Simple Music Symbols Quiz

This is a quiz appropriate for probably 3rd-6th beginners to music. I’ve realized that most kids easily get basic symbols confused, and often do not know the name of the symbols they are reading. This assessment gives some brief explanation that reinforces concepts already learned while requiring students to attach the symbol with its name. For example, question two asks “The treble clef is used when composers write music for children’s voices, and also when composers write music for instruments that play HIGH notes. Please circle ALL instruments that play HIGH notes.”

This simple quiz asks students to:

Identify the symbol given (treble clef)

Identify which of tthe three instruments listed play high notes.

Identify the name of the staff.

Distinguish between which symbols are notes and which are not.

Distinguish between the repeat sign and a double bar line.

With a bonus response question about what instrument is the student’s favorite and why.


Posted in 3rd-5th Grade Lessons, Composition and Theory Information, Teaching Chorus, Teaching Elementary, Teaching Private Lessons | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vocal Technique Tips

I found this article the other day, which goes over some interesting vocal techniques and links for other tips. DISCLAIMER: I have not read through all of the tips on this website and so cannot confirm their validity or safety. I do not recommend allowing a student (especially a young student) to navigate the page alone. Some of the things recommended are things that should be tried once to see how it affects the voice, so you do want to be sure that your students understand that not everything listed is meant to be all the time or for every style of music.

I know it’s been a while…sorry about that! I’ve been focusing on other projects including a novel, my YouTube channel, wind symphony rehearsal, and other elements related to teaching private lessons. Follow me on Twitter, if you like, click here for Twitter and click here to go to my most recent YouTube video. Be forewarned, some (not all, or even a large percentage) of my Twitter and YouTube content is political or social commentary. I tend to lean more toward the right, but have somewhat of a libertarian view (you do you, boo). My greatest goal is to be fair and honest in addressing things that I see happening in the world, hence the screen name. Most of what I post on Twitter is related to writing and research, networking with other writers, etc.

I hope your school year started out well and that you all will have a lovely and music-filled day!

Posted in Teaching Chorus, Teaching Voice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Female Broadway Duets

An article I found on Camp Broadway. Enjoy!

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Kids’ Broadway Songbook

I love this book! I discovered it at the studio in a stack of books they had for sale, and I love it! This is a wonderful resource for any vocal teacher who is looking for songs with an appropriate range and content for young singers. It is hard to find something that works well for kids in the under 13 category; often the content is too mature and would be inappropriate (or not believable) or the range/complexity of the melody is simply not suitable for a young and developing voice.

So far in this book I have enjoyed working with students on “Tomorrow” (Annie), “Castle on a Cloud” (Les Miserables), and “When I Grow Up” (Matilde). This last one was introduced to me by a student. She competed in Access Broadway recently (and did very well!). Her drama director selected the song, and they had to do staging, lighting, makeup, etc. as if it were a scene from a Broadway musical, and then they received feedback from professional directors. I am going to have this student work on one of the pieces that says, “I have Broadway on the brain.” (I forget which one this is…either “Let Me Entertain You” or “Born to Entertain”. I always switch them around.)

Another benefit of this book is that examples of the music being performed by children are readily available. There are multiple versions of Annie out there, some clips from other movies are on YouTube, and a recent award celebration featured “When I Grow Up” and is also available on YouTube.

NOTE: Please make sure you are getting the updated version of this book! (Unless you really want an older one.) TWICE I ordered used versions of the book, advertised as the revised edition, and both times (from different sellers) I received an older version! So I have THREE copies of this book. They are not identical, so if there is one particular song you want, be sure to check! One book has music from Peter Pan, but the others do not.


Posted in Teaching Private Lessons, Teaching Voice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

7 Tips for saving Money on Music!

Hello everyone!

Check out this post for some excellent tips on saving money on sheet music.

Some things I do personally:

  1. Only buy copies of books you know you will use frequently. For me, this is usually the primer level of a piano book (kids forget all the time) or a vocal book I intend to use with multiple students. I both volumes of the “Folk Songs for Solo Singers” books in both high and low voice, but I don’t buy every Broadway book a student wants to sing from.
  2. If a student wants to learn one song from a book (such as a Disney or pop song) I might have them look up the words to it rather than buy the entire book. If it is a foreign language song (getting their feet wet the first time at a young age) I write out a pronunciation guide for them and then in the lesson I use the version that is for their voice (high or low) and then they use the other one to follow along.
  3. I often make recordings of myself singing a student’s song so that they can practice more effectively and memorize it more quickly. If I can do the same version of their song, or find someone performing it online, that helps greatly.
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SOVT, Vocal Development, and…Straws??

Hello everyone!

I recently had a student with an emergency situation: she woke up with no voice! This is a little girl (11) who might as well have been born on the stage — she sings all the time! And she had several performances coming up (thankfully she was not the lead in all of them). I frantically asked my colleagues for what would help and several of them recommended SOVT exercises. I had no idea what they were, but one of the kind vocal teachers did a video chat to show me her exercises. I will explain her exercise below, but please check out this website for further information on SOVT exercises. Even Renee Fleming says it changed her voice! (When I find a good article about her comments I will share.)

Essentially, SOVT is singing with a more closed mouth on an “oo” sound to reduce unnecessary pressure on the vocal cords. My colleague recommended getting either a hot cup of water or a steamer, then inhale the steam through the straw slowly. The steam actually touches your vocal cords, unlike simply drinking a warm drink, and is better able to clear out the vocal folds. After that, hum a comfortable pitch through the straw, imagining your voice goes to the end of the straw. Do this only up and down by a few half notes, on a sustained note each time (if the voice is fatigued).

I hope this will help you and excite you as much as it does me! I haven’t finished reading the article yet (have to go teach in about ten minutes!) but it seems like a useful tool for all singers!


Posted in Teaching Chorus, Teaching Private Lessons, Vocal Resources | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Support Music Adventures

I always say that I am going to spend more time writing blogs, making videos, or creating resources, but these things take time and sometimes equipment to create quality products. While I love sharing things with others who might benefit, spending three or more hours (like I did tonight) to create things for free becomes tedious, especially when there are other things I probably should be doing like practicing, or working on my short story.

If you like what I have created and want to support the creation of new content, please become a patron at my Patreon page. Please bear in mind that a research blog might take several hours. (I was looking things up for myself, but the formatting for a blog takes a while. About 3 hours for the most recent one on method books.) I am brand new to the Patreon platform, so I apologize for the n00b like qualities of the page and my usage of it.

I have just started a brand new YouTube channel, and my Patreon is linked to my Music Adventures channel, but I have yet to transfer my older videos to the new account. You can still see them on my other channel by clicking here.

I also have a page of resources for sale on my TeachersPayTeachers page.

I recently purchased Finale Music notation software at a great price ($150 through their April Fool’s sale) and hope to publish some simple piano pieces for beginning students, and some other exercises and solos for clarinetists.

Found my blog and other videos useful but don’t want to become a patron? A donation through PayPal would be appreciated! I hope to get a camera and condenser mic for better videos and recording quality in the future (this is one of my goals on Patreon). 🙂

Thank you for your viewership and any support you have given, be that financial or otherwise! You are appreciated.

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