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April 2015

A monthly newsletter to inform

and entertain our friends




Music by the Moonlight: the Greatest Moon-Inspired Classical Masterpieces


Since music itself has never been immune to the appeal of the moon, here are some famous pieces that reference the Earth’s satellite.

Beethoven, Moonlight Sonata - The first edition of the score bore the heading  “Sonata, quasi una fantasia”, which means “sonata, almost a fantasy.” In 1832 German music critic and poet Ludwig Rellstab likened the effect of the first movement to the moonlight shining upon Lake Lucerne. “Quasi una fantasia”  reflects the fact that the work does not follow the traditional movement arrangement of the genre in the Classical period, namely fast-slow-[fast]-fast: instead, the rapid music is held off until the third movement in an adagio-allegretto-presto division.. This sonata is held to have been the inspiration for Chopin’s Fantaisie-impromptu.


Debussy, Clair de lune - The third movement of the Suite Bergamasque, Clair de lune owes its name to a poem by Paul Verlaine, which also refers to bergamasques in its opening stanza. That poem also inspired Gabriel Fauré who, in 1887 composed the song by the same title.

Antonin Dvorak, Song to the Moon - In Dvorak’s opera by the same title, Rusalka is the daughter of the spirit of the lake and has fallen in love with a prince who went hunting near her dwelling. In Song to the Moon she addresses the moon, asking it to tell the prince about her love. At the beginning of the aria, the use of large arpeggiated chords invite the audience into the fairy tale land of Rusalka. In a Little Mermaid-like fashion, in order to win the prince’s heart, she will soon trade her voice for a human appearance. (courtesy of CMUSE)



Over 100 recital videos are now on YouTube! Visit "Sweet Sounds for You" to see you and your friends performing at past recitals! Recital videos are also available on facebook!


Does Lady Gaga Sound like a Mezzo?

It is known that Lady Gaga’s award show performances now constitute a very high benchmark when it comes to theatricality: her previous stunts, in fact, include hatching out of an egg, dying, having fun with Elton John, playing drag King and the Meat Dress.

When she took the stage at the 87th Academy Awards, she wore a white ball/wedding-appropriate gown and  presented a medley of some of the songs of The Sound of Music. 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Her performance included “The Hills are Alive,” “My Favourite Things”, “Edelweiss” and “Climb Every Mountain.”

Dame Julie Andrews, the original Maria of The Sound of Music, joined Gaga onstage shortly after her performance and praised the singer, saying that it was “a wonderful tribute” that really “warmed her heart.”

Her performance garnered the praise of Classic FM’s classical soprano Catherine Bott.  “Lady Gaga has the vocal quality of a mezzo. It was very convincing… I would think that several million people didn’t know she could sing like that,” Bott told Classic FM. Like opera singers, Bott comments, Gaga can use portamento - which means that she can glide smoothly between the notes, an ability that is usually a prerogative of straight opera singers.

It seems like Bott was right when she said that millions of people were caught unaware of Gaga’s abilities: in fact Twitter was (and still is) commenting about Gaga’s ability to “sing like that”.

Music Education Benefits Youth With ADHD


ADHD is one of a myriad of disabilities diagnosed to children at a young age. It can be the result of problems at birth, trauma, or other circumstantial issues. The effects of ADHD (and other cognitive diseases) include speech, attention, memory, and hearing, all elements fundamental to education and learning.


Some medical professionals who make diagnosis for ADHD conclude the learning levels decrease for individuals as they age, making it impossible for some to move past grade school from an education perspective. However, the truth is that music education strengthens the abilities that ADHD lessens. It all begins with listening.


Listening is the fundamental element in all of education. Training someone to listen and respond to what they hear impacts their ability to focus and concentrate. Listening is as essential to music education as the alphabet is to grammar school.


Music is like steroids for the brain. It builds and strengthens the areas of the brain responsible for reading, math, language, and problem solving (among others). Music lessons for those with ADHD have been proven to counter the negative effects associated with the disorder including self-esteem, concentration, memory, and impulse control.


