Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Mindfully Musical

MINDFULLY MUSICAL: HOW MUSIC LESSONS CAN HELP CURE OUR MODERN-DAY ANXIETIES, DISTRACTIONS, AND OTHER FIRST-WORLD MALADIES.

In today’s age of social media and cell phone addiction, when community is shaped by your Facebook feed, and a time when kids and adults alike are experiencing an inability to be alone brought about by technology, how could you expect someone to tolerate sitting down at an instrument every day? To tolerate spending time alone every day? To feel proud having devoted an entire hour to a passage of music when there are texts to answer, instagrams to post, and your teachers and bosses expect to be able to reach you at all times?



So many chronic mental health issues in today’s society can be addressed in music lessons. We all know that music study improves self-esteem, teaches overcoming obstacles and setting goals, and brings respect and a loosening of ego into daily life. Here is how you can focus that power to make a more lasting impact.

To have your students participate in the research, please have them fill out the following survey. Survey: The Perks of Studying Music.

To participate in an online and ongoing happiness survey yourself, go to https://www.trackyourhappiness.org/


SUGGESTED READING

Barron, Carrie & Alton. The Creativity Cure. Scribner:NY, 2012.
Burkeman, Oliver. The Antidote. Faber & Faber: NY, 2012.
Cognitive Neuroscience of Music, The. Peretz, I & Zatorre, R (ed), Oxford U Press, Y, 2003.
Coyle, Daniel. The Talent Code. Bantam Books: New York, 2009.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Flow. HarperCollins: New York, 1990.
Davis, et al. An Introduction to Music Therapy. McGraw Hill, 1999.
Davis, Tchiki. Outsmart Your Smartphone. New Harbinger Publications, 2019.
Duke, Robert. Intelligent Music Teaching. Learning and Behavior Resources: TX, 2005.
Dweck, Carol S, PhD. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Ballantine Books: NY 2006.
Goleman, Daniel. Focus. Harper Collins, NY, 2013.
Gunatillake, Rohan. Modern Mindfulness. St. Martin's Griffin: New York, 2017.
How to Memorize Music. James Francis Cooke. Theodore Presser Co.: Philadelphia, 1948.
Levitin, Daniel. The Organized Mind. Dutton: NY, 2014.
Levitin, Daniel. This is your brain on music. Dutton: NY, 2006.
Miles, Elizabeth. Tune Your Brain: Using Music to Manage Your Mind, Body and Mind. Berkley Books: NY, 1997.
Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology, The. Hallam, Cross & Thaut, eds. Oxford U. Press: Oxford, 2009.
Suzuki, S. Ability Development from Age Zero. Alfred Publishing, New York: 1981.
Suzuki, S. Nurtured By Love. Alfred Pub., USA, 1983.
The Child as Musician; A Handbook of Musical Development. Gary McPherson. Oxford U. Press, NY, 2003.


ARTICLES, WEBSITES, AND LINKS:


Benefits of Music Education https://www.slps.org/site/default.aspx?DomainID=2046
Benefits of Playing the Piano: https://ogdenpianogallery.com/the-benefits-of-learning-to-play-the-piano/
Could Playing Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker improve kids’ brains? https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141223132546.htm
Creativity, happiness, and your own two hands https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-creativity-cure/201205/creativity-happiness-and-your-own-two-hands
Decline of Play and the Rise of Children’s Mental Disorders https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freedom-learn/201001/the-decline-play-and-rise-in-childrens-mental-disorders
"Develop Grit" Esther Fellows. American Music Teacher. Feb/Mar 2019.
Handiwork: How busy hands can alter our brain chemistry https://www.cbsnews.com/news/handiwork-how-busy-hands-can-alter-our-brain-chemistry/
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/03/14/703170892/a-rise-in-depression-among-teens-and-young-adults-could-be-linked-to-social-medi?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20190314
Happiness Games: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/click-here-happiness/201711/ten-plus-happiness-games-and-activities
Happiness Skills Workbook: https://www.berkeleywellbeing.com/store/p13/Happiness-Skills-eWorkbook.html
How Music Could Improve Language Skills https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141223132546.htm
How negative is your mental chatter? https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sapient-nature/201310/how-negative-is-your-mental-chatter
Music Lessons Improve Children’s Cognitive Skills and Academic Performance https://neurosciencenews.com/music-cognition-academics-8689/
Smartphones causing kids to experience altered childhood https://www.healthline.com/health-news/smart-phones-causing-kids-to-experience-altered-childhoods#2
Teaching Lessons for Children with Special Needs: https://nafme.org/teaching-lessons-children-special-needs/
Working with your hands—the secret to happiness? https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/may/08/working-hands-happiness-burkeman

Monday, September 16, 2019

It's Back to School!


