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The first week of November will bring the beginning of fall courses at MTMS. There are so many exciting courses, from old favorites like Rock Band to new offerings like Mario Kart: A Study in Counterpoint.

Courses 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. Enroll by 10/31/20 and we’ll waive your $30 enrollment fee!

October is Spooky Music Month

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!

We Love Teaching!

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. 

Emma is officially the youngest kid in jazz band.

*Heart*

(Previously published.)

Student of the Month

Congratulations to all the students who have been selected to be Student of the Month! Once a month, MTMS recognizes students who have a positive attitude and are eager to learn.

May 2020 (Gahanna)

Congratulations to Vinny Aklilu for being Student of the Month!!

May 2020 (Polaris)

Congratulations to Aadhya Dave for being Student of the Month!!

February 2020 (Gahanna)

Congratulations to Julia Kahwash for being Student of the Month!!

November 2019 (Polaris)

Congratulations to Aarna Dave for being Student of the Month!!

October 2019 (Gahanna)

Congratulations to Lucy for being Student of the Month!!

September 2019 (Polaris)

Congratulations to Sruthi for being Student of the Month!!

September 2019 (Gahanna)

Congratulations to Kristopher and Aleksander for being Student of the Month!!

March 2019 (Gahanna)

Congratulations to Gabriel P. for being Student of the Month!!