Let’s write a song!

It’s composition time at Music for Young Children! We are learning about techniques that make writing a song easy!

Children love being creative. Whether it’s drawing a picture, pretending to be a character in a story, or writing a piece of music, children love to explore their creativity.

The Music for Young Children program presents the elements of writing a song into 4 essential components. Motive, repetition, sequence, and retrograde.

When we are finished, we have a composition recital with a treat afterwards. Every student performs their song for their class. It’s great fun!

Some students even sing and play their original song at the same time!


Knowing your “attractor state”

We all have habits. Some good, some bad. When it comes to singing, it’s important to understand what you already do well, versus what you don’t do so well.

In my case, I have a habit of not “yawning” enough. I don’t open the back of my throat very well. I get lazy and forget. I need to remember every time so I develop a new habit every time I sing. I also have a habit of poor posture when singing at the piano. My back isn’t straight, and tend to hunch over.

What are your habits? Which ones are good? Which ones are not so good? What are you focusing on when you sing?

Does learning to play piano help you sing easier?

It is easiest to sing when you have mastered the art of listening. Listening and mimicing sounds go hand-in-hand. In fact, that’s how we learned to talk…we copied what we heard. It is easiest if the singer has developed this art at a young age.

That’s why I always encourage my piano students to sing the rhythm or words as they learn a song. The goal, of course, is to match pitch. Later on, to match articulation and dynamics.

I don’t think we can under-estimate the value of learning a musical instrument and its’ correlation to learning to sing.


Play Piano by Ear … There’s Never Been A Better Time to Learn

The 21st century…..aaawwwweeee….there has never been a better time to learn about something you always wanted to do! The free content available on the internet can teach you to do almost…anything!

So, why not take advantage of it?

Recently, I started to post videos teaching you how to play piano by ear. If you have never played the piano, then trying this method may be easier than you think. If you can only play piano with music in front of you, then follow me through my videos and I’ll set you up nicely to be able to throw away that sheet music for good!

I have only just begun, but there is a lot to get started on. I show you how to make chords that provide the harmony (backdrop) for all music! Once you learn how to make a chord, invert the chord, colour the chord, and understand the chord, then the next step is turning that chord into some amazing rhythmic patterns! These patterns will make you sound like you have been playing piano for years!

Once we get the chords working with rhythm, I will start to show you how to break down a song into easy, manageable parts, including how to find the melody, and how to add it to the chords you are learning.

You can find me at beemusicstudios on you tube.

Feel free to ask me any questions, and …. don’t forget to have fun!

It’s All Child’s Play….

Learning the music language does not have to be tedious and difficult. In Music for Young Children, the language of music starts as early as 2 1/2. We use many ideas to reinforce new concepts such as singing and games and puppets. There is no memorizing required because the students are exposed to these concepts repeatedly, week after week. It simply becomes a second language.

The founder of the program, Francis Balodis, has the fundamentals and building blocks of music education laid out perfectly for each student to achieve success in music, year after year. Yes, it is a piano lesson, but it is much, much more. Children who have graduated from the Music for Young Children program go on and explore many other musical interests with ease. Their sight-reading and rhythmic skills are well developed. Their ability to play ensemble and listen with other musicians has already been engaged.  

Did I mention that this starts at age 2 1/2? These students graduate around the age of 9 with their Grade 1 piano exam and Preliminary Rudiments exam. That’s right! These kids already know intervals, their circle of 5th’s, and rest replacement. Their friends at school who take piano lessons have never heard of the circle of 5th’s. This is because the preliminary rudiments exam is not required until you reach Grade 5 piano.

The Music for Young Children program helps develop your child’s musical aptitude to the fullest. Children can enter the program at any age…there are multiple entry levels that are age-appropriate. Music for Young Children is celebrating 30 years this year. There is no better program in the world for your child to develop all the skills necessary to go on and have a full and happy musical life!

Do what you love and live a long happy life……

Don’t let other people stop you from doing what you love. If you love to sing or play an instrument then try to learn everything you can and practise diligently to be the best you can possibly be. Don’t compare yourself to others. There will always be someone who is better than you.

Playing an instrument or singing fills you will a wonderful sense of self. Take that time with yourself and enjoy. Watch this video and it will give you inspiration!! http://abcnews.go.com/WN/101-year-pianist-music-secret-long-life/story?id=10434375

Freedom to improv….

Have you ever seen an amazing pianist perform flawlessly when they are given a piece of music, but if you take the music away they are really stuck? It is very common to get carried away with the technical side of things. Let’s face it, Bach and Mozart wanted you to play their music exactly as it was written.

There is no doubt that technique is a vital component to playing music, however does technique give you the elements to be creative on your own? Here at the Bee Music Studios we teach creativity and improvisation as well.

In the Music for Young Children program, children are learning to chord as young as 5 years of age. That’s right……..they are playing Hot Crossed Buns, or Jingle Bells, or Mary Had a Little Lamb with no music!! It’s really not that difficult.

The key is learning to listen and play patterns and chords in I, IV and V with no music. Here in the Music for Young Children program, that’s exactly what they are doing, along with reading music. Both aspects are key elements in the develop of a strong foundation of music understanding.

Your comments are appreciated……..Have a great holiday! Susie

How old should my child be to take singing or piano lessons?

First, let’s start with singing.

Children should be encouraged to match pitch as soon as they start to talk. For instance, matching low sounds like a frog, or high sounds like a fire siren…..these are important first steps in ear training and learning to match pitch.  It helps them recognize their high voice (the fire siren) and their low voice (the frog).

Singing “on key” can start to become a problem when the child only learns to “hear himself”  instead of listening to both himself and the accompanying music and singer. This is where the adult can be very helpful by encouraging proper pitch matching in a fun and loving way. Music classes once a week such as Music Pups and Music for Young Children are a wonderful way for the family to sing and enjoy music together.

The recommended age to actually start singing lessons is much debated. In my studio we start at the age of 6. As long as the student is able to pay attention for 20 minutes of vocal warm-ups and exercises, followed by 10 minutes of singing songs, then this is a good age to start lessons.

Lessons help the child learn how to sing through their entire vocal register…..both the head voice and the chest voice.  Lessons draw attention to matching pitch in the correct register. This helps eliminate any bad habits such as reaching for high notes in their chest voice. Students also develop a comfort with performance because they are singing with other students, and performing regularly in front of their parents. All these steps add up to huge benefits for their self-esteem and, of course, their singing voice!!

When should a child start piano lessons?

Do you remember when you started piano lessons? I do…I was 5. I think the novelty lasted about a year and a half. The only reason I continued was because my family was very musical and my grandmother taught me how to chord.

Today, we have a great program called Music for Young Children that helps make having a music/piano lesson fun for the entire family. Students get together in a small group setting with their parent and meet for up to an hour to study the keyboard and music education. Children start as young as 3! The hour is filled with songs and games about the critters that live on the keyboard, and the rhythm critters who tell us how to play our keyboard. The children love this.

Currently in my studio I have students as young as 9 achieving their Grade 1 Royal Conservatory piano exam and Preliminary Rudiments theory exam. All students do very well. The reason…….because we have fun and because the family is involved.

Homework and keyboard/piano practise is assigned weekly. It is the parent’s responsbility to see that this is accomplished. There is some flexibility in the program, so when things get tough the student has options so they can reach the same degree of achievement. The program is phenomenal and must be seen to be really appreciated.

Parents are encouraged to visit the myc.com website for a teacher near you. This program is celebrating its’ 30th year, and the founder is a Canadian named Francis Belodis whom I am very fond of!

That’s all for now! Questions and remarks are welcome!