"Creativity will be the currency of the 21st century." 
– Gerald Gordon


September Music Notes

  • For All Saturday Students: Starting THIS WEEK (Saturday, September 21) we will be in the Fine Arts Building at 410 South Michigan Avenue, Studio 727. I have arranged to be there for the rest of September. We are trying it out, so please let me know what you think!
  • For those of you who need an adjustable piano bench at home, there is a large order being placed through the Music Institute of Chicago which drastically decreases the cost of these benches ($315 instead of $599). All order forms need to be in by the end of the month. Please let me know if you're interested!
  • The swap list for FaithSlaker Music students has been posted on my website. Ask me in lesson for the password!
  • The Grand Avenue Bridge is going to be closed until the 27th of September. If you rely on that route to my studio, please make other plans!

You guys need to send me some new videos! I've had to resort to machines! Here is a mixed instrument player piano at House on the Rock.

Although they're not that bad.......

And here is Toby, back from the summer and trying out Variation A. Remember when Variation A was new???



MY SEPTEMBER RECOMMENDATIONS

  • ARTICLE AND BOOK: 
    The Benefits of Piano Practice Article
    Beyond the Music Lesson - a great guide for practice help that makes sense for your family!
  • PRACTICE HELP:
    A Suzuki Practicing Notebook prepared for you! For those of you who would love a system set up for your success in lessons, check out Lesson Compass!
  • LISTENING:
    For the pet owners: here is a dog enjoying the family piano when he's alone.
  • FREE CONCERTS:
    Harry Potter Goblet of Fire--CSO concert, Friday, November 29, 7:30pm
    Casablanca--CSO concert, Friday, March, 13, 7:30pm.
    Jurassic Park--CSO concert, Friday, May 15, 7:30pm.
Ready to Upgrade? Or do you have materials to donate? New students are always looking for footstools that your child may have outgrown. If you're no longer using it, let's pass it along! Footstools, pianos, keyboards, extra Suzuki books, CDs, Practice-help books, etc! Thanks for sharing and adding to our community!

July Notes and Updates as we get set for the fall term!

"Education in music is most sovereign because more than anything else rhythm and harmony find their way to the innermost soul and take strongest hold upon it."  ~ Plato 


July Music Notes

  • Fall Scheduling is upon us! If you have participated in two public events and have taken summer lessons, you may register for lessons starting July 15th!

    Please fill out the following form if you study with me at home: FSM Registration Form.
    Please fill out the following form if you study with me at Sherwood: Fall Scheduling Form.
  • Everyone has been invited to choose a movie or a song from a movie to start working on in lessons. We're going to do a Music in the Movies Recital this fall, projecting images from your child's favorite movie on a screen behind the piano to accompany each performance. Fun! Make sure you know what your child is planning on playing and keep an ear out for it during home practice!
  • Please remember--No cell phones in lessons. I have been finding it very distracting and want to be able to give your child my full attention. Thank you so much!
  • If you're on Facebook, please follow FaithSlakerMusic for weekly updates as well as articles on parenting, music education, and events around Chicago!


Ms. Aubrey Book 2 Graduation Performance, 1986!
Some of you might find this fun. This is me at age seven graduating from Suzuki Book 2. I was not required to play the entire book, so you'll hear two Bach Minuets and the Beethoven Sonatina.


Rosie's First Piano Lesson!
Orson's little sister was so well behaved during Orson's time with me that she finally got her very own piano lesson! They're rarely too young!

 Sasha and Stefan participated in the Chicago Suzuki Institute over the summer! Well done!


It's official! I'm a Suzuki Piano Teacher Trainer! The Chicago Suzuki Institute was my last step. I studied with Annette Lee, Caroline Fraser and Fay Adams and celebrated with the newest Suzuki Cello Teacher Trainer, Andrea Espinzo from Argentina. Here is also my first class of new Suzuki teachers that I helped train! If you know of anyone looking for Suzuki training, send them my way! I'm so eager to get started!

