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Blog #39: The Emotional Side of Music

Feb 17, 2021

Some of you may know that I play regularly at the Alberta Ballet School (and company when Covid isn't wreaking havoc) in Calgary, Alberta. Lately, I've been playing for someone named Mr.Aram Manukyan. A lot! It's awesome. He is one of the most expressive teachers that I have ever played for.

If I play music he loves, he reacts and gives me a thumbs up or comes over and says something about how awesome it is! If it's music he doesn't like, he's equally expressive! lol. There is no wondering whether what...

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#10: What is syncopation? How is it valuable?

Feb 08, 2021

Have you heard of Mikhail Baryshnikov?  Of course you have.. lol, who hasn't, right? Well I stumbled on upon a great video that I want to show you, of him and Gregory Hines dancing together using something that I adore and that is.. syncopation.

Watch the video and then come back to me!

https://youtu.be/ImzkWZkaIIM?t=74

How'd you like it? They're not perfectly tight together, but it is a super fun number none the less.  What's fun about it, is when they DON'T step when you think they will, OR,...

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Blog #38: Training Musicality in Mature Dancers

Jan 23, 2021

I have a question to put to you..

Is it possible to train a professional dancer or prima ballerina, or is that something you born with?

I do think it’s easier for someone who is instinctively musical and naturally intuitive as a performer to reach that kind of status on the stage but, with the right training and support, I think it's quite possible for the most unlikely of young dancers to make it on the stage!

As a ballet teacher, you have incredible potential to impact the future potential of...

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Blog #37: 2 Necessary Steps When Marking for Pianists (all 5 types of them!)

Jan 11, 2021

Working with a pianist can be all kinds of things.. Awesome, terrifying, exciting, dreadful, amazing, supportive, disastrous, mind blowing, horrific and the words could go on and on. The important part is to realize that we're all different kinds of people with different experiences, skills, perspectives, mentalities, etc.

Today, I'm going to give you 2 necessary steps for you as a ballet teacher when working with a pianist!

SIDE NOTE: Keep in mind, we're all different so some pianists may not totally...

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Blog #36 Favourite Music Anyone?

Jan 01, 2021

New Isn't Always Better!

So we just had Christmas and my boys got a present that thrills their souls, an air powered rocket set! It's cheap plastic and probably won't last long, but for the time being, it's incredibly fun! Likely in an hour or 2, they'll be back inside playing with LEGO or cars, lol.

That's how it is with new music too, right?

We get new music (whether musicians or dance teachers) and temporarily we're thrilled with our new find, but the excitement wears off quick if it doesn't work...

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Blog #35 Master Counting Slow Duple Meter (4/4s)

Dec 29, 2020

Slow Duple Meter for Plies?! Why? How?

20 years ago, when I began to play for ballet as a young innocent, still wet behind the ears from getting my degree in performing arts, I found the art of accompanying ballet and understanding how music was relevant to the movement, absolutely mind numbing.

There were tons and tons of movements and piles and piles of music! Slowly certain movements and music began to click and make sense. Certain parts of a ballet class became a comfort zone for me..a happy place...

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Adagio Triple meter: Through the eyes of Christmas

Dec 19, 2020
 

Adagio Triple Meter Through the music of Christmas

Exploring the adagio triple meter through Christmas music! It's the perfect season since we've got ample options with fabulous melody lines that many people will recognize.

Adagio 3/4 We Three Kings

Features:

  • Accent on each dancer count
  • Music phrases of 4 dancer counts
  • Beats 2 and 3 of each measure are less significant than the beat 1.

 

Adagio 6/8 It Came Upon a Midnight Clear 

Features:

  • Accent on dancer counts 1, 3, 5, 7
  • Music phrases of...
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#34: Tempo Rubato and the Copacabana!

Nov 26, 2020

I dare you to sing this.. to the Copacabana melody!

The word is Tempo, Tempo Rubato,

with holding one note extra long and making up the time after,

It is a technique, for being sassy,

Robbing time from measure 4 to hold out measure 3 longer

Across music today, Whether work or play,

Whether dancing or playing music,

Who could ask for more?

 

Did you do it? Did you actually sing?!  I hope so! I had some good fun making it up!

So, in all seriousness, tempo rubato is totally awesome and...

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#33: How Does Music Training Actually Benefit Ballet Teachers (and their students)?

Nov 21, 2020

First run of the course is done!

Surprises, thoughts and reflections..

Having completed The Official Music Training Course for Ballet Teachers (The OMTC) with my inaugural group of 'students', I'm extremely excited to say there was very little to tweak and SO MUCH positive feedback to enjoy!  I did find that I had a couple of surprises that I wanted to share with you.

Surprise #1

My list of 'students' wasn't what I expected it to be!

I expected to have a group of young, inexperienced beginner...

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#32: Thoughts on Music for Plies

Nov 03, 2020

Time to talk..

Music for Plies

When I think about plies as a musician, my mind immediately goes to long and slow. When I was first learning to accompany for ballet, plies were a safe haven since they were the easiest to play for. Later on, as I became more confident in my ability and in my understanding of accents, rhythms, etc, it became something dull and often boring for me. Now, in my 'old' age of experience accompanying ballet, I love them.

I love the weight and elasticity of the movement. I love...

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