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04

Feb

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nprmusic:

When he first played it for Bobby Womack, who was his protégé, he said, ‘What’s it sound like?’ And Bobby said, ‘It sounds like death.’

— Hear the story behind Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” which turns 50 this year 

12

Feb

STEAM for Music Students

STEAM for Music Students

Think of the successful people who inspire you –actors, teachers, businessmen or perhaps, your favourite musicians, singers or artists. Read about their lives – their experiences, the journey they undertook to get to where they are. If we look into the lives of these successful people, chances are, we will find that they have taken some common steps or course of actions that led to their success.

We all have different definitions of success, but the path that leads us there is pretty much the same. The good news is that this path is within easy reach of everyone wanting to succeed.

STEAM – the path to success.

Yes, of course, we learnt it in science.  STEAM is invisible. STEAM is power, which is why, NeoClassic has decided to use this acronym to best describe the path which consists of a series of steps that lead to success.

STEAM is easy to remember.

S – Set your goals.

Before beginning your journey, determine your destination. Visualize your goals. Where do you want to be 3 months from now? What about 5 or 10 years from now? What would you like to be doing? What skills would you like to have acquired by then?

It is best to have both short-term and long-term goals.  Align your short-term goals with the long-term. Your short-term goals should eventually lead you to your long-term goal/s.

(Tip: You can use a journal or scrapbook and pin or write in your goals. Look at it everyday to help you keep your focus on your goals. Visualizing your goals daily is very effective.)

T – Take action using the 3Ps.

Once you have identified and listed your goals, list down the actions needed to achieve them. Then, most importantly take action.

Your action will most likely yield good results if you apply the 3Ps which are:

  • Patience –understand and accept that developing practical skills takes time and regular commitment. Be patient.
  • Perseverance –defined as the persistence in doing a course of action in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. Persevere.

  • Practice (Performance) – Playing an instrument is a practical skill. Life itself requires practical skills. As the famous philosopher, Aristotle said “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” An oxymoron indeed, but true in every sense of the word. For, to develop practical skills, practice (performance) of the required skill is the only way to acquire that very skill.

Set a time frame for your action plan, then…

E – Evaluate.

In any endeavour, it always helps to have someone provide us with feedback so that we can improve. After having taken action for a specific period of time, it is then necessary to evaluate the efficacy of your actions. Evaluation (feedback) from trusted and knowledgeable people (such as your teacher, your family, or an expert in your field of study) and self-evaluation are both important for improvement.

A – Adjust.

Based on the evaluation results/feedback,  you can then make the necessary adjustments to your course of action. Adjust until you reach the most effective course of action that yields positive and progressive results.

M - Maintain.

When you find that you are making good progress and successfully reaching your short-term goals, maintain your course of actions. This will eventually lead you to achieve your long-term goals or your dreams.

Take these steps now and you’re on your way to success!

STEAM is originally devised by NeoClassic Music School as a guide for students’ learning and development.

At NeoClassic, we will lead you to success!

Written by: Sharon O. Jusay

 

03

Feb

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
Alvin Toffler

29

Jan

The pause is as important as the note.
~Truman Fisher

22

Jan

NEOCLASSIC MUSIC SCHOOL PRACTICE GUIDELINES: WHEN, WHERE, HOW MUCH, WHAT & HOW?

(For Parents & Students)

When your piano, guitar, violin or singing teacher tells you to practice, what exactly does he/she mean?

Often, students think they have practised just because they’ve played or sung through their pieces once or twice at home. Many students also think that the length of time they go through their pieces (regardless of anything else) will make them progress. Sadly, these are all misconceptions about what PRACTICE really is.

To avoid these common practice mistakes, and therefore, make full &  efficient use of your practice time, NeoClassic Music School offers  the following useful PRACTICE GUIDELINES.

What better way is there to start your New Year’s music lessons  than to improve your practice habits? This means you could make remarkable progress in just a few months, or even weeks!

So, Enjoy and Happy Practising! :)

WHEN

Set aside a DAILY PRACTICE SCHEDULE. This must become part of your life’s DAILY ROUTINE.

Note: Establishing a routine is  very important even for small children who just started music lessons, so they will grow to expect practice everyday at the same time. The student must persevere to establish this most important aspect of learning to play an instrument if he/she is to make any significant progress at all.

WHERE

Practice area should be free from aural or visual distractions (radio, TV, people talking, distracting views outside the window, etc.)

HOW MUCH & WHAT

Practice should grow along with the child’s concentration span.

We strongly suggest that practice time be divided into smaller segments with rests or contrasting activities in between. Studies have shown that more skill is developed this way. Interestingly, It has been observed that during the intervening period, errors often disappear while correct responses are retained. In addition, the intervening time gives the child a chance to recover from physical or mental fatigue.

As the child gradually becomes more advanced, the practice period becomes longer, and his ability to concentrate is also naturally lengthened and developed.

When a long practice segment is inevitable, it is good for the student  to cover contrasting material in each session.

