World Premiere of Suite for Heroes – J. Golembiowski

Jaroslaw Golembiowski and Julie Lovison

Julie Lovison with friend and piano colleague Jaroslaw Golembiowski on the occasion of the premier performance of his composition “Suite for Heroes” honoring the 200th Anniversary of the Death of Thadeusz Kosciuszko. Performed by the Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra with David Maller on trumpet at the Copernicus Center in Chicago September 2, 2017. The piece was commissioned by Drs. Barbara and Waldemar Niklinski.

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Group Piano Teacher Training – Level 1- Chicago 2017

Robert Pace Curriculum Piano Teacher Training

Sun.-Tues.  July 30, 31, August 1, 2017

9:30 a.m. -3:30 p.m.

Group Piano Level 1

This course focuses on the concepts presented in the Robert Pace Level I books. Learn how to integrate theory right from the beginning, as well as how to develop all music skills simultaneously (ear training, sight reading, technique, improvisation, transposition, and theory) through the repertoire studies. Learn how to create a buoyant, creative atmosphere in each lesson. Learn how to facilitate good peer teaching and cooperative learning. Discover what it means to teach music concepts and how doing so will create an upward pattern of spiral learning, and develop independent learners who will become lifelong music participants. Level I curriculum concepts include: steps and skips, up, down, same, patterns, repetitions, sequences, parallel and contrasting question and answer phrases, 5 finger patterns, I and V7 chords, waltz style, alberti bass, broken chords, march, dorian, pentatonic, roving triads, passing tones, upper and lower neighbors, tetrachord scales, major and minor key signatures, parallel and contrary motion, down up phrasing, staccato vs. legato, and many more.

We will address good business guidelines including how to market and expand your student clientele, establish studio policies, and the importance of maintaining personal professional growth.

Presenter:  Julie Lovison

The Lake Shore Music Studio

1460 N. Sandburg Terrace

Chicago, IL  60610

312-335-8426

LSMSPiano@aol.com

Tuition: $295

Plus cost of materials:

Robert Pace Music For Piano, Creative Music, Theory Papers and Finger Builders

Teachers completing the course receive IPTF certificate and listing on LeeRobertsMusic website.

Registration Form

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Reflections on MTNA Music Conference 2017 Baltimore

by Julie Lovison
An action packed three day conference included two special concerts.
Igudesman and Joo  are two young musical friends who have chosen to make a career out of poking fun at classical music while delivering thoughtful, real musical performances interspersed with the humor.   Here is an example of their mashing up classical music with a “Russian accented version of I Will Survive”
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Master Class and Concert by Leon Fleischer

Leon Fleischer is 88 years old and going strong as performer, conductor, master class teacher, and collaborator.  In 1964, Leon developed focal dystonia, a curling in of fingers, which put an end to his concert piano career.  Instead of giving up music, he transitioned into conducting, and returned to performing left handed literature only.   After 40 years, through physical therapy and the use of Botox on his arm, he was able to regain much, but not all, of his right hand use.
His exquisite concert  included the beautiful solos performances of  Sleep May Safely Graze, Claire de Lune, Chopin Mazurka and Nocturne in D Flat, and duets with his wife, Katherine Jacobson-Fleischer.   Leon  also takes time to perform collaboratively with his son, a jazz singer in New York.
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These two examples show that there are many avenues to making music beyond the traditional concept of solo artist, indeed a creative and musically open mind can experience many new and fulfilling areas of music making.
Here you can see how Mr. Fleischer despite the handicap of  curled fifth finger, creates the sublime and intimate rendition of Bach’s Sheep May Safely Graze.
As usual Reno and I were on hand in the exhibit hall to represent Lee Roberts Music Publications and speak about the Robert Pace Approach.
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Adult Piano Lessons Chicago

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Piano Recital | Lake Shore Music Studio | Chicago

2016-01-24 14.02.20Lake Shore Music Studio | Student Piano Recital | January 2016

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Creative Summer Piano Groupings

Sandburg PagodaCreative Summer Piano Groupings
Summer scheduling at The Lake Shore Music Studio is a patchwork. The schedule changes week by week, with students weaving in and out according to their family’s vacations, camps and other special projects. Summer brings a different tone to lessons. First, it seems that the students who stick around for summer are more motivated and interested generally in music than those who take the summer off. Secondly, new students arrive for whom summer is the time they have chosen to begin something new and exciting (music!) in their life. Third, students are much more relaxed and free in their minds away from the hectic pace of the school year activities. Fourth, just coming in shorts and sandals makes everything seem more relaxed (for teacher and student!)

