June 27, 2011

Recital Post Updated

A few weeks ago I posted some links to some great recital ideas. I have been updating that post to include more and more links, so click here to head to that post and receive some recital inspiration! Seriously, some of you have the greatest ideas. And if you are as un-creative as I am, you and your students will benefit from ideas gleaned from other teachers.

If you know of other recital posts that I don't have listed, leave me a comment and tell me about them so I can include them in this list. Hopefully this will be a resource we can use for years to come!

How did your year-end recital go?

June 24, 2011

Comment Moderation

I don't know about you, but one thing that annoys me is trying to comment on blogs with the word identification -thingy. You know what I mean, the place where you have to type in "farcey" or some other non-existent word to show that you are really an intelligent human being. Yes, typing in "farcey" really makes me feel intelligent.

However, due to the amount of spam comments I have been receiving on my blog, I've had to turn on the word identification. Thankfully my spam filter was catching all of these comments, but I was getting spam every day, so I decided to try this for a while and see if it would help. So far, so good.

So I just wanted to let you know that I am deeply sorry for having to put you through the torture of typing "farcey" and proving to me that you are a real, live, breathing, intelligent human being. I know you are all intelligent, you don't have to prove it to me. Hopefully this will all be cleared up soon and we can go back to normal. Whatever normal is....

Am I the only one that gets annoyed by the word verification-thingy?? Do you have word verification on your blog, and why or why not?

June 22, 2011

Goodbye to Jen's Piano Studio Blog

Yes, you read that right. Jen's Piano Studio Blog is leaving us. But never fear! It is turning into Pianimation instead!

Jen is combining the valuable resources found at her blog and her studio website into one great place, Pianimation. It appears that this will make it much easier for us to use her resources. Thank you, Jen!

And in honor of the move Jen is offering a discount and a giveaway! Go here for all the details. You won't want to miss it!

Check out Pianimation and be sure to update your information if you already followed her blog.

June 20, 2011

Exciting New Posts For Parents

I am super excited about a new series of posts that Laura is writing over at The Piano Studio! Today she started "Monday Piano Parent Tips." Her first tip for parents is to read your child's assignment notebook to stay in the know about what is expected of your student. SUCH a great tip! Something every parent needs to remember. Head on over to her blog to read what she has to say about this issue!

These posts will be invaluable to teachers and parents. Let the parents of your students know about these posts! If you send out monthly letters/updates, you could include a reminder for parents to check Laura's latest tips. Hopefully, if your student's parents read these posts, it will encourage them to start clicking around on other posts and other sites and learn more themselves! Parents do not need to be "musical" to read music blogs and websites....they can learn a lot that will simply help them help their children at home!

I would strongly encourage parents to read these other posts by Laura: "How I Became a Tiger Mom and Why" and "When Should You Let Your Child Quit Piano?" (Just the title is exciting!)

Thanks, Laura, for the great reads! We're already looking forward to next week!

June 16, 2011

Psalm 150: Ways To Praise The Lord

***The first musician in the Bible is: Jubal, in Genesis 4:21. He was the father of all that handle the harp and organ. Congrats to Sheryl for getting the right answer! It was also pointed out to me that really the Lord is the very first musician! So true! But the first human musician was Jubal. Great job!***

We have been discussing how to apply Psalm 150 to our lives as musicians. If you missed the other posts in this series, here is Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Most of the time on this blog, I focus on piano teachers, their teaching and their students. But praising the Lord with music is not limited to this group of people. What are some other ways that we can praise the Lord with our music?

Singing. We often joke that the Bible says, "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord," but it doesn't say it has to sound good! (Psalm 100:1) Anyone can sing to the Lord. I have known people who, shall we say, "can't carry a tune in a bucket," but they don't let that stop them from joining in the congregational singing at church. I deeply admire those people that are willing to sing from their heart and not worry about what other people think. We are all commanded to sing to the Lord. (Psalm 100:2)

Playing an instrument. It doesn't just have to be piano! Any instrument can be played for God's glory. Just be sure the focus is not on you, the musician, but on ministering to the hearts of the people listening. A good question to ask yourself is, "Will my "performance" (I don't like to use that word when we are speaking about playing for the Lord, but I trust you understand what I mean.) turn the listeners thoughts to God, or to myself?"

Playing the radio. You may have started to figure out that this radio thing may come up often in my posts. :) That's ok, because I think it is so, so important! Along with this we can include any music you play, on cds, ipods, and all the other gadgets that are out there today. Yes, even this music should be played to bring glory to God! I do not think that all music we listen to as Christians needs to be hymns played slowly on an organ. I love a good soundtrack every once in a while! The Irish Tenors + me = love. Are you getting the picture? I do think, however, that even this music needs to be glorifying to the Lord in its style. Think about it this way: we've all pulled up beside a car at a stop light and had our eardrums blasted out by the vehicle next to us. Usually this music sends a VERY clear signal - and its not a signal that makes me think any thoughts about glorifying God! So if someone else were to hear the music that I listen to, would it in any way hurt my testimony for Christ? Think about it.

