November / December 2022
NOTES FROM MELIA & JUSTIN
Happy holidays to all our Music Makers and families! Congratulations to all the students who participated in our virtual recital last week; what an excellent set of performances. This semester has been wonderful, and with only a few weeks left until our Winter Break, there’s a lot going on in the studio. Read on for more details about our end of semester group class, makeup lessons, our upcoming parental leave, and more. We hope you enjoy each special moment in the next month and that music is a central part of your celebrations.
Melia & Justin
2022-23 STUDIO YEAR THEME
In last month's newsletter, we introduced our studio year theme and offered some ideas for composing melodies, and in our October group classes, students worked together to compose a melody. This month, we offer some ideas to add harmony to our melodic musings!
Harmony is the notes that accompany and support a melody. Often these take the form of chords, or groups of notes that sound good together. Most of the time, we play the melody in the right hand, and the harmony in the left. An easy way to get started with harmony is to experiment with primary chords, the three most common chords in tonal music. These are tonic (I), subdominant (IV), and dominant (V). Students familiar with Five-Finger Patterns can represent these chords as single notes (a bassline), and more advanced students can add the full chord with inversions. (Some teachers call these "cadences.") Both are written below:
While there are "rules" for harmony, experimentation is often the perfect place for students to begin. What bass notes or chords sound good with each measure of the melody? Students can explore this at home using their own melody or by playing a familiar song like "Jingle Bells" by ear.
PIANO IN THE NEWS
In our last newsletter, we shared about The Gilmore Piano Festival. Justin and Melia were lucky to attend a recital by Danae Dörken as part of this festival! She presented a wonderful program themed around Homer’s Odyssey, including modern and Romantic literature. Check out her album here and read more about Danae here!
December Group Class
Our second group class week of the fall semester is December 12-15. Per the studio calendar, classes will take place at the following times:
Tuesday, December 13 @ 4 & 5:30 PM
Wednesday, December 14 @ 4:30 PM
(Advanced Track only; students are preregistered.)
Thursday, December 15 @ 6 PM
All classes will take place in person. Please register for the session your student will be attending in the studio portal by Monday, December 5.
Make-up lessons (from credits accrued over this semester) will take place the week of December 19-22. If you are owed a make-up lesson, we have automatically scheduled you to attend at your normal lesson time during that week. If this time slot does not work, please sign up for an alternative slot in the studio portal.
As winter settles into West Michigan, we want to remind you that lessons will continue as scheduled during snowy weather. If you are ever concerned about your commute to lessons, we can easily accommodate by holding a virtual lesson at your normal lesson time. Just inform your teacher in advance, and they will send you the Zoom link for your lesson.
Our studio winter break takes place the week of December 26-30. Please note that lessons resume January 2nd to accommodate our parental leave. See the studio calendar for more details. See you in the New Year!
Our parental leave for Baby #2 begins the week of February 20, and lessons will resume the week of April 10. You will NOT receive an invoice in February for the month of March. In March, you will receive an invoice for lessons in April.
We are offering “parental leave packets” to encourage students to continue making music while we are away. These packets will be tailored to the needs of each individual student and have worksheets, practice plans, and ideas for each week. Packets are $30 per student. Please email your teacher by December 16 if you would like a parental leave packet!
Many of our students' lesson books include lyrics for their pieces. It can be helpful to learn the lyrics and sing along while you practice; this helps internalize the melody and rhythm of the piece. This tip works for pieces without words, too – just hum along to the melody while you play!