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Blog #44 How to Teach Music to Children

May 03, 2021

Do YOU know how to teach music to your dancers? Why should you?

How do you do that anyway?

Good questions that deserve an answer!

Do you know how to teach music? I have no idea, but you'll have a solid idea how after reading this blog post!

Why should you teach music to your dancers? Well, that's like asking why a home cook should learn the attributes of different cooking ingredients. If you know that you can thicken a sauce with corn starch (keeping the sauce more transparent looking) or with flour...

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Are your Pianist’s tempos always wrong?

Apr 22, 2021

I’m about to say some thing that might sting a little… Like salt on a wound. Ready? It comes from a place of love and understanding so please bear with me, ok?

If you’re a ballet teacher who works with pianists/musicians and your pianist's tempos are always wrong, no matter who the pianist is.. it's probably the other adult in the room. (Don't shoot the messenger just yet.. bear with me!) I promise this is going somewhere good! 

To avoid having this constant tempo frustration in...

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Blog #41: Comfort Meter; Your Greatest Strength and Your Greatest Weakness

Apr 07, 2021

You know how sometimes you meet someone and immediately you think..

"wow, I just love this person.. I think we could be best friends! They're amazing! I could spend hours with them and never get tired of them.. They're so easy to hang out with because they're _________ (You fill in the blank!)."

Fast forward a few weeks and suddenly that very character trait that drew you to them like butter to popcorn or rum to coke is driving you bonkers.. like being stuck behind a slow driver when you're late!  

...
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Blog #40: Which 6 do I want?!

Mar 23, 2021

Which 6 do I want?!

Generally when I get asked for a six, the teacher is wanting a 6/8. Say adagio, or perhaps a fast 6/8 for allegro.

However, sometimes I get asked for a six with something else in mind.. music with 6 count phrases..

What if YOU are actually looking for a music type that is in six count phrases? You know there’s music types that are phrased and counted like that, but which one do you want? You might even spend some time trying to figure out which music type you want only to give...

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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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