It's raining outside after a gorgeous weekend. The leaves are beginning to turn beautiful colors and it feels like fall. This week we started back on the fall schedule and it's busy, but the good kind of busy. So far most everyone has been positive about going back to school and getting back into more of a predictable rhythm after another amazing summer in the Pacific Northwest.
Later we'll be talking about practice challenges and winter recital, but for now it's getting back into the rhythm of the school year and making sure you all have interesting and challenging music to play. It's going to be another great year!
The photo below sums up sending off my two graduating senior students this month; moving on to a bright future full of possibilities. I have worked with both of these young women since middle school and it's hard for me to believe they have already completed high school and are moving on to college studies. It's always rewarding for me to continue with students long term, because I get to see them grow in music and life. And then later cross paths around town or connect on LinkedIn as they start their careers.
My goal as a music instructor is to foster a lifelong appreciation of music as well as a love for learning and discovery. I have seen both of these graduating seniors develop their musical and performance abilities and grow their interpretation and depth of perception in music and beyond.
Congratulations to Renee and Carra- I wish them all the best, and can't wait to see what they will do next!!
I may be severely lacking in imagination this time around, but spring is what I am thinking about these days! It's so lovely to see and smell the flowering trees blooming in the parking lot and to get done teaching at 9pm and drive home with the last touches of the sunset painting the sky.
Because it seems like this spring is especially busy for so many, I decided on a simple theme. If you would like, please create a piece of artwork inspired by spring. It can be a painting, drawing, poem, or anything that isn't fragile. Perishable is fine- we welcome spring-inspired cookies! ;) Everyone has been working hard on perfecting their music even as the season gets busy with end of the year events and projects. The first art piece has come in and it is just as cheery as the spring weather makes me feel.
The spring recitals will be Sunday, June 10th at the Redmond Library. Times are 4:45pm and 6:00pm, and both are open to the public. Look forward to a great variety of solos and duets on both piano and flute, and of course some yummy refreshments!
Recently I met with a lovely family interested in private tutoring. The child had been in band all year and was interested and engaged in learning music but the parent referred to the sound coming out of the flute as "noise". Within half a minute I saw that I had my work cut out for me. For over six months the child had been holding the flute incorrectly, with fingers in the wrong places (but compensating in a very creative way!) and hands in a position that made it very difficult to switch from note to note. Thankfully the interest was still there and the child was blowing well.
There are simply too many kids in band, and too many instruments with one teacher to catch problems as they begin and turn into habits. Kids can learn a lot in band but some struggle, especially at the beginning (and the flute is one of the most difficult instruments at the start). These kids are some of the most rewarding to teach. But- most of them don't get that far. They get frustrated or give up and quit band after a year or less.
So please, as soon as you see your child struggling in band, set up a few months of private lessons! It doesn't have to be a long term commitment. Often a short period of instruction can transform a negative experience into a positive one and point a child back on the path of music learning with a solid basic technique.
Just a quick post to say that I am looking forward to our spring studio recital! It will be Sunday, June 10th at the Redmond Regional Library. There will be two separate recitals between the hours of 4:30 and 7:30. Look for more details as the date gets closer!
Spring has sprung! That means many parents are well on their way with summer plans. Last summer my family went on a big road trip so this summer I am looking forward to some time at home, as well as running two music summer camps in Bellevue.
If you are looking for a summer music camp for your young flutist, consider Flute Boot Camp (August 6-10). I am also very excited to announce a brand new camp this year, Junior Flute Camp (July 30-August 3)!
Registration is open for both camps, and while there are still spots open for both camps, they are going quickly. So if you're planning to register, get your form and deposit in today! I am happy to answer any questions about camp to help you figure out if it is a good fit for your child, or to decide which camp would be best.
More information and registration:
What tools or methods have you used successfully to help establish habits in other areas of your life? Have you used a paper calendar or log to write down successes? Enlisted the help of a friend as an accountability buddy? Put your intention out on social media to hold yourself accountable? The same tools that work to help establish other habits such as healthy eating or exercise can also be effective with music practice.