Presenting a young person with an instrument and teaching them to play it might be the best medicine that can be prescribed to actually change the behavior, instead of over medication.  (courtesy of CMUSE)




Now in tune, now out of tune, now too sharp, now too flat. Now consonant, now dissonant, now in union, now in conflict. Each of us is but a single note in the symphony of life. -John M. Ortiz, PhD




We are pleased to send you this monthly issue of our newsletter. It is our way of saying that you are important to us and we truly value your business. Enjoy!
Coming Attractions:


May 9, 2015

IMA Contest Prep &

General Recital


Illinois Music Association Contest May 16 & 17, 2015


August 21, 2015

Summer Concert Prairie Center for the Arts


October 17,2015

Halloween Recitals


We're Always In the Mood for Referrals!
EmbarassedTell a friend, relative, an  acquaintance....whoever, about us. When they call and tell us you sent them and register for lessons, (don't worry, we ask how they heard about us when they call), you receive a certificate for $20.00. Your certificate may be used for a tuition credit or to purchase lesson materials or boutique items.
Smile  On July 1, 2015, we will raffle off a $100 American Express Gift card for all the referrals from January through June. On December 30, 2015, we will raffle off a $100 American Express Gift card for the referrals from the last half of the year.


Many thanks for your referrals, new family members joining us, and new students! The studio continues to grow and now many teachers have completely filled schedules! 


Thank you to the Yang Family for referring Nicole Quek to the studio for piano lessons with Amy Dickman.





Alternative Household Cleaners for Your Spring Cleaning!

There are many inexpensive, easy-to-use natural alternatives which can safely be used in place of commercial household products. Here is a list of common, environmentally safe products which can be used alone or in combination for a wealth of household applications.

  • Baking Soda - cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours.
  • Soap - unscented soap in liquid form, flakes, powders or bars is biodegradable and will clean just about anything. Avoid using soaps which contain petroleum distillates.
  • Lemon - one of the strongest food-acids, effective against most household bacteria.
  • Borax - (sodium borate) cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water, cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors.
  • White Vinegar - cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax build-up.
  • Washing Soda - or SAL Soda is sodium carbonate decahydrate, a mineral. Washing soda cuts grease, removes stains, softens water, cleans wall, tiles, sinks and tubs. Use care, as washing soda can irritate mucous membranes. Do not use on aluminum.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol - is an excellent disinfectant.
  • Cornstarch - can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs.
  • Citrus Solvent - cleans paint brushes, oil and grease, some stains.

Make sure to keep all home-made formulas well-labeled, and out of the reach of children.

  • All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and keep. Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc. 
  • Air Freshener: Commercial air fresheners mask smells and coat nasal passages to diminish the sense of smell.
    • Baking soda or vinegar with lemon juice in small dishes absorbs odors around the house.
    • Having houseplants helps reduce odors in the home.
    • Prevent cooking odors by simmering vinegar (1 tbsp in 1 cup water) on the stove while cooking. To get such smells as fish and onion off utensils and cutting boards, wipe them with vinegar and wash in soapy water.
    • Keep fresh coffee grounds on the counter.
    • Grind up a slice of lemon in the garbage disposal.
    • Simmer water and cinnamon or other spices on stove.
    • Place bowls of fragrant dried herbs and flowers in room.
  • Bathroom mold: Mold in bathroom tile grout is a common problem and can be a health concern. Mix one part hydrogen peroxide (3%) with two parts water in a spray bottle and spray on areas with mold. Wait at least one hour before rinsing or using shower.
  • Carpet stains: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray directly on stain, let sit for several minutes, and clean with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water.
    For fresh grease spots, sprinkle corn starch onto spot and wait 15 - 30 minutes before vacuuming.
    For a heavy duty carpet cleaner, mix 1/4 cup each of salt, borax and vinegar. Rub paste into carpet and leave for a few hours. Vacuum.
  • Chopping block cleaner: Rub a slice of lemon across a chopping block to disinfect the surface. For tougher stains, squeeze some of the lemon juice onto the spot and let sit for 10 minutes, then wipe.
    Coffee and tea stains: Stains in cups can be removed by applying vinegar to a sponge and wiping. To clean a teakettle or coffee maker, add 2 cups water and 1/4 cup vinegar; bring to a boil. Let cool, wipe with a clean cloth and rinse thoroughly with water.
  • Deodorize:
    • Plastic food storage containers - soak overnight in warm water and baking soda
    • In-sink garbage disposal units - grind up lemon or orange peel in the unit
    • Carpets - sprinkle baking soda several hours before vacuuming
    • Garage, basements - set a sliced onion on a plate in center of room for 12 - 24 hours
  • Disinfectant: Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar and 3 cups hot water. For stronger cleaning power add 1/4 teaspoon liquid soap. Wipe on with dampened cloth or use non-aerosol spray bottle. (This is not an antibacterial formula. The average kitchen or bathroom does not require antibacterial cleaners.)
    To disinfect kitchen sponges, put them in the dishwasher when running a load.





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