Musical Musings

Sharing musical thoughts and ideas.

September Area Music Events

Friday, August 27, 2021 by Paula Augustine | Area Events

Music Events around the Area

Musical events are starting to appear! I have missed being able to go to area concerts and events. I have not seen much yet for September, but October is filling up

Friday, September 17, 2021 - 7:30 PM - ETSU Martin Center

  • Dr. Chih-Long Hu will provide an evening of classical music on Sept. 17, 2021 at 7:30 pm in the Martin Center Recital Hall. Tickets prices are $15 General Admission, $10 Seniors, and FREE for students.

Setting up for Zoom Lessons

Monday, August 16, 2021 by Paula Augustine | Parent Article

Zoom Lessons

In person lessons are my favorite, but I have found it is much better to offer online options than missing lessons! This has been a very positive outcome of quarantine efforts for Covid. Students in the studio have successfully had lessons through zoom not only for exposure quarantine, but also illness, family couldn't arrange transportation, vacations, and snow days. Continuing instruction over zoom has helped students move forward in musical growth.

There are a few easy guidelines which will make the zoom lesson much more successful.


  • Internet - High Speed internet is a basic requirement, but also make sure internet reaches the room where the piano is located, or where the instrumental student will be having the lesson.Bradley Sowash website image showing device position for online jazz piano lessons.jpg
  • Device - The larger the device the better. An ipad or larger tablet is a great option. Generally they are easier to place next to the student than a computer, but a computer works well too.
  • Battery Life - If an outlet is not available make sure the device is fully charged.
  • Zoom - Have zoom app installed on the device.
  • Placement - As a teacher I will need to see the students hands on the instrument. Piano players will need to show their keyboard and wind instruments will need to show the length of their instrument

Logging In

  • Close Unnecessary programs on the device. Turn the device on airplane mode or other mode to prevent messages other badges from interrupting.
  • Log into your portal at Use your login information on the home screen the lesson should be on the top right and click on the down carrot to show more and click on the zoom icon. You can also access this on the calendar.
  • Please have others in the house avoid uneccesary streaming video or playing online games at the lesson time.
  • When a student logs in they will be placed in a waiting room until I let them in.
  • During the lesson I may ask the student to mute themselves when I play something for an example. Show the student how to mute and unmute. Zoom will cut out music as it hears it as background noise. This is reduced when only one person has their mic on. I will generally mute when a student is playing so I can catch all their playing.

After your first time setting up, everything will go much smoother. If you have any questions or need any more help getting set up, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

August Cultural Music Focus - Japan

Monday, August 9, 2021 by Paula Augustine | Student Article

Japanese Music: A Rich Musical Culture

This semester we will touch on Japanese Music. Today we will get a short introduction to the instruments they used. The videos that I have included are maybe a little long for younger students, just listening to the first minute or so will generally give them an idea of the instrument.

Historical Japanese Instruments:

Today the Japanese enjoy the same instruments we enjoy. They also have historical instruments that remind us of the traditional sounds we think of as Japanese. Here are some basic historical Japanese instruments. I find it interesting how most cultures around the world had musical instruments which included something to drum on, something with strings, and something flute-like to blow.


Drums have played an important role in Japanese music. They were used in battle to intimidate the enemy or to give commands to the army. Huge drums playing may scare the enemy away! Taiko were also used in religious ceremonies played by holy men. Today Taiko drum groups can be found throughout Japan and even the world. There is even a video game called Taiko Drum Master!



This instrument is played with a large wooden strummer and has strings like a guitar. The strings are strummed or plucked or even slid along. Many times it was used by singers to accompany stories. Just like we have different types of stringed instruments, they also had different types of Biwa. Some had four strings and others 5 and the strings may be tuned to different notes.


But the instrument that looks even more like a guitar or a banjo is the Japanese shamisen. It only has three strings and has a very long neck. This instrument has been used with many



And of course my favorite instrument, the flute-like Shakuhachi. This is made out of bamboo and is held like a recorder, but the player blows across the top like a flute.



How would you like to play the piano by plucking the strings yourself? These are the type of instruments that inspired very early keyboard instruments. The smaller Dulcimer is similar to the Japanese Zoto. This Zoto has 25 strings.