*****************************************************************************

MY JULY RECOMMENDATIONS

  • VIDEO AND BOOK: 
    Growth Mindset Video a& book Mindset by Carol Dweck
  • PRACTICE HELP:
    A Suzuki Practicing Notebook prepared for you! For those of you who would love a system set up for your success in lessons, check out Lesson Compass!
  • LISTENING:
    For those of you who enjoyed the Gershwin at Millennium Park last week, here is a Spotify playlist of more of Gershwin's music: Gershwin Playlist
  • FREE CONCERTS:
    Ravel's Mother Goose Suite--Millennium Park, Wed, 7/17, 6:30pm
    Beethoven 3rd Piano Concerto--Millennium Park, Fri 7/19 6:30/Sat 7/20 7:30pm
    Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake--Millennium Park, Wed, 7/24, 6:30pm
    Copeland Rodeo--Millennium Park, Wed July 31, 6:30pm

Thursday, June 13, 2019

June is Finally Spring and other Exciting Updates!

June Music Notes

  • I hope everyone is having a great summer so far! School is just about over, the sun is JUST about to come out, and we have some fun stuff to work on together! Please at least skim this e-mail as many of the questions I get every day in lessons and via text are answered here and on my website: www.faithslakermusic.com.
     
  • First of all--a BIG congratulations to Adara, Vivian, and Carrie for their recent high scores in the Royal Conservatory Assessment Program! Congratulations also to Vivian for her Third Place in the Illinois Music Association Competition. Well done, Pianists!!!!
     
  • My altered summer schedule begins Monday, June 24th. That's coming up! Let's talk if you have travel plans you haven't let me know about or conflicts coming up!
     
  • Please remember--No cell phones in lessons. I have been finding it very distracting and want to be able to give your child my full attention. Thank you so much!
     
  • If you're on Facebook, please follow FaithSlakerMusic for weekly updates as well as articles on parenting, music education, and events around Chicago!

Summer Studio Recital!
Click here for the full video of the entire recital. Everyone played beautifully and I'm so delighted to be able to share it with you!
The Last Book 1A Group Class of the School Year!
Pictured: Viviene, Vincent, Amy
Kabir gave a wonderfully musical performance last weekend and graduated from Suzuki Book 2. We're already excited to be working on new material and if you click here, you can see a video of his encore piece - Knight's Tale.
With summer just around the corner, and many of you having fun summer travel plans, I'd LOVE to see pictures of pianos around the world that you've been able to play! You can find them in hotels, in malls, in restaurants, and even on the streets! Keep your eyes open and make it a habit to play every piano you see! Send me pictures, or post them to the FaithSlaker Music Facebook page!
 
During the summer I am available for lessons more than once a week if you are interested in taking advantage of the time your child will have not being in school. Let me know and I'll put you guys on my list of students to contact when I have an opening!
 
Also, for those of you who haven't been regularly attending lessons, we're all working on a "Music in the Movies" recital for the fall term. Every student is looking to the movies to find inspiration. We're choosing pieces in the next week or so and we'll be working diligently all summer on these! This fall, everyone will play their movie music with images from their movie projected on screen behind the piano. I'm super exited!
UPCOMING FESTIVALS
 
ISMTA Competition:
     This one happens in October, so it is something to think on over the summer.
     For more information: https://ismta.org/ismtacompetitions
     I'd love to have my students participate. This is a newer one for me.
     It is open to all intermediate and above level students.
UPCOMING CALENDAR DATES
 
  • June 24th: Summer Schedule begins
  • June 29-July 7: Chicago Suzuki Institute: No Lessons
  • July 15: Fall Deposits and Fall Schedule Requests Due
  • August 19-September 2: No Lessons. Summer Break!
 
For more Calendar Dates, please see my website: www.faithslakermusic.com

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Suzuki Therapy


Suzuki Therapy: How music lessons can help cure our modern-day anxieties, distractions, and other first-world maladies.


In today’s age of social media and cell phone addiction, when community is shaped by your Facebook feed, and a time when kids and adults alike are experiencing an inability to be alone brought about by technology, how could you expect someone to tolerate sitting down at an instrument every day? To tolerate spending time alone every day? To feel proud having devoted an entire hour to a passage of music when there are texts to answer, instagrams to post, and your teachers and bosses expect to be able to reach you at all times?

So many chronic mental health issues in today’s society can be addressed in music lessons. We all know that music study improves self-esteem, it teaches overcoming obstacles and setting goals, and it brings respect and a loosening of ego into daily life. This is how you can focus that power to make a more lasting impact.



To have your students participate in the research, please have them fill out the following survey. Survey: The Perks of Studying Music.

To participate in an online and ongoing happiness survey yourself, go to https://www.trackyourhappiness.org/


Suggested Reading

Barron, Carrie & Alton. The Creativity Cure. Scribner:NY, 2012.

Burkeman, Oliver. The Antidote. Faber & Faber: NY, 2012.

Cognitive Neuroscience of Music, The. Peretz, I & Zatorre, R (ed), Oxford U Press, Y, 2003.

