2016-2017: “A Musical Year”

Saturday, October 22, 2016 by Lisa Barwell | Recitals

Week Nine

For a couple of weeks now, we’ve been doing some composing activities in the studio.  Several students started a fun composing workbook by Andrea and Trevor Dow called, “Brave Sage and the Magical Motives.”  It gives the students the chance to compose simple motives (a short musical idea) and input them into specific places in each piece.  I love that, even though I am hearing the same piece often throughout the week, each piece is a little different.  I wanted to record this interesting activity so I made a mash-up video of our first piece in the book, “Hushabye Sleepy Bear.”  Enjoy watching!



 This was Fall recital week!  Six students came to the studio and played a lovely program for friends and family.  They’ve been working hard and enjoyed sharing their music with the audience.  Afterwards, everyone enjoyed a reception with food and fellowship.  Parents had the opportunity to see a project that the students completed; describing in one word what music is to them.  It was a wonderful recital!




2016-2017: “A Musical Year”

Saturday, October 15, 2016 by Lisa Barwell | Composing

Weeks Seven and Eight

Last week was interesting.  Hurricane Matthew came through and canceled lessons at the flute and piano studio for the last part of the week.  Fortunately we were all safe and the studio also came through just fine.  No damage done.  But, we will have to use one of the flex weeks I built into the calendar.  Flex weeks are great because music lessons don't need to be rescheduled; all we do is go for one extra week in May!  Easy!

Here's a look at the last two weeks of music classes:

New music!  Older students started learning more about composition using their new book, “Tinker: An Exploration in Music Creation” by Andrea and Trevor Dow.  So far we’ve learned about “motive,” “repetition,” and “sequence.”  Students are enjoying the sound of these pieces!          

Several of my students enjoyed playing a “Flashcard Race,” a game I periodically pull out of my stash to review note naming or intervals.  The students raced to find the notes called and then they marked them with the very handy candy corn erasers.  This game keeps me on my toes as I have to watch carefully to make sure the candy corns are placed on the correct octave.


Several of us also played one of our all-time favorite games, “Over the Edge.”  This is a fun game to review notes and rests.


To celebrate Autumn, even though it doesn’t feel like it here in Florida, younger students composed a piece called “It’s October” using a wonderful worksheet by Susan Paradis.  I loved hearing their pieces!  I think I have some budding composers in the studio.

Keeping with our composing theme, a few of my students started using “Brave Sage,” a workbook that teaches them how to write motives (a short musical phrase). This is such a neat book because, even though I have several students playing the same piece, each piece is a little different depending on which notes the students use to write their motives.  Awesome!

Seeing these students have fun with music this week was such a joy!

2016-2017: “A Musical Year”

Saturday, October 1, 2016 by Lisa Barwell | Fall

Week Six

The fall recital is getting closer so we’ve been working hard on our pieces.  This student loves to play “Shadows” because of the spooky, minor sound! 

Older students enjoyed another game break this week!  We learned how to play “Udder Space Aliens,” a game that helps us practice chords and inversions.  We had a lot of fun with this one!          

Several students reviewed chords by using these candy corn erasers.  This was good practice for them to really think about which notes are used to build the chords that they regularly play in their warm-ups.


I loved seeing my students make connections this week!  Whether it was through a piece they enjoyed playing or through a better understanding of how music works, it was rewarding!