Due to covid-19, we do not have access to our phone system to take your calls. We apologize for the inconvenience.
We are back in person and able to take your calls. In-person lessons are available with select teachers. At this time, in-person flute lessons are not available due to high covid-19 transfer risk associated with flute playing. Virtual lessons are available for all instruments and with all teachers.
The first week of November will bring the beginning of fall classes at MTMS. There are so many exciting classes, from old favorites like Rock Band to new offerings like Mario Kart: A Study in Counterpoint.
Classes are great way to try something new or to improve on skills already introduced. They’re all with our fabulous staff. Come play with us. Hurry – you don’t want to miss it.
Music History in the music lab has a different theme every month. October is a perfect time to look at the history of spooky music.
What is it that makes music spooky? There isn’t one simple thing that someone can point to that makes something scary. Music uses several different effects to make an audience on edge or waiting for something to happen, even if they don’t know what it is or when it will come.
One of the effects that music is attempting to emulate is a human scream. The scream is a sound that warns us someone needs our help- and bringing that into the score will definitely get everyone’s attention. That’s not the only effect that is used, but musicians have learned that using higher pitches and dissonant chords and even different instruments to get the desired creepy effect from listeners.
Check out music history in the lab to learn more about the many different musical techniques used to keep an audience waiting and listening for that next big moment. There are even specific instruments used only when creating spooky music!
Emma is 11, a guitar student, and pretty good. Mom said over the summer she wanted to try out for jazz band. Her teacher is a great teacher (Carrie, on Mondays) but not a jazz guitarist. We’re waiting for the audition piece.
On Friday Emma’s mom schedules a makeup with me to go over her jazz audition piece, which she had just received from the band director. She shows up, hands me music, and it’s hard. It’s in Bb (literally the worst key for guitar) and has a mix of melodic riffs well outside of 1st position and crazy tricky jazz chords that require insane hand acrobatics. I asked when the audition would be. “Next Friday.”
My heart sinks, but I hide it on my face. I do manage to suggest they should schedule as many makeups as possible between now and then. I take a photo of the music, and we spend the lesson learning what feels like a ton but is only a tiny percentage of the piece. On their way out, mom schedules another makeup with me for next Wednesday. (Carrie only teaches on Mondays.)
On Saturday, Walt (another jazz guitar teacher, but Emma’s schedule didn’t work) has a gap because his student called out. I bombard him, shove music in his face and say, I need chord fingerings for an 11-year-old, easy versions, as simple as possible. Go. He spends 18 of his 20 min gap writing chord voicings furiously while muttering things like, we can leave out the root, need the 3rd and 6th, she can play three strings here… then in the last two min I record his hands while he plays the fingerings he wrote. After, I texted the photo of the audition piece, the photo of Walt’s chord fingerings, and a link to the video of Walt’s hands that I’d uploaded to Drive all to Carrie, Emma’s regular teacher. We text back and forth for awhile because she’s panicking a little, too. We both spend our weekends playing the piece and figuring out what to show Emma.
On Monday, Emma has her regular weekly guitar lesson with Carrie, who also shares Walt’s fingerings and video w/Emma and mom. They get through most of the song, in rough-draft-ish format.
Wednesday, Emma has another makeup with me. Mom comments that she told her friends we have a “whole army of grownups helping my kid get into jazz band.” Emma is young but very mature and articulates well what she’s struggling with. I’d continued to play the song myself Monday and Tuesday and had determined a few ways to simplify even more than Walt had, so I show her. Overall, I’m amazed at how much she’s accomplished in four or five days, but I’m still nervous.
I changed a few things and she needs to practice them, so I want to circle back before the audition. I ask what time the audition would be on Friday. Mom says they have to turn in a video, and she’ll check with the director to see if they could submit it Friday evening (and therefore have one last lesson with me… and RECORD the video at the lesson.) The plan is approved by jazz band director, and mom schedules one last lesson with me.
Friday, Audition Day. Mom says Emma is considering not participating even if she makes it because it’s so hard. I tell Emma, “Don’t you dare!” and give her a huge pep talk about how she has more grit than most adults I know, and that she deserves to be in jazz band, and if she doesn’t make it, it’s not because she’s not old enough (most of the other kids are 12 and 13) or not good enough, it’s just that we could have used more time. I don’t know if the teacher handed them music one week before the audition because she was behind schedule or was testing the kids to see how quickly they could learn the piece, but if the quick turnaround was part of the test, Emma did the best she could and worked harder than any 11-year-old I’ve ever seen. I tell her if she doesn’t make it, we’ll try again next year. She rubs her sore, aching fingertips on the rough, bumpy surface of her chair and smiles.
We run the new stuff and she nails it. We start recording, but she makes a mistake and we scrap the take. The second take is pretty much as perfect as it was going to get in the time we’d had, and mom submits it.
Thursday: Mom just emailed to inform me that Emma was selected for jazz band, and I could dance, scream and cry all at the same time to express how happy I am for her.
The lab has four stations for students to continue their music learning work at Michelle Tuesday Music School. Our students may spend all their time during a month at one station, like ear-training, or choose to switch stations on different weeks. Remember when you visit we wear masks and social distance, so there will only be one or two students in the lab at a time.
At Station 1, our Music Theory station, students work on learning how to read notes, build chords, differentiate pitches and rhythms, and a variety of other skills that they can directly transfer to their lessons. Students use computer programs like Music Ace, Alfred’s EMT, and a new program, Utheory, to improve their skills. Music Theory also features our brand new game- Busted!, which works on identifying types of notes and clapping out rhythms with other students.
At Station 2, our Ear Training station, students may work on listening and echoing rhythms, matching pitches together, even or identifying different types of intervals and scales. This station is entirely iPad based, with apps for students of all different skill levels. Ear Training helps build the musical ear of all students, a critical skill that will be used and improved throughout their musical career. Station 2 also features one of our newest additions to the lab- our bean bag chair!
Station 3, our Composition station, allows students to write their own music! Students of younger ages can use blocks to build rhythms of their own, while older students can use computer programs like Noteflight to compose their own songs. The station even has prompts ready to provide inspiration to students writing their own music, encouraging students to write about everything from how they feel that day, to writing a song based on a favorite composer.
Station 4, our Music History station, teaches students about the history of famous composers or even the instrument they play. This station has new topics every month, exposing students to a variety of different parts of the history of music. October’s focus is on famous composers, time periods, and the history of instruments and genres. From Beethoven to the Beatles, students will learn about all kinds of music from the past. Our preschool age students may work on coloring pages of famous composers, while our older students read an informational sheet and then play a Jeopardy like game on the information they learned. Another option for our older students is a mini-independent research project on these same topics.
Wherever our students spend their lab time, they are becoming better musicians through the virtual work. Can’t wait until you come and join us!
When most people think about music lessons, they envision groups or single person lessons of softly played Bach or Beethoven, even Tchaikovsky and Chopin. Maybe throw in some Mozart or Wagner. If the teacher or the student is really ambitious, they might attempt Rachmaninoff, Brahms and Liszt.
Music teachers have shifted to a more interesting take on learning music. Today’s kids don’t want to learn classical music (at least I never did as a teenager; although I have an appreciation for it now) and musicians like Lindsey Stirling and the 2 Cellos are making more current music popular are typical classical instruments.
Instead of focusing on classical music, students can examine a broad range of choices. Everything from rock and roll to country to video games. The use of more enticing music means a student is more interested in practicing and playing.
By giving students options for their music, teachers have opened a whole door into not only new students, but new avenues for expression.