NEWS AND UPDATES
New School Year Kick-Off Party/Parent Meeting
A BIG thank you to all the parents and students who took time Sunday, August 28th, to attend the party/meeting.
We watched a quick video with some pics and featured students from the past year.
Students joined teams and played Family Feud.
The Student of the Month for the summer was awarded.
We talked about the new assignment books that will be given to students who have mastered all of the Major scales and are ready for the next level of music theory. The books should be back from the printer by next week.
We talked about how to get the most out of practice sessions.
We ate cupcakes and snacks.
EXCEPTIONAL STUDENT OF THE MONTH FOR SUMMER 2022
Are you doing everything right but you didn't get chosen for Student of the Month?
Keep in mind there are over 50 students enrolled in DAMA and students who are chosen have worked exceptionally hard or have showed exceptional initiative. It's a difficult decision to make and sometimes it comes down to whether students who have been working on a piece are ready to perform it yet or if they had to cancel lessons during the month. It is not about who is the most talented or who has the most potential. It is about honoring the student who stood out because of their work ethic, attitude and initiative.
Be sure to talk with your teacher if you have questions or concerns.
Congratulations to the Student of the Month- Summer 2022
Presley briefly took lessons with another teacher prior to working with Miss Michele last July. Because of her strong desire to learn and improve at playing the piano, Presley practices an hour every day and it has paid off! She is in the process of learning Fur Elise in its entirety -the original version, as wells as other intermediate pieces. Presley dreams of being accepted into Denver School of the Arts, into their piano program and hopes to audition later in the school year.
Think you've seen Presley before? You're right! She was named Student of the Month in November and she is the first DAMA student to win twice in one year!
How to Win Student of the Month
Focus during lessons
Have a good attitude
Practice and come to lessons prepared
Show initiative to learn and improve
Attend at least 4 lessons in one month
Be ready to perform the song you are working on
Start earning tickets on Sept 1st
$25 = 1st prize
$15 = 2nd prize
$5 = 3rd prize
Raffle tickets will be awarded starting September 1st. Students 7 and younger receive 1 ticket for every 15 minutes of practice. Students 8 and older receive 1 ticket for every 30 minutes of practice. 1 ticket is awarded for each lesson (no matter the duration of the lesson)
The student with the most tickets at the end of the month will receive a medal.
Mark your Calendar:
Monday, September 5th- Labor Day-No lessons
Tuesdays, 3:30-5pm starting October 4th -DAMA Unplug Club
Monday, October 31st-Halloween-No lessons
Saturday November 19: Time 6:30pm
Family Music Trivia Competition
Thursday & Friday, November 24th & 25th
Thanksgiving Break - No lessons
Sunday, December 11th: Time TBD
December 26th- January 1st
Holiday Break - No lessons
Raising children is different now than it was prior to all of the screen time activities.
In many ways screens are great. In other ways, it's not so great. When kids become
consumed with all of the digital distractions such as online games, movies and social
media, it takes time away from their ability to learn one of the most important life skills...
how to relate to people.
The only chances kids have to learn social skills are during small pockets of their day at school, and sports programs concentrate on athletics and don't offer much opportunity for socializing and making friends. Some kids want to get together with their friends regularly but scheduling with other families is time consuming and, since parents are juggling so many activities, it can be difficult to coordinate.
What if there was a safe, supervised place where kids could get together and play board games? A place where they can socialize outside of school? A place that is completely unplugged? Nothing digital, just good old fashioned fun! What if they could just tell their friends, "Meet me at DAMA after school on Tuesday and bring Catan or Clue and ask Charlie if he wants to come too."
Since we have a nice big room here at DAMA that is largely unused, its the perfect space for kids to gather in a structured environment and have some friendly, unplugged competition.
So how would it work? The program will be open to kids ages 8-14 to come in on Tuesdays between 3:30-5:00pm and join with other kids to play board games. They will need to bring their own games and the games must be approved by parents. Parents will need to complete a registration form only once and then just drop off their child any Tuesday.
What does it cost? We want to keep it affordable so more kids can participate so Unplug Club dues will be only $32 per month for individuals and $55 per month for two children in the same family. This comes out to only $5.33 per hour for one child and only $4.58 per child for more than one child in the family. For families who don't want to commit to every week each month, there is a drop-in rate of $10 per child. This will cover the cost of supervision, set up and clean up afterwards. (Rates will be adjusted if there are more or less weeks in a month).
When does it start? Tuesday, October 4th and every Tuesday after (except for holidays).
How do we sign up? Registration will open later this month. Be on the lookout for instructions!
A SOCIAL CLUB FOR KIDS AGE 8-14
From Miss Michele's Bench
A parent asked a question at the meeting last week and I want to dive deep into the topic. She was concerned because her daughter was unable to play a song that she knew really well a few months ago. The part that was concerning was because her
daughter looked at the sheet music but still couldn't play the song. It appeared that her daughter can't read music. This is not surprising to me at all. I see it all the time with students and it is not that students CAN'T read music, it's because they have not developed strong enough muscle memory for that particular song and therefore, they would have to re-learn parts of it and that can take almost as long as learning it the first time. Why? Just because you can read notes, does not mean that the information is so engrained in your subconscious mind that you can play fluently. I have been reading music for 48 years and I can't just pick up any piece of music and play it without studying it and practicing -depending on the level of difficulty, of course. I even have to re-learn pieces that are not fresh in my memory anymore too.
Think about when you first learned to read words. You sounded out letters and formed words and you practiced it ALL DAY/EVERY DAY at school. How long did it take before you could read words without having to sound them out? How long before you could skim over words and not even think about it anymore? Now imagine if you only practiced reading 15-30 minutes a day and only 3-5 times a week (or less)? And taking it a step further, now you have to actually respond with your ten fingers placed on certain keys, in certain rhythms while you read. It's going to take much longer to be able to read music fluently than to read words fluently. But, there are things you can do to help speed up the process.
Sight reading is when you play a piece for the first time. It takes an enormous amount of concentration. Each time we play a piece it gets easier and easier but the first time is always the hardest. So, students can practice sight reading a piece that is below their ability. It would not be a piece that would need to be practiced too much in order to master. Also, completing "Name the Note" worksheets helps a lot too. I developed these worksheets with very specific instructions so that by the time a student completes a worksheet, they have identified 100 notes in random, yet sequential, order and I have seen it work wonders for helping plant music notes in the mind. The third thing that helps is time. It's gonna take time, maybe even years of practicing to master sight reading.
I've been asked about note reading apps and I think they are great but unless you are playing each note on the piano as you read. it, it's not going to help associate a particular note with a particular key on the piano and that is important. That is why we play lines 3 and 4 of the worksheets on the piano before we write in the names of the notes. The other thing students can do is to periodically play music that they previously learned but aren't working on anymore. Everyone is different and there's no set amount of time or practicing that will forecast when it will all click in place.
I'm so very glad that this parent brought this to my attention. Knowing how to read music and being able to play what you read are two different skills. Much like knowing the rules of the road and being able to drive. They are two different things. Eventually, the skills will merge and it's a beautiful thing when it does. Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns.
Thank you so very much for the opportunity to work with your children and for allowing us to be a part of their musical journey.