on your honor to use for music  🙂  If I ever figure out how to do it with Itunes that will be available too!)

So, in summary:

-Write down your practice

-Every day of practice is worth 10 music points (10c)

-When you want to redeem it let me know, and I will check off the days counted and send you an online gift card to use FOR MUSIC

-Since I’d love for you to get music that will both be really fun and grow you as a musician–as opposed to just whoever’s big on the radio at the moment–I will also have a great big list up with lots of fun recommendations, with links.  I’ve got ideas for a little bit of everything on it, I just have to type it up.  Eventually. Soon, I hope.  🙂

Music Ordering

As I noted in the studio emails, there is a change in the music ordering policy for this year:  Generally, please plan on purchasing your own music directly rather than ordering through me.

There are a few reasons for the change-

  1. When I had 40-60 students, I was making an order every month or so, so it made sense to combine orders.  Now, it’s more on an as-needed basis which is just as easy for you to do (and price-shop, if you want) than for me to do for you.
  2. The music then goes straight to you so you don’t have to wait for it, and I don’t have to worry about forgetting it, or bugging you to pay me back!
  3. It’s really good experience for older students to start doing this for themselves, and having “ownership” of their music.

So, where should you order from?  There are any number of places, but I usually get my music from

  • SHAR (sharmusic.com)
  • sheetmusicplus.com
  • Amazon
  • The local music store!
  • imslp.com (free scores for music in the public domain)

Of course, if you have any trouble finding your music, I’m always glad to help!

2014 Recital Info!

2014 recital invite

Layug String Studio’s 2014 Concert will take place on

June 7, 2014 6:30 p.m.
Christian Fellowship Church (152 E. Devon Ave, Itasca)
Ice cream reception to follow.

Please feel free to invite guests.  You are welcome to use the graphic above or this link.

Please note:

  • All students should plan to arrive around 6 pm for the 6:30 recital.  Tuning will happen between 6:10 and 6:20 and we’ll use the extra few minutes to get settled and ready to play!
  • Performers should be “dressed up.”
  • Please bring your family’s favorite ice cream topping for the reception!
  • Piano rehearsal times will be Thursday May 29 (Itasca) and Monday June 2(Streamwood), with an optional extra practice on Thursday June 5 in Streamwood. Please see your email for details and individual rehearsal times.

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