HOW

Always refer to your Music Assignment notebook for the homework that your teacher has given you. Specific instructions will be written there by your teacher during your lessons, so it is important that you bring the notebook to lessons at all times.

Generally, you will find the following aspects to practice at home:

1.       Number of repetitions you need to do per session

2.       Bar numbers that require correction, repetition, etc.

3.       Directions for technique – You may also request the assistance of your teacher to record a short video demonstrating the technique required so you can remember it at home.

4.       Directions for musical playing – Your teacher may require you to listen  to various recordings of the same piece/s you’re playing to arrive at a sound musical interpretation that is uniquely yours.

In addition, the following tips should make practicing more fun, highly motivating and rewarding.

1.       Every practice session/segment must have a specific, reasonably challenging,  and attainable goal.

It Is the teacher’s responsibility to set goals for lessons, and it is the parents & student’s responsibility to set goals for practice.

2.       Remember the phrase, “One thing at a time.”

Playing an instrument requires a complex skill which needs to develop over time. We break down this complex skill requirements into smaller steps for the student to accomplish step by step. So, remember, the fastest way to acquire good skills is to take one step at a time.

3.       Positive Reinforcement through praise and positive experiences.

 Every step/task successfully achieved, no matter how small, deserves recognition and praise. Make practicing a pleasurable and happy experience.

4.       End the practice session on a positive and happy note.

Frustrations and unpleasant experiences can sometimes occur during practice sessions, but always look at the over-all picture and look for positive experiences and achievements, no matter how small. End with a positive thought and/or end with pieces that the child has already mastered.

5.       Maintain enthusiasm for each step that your child takes in the learning process.

Repetition is such an important aspect  in developing skills, and parents must not show boredom no matter how many times the child repeats his assignments.

6.       Make repetition & practicing  fun through games.

Creative games can be devised to make repetition fun. And most children enjoy repetition itself especially if it has been specifically stated in their notebooks by their teachers and assigned in a challenging way.

7.       Communicate.

Communicate with your teacher/ your child’s teacher to make sure you know exactly what needs to be practiced, how it should be practiced and the expectations for the next lesson.

Reference:

1. Starr, William & Constance. To Learn With Love. Miami, FL: Summy-Birchard, Inc., 1983.

- by Sharon O. Jusay

11

Jan

For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.
Aristotle

22

Dec

Congratulations to all London College of Music Examinees, their parents & teachers! Keep up the excellent work! Enjoy the holidays! Happy New Year, everyone! :)

Congratulations to all London College of Music Examinees, their parents & teachers! Keep up the excellent work! Enjoy the holidays! Happy New Year, everyone! :)

21

Dec

"One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child."
~Carl Jung
Congratulations to our student, Veenea Nair on the release of her first studio album - The Dream!
The Dream is a collection of 7 songs of love and inspiration. It has always been Veenea’s dream to help and inspire others through music. The proceeds from her CDs will go to HUGS (Helping Underprivileged Gain Strength), Malaysia & YASKA (Yayasan Kanser Kanak-Kanak), Brunei Darussalam.
The CDs are now available in Brunei @ BND10.00 each and Malaysia @ RM25.00. To order, please email neoclassicmusic@gmail.com or contact NeoClassic Music School directly at 00-673-2-453356 (school is closed for holiday from 21st Dec - 3rd Jan, 2013).
Enjoy the music while helping others! :)

Congratulations to our student, Veenea Nair on the release of her first studio album - The Dream!

The Dream is a collection of 7 songs of love and inspiration. It has always been Veenea’s dream to help and inspire others through music. The proceeds from her CDs will go to HUGS (Helping Underprivileged Gain Strength), Malaysia & YASKA (Yayasan Kanser Kanak-Kanak), Brunei Darussalam.

The CDs are now available in Brunei @ BND10.00 each and Malaysia @ RM25.00. To order, please email neoclassicmusic@gmail.com or contact NeoClassic Music School directly at 00-673-2-453356 (school is closed for holiday from 21st Dec - 3rd Jan, 2013).

Enjoy the music while helping others! :)

19

Dec

"Will My Boy Amount To Something?" - (an offensive question)

"The mother of one of my students came one day to inquire about her son. This student had good musical sense, practised very well and was a superior child.

"Sensei (Professor), will my boy amount to something?" the mother asked me, just like that.

I answered laughingly, “No. He will not become ‘something’.”

It seems to be the tendency in modern times for parents to entertain thoughts of this kind. It is undisguisedly cold and a calculating educational attitude. When I hear things like this, I want to reply in a joking way. But the mother was alarmed and surprised by my answer.

So I continued, “He will become a noble person through his violin playing. Isn’t that good enough? You should stop wanting your child to become a professional, a good money earner. This thought is concealed in your question and is offensive. A person with a fine and pure heart will find happiness. The only concern for parents should be to bring up their children as noble human beings. That is sufficient. If this is not their greatest hope, in the end the child may take a road contrary to their expectations. Your son plays the violin very well. We must try to make him spledid in mind and heart also.” - Dr. Shinichi Suzuki