Hi Everyone-

Please read the comment below from Narciso Solero. He has agreed to do a guest post for Notes of Joy — but he’d like to hear what’s on our minds first!  Do you have a topic that you’d like to see covered by a master teacher and clinician?  Please post in the comments section with your suggestions!

From Mr. Solero:

Hi, again! Thanks so much for the kind words about my seminar! Another teacher in RMTA once wrote the following to me after my first program in Richmond in 2008: “Thank you for giving so much of yourself.   It is obvious you love what you do and you love sharing what you know.”

I am so appreciative of this, because I do in fact LOVE music, love the piano, love teaching, and love to share it with others.  Thank you, Anya, for inviting me to do a guest post for Notes of Joy! You may remember that, prior to my workshop in Richmond in October 2009, that I asked for input from everyone as to which program they would like to hear. So now, I ask: what would you like me to speak about in my post? I am open for suggestions! Let me know!”

So, there you have it? What would you like to read about? Leave your comment below!

And Happy Monday!


I’m sure you all remember my posts detailing the workshop, hosted by our local music teachers association, featuring the clinician Narciso Solero.  (if you’d like a refresher, you can find the posts – Part I here – and Part II  here)

I haven’t forgotten about these lectures. Why?  Because I use the teaching/practice elements detailed in the workshop all the time with my beginning students.  And I see a world of difference. No joke.  My kids read better now. They’re more proficient with their note names and the topography of the keyboard in general.  I’m truly amazed by the results I see (when the students are following the given practice guidelines, naturally 🙂 ).

So, I’m a big fan of Mr. Solero  — now, just imagine my surprise when I opened my Inbox on Monday morning and found, not only comments on the workshop blog posts (check them out – they’re there),  but also a personal email from Narciso Solero!  He had kind words about the blog posts about his workshop (which I was more than willing to share with my readers… since I’ve had such good success with the concepts covered!).  Over the course of the week we’ve exchanged a few email — and something that he mentioned about teaching prompted me to invite him to write a guest post for Notes of Joy if he ever had the time/desire.  So, we’ll see — but maybe we’ll all be lucky enough to hear from him! Stay tuned!

And have a wonderful weekend!

Hi everyone! After the craziest weekend ever (packing more into days than one would think possible!) – I’m back!  And now more inspired than ever to share ideas with you… can’t wait to blog about the all day workshop our local association had on Saturday with Seymour Bernstein!

Sadly,  I can’t do that right this second…. but I did want to mention that Laura from Bea’s Teaching Aids is doing a special discount offer on Bea’s Keys for all Notes of Joy readers!   When you mention this blog with your order you can get Bea’s Keys for $6.95 (+ S&H)… a discount from the regular price of $9.95!  Hurry, though, because this offer only lasts until June  1st!

More fun to come — so, see you soon!

Congratulations to Julia – the winner of the Bea’s Keys drawing!
And thanks to you all for participating – I hope to do more fun giveaways in the future.

Sorry to be absent from the blogging world this week… I’ll spare you the excuses. The great thing though, is that Richmond Music Teachers is hosting an all day workshop tomorrow with Seymour Bernstein – so I’m planning to post next week about all the aspects of the workshop. Stay tuned!

And have a great weekend!

I hope everyone had a wonderful spring weekend! Thanks to you all for your comments on the giveaway — I’m tallying the total… but the drawing doesn’t end until Thursday – 11:59pm! So you still have time to enter (and tell others about it!). Good luck!

I came across this quote, which I will share with you today. I think it says a lot about our job as teachers — since music really should be a lifetime joy — it’s very important that we foster that joy while we have our students… so they can love music forever…regardless of where life takes them.

Music is forever; music should grow and mature with you, following you right on up until you die.” ~Paul Simon

Bea's Keys

I know, I know, I talk about Bea’s Keys a lot.  I have to…because I use them with great success in most all of my weekly lessons!  (and who wouldn’t… my students ask to do their Bea’s Keys ‘flashcards’!)

So — what’s the scoop this time?  Well…something wonderful and fantastic has happened…



Bea’s Music Teaching Aids is participating in my first giveaway by passing out a FREE  set of Bea’s Keys to one lucky Notes of Joy reader!!!

To enter the drawing,simply leave a comment below!

If you’d like extra entries in the drawing you can:

a) subscribe to this blog

b) post about this giveaway on your blog, facebook, or twitter page

c) do all options above for a total of 3 entries!

