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February 2017  

A monthly newsletter to inform

and entertain our friends



Study Shows Musicians Have Faster Reactions




A study conducted by the University of Montreal has revealed that musicians have faster reactions than their non-musical counterparts. The research demonstrated a link between playing an instrument and improved reactions to non-musical stimuli.

“The idea is to better understand how playing a musical instrument affects the senses in a way that is not related to music,” said lead author Simon Landry.

Pianists, violinists, percussionists, a double bassist and cellists were involved in the study. All of the musicians began learning an instrument between the ages of 3 and 10. The 19 non-musicians tested came from the school of speech pathology at University of Montreal.

All participants were asked to click a mouse each time they sensed a vibration or noise. The musicians performed on average 30 percent better than non-musicians. This led researchers to suggest that musicians may make the safest drivers.

The findings could have an impact on treatment for elderly people since it strengthens the evidence that music can help halt mental health decline in old age. “The more we know about the impact of music on really basic sensory processes, the more we can apply musical training to individuals who might have slower reaction times,” Landry added.

This adds to the body of research demonstrating the benefits to elderly people of music. Last year, findings were published showing how choir singing helped cancer patients to improve their wellbeing. (Courtesy of CMuse)






How to Overcome Inhibitions and Write Your Own Songs


1. Boost your confidence with music theory classes.

If you’re not a seasoned musician, it’s a good idea to perfect your musical knowledge and understanding of music theory.

 Find a local music school, instrument teacher, or community college where you can try out a few classes. Spending time on the basics of musical composition may help you learn additional songwriting techniques and could help make you feel less self-conscious as you begin the writing process.

2. Take small steps with your songwriting.

Don’t get overwhelmed. No one expects you to crank out a hit tune in 30 minutes! Take baby steps in your songwriting. Instead of writing an entire song, start with composing a simple melody.

 Once you’ve got that under your belt, if you haven’t already, brainstorm some ideas for a few lyrics. As you master each component, slowly put the pieces together to make connected segments.

 3. Get feedback on your ideas.

At some point, you’ll need to get feedback. Share your songs with close friends or family members. Ask for input about the sound and the themes they convey.

 If you’re not getting helpful constructive responses from the people in your life, consider joining a songwriting group for a no-pressure way to have your work peer-evaluated. Observe how other songwriters put their music on display to get more feedback.

 4. Practise songwriting every day.

As you gain more knowledge and skill in your craft, foster even more creativity by doing songwriting exercises each day. Eventually, you’ll get into a familiar routine, which could have you generating even more great ideas.

 Sticking with a process like this can also lead you to forget about the fear of opening up and sharing your music.

 5. Be open to different subjects and styles.

Finally, you can help yourself feel more comfortable writing music and lyrics if you experiment with different types of subjects and musical styles. This exercise will allow you to flex some creative muscles and stretch your own capabilities.

For example, if you primarily want to write country songs, try writing a rock ballad instead. For those who want to focus on hip-hop jams, see what happens if you write an old-fashioned standard. If most of your songwriting ideas are autobiographical, do something that’s centered around someone else. Go for a more fictional approach that creates a new character in your music.

Being a songwriter can be a scary thing if you aren’t comfortable revealing your thoughts and feelings to an audience. If you go for it and move outside your comfort zone, you can begin to truly express yourself through song. (Courtesy of Making Music)







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!


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:



 Spring Recital

March 4, 2017



IMA Prep and General Recital

May 13, 2017





How to Memorize Vocal Music



1. Brute repetition. Speak the text repeatedly. Sing the text repeatedly.

2. The rule of three: Work a long phrase until you can repeat it perfectly from memory three times consecutively. Do the next phrase the same way. Combine the phrases and work them as one longer phrase. Build by phrases until you sing perfectly from memory an entire section of the aria/song three times consecutively. Build by sections until you have memorized the whole song.

3. Memorize the text without the music. In other words, memorize it as a poem, rather than as a song. Then put it with the music.

4. Speak the rhythm. Sing the rhythm, on one pitch.

5. Try memorizing while lying on your back. Studies have shown that actors memorize roles faster while working on memorizing in a supine position.

6. Memorize the song backwards. Memorize the last section first, then the next-to-last section, working your way forward.

7. Reward: Reward yourself with each song memorized. Get a frozen yogurt or goody that you really like. Don't get it until you've sung the piece successfully in the presence of others (in other words, performed it from memory under pressure).

8. Write the words on paper while repeating the song from memory.

9. If you visualize the words in order to memorize, visualize the words in the upper left quadrant of your vision. I read this in a book on Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Oddly enough, it seems to settle in the memory quicker and more deeply by using the upper left quadrant.

10. Try to "hear the piece in your head," and to "listen" to it, preferably right before you go to sleep -- or to "hear" it while you are listening to something else.

11. Delay Gratification: When working on an entire role (opera, musical, or song cycle), memorize your favorite piece last. Memorize the most difficult music first. Memorize ensembles before solos. In other words, delay the gratification of memorizing your favorite parts until the other sections are memorized.

12. Try working on memorization while doing some mindless chore. Repeat phrases over and over again while cleaning up or washing dishes or sweeping. Refer to the score when necessary, then return to the mindless task and work the memory.

13. Get a friend to "repetiteur" for you, playing the piano accompaniment over and over again while you sing, in order to memorize. Don't try to make the song technically perfect while doing this kind of drill; you may even "mark" the voice. Just repeat the music many, many times in order to drill it into your mind. 



 Welcome to all of our new students!


Matthew Atkins – piano with Audrey Dobbs

Jocelyn Atkins - piano with Laurel Dubowski

Isabel Atkins – ukulele with Josh Foutch

Samantha Bastian – piano with Audrey Dobbs

Jessica Bastian – guitar with Josh Foutch

Chastity Lewchanyn – piano with Audrey Dobbs

Jacob Klco – guitar with Josh Foutch

Anne Claire Torres - piano with Audrey Dobbs

Julianna Wolff – voice with Madeline McCord

Sharada Joshi Anantha – violin with Kathleen Gaiden

Patric Pangcobila – cello with Kathleen Gaiden 

Paolo Pangcobila – violin with Kathleen Gaiden

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