The Symphony Around Us

I spent this morning immersed in symphony.

No, TSO didn’t have an early morning public session. The symphony I experienced was that of all the amazing birds that are out now that it’s spring here in Toronto. It had already started before I left my house for a morning walk, and it was going in full force as the sun was coming up.

Beautiful. Wondrous. Breathtaking.

Red-Winged_BlackbirdThis morning, I experienced the perfect combination of three of the things I adore: walking, nature and music. What music! The robins, the mourning dove, the conk-la-ree of the red-winged blackbirds…

I think morning bird song is my favourite symphony of all.

Happy New Year!

Yes, happy new year – I haven’t posted since 2014!

I thought I’d share a bit more about my studio with you. I teach from my home in what would have been my dining room, but is now a lovely piano studio. I teach on Wednesdays (from 9 am to 9 pm) and on Thursday evenings (from 6 pm to 9 pm). I do have some time slots available on both days, so contact me if you’re interested.

I teach children as young as 4 years old, teens, adults and seniors. I recommend Play A Story for those ages 4 to 6 years and Simply Music for everyone 7 years of age and older. Simply Music piano lesson work for every age, but I find that children 6 and under prefer exploration to direction on the piano. Play A Story offers a bit of direction to guide their exploration.

All of my students compose and improvise. These are key elements to truly learning the piano. If this worries you, I can work with you to help you feel comfortable creating on the piano. I was there myself – even after many years of Royal Conservatory piano, I did not know how to improvise or compose, but within a year of Simply Music piano, I had shed my fears. If you ask me to play piano, I can just play and play and play 🙂

Enough about me. Tell me about you.

Lead Sheets

I learned piano when I was a kid – started lessons at age 9 but quit when I was 17 years old and became too distracted by volunteer and paid work (as well as teenage social life) to practice. In those 8 years of piano study, with 3 different piano teachers, I was never introduced to lead sheets. And that truly was a shame.

I now introduce my students to lead sheets within their first few months of lessons. Lead sheets give us the opportunity to accompany singers and to play in a band. Lead sheets also give us the freedom that I remember wanting when I was a young pianist who was only taught to play what I saw on the page.

Here’s some info:

http://simplymusic.com/coaching-lead-sheets/

And you can comment, call or email me if you want to find out more.

Want to Learn Piano? Come to my Free Information Session!

I teach the Simply Music method of piano. These are breakthrough piano lessons for ages 4 to 104!

Simply Music is a revolutionary, Australian-developed piano and keyboard method that offers a breakthrough in music education.

This unique approach has students of all ages playing great-sounding pop, blues, classical and accompaniment pieces – immediately – from their very first lessons.

Find out more by coming to a Free Information Session on Tuesday, August 12, 2014, at 6:30 pm at my home-based piano studio near Bayview and Sheppard. At the session, you will see how Simply Music is different from traditional piano lessons, hear the results achieved with this method, and learn how Simply Music was created.

To register, call or text me at 416-226-3401 or email me at karenderrah@gmail.com.

Find me on Facebook.

 

 

June Information Sessions

I teach a breakthrough method of piano that has students of all ages playing immediately, from their very first lessons. To find out more, contact me to register for one of the following free information sessions I am holding in June 2014 at my Bayview and Sheppard home-based piano studio:

Simply Music piano lessons for ages 7 to 107 years:

  • Tuesday, June 10 at 7 pm
  • Wednesday, June 18 at 8:15 pm
  • Thursday, June 19 at 7 pm

Play-a-Story piano lessons for ages 4 to 6 years:

  • Tuesday, June 10 at 6 pm
  • Tuesday, June 17 at 6 pm

Not available in June? Contact me and I’ll stay in touch about future information sessions.

Song for Spring

I am fortunate to be part of a singing group that sings nature-inspired songs around a campfire as often as we can get together. I’ve been working on my own piece to share with the group, but I’ll share it will all of you here first.

Morning 

When I wake up
I go out
To share a song with you

Whadaya know
The birds are out
And they are singing too

They’re singing high
They’re singing low

They’re singing all around wherever I go, ‘ever I go

Your Brain on Music Education

Wow. There is so much information at the following link about how important – really, essential – music education is for the brain.

Here’s the link to info about your brain on music education:
http://www.musicempowersfoundation.org/your-brain-on-music-education-articles.html

This is a huge reason why I provide music education for children 4 years of age and older. The unique piano program I teach to 4 to 6 year olds – Play-a-Story – provides these children with the knowledge that they are musical and that they can improvise on the piano, along with teaching them 40 Key Theoretical Concepts (for those in the musical know – “music theory”) in just 1.5 years of lessons!

Happy Spring!

We welcomed spring in Toronto yesterday with some light snow flurries and below zero temperatures. At least it was a relatively sunny day, with a tiny bit of spring melting in the late afternoon/early evening.

Regardless of the cold weather, spring is here and summer is just around the corner.

I am loving Summer by Joe Hisaishi these days. It’s not a new composition, but I was only recently informed of it by one of my students. He also composed the score to Spirited Away, as well as many other Hayao Miyazaki animations.

One neat thing about the composition Summer is that, like so many other songs, it uses a very standard 4 chord/broken octave progression for much of the left hand. This 4 chord progression is likely standard because it sounds so good! More on this next week…

Music in Everything

If you live in Toronto, you’ve probably noticed the newer subway trains along the Yonge-University line. They’ve been around for a little more than a year, but I still get excited when I catch one.

But have you heard the music they make?

A few months ago, while listening to my iPod on one of the new trains, I noticed a sound that reminded me of something one might hear when listening to electronic music, but which I could not recall previously hearing in the song I was listening to. Then I heard it during another song, and another. I guessed that it was coming from the music player of another subway passenger until everyone nearby did not have one. So, where was the sound coming from?

I finally realized that it was the new subway train! It’s a beautiful sound, but difficult to describe. Today I did some research while subwaying to and from downtown, and I think the sound happens when the new subways leave the station. See if you can hear it next time you ride a new train!

Hearing the music from the train reinforced my viewpoint that there is music in everything. When I was an adolescent, I recall believing that there was a lyric for every situation.

Also, years ago, before I was a piano teacher and before I lived and worked in North York, there was a time when I worked in an office at First Canadian Place. I used to love the sound of my heels tapping across the Scotia Plaza floor as I walked through the PATH system from the King subway station to First Canadian Place.

Interestingly, I showed my children a YouTube video this week that highlights the fact that there is music in everything – enjoy (I know I did!):
Swedish Chef – Popcorn

A friend of mine also posted the following video on facebook this past week – I’m a big fan of Bach, so I loved this for both the talent and the music:
Toccata and fugue in D minor-Bach-BWV 565

To top it all off, thinking about this blog post inspired me to write some song lyrics, loosely sung to the tune of Dynamite by Taio Cruz.

Music in Everything
August 2012

I find music in everything, in everything, oh yeah
I find music in everything, in everything, oh yeah

From the clicking of my heels on the Scotia Plaza floor,
To the subway trains leaving from the door.

Tapping on glasses
Banging pots and pans
Give it a try
You know you can

I find music in everything, in everything, oh yeah
I find music in everything, in everything, oh yeah

Relevant lyrics for every situation
Especially for a celebration

Crickets at night
Birds in the morning
Music always
Makes you feel so right

I find music in everything, in everything, oh yeah
I find music in everything, in everything, oh yeah

Where do you find and make music?

[jamiesocial]