Friday, November 25, 2011

And the winners are......

Thanks, ladies for the quick comments.  I wish I had more of the living scriptures to give away, since they are so popular.

But the winners --in order of time of comment emailed--are:
Michelle - scripture video
Velika - Hilary Weeks
Liz - Carmen Rasmusen Herbert

Please email me your addresses ( send them to my email so they're private) and the publishers will mail you your CD's and DVD.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thanksgiving Give-Away!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I have been so richly blessed in my life.  I am living my dream.  Even though my husband passed away recently, I feel his love and God's love in my life everyday.

I have several free items to give away and thought today would be a great day to do a special give away.

To the first 3 people who leave me a comment I will send them one of these items (if you want one in particular, please let me know):

Hillary Weeks's CD- always great singing
Carmen Rasmusen Herbert became an overnight success on American Idol.  But along with the spotlight she has remained true to her standards of modesty, chastity and healthful living.

 The popular animated Book of Mormon stories.  This is the anniversary 25th edition of Nephi and the Brass Plates.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Music Tip - Help! My Child Wants to Quit

Lately I’ve had a couple of piano students that have started complaining about having to take piano lessons.  Shocking, I know!  The mothers have talked to me to ask for any advice and of course, I’m anxious and willing to give them some.  I’ll mention some of the things I’ve told the moms, and tell you the one that has really helped the most.

Here’s some ideas:
1.       Explain that you are a musical family and that’s what the kids in your family do-- take music lessons.  But then give them a time limit of when they can stop.  Maybe it’s when they reach a certain level or age or ability to play.

After that bombshell, give your child some sympathy/encouragement and support to make it fun.  Offer some incentives to keep practicing like purchasing them their own box of cereal—I know, that’s random.  But kids LOVE to get to choose a sugar cereal that you normally refuse to buy.

Or offer to do one of their chores while they practice.  My daughter loved to have me do her turn of washing the dishes while she practiced.

2.       Back off the practicing help.  My moms are Suzuki moms and have been trained to help their child practice at home.  Suzuki children start musical training early-like age 4 or 5 and need their mother’s help.  But by the time the child is 9 or 10, he needs to start learning independence and good practicing skills on his own.  This is a good time to start weaning the mother from the actual practice time session at home. 

This is the saving grace that has helped many a child.  I’ll tell the parent that now the student is old enough to start practicing on his own.  I’ll teach the student how he  should practice his pieces at home and how many times to play a piece and olay!  the fights at home now cease.  Mom is out of the picture and it’s the student and teacher and the pressure is off.

3.       Ask the student what kinds of songs he wants to learn to play.  As a teacher I need to sometimes back off on the classics and introduce more popular and fun pieces.

On my next post I’ll offer some ideas on helping a student practice effectively on his own.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Music Tip - Christmas Music

Now is the time (actually two weeks ago was the time--but I forgot to write this post).  So if you haven’t started, you better start RIGHT NOW!  What am I talking about?  Why Christmas music, of course--that is, having your children practice and play Christmas music on their instrument (piano, violin, banjo—whatever!)

I love to have my piano students practice Christmas music and it seems that they are much more willing to practice when it’s Christmas music, too.  I like to give them songs that are just a little easier than their usual reading songs.  I want them to be able to learn a song in one week’s time, not have to take several weeks to master it.  That way they can learn several songs during the season and enjoy playing them for recitals, or family or for grandma when she comes to visit.

I like to use Christmas songs as a good remedial sight reading exercise or a boost to a child’s reading self esteem.  Put a lower level song in front of them and challenge them to play it perfectly or with only a couple of mistakes.  Then help them realize how much they have learned in the past few months.

You can use primer level songs to reinforce or teach new notes.  Have your student say the name of the notes out loud while playing their piece.

This is my favorite site to get free folk and classical sheet music and they have lots of Christmas sheet music as well.

For my beginning Suzuki students who don’t know how to read music yet, I write out Jingle Bells for them in this format (EEE EEE EGCDE……).  It helps reinforce the names of the piano keys and they LOVE to play the song. Sometimes it helps to write the "Gs" a little bit higher  and the "Cs" and "Ds" a little bit lower to help them visualize where the keys are.

Don't forget to use lots of fun holiday stickers to reinforce practicing. 

Enjoy the season! Remember the reason!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Parenting Tip - Make Meal times--Memorable times!

Meal times—ugh! Sometimes that word conjures up “complaining, noise, eating-vegetable-fights”, etc. I remember one mealtime when I was a kid and all six of my siblings were being noisy. My parents were trying to get us quiet so we could say a blessing on the food, and my father loudly said, “silence is golden,” to which my younger brother asked, “is that why we’re so poor?”  I remember the whole family started laughing hysterically at that remark and it took another 5 minutes for us to quiet down so we could bless the food.


How can we make mealtimes not quite so hectic and more of a pleasant, memorable tradition (which, if you talk to the food nanny, you’ll see that it is a dying tradition)?


My son and daughter-in-law play 20 questions at dinnertime at their house.  When I visited them for a few days, I was quite amazed at how this game brought the noise level down and focused the grandkids on eating and thinking instead of complaining and fighting.



 And think of all the good side benefits for your children like: 1) involving the whole family (their 4 year old LOVES to think of the object but usually switches it 2 or 3 times during the game :) 

2) analyzing/categorizing objects into groups of  animal, vegetable or mineral  3) using deductive reasoning 4) using creativity 5) learning how to phrase a question….the list goes on and on. 


Time magazine says that "kids who dine with the folks are healthier, happier and better students, which is why a dying tradition is coming back."  

Meal times are a perfect time to let family members share their day.  School age children can tell one thing they learned that day.  Everyone can tell a funny thing that happened, or a service they did for someone or they can say something they are grateful for.  You can even listen to music or in my case, where it's just my mother in law and me--yes we have uncomfortable silences--I put on an uplifting talk to listen to.
But whatever you and your family do at mealtimes, make sure its FUN!

Because that’s what families do--they have fun together!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Parenting Tip - Cooperation!

I had a conversation with a fellow teacher at school the other day.  We were talking about children.  My children are all grown and I mentioned that it was so fun because they are my friends now.  Her children are in their teens and suddenly she has become the “policeman” and doesn’t enjoy the easy relationship they use to have.  She gets tired of being the parent who has to constantly monitor the video game playing and curfews and such.  She has become the “bad guy”.


That’s a hard time of life to go through when your children are learning how to become more independent. They want and demand lots of independence, yet they don’t quite know how to manage it.  Here’s some ideas on how you can keep a good relationship with your children through all the turmoil and growing up you all will experience.


Treat your children with respect.  They are people, albeit immature people.  They have feelings and want to be understood, so don’t talk down to them.  Don’t lecture and issue commands for them to follow.




Talk with them.  Understand their needs.  Tell them your needs.  It all goes back to Sesame Street and kindergarten when your child learned about COOPERATION.  Both children AND parents need to cooperate with each other.


Case in point:  video games.  Your son wants to play them nonstop.  You hate them.  Cooperate.  Talk about your child’s daily schedule and what needs to be done at what time.  How much time is there for playing video games each day?  Do other things need to be accomplished first, like chores, homework, etc?  Is there a way your son can earn more time to play---say by doing an extra job around the yard or house?


Above all, listen to how you talk to your children.  Don’t be sarcastic, demeaning, demanding, or derogatory.  Talk with love in your voice and your child will talk back to you that way.  And if she doesn’t, then sit down with her and express your love and concern and desire to work things out so you both feel happy about the situation.


Parenting IS work.  But oh, so rewarding when you invest the best of you and appreciate the best in your child.


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