Musical Musings

Sharing musical thoughts and ideas.

Technique and the study of an instrument

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 by Paula Augustine | Study

People who play musical instruments can develop habits which may cause injury after repeated use. I personally experienced tendonitis in both elbows, which I attribute to improper flute playing for years. Thankfully, today much study has been done and there are teachers who have come up with systems to help teach technique and good habits. The best habit is to play without unnecessary or bad tension.

It is difficult in the short 30 minutes a week I have with students to address all technical issues and we do not want to just bog down on the tension in the body! Our bodies are wonderfully designed to adjust as changes are made and heal when necessary. As seen in the videos below, Dorothy Taubman was able to help professional musicians in 10 minutes! I try to offer a balance of picking on the small technical issues and teaching good techniques while still letting the student play and have fun at the piano. The main reason the student comes each week to piano lessons is to play!

Ultimately, students will develop their habits and some habits will help them while other habits will not. It is up to the student to understand as they are able, what habits are helping and what habits they need to change. 

Continuing with my tendonitis story, I can now play my flute without pain. I did have to give time for the tendonitis to heal and I did physical therapy with a professional. But, ultimately I needed to find those habits that were causing unnecessary and bad tension in my body and change my habits so I could play again.

Below are two short videos giving a simple overview of two schools of systems on teaching to prevent injury and help those who experience injuries.

Retro Music Education: Franz Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody no.2

Monday, March 4, 2019 by Paula Augustine | Uncategorized

Just for fun, music education! This is a great video of Bugs Bunny and the pianist Giuseppe Andaloro playing Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2. 

Franz List (B. October 22, 1811- D. July 31, 1886) is well known for is difficult piano music. He was a great pianist and wrote 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies total. The No. 2 is most well known.

A rhapsody is a free-form piece that takes different tunes and strings them together. No. 2 has two sections – the Lassan (Hungarian for slowly), the slow section of the csárdás, a Hungarian folk dance; and the Friska (from the Hungarian friss for fresh), the fast section of the csárdás. When you listen to the Hungarian Rhapsody #2 can you hear the formal, stately tone in the Lassan and the turbulent, jubilant tone in the Friska?


New Section to the Website

Friday, March 1, 2019 by Paula Augustine | Uncategorized

Sometimes I know parents want to order a new piano book and do not know where to start! Some parents have suggested they can just order the next level piano books if I let them know what to order. Now, I have a new way for everyone to know exactly which books would be good for your student's current ability level.

There is a new menu tab on the website called Supplies. Now anyone can order your child's next set of piano books, or even order those extra books of fun songs, or hymns and praise songs, and more. You could even go to the list and find the next set of books used, or a better deal somewhere else. Sometimes Amazon is cheaper, but not always. 

Also, grandparents or special friends or you may want to get extra fun books as a gift or stocking-stuffer. Just send them the link to the webpage and let them know the level or send them the link to the list page. At the moment I only have the Piano supplies information and will be adding flute and clarinet as well as updating each level as needed.

Here is how it works:

  • Every student is in a 'level' with my studio based on what piano book level they are using. You can find this out by asking me, next year the levels will be more apparent.
  • Go to the Supplies Page and click on the appropriate list from the table. Essentials are what is needed for lessons, Extras are the fun books.
  • The link will take you to a list page I have created with the company Sheet Music Plus
  • You can choose to either order items directly from Sheet Music Plus or search elsewhere for the books. You will have the name and author to search anywhere else.

More books and sections will be coming to these lists. I will be including more fun books, movie themes, Disney, etc. I have only just begun! I really do try and select only items that are not too expensive in comparison to what the book actually includes. Sheet Music Plus also offers specials throughout the year and if you should choose to join their mailing list you can be more selective in when you order, when a good special arrives.