Coyle, Daniel. The Talent Code. Bantam Books: New York, 2009.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Flow. HarperCollins: New York, 1990.

Davis, et al. An Introduction to Music Therapy. McGraw Hill, 1999.

Duke, Robert. Intelligent Music Teaching. Learning and Behavior Resources: TX, 2005.

Dweck, Carol S, PhD. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Ballantine Books: NY 2006.

Goleman, Daniel. Focus. Harper Collins, NY, 2013.

Gunatillake, Rohan. Modern Mindfulness. St. Martin's Griffin: New York, 2017.

How to Memorize Music. James Francis Cooke. Theodore Presser Co.: Philadelphia, 1948.

Levitin, Daniel. The Organized Mind. Dutton: NY, 2014.

Levitin, Daniel. This is your brain on music. Dutton: NY, 2006.

Miles, Elizabeth. Tune Your Brain: Using Music to Manage Your Mind, Body and Mind. Berkley Books: NY, 1997.

Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology, The. Hallam, Cross & Thaut, eds. Oxford U. Press: Oxford, 2009.

Suzuki, S. Ability Development from Age Zero. Alfred Publishing, New York: 1981.

Suzuki, S. Nurtured By Love. Alfred Pub., USA, 1983.

The Child as Musician; A Handbook of Musical Development. Gary McPherson. Oxford U. Press, NY, 2003.


Articles, Websites, and Links:

Teaching Lessons for Children with Special Needs
https://nafme.org/teaching-lessons-children-special-needs/


Could Playing Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker improve kids’ brains? https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141223132546.htm


Music Lessons Improve Children’s Cognitive Skills and Academic Performance https://neurosciencenews.com/music-cognition-academics-8689/



"Develop Grit" Esther Fellows. American Music Teacher. Feb/Mar 2019.





Handiwork: How busy hands can alter our brain chemistry https://www.cbsnews.com/news/handiwork-how-busy-hands-can-alter-our-brain-chemistry/


Thursday, February 21, 2019

MTNA-PTG Scholarship Award, 2019 (Scroll Down! It's Me!)



Two ISMTA Members to be Honored at National Conference

Congratulations to Frances Larimer, who has been named MTNA Teacher of the Year, and to Aubrey Faith-Slaker, who has been awarded the MTNA-Piano Technicians Guild Scholarship.

Both will be honored at the MTNA Awards Brunch on Wednesday, March 20th, 10:30am at the National Conference in Spokane, Washington.
Frances Larimer, NCTM, Piano Professor Emerita, created the master's and doctoral degree programs in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the Northwestern University School of Music and served as director of these programs for over 25 years.  Prior to this, she established the group piano programs for music and non-music majors. Since her retirement in August 1998, Larimer has served as consultant in piano pedagogy for Yamaha.

Larimer has been active in MTNA for many years.  From 1975 to 1979 she served as national group piano chair for MTNA.  She has served two, four-year terms on the editorial board of The American Music Teacher and for five years was a music reviewer for Clavier.  She was honored as ISMTA Teacher of the Year in 2018.


Aubrey Faith-Slaker maintains a home studio in Chicago and also teaches at the Music Institute of Chicago and Sherwood, the Community Music School at Columbia College. She recently had her application to become a Suzuki Piano Teacher Trainer accepted and plans on finishing that process by the end of this summer. Aubrey has been active in teaching and studying in Central and South America for the past several years and will be giving a presentation on Music Lessons and Mental Health for Today's Distracted Children in Mexico in May at the first Suzuki Conference of the Americas. For some time now, Aubrey has been traveling to Lima, Peru to study and teach at the largest consistently-run Suzuki Festival in Latin America. Her award money from the MTNA-PTG scholarship, which is offered to MTNA certified teachers who use technicians in the technicians guild, will go toward teaching at the next Festival Suzuki de Peru. She has been MTNA certified since 2006. Aubrey received her BM in performance and pedagogy at the University of Illinois and her MM at Southern Methodist University.

Aubrey is an excellent example of why becoming an MTNA certified teacher is so valuable! Learn more about MTNA certification here. You can also learn more about Aubrey Faith-Slaker on her website here.


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Chicago Piano Lesson Weekly

For those of you who have expressed interest in the music psychology articles and local events I share with you regularly, you might want to check out my newsletter on those very topics!

The Chicago Piano Lesson Weekly comes out twice a week and can be accessed here, from my website, and highlights are posted regularly on my FaithSlaker Music Facebook page and Twitter.


For today, please enjoy this article on Parents as Engaged Partners in Music.