We live in an age of an app for everything, and most kids (and adults!) love to use technology as a tool when working toward a goal. There are all kinds of apps that can serve to help with practicing, including reminder timers, scheduling practice as a recurring calendar event, recording apps, apps that include the option to share your successes on social media, and apps specifically designed to establish habits and routines.
My studio will be doing a practice challenge this winter to help establish or reestablish those regular practice habits that make for steady progress. Stay tuned for details!
This post is going to be more personal than most, but I decided to share anyway because farewells are part of teaching. This week I bid a bittersweet farewell to a top student. No, she is not quitting, but rather going on to study with a master teacher who teaches in the music department of one of the local universities.
She studied with me for two years, during which time she made truly amazing progress. She worked very hard and consistently, asked great questions, and really took my advice to heart when I let her know what she needed to work on. As a result she was able to participate in one of the top ensembles in the state as a middle schooler, and audition into BYSO where she has excelled musically as well as thoroughly enjoying the experience. I really feel as if she has grown wings.
For my students, I encourage studying with other teachers, whether for short periods of time supplementing our lessons or transferring when the time seems right. I have good relationships with many of the other teachers in the area and reach out when a student is transferring to let them know what we have been working on. I have studied with many different instructors on both piano and flute throughout my life and each has taught me unique tools and different ways of looking at music, practice, and performance.
Our job as teachers is to help students to be independent. Essentially, we know we have done a good job when, well...we work ourselves out of a job! It is rewarding to see students move on with a love of music and skills to keep them going for a lifetime of music. I run into many of them at local events and online (as they follow my studio page on Facebook or create their own LinkedIn accounts), and I look forward to seeing the amazing adults they become!
To quote author and TV personality William Sears, "If there were no goodbyes, there could be no hellos."
I am on vacation with my family. We've been on the road trip I've been wanting to go on for years. I hope all of you reading this have taken some time to relax this summer, whether at home or traveling. A break is good for coming back refreshed and renewed.
Next week, fall schedule begins! Scheduling is NOT an easy task. But I look at it like a puzzle. And so far, I have been able to fit all students continuing on with lessons into the puzzle. I'm very thankful for everyone's patience and flexibility.
As far as openings go, I was surprised to see I have a couple of decent openings (prime times of the afternoon/evening) since some of my older students are now able to transport themselves and have switched to earlier after school times. It's fun to see them grow up!
Should I take the summer off? Continue with weekly lessons? Or step it up a notch and come twice a week since my schedule is more open?
There is no right answer for everyone. I don't recommend taking the entire summer off from playing your instrument, though. It just makes it harder to get back into it when you pick it back up again in the fall, and that can be discouraging.
Summer is a good time to get in some extra practice time and jump up your playing a notch. I have several students coming twice a week during the summer months, and I expect they will be happy with their progress over the next two months.
Many students are preparing for fall auditions so that is a goal to work toward. If you don't have any upcoming auditions, you can pick one aspect of your playing that you would like to improve. Perhaps it's sight-reading, rhythmic accuracy, technical facility, or getting familiar with a new style of music. Be sure to let your teacher know your goal!
Summer is also a great time to take a break. Take a couple of weeks off and don't play your instrument at all. If you can get away with, don't do any work and go offline. Ahh.. There is magic and rejuvenation to be found in nature and spending relaxed time with family and friends. If you really have hard time taking a break, consider that research backs up the value of learning in cycles in everything from athletics to music. (This means intense times of learning, interspersed with time for the knowledge to soak in and your body and mind to grow and recover.) I am looking forward to a couple of weeks off at the end of August, where I plan to take a road trip with my family and enjoy National Parks, and swim and wander as much as possible.
So, what to do with music this summer? Depending on your goals, I recommend some combination of playing your instrument and taking time off.
Speaking of goals...have you set a summer music goal yet? I have!
Hi! My name is Mariya, and I teach flute and piano lessons in Redmond, WA and am a performing musician. Here I share thoughts about learning music and helping others learn how to play an instrument.