*Please let me know in your comment which options you chose so I can keep track of everything and assure you get all your entries in the pot!     A winner will be selected at random and announced next Friday morning (Apr. 16th)  …. so good luck and stay tuned!

(If you’d like to know more about Bea’s Keys – see my earlier post about them here.)

The April edition of Music Educators Blog Carnival is hosted by Carol at http://www.beatechie.com/.

As usual, there are tons of informative and inspiring posts – written by music teachers, for music teachers.  Check it out!

Jerald M. Simon of Music Motivation is hosting a workshop on his book “Cool Songs for Cool Kids”

You can see inside the book and hear audio samples of the pieces here.

The workshop will be held in Bountiful, Utah — which disappointed me since I’m 2,158 miles away — but then I read this:

For those music teachers and music students outside of Utah, I will be filming the entire workshop and will post either sections of what has been filmed, or will post the entire video so you won’t miss out on anything.

And then this:

I don’t want anyone to feel left out, so, I am having an online “Music Motivation® Give Away” where I will give away 3 copies of my ninth book “Cool Songs for Cool Kids” to randomly chosen teachers.

And then Mr. Simon lists all of his composition collections, and says:

Take a look at the links above, pick out your favorite book, and leave a comment below this post in order to be entered in the drawing to win your chosen book (you may choose any of the books if you’d rather have a book other than the “Cool Songs for Cool Kids” book. The drawing will be held on Wednesday, April 14 at noon, MDT (Mountain Daylight Time), so be sure to leave your comment before then! I’ll notify the three winners as soon as I hold the drawing, and will announce them here on Thursday, April 15.

Isn’t that wonderful? Oh I hope more clinicians/teachers/composers/etc. will do more online workshops. And sure, Mr. Simon has something to sell…. but aren’t we always interested in finding new, great music? Sure we are!  Which is why I’ve already commented on the post… and I’m anxiously waiting for the workshop videos to be posted.

Here’s the link to the workshop page — comment at the bottom of the page for your chance at free music.  Good luck!

April is Jazz Appreciation Month.  So, I decided to go digging around out there on the great web… and was delighted with the classroom resources I found for incorporating Jazz Appreciation Month in April’s lesson plans!  Jazz is such an important part of American music (and history) — and I love to play it and to teach it!

I’ll share with you some of the resources I found, and hopefully you will find something useful to your studio.

The Smithsonian Jazz website has a wealth of fantastic resources for Jazz Appreciation Month (and classroom jazz instruction in general).   The ‘Groovin to Jazz‘ detailed lesson plans and listening examples are great, with many topics to choose from, so you can pick what would interest your class!

Here are the links:

Smithsonian Jazz ‘Groovin to Jazz’ lesson plans:  http://www.smithsonianjazz.org/class/groovintojazz/lessonplans.asp

Groovin to Jazz listening examples: http://www.smithsonianjazz.org/class/groovintojazz/groovin_8_13.asp

Click around on the Smithsonian Jazz website to find even more great Jazz ideas!

Another amazing site I found is Arts Edge from Kennedy Center.  The Celebrating Jazz page has many step by step lesson plans for fun and informative classes!


Celebrating Jazz:  http://www.artsedge.kennedy-center.org/content/3944/

A class on Composing 12 Bar Blues: http://www.artsedge.kennedy-center.org/content/2208/

A class on the history of Harlem Jazz: http://www.artsedge.kennedy-center.org/content/2258/

(Note: I just posted the 2 class links above to give you an idea of the offerings on the ArtsEdge site… but click on the top link and then look around the site for so many great ideas!)

National Association for Music Education has some good ideas for jazz education resources as well. Find them here. (I found a lot of the above sites from this site — and I’m sure I didn’t glean all of the good ideas!)

Dr. Joseph Pisano posted an excellent lesson plan called: Jazz Appreciation Month: Celebrate Women Jazz Artists — it focuses on the role women have played in jazz music.  I would love to use this in a group class this month!

Ok. That’s a little list to get us all started.  Do you have any resources that we could add to the list? I’d love to hear about them!  Oh, and don’t forget to find jazz lead sheets for print!

Happy jazzing!

It feels like spring is in full-force this week in Richmond – so I thought I’d share some music for spring!

Not much says ‘sunshine and flowers…and maybe a shower or two’ like Beethoven Sonata 5 – Spring – Shared here by Prof. Dora Bratchkovaviolin and Prof. Rudolf Meister – piano.  Enjoy! (while hopefully looking out at the sunny day!)

What music says ‘spring is here!’ to you?


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