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Fall Performances

Saturday, November 24, 2018 by Lisa Barwell | Performing

Fall Performances 2018

Sharing Music with Others

This fall semester we were presented with a couple of unexpected opportunities to perform. We jumped at the chance to share our music with others and had so much fun doing so!

Here are some of the students who performed background music at a craft fair. They prepared quite a few pieces and played on a rotation for several hours. They were amazing! Vendors mentioned that they enjoyed hearing the music throughout the morning.


Another group of students performed for residents at Taylor Home on Veterans Day. We had so much fun meeting the people there and heard many stories of their time in the military. We enjoyed seeing their pictures and hearing their memories!


The students and I learned a lot through these experiences. The students learned more about how to choose and prepare their own music and we all grew in our knowledge of stage presence and musicianship. We are grateful that we could share our music with others!

Creative Composing

Monday, November 12, 2018 by Lisa Barwell | Composing

Creative Composing for Piano

Fall 2018

Every year, I work hard to include various forms of composing activities for students in the studio. Composing is to music as writing papers is to English. We learn so much through writing down our own musical ideas!

Pianists who join the studio at a young age go through several 'rites of passage' in their composing curriculum. When they just start out, we do a lot of improvisation (composing 'on the spot') that isn't very formal; they just play around with melodies and we may or may not write it down. When the students are old enough for a workbook, they graduate to 'Barnyard Brooke and the Magical Motives' which allows them to learn more composing tools and teaches them how to write the music they are creating. Each year after that, they progress to the next two books in the series and are then old enough to participate in our mashup video project. Check these out below.

Students are always excited to follow Sage on her quest to rescue her father in 'Brave Sage and the Magical Motives.' Sage's father, the king, has been kidnapped and Sage has to rescue him! She encounters obstacles along the way that she overcomes by composing motives (short melodies) to complete each piece. Enjoy watching the first video in this year's project:


After completing the 'Brave Sage' book, students move up to the next level in the series, "Castaway Kip and the Magical Motives." Kip has been shipwrecked on an island and has to gather the parts of his ship in order to put it back together again. He meets several interesting creatures along the way. Here is our first video for the year:


All students, piano and flute, in Lily Music Studio compose their own music, even if they're not participating in one of the books mentioned above. Some other recent compositions by a middle school flutist and middle school pianist were about Autumn leaves and turned out quite nicely. I love to hear my students' creativity! I hope you enjoyed hearing the above compositions!

Focus on Practice

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 by Lisa Barwell | Practicing

A Focus on Practice

September 2018

This year we are focused on effective practice; not just turning the timer to 20 minutes, mindlessly playing until it dings, and then saying, "Done!" We're more interested in using our time wisely and making the most of it. To this end, we did a few fun things to give our practice for the year a kick-start. 

Our first group class of the year gave us the opportunity to get crafty! We fashioned a couple of handy practice tools that will help students in their home practice time.

Some students made practice cups and others made practice pegs. Practice cups are a hands-on tool that utilizes different practice techniques written on popsicle sticks. Students pull several from their cup for each piece they practice, use the ideas written there, and end up having a much more effective practice time. Practice pegs are a helpful tool geared to the younger students and are a fun way to help them keep track of how many days they've played their piece during the week. I'm especially excited about using the turkeys for Thanksgiving and our Christmas set in a few months!

These tools are fun and useful, but it helps if students get an 'oomph' to get going! We joined a nationwide practice incentive called Fall into Music which encouraged students and families to practice for 20 days during the month of September.

This incentive was especially fun for those whose families joined them! Moms, Dads, and siblings also worked toward their goals which included 'sweeping the house' and 'cleaning my room.'

8 students achieved their 20 day practice goal and received a certificate of achievement as well as a sweet reward. What a great start to our practicing for the year! #FallintoMusic