As a group teacher, I have to be a little more general in my groupings. Students from several classes may join together, or I may do more groupings across ages or levels. For example I grouped two sisters together with their respective classmates. They were about a year apart in levels.  The older sister delighted in being the teacher and the younger ones couldn’t wait to see what was on the horizon for them.  By “teaching” it crystalized the material for the older one and made her proud of her accomplishments.
I did a similar grouping for another brother and sister combo. It made it easier for the parents to only come once a week. Let’s face it – they all need reinforcement in the same general things – note name recognition, rhythm and counting, and keeping their finger technique up to speed. For note names, games like Crazy 8ths, Spoons, Around the World or Bean Bag Grand Staff toss, or Bingo are the most often begged for games.
Sight reading for animals is another activity students enjoy. Each student finds an appropriate sight reading book, and collects a stuffed animal (for the day, they go back in the bin when the lesson is over!) for each song completed.
Duets are another great way to work across levels. Besides a wealth of fun easy duet collections to choose from, like Margaret Goldston’s Duets for Bear Lovers (Steps in the Forest is the favorite and easiest piece) most easy piano books have a teacher duet below. Some are a little more difficult, but some are simple I and V chords that an older sibling can master.
In July we typically focus on jazz, and the 12 bar blues gets a big workout. This is so easy to teach level one students, and you can expand in complexity from there. This gives a good jump on learning songs to be ready for our CAMTA jazz festival which seems to come up so quickly in November. Betsy Hannah’s Real Blues book presents the blues simply and offers a cool combo CD to play along with. Students like it when I play a walking bass and chords but they LOVE playing with the combo – (to their ears, that is the real deal.)
In another grouping situation, I had an adorable brand new 8 year old student so motivated to learn, she is coming 4 times a week. Her good friend came to the studio with a year or so of previous experience elsewhere. Although I began them individually, after a few lessons, I found common ground for them to work together, tic tac toe for reading small step and skip patterns, drawing a grand staff, improvising in various styles on the pentatonic scale (black keys) and the 12 bar blues, and transposing. These were concepts that the second student had not encountered in her previous study. Being good friends, they were thrilled to be able to work together.
In some cases an individual lesson format for students who have been faltering on a steady practice helps zoom in on and firm up basic skills that have been keeping them from making optimal progress during the year. I suggested twice a week lessons to a student whose total concept of “practice” is picking out songs by ear and now we get at least two solid days of reinforcement.
Adult students are another category of exciting summer students. For some this is their time to start something they always wanted to do. Summer shorter terms gives them that option to try it out.Others are snowbirds who will live in Florida or Arizona in the winter. This is a great opportunity to coordinate with colleagues in other states for reciprocal referrals (if you don’t want to do skype lessons with them directly.)
Some have a particular mission. For example, I have been delighting in helping a student become aware of the circle of fifths chord structure, and how she can apply it consciously to work out chords for songs she has been doing by ear for years. She is amazed, and absolutely thrilled that she can consciously put the chords she already knows into the songs according to the circle. Georgia and Autumn in New York are two of her favorites. I find the Hal Leonard Easy Thirties Fake Book a great place to find great standard songs that exemplify the ii V I or vi ii V I progressions.
For me, summertime is a golden time for lessons. What are your favorite summer projects?

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Lang Lang at MTNA Conference Las Vegas 2015 | Julie Lovison The Lake Shore Music Studio

One musician who participated at the 2015 MTNA Conference in Las Vegas who has been doing a lot to introduce young people to the piano and hold their interest is Lang Lang.  His boyish charm and somewhat flamboyant style makes him appear more accessible to a younger audience. Maybe in your day it was Liberace, or Van Cliburn but charisma has always played a part in musical performance though of course it must always begin with real skill or that elusive something described as “talent” to become a superstar.

In fact, speaking of superstars, a number of MTNA attendees took the opportunity to see Elton John, another consummate piano performer of the popular genre, who was appearing at Caesar’s which was the next venue over from The Rio where the conference was being held.

Though Lang Lang did not give a piano performance he did conduct a master class and a showcase session (both of which I attended) introducing his new piano teaching materials distributed by Alfred Publishing.  I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of each of the Level 1-5 books and get a couple of them autographed.

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Julie Lovison gets Lang Lang autograph at MTNA Conference in Las Vegas 2015

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Lang Lang Autographed music book.

 

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Visit with Sir James Galway at MTNA Las Vegas 2015

One of the fun aspects of attending a national conference is the opportunity to spend a few minutes with the musical celebrities who are participating. We enjoyed a wonderful concert by renowned flutist Sir James Galway who incidentally was exhibiting his new “First Flute” instruction video series in the booth next to Lee Roberts Music Publications where I was assisting teachers to better understand the benefits of the Robert Pace Piano Approach.

Sir James Galway with Julie Lovison, Director of The Lake Shore Music Studio.

Sir James Galway with Julie Lovison, Director of The Lake Shore Music Studio.

It seemed appropriate to have Sir James autograph a copy of “Shepherd’s Flute” composed for piano by Earl Ricker from the Robert Pace Piano Recital Series.  Since it is written in a minor key popular in Jewish tunes he quipped, “This is a Jewish Shepherd” and went on to share the fact that “Jewish shepherds lead their flock” while shepherds from other cultures drive their flock from behind.