Invest in others. Maybe you are beyond the age where you feel you can learn an instrument. Maybe you are one that can't carry a tune, or you've lost your ability to sing due to illness. Whatever the case, you can invest in some one else! Let (or make) your kids take instrument or voice lessons. Set an example to others by joining in congregational singing or some other involvement. If you are a man and you can play an instrument, please, please, PLEASE don't hide your talent under a rock! Little boys need to see that playing an instrument is not in any way "girly." You don't know the impact you could have just by your example. Perhaps you don't have kids or grandkids of your own, but you could provide a way for someone else to take lessons. Offer to help with a piano recital at your church (food, decorating, etc) or be a van driver for your Christian school choir or band. If you use your imagination and become intentional about music, anyone can find a way to participate. Be creative!

Those are the ways I have come up with. Does anyone else have suggestions? What are the ways you have found to praise the Lord with music? Don't be shy, we'd love to hear!

June 9, 2011

What I Heard On The Radio

Before I begin this post, let me remind you to be looking for the first musician in the Bible! See this post if you missed the challenge. Before I give the answer, I wonder if anyone else has any guesses? Have you been looking for him?

This post is a continuation of our discussion on Psalm 150 and applying it to our music. If you missed the other posts, here is the first one and here is the second one.

It is no secret that I LOVE to listen to Christian radio. I listen to the radio all day long, when I'm in my vehicle, over the internet while I am in the office, and its always going at my house. Yeah, you could say I'm addicted. That's ok. I believe that Christian radio is so, SO important.

But this post isn't really supposed to be about why I feel Christian radio is important or why you should listen to it or why I am in love with the radio. I would love to tell you all that, and I most likely will, one of these days. :) Don't say I didn't warn you! But today I'd like to share with you something I heard while I was listening to the radio. It just happened to go along well with our discussion of Psalm 150.

I don't even know what the program was or who the guy was that was doing the talking. I wasn't really paying attention to that part. But a mother wrote in to give this situation and ask a question.

She had a 16 year old son that was part of a hard rock band with his buddies. They had been together for a year and a half. She was a Christian and so was her son. They recently had an offer to be sponsored by XYZ person, with an "opening night" in conjunction with another, more popular band. This opportunity, as far as they were concerned was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and they couldn't believe their good fortune.

This mother's concern came because her son was kind of perplexed as to how to present their band. This other, more popular band used profanities in their lyrics. Being a "christian" group, her son and his band didn't know if they should appear with this band that uses bad lyrics. And if they did decide to accept this offer, how "hard" should they come on with their christianity, knowing that the rest of the crowd present would not appreciate their beliefs?

Can I just say that I spent the next 15 minutes forming my response to this mother! I had a few choice things I would have LOVED to have called in a said in response. But I refrained. Instead, I decided to pose my view of this to you, my wonderful blog readers, and get your opinion!

I do think it is neat that this "problem" goes right along with what we've been talking to praise the Lord and honor Him with our music, whatever venue we might be in. So here is my response to this mother and son.

The first concern is whether or not the band should accept this offer, based on the fact that the other band is profane. I think the son and his band needs to realize that if they are going to play hard rock music, they are going to draw a type of crowd that appreciates that music...and that crowd is going to be profane. Profanity and suggestive lyrics are a characteristic of rock music, and no matter how much they try to "christianize" their band, rock music has an understood message...and it is not christianity. As a rock band, they are not going to be associated in people's minds with "religion," but with the kind of music the world wants.

So the next problem is, if they do decide to accept this offer, how "heavy" should they lay on their christianity to this very un-christian crowd? Because of course, on their opening night, they don't want to be rejected. That would not be a very good start to their band.

This band needs to decide what they are most concerned about. Is their objective to become popular by man's standards, or bring glory to God? If they are out to be popular, then by all means they should accept this offer. If they want to focus on bringing glory to God, they need to be in a different line of work. A hard rock band is never going to bring glory to God, so maybe they need to try a different genre of music, one that will honor the Lord not just by its lyrics, but by its presentation, its style, and by the crowd it draws.

I think if this band accepts this offer, they need to leave Christ out of their performance, because the two things can never go together.

I would love to hear how you would have answered this mother's concern. Leave a comment expressing your opinion of this situation! And don't forget to leave a guess as to who the first musician in the Bible is!