Saturday, January 23, 2016

Gray or Grey?

Gray or Grey?

I guess it depends on whether your cultural roots are British.  I have asked several artists this question and they cannot answer.  They say it is spelled both ways. When I prepare to spell that word, my mind immediately rushes to a lanky dog on the side of a coach bus.  I traveled to and from college on one of those buses, so I tend to go with "grey."

As I prepared to lead my choristers in their afternoon rehearsal, I scanned the classroom and realized that over half of my students were dressed in grey.  I found that quite fascinating and took their picture.  I don't believe it really matters how you spell it, as long as you are able to recognize it.

The dude on the left photo-bombed my shot.  The gal in the back who is wearing black has worn grey for days on end.  The one day she didn't, I decided to take a picture.  I told her she could be the centerpiece.  Grey is her new favorite color.  (or is it colour?)

Until next time...

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Piano Class

In addition to being the Director of Choral Studies at Duncan U. Fletcher Senior High School, I am also the piano teacher.  I have never really considered myself a pianist.  If anyone asks me if I play the piano, my response has always been, "I play AT the piano."  I play well enough to run choral rehearsals but not accompany my choirs.

I have four choirs this year and two keyboard classes. My keyboard classes are primarily made up of beginning piano students who want to learn to play an instrument.  It takes approximately 3 years to get a student up and running on the piano.  Playing the piano engages multiple areas of the brain at the same time.  It is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children.

When one learns to play any instrument, it requires lots of patience on the part of the instructor and due diligence on the part of the music student.  It takes time, dedication and a willingness to practice.  As the saying goes, "Practice Makes Permanent."  Most people run out of steam several years into the process and never reach their full potential on the instrument.  Those that continue to play for more than a decade are the ones who gain the most enjoyment out of the experience and their brains develop in ways that would not have been possible otherwise.

Wind, string and brass instruments play in a single clef.  The higher pitches are usually written in treble clef (G-clef) and the lower pitches are usually written in bass clef (F-clef).  Learning to play the piano requires that you read in both clefs simultaneously and pedal with your feet.  Playing the piano challenges your mind to think on multiple levels at the same time.  It engages your eyes, your ears and your sense of touch.  Your perception of rhythm is also activated.  Motor skills, literacy skills, aural skills, hand-eye coordination all come into play.  It is a full mind-body workout! Learning to play the piano is not for the faint of heart! Have you ever tried it?

Below are pictures of my students during an independent practice session.

Beginning Keyboard Class

I have written a grant proposal requesting $2,000 so that I can purchase new keyboards and stands for my students.  We don't have enough instruments for each student to have their own keyboard and I hope to use these funds to enhance our class piano program next year.

Please take 5 minutes and watch the video below.  It is entitled, "How Playing an Instrument Benefits Your Brain" by Anita Collins.  You will be enlightened and hopefully inspired to give it a try. 

Until next time...