At his master class Sir James made a point of stressing the importance of practicing his scales which he still does devotedly every day. I guess that proves no matter how accomplished you are you need to pay attention to the fundamentals.

Two on Tour Duet Book | Robert Pace SeriesWe observed how personable he was with each visitor taking time time to have a short chat while simultaneously playing chess via his cell phone with a friend online between visitors.

Sir James was also kind enough to autograph a page from the “Two On Tour” duet book volume 2 which was the promotional handout in the Lee Roberts’ booth. The piece is called “Parade for the Irish”.

 

Video

Julie Lovison, Director of The Lake Shore Music Studio in Chicago speaks with piano teachers about the Robert Pace Approach to Piano Instruction at the Music Teachers National Conference MTNA  2015 conference held at The Rio in Las Vegas.

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Lake Shore Music Studio Featured in Superscope Video

Lake Shore Music Studio Director Julie Lovison and student Ben Branda were featured in a promotional video for Superscope Technologies PSD450 Mark II audio recorder. Ben played “Rockin’ in New Orleans” (Used with permission of Alfred Music Publications).

Video produced by RenoWeb.net.

 

Thanks for including my music.  The student did a very fine job!  Please relay my thanks to Julie. – Catherine Rollin, Composer

Find the music here in The Best of Catherine Rollin Book 2

 

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Our “Funny” Clock

Our “Funny” Clock

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“I can’t read that clock,” exclaims a seven year old students in dismay about our clock on the studio wall.  “Why does it have letters instead of numbers?” They want to know. After they figure it out, it’s like being part of a secret club or breaking a mysterious code.

We love our “circle of fifths” clock.  The circle of fifths helps us understand the basic structure of musical composition that has been in use in so called western music from the early 1700s through the present time.

In our circle of 5ths clock, C is at the top.  Counting five notes in order up the scale CDEFG brings you to G  likewise GABCD brings you to D etc.  Each key is 5 notes up from the previous one.  Since we are using scale notes, the fifth note of B scale takes us  to F# (A/K/A G flat) from F# we work our way back by 5ths up to C.

The circle represents many things to us, most importantly how scales are interrelated, and how chords follow a downward path of 5ths to resolution.  In a simple example, a song ending in the key of C would always have a G chord (or G7) immediately preceeding it. Further it likely would go from D to G to C, or even further down the circle, from E minor to A minor to D minor to G to C.  If the song were in the key of G, it would always need to end in D7 then come home to G.  300 years of conditioning have caused our ears to expect this resolution.  As an example, think through Happy Birthday to You, but stop directly before the end of the song, on TO.. and notice the gravitational pulled toward YOU. It almost seems impossible to stop at “TO”.
Our students begin learning the first five notes of all 12  scales (which lay under 5 fingers comfortably), and they learn that every scale follows the same pattern of construction.  From these scales we can change one note, and easily learn all 12 minor scales, as well as all 24 major and minor chords by playing only fingers 1 – 3 and 5; immediate transfer of learning from one concept to another. This is one of the unique aspects of the teaching approach we use. Students learn that we can transpose a song into any other key thus experiencing early the thrill of having the song “sound right” no matter what key they choose.

Being able to transpose a song into other keys is one of the primary skills of a competent keyboard musician because it allows him or her to accommodate the music according to the needs of other instruments and particularly singers who often need to change the key to accommodate their vocal range. This is a fundamental aspect of comprehensive musicianship and why what we teach is more than simply piano lessons. It is our goal that LSMS students be able to play music, not just play songs.

We learn to read and write key signatures.  We learn a simple chord formula for applying the two important chords to a song (“when your melody uses notes 1 – 3 or 5, use the One chord, when it falls on scale degrees  2 or 4, use the Five chord”.  Later, we fill in all 8 notes of each major and minor scale, learning additional chords and how to apply them to the other scale notes of the melody, and become familiar with other positions of the basic chords (inversions); more complex types of chords and applications of the chord formula.

Building this solid understanding of musical construction one step at a time makes music more accessible to students in many ways. First, they know how to  interpret more intuitively (for example a “home: chord might be accented , or have a slight hesitation or ritard, a “five” chord might imply acceleration or crescendo) ; how to memorize more confidently and sight read more easily by knowing what chords will be involved in the piece; how to read chord charts or fake books; how to appreciate the structure of the piece and be in on the thrill of anticipating the expected sound and satisfaction of arrival; how to transfer the concepts that are so easy to see in the piano’s linear layout to other instruments which are not so visually obvious; how to compose their own pieces or apply accompaniments to music.

Next time you stop in, if you still can’t read the clock, ask your child. But don’t worry–there are little tiny numbers on the side if you need help.

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