Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Plans for 2016 - Happy New Year!

I want to take this time to thank all who have visited this blog and commented on it this year.  I will continue to keep you all posted on the events and activities that we are planning for the coming year.

I am conducting research on the needs of parents with children who want to enroll in piano lessons.  Please take a few minutes to complete this short survey.  Although I may not be able to comply with all of the requests, the responses will be considered when planning for the coming year.  If you have any suggestions to offer, now would be a time to voice your opinions.

Friday, December 11, 2015

RI Kids Create Choral Group SIngs at the Providence Bruins Game

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

Thanks to the supporters of the RI Kids Create City Choral Group at the Providence Bruins Game on December 2, 2015.

Congratulations to the Academy for Excellence Glee Club, Providence, RI  for representing the RI Kids Create City Choral Group at the Providence Bruins Hockey Game.  They sang "Silent Night" to a crowd of over 8,000 people!  The girls received free popcorn, a free drink, a free hat, and a free Dunkin Donuts gift card.  I am sitting in front of the girls, resting after the performance.

One can observe the love of singing in the students.

These girls came together as a group in September of 2015 and are very dedicated to perfecting their musical talent.

One of the benefits of joining a choral group is that students learn team work, accountability, and not to accept mediocrity.   These are skills which will be useful later on in life.  If any students are interested in joining the RI Kids Create City Choral Group, please use the contact form to contact me.
Visit the RIKCMS promotions website for comfy, trendy clothing, including tees, sweatshirts, and hoodies for men, women and children.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

RI Kids Create Music Forming a Choral Group

The RI Kids Create Music School has been trying to establish a school in the Providence, RI area.  We have worked out an arrangement to offer piano and voice lessons at Avery Piano, 256 Weybosset Street, Providence, RI.  If interested, please contact RI Kids Create Music School through this contact form or the contact form on the schools website.  Please do not contact Avery Piano about our lessons.

We are also excited to announce that we are forming a student choral group, the RI Kids Create City Choral Group for students in the Providence area under the direction of Joel Gluck.  Students will be divided into groups according to age.  Our first performance will be for the Children’s Museum in Providence inn October and then we will do a Christmas program in December.  If interested, please contact me for applications and permission slips.  Auditions are not required.

In an effort to raise money for the school and for orphans, we will be holding an event in Providence very soon.  We need funding for the event and for a building for the school.  Therefore, we will be selling the book, Beyond My Imagination and t-shirts.   The book is about an after school piano program and contains some music teachings that were used in the program.  It is a book for pre-teens which is aimed at encouraging them to develop their talent.  Consider it as a Christmas present to a special someone while donating to a great cause.

The book is on sale at Amazon and Barnes and Nobles and t-shirts are available on line at Etsy.  We would appreciate your support of this program.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Back to School - Play Piano to Improve School Work

Going back to school can stir up emotions for students who desire to achieve good grades and in those who do not do so well.  An amazing number of children do not enjoy school at all.

If children are struggling with math or reading, they may dread their math or reading classes because they are totally confused or incapapble of solving math problems or reading their books.   Music can help in several of the areas where children are facing their greatest challenges.   Sudies have shown that children who study music have better math and reading skills.

If you are seeking ways to help your children improve in these areas, music can help students acquire cognitive skills which would greatly help them later on in life to make better decisions.  The piano, in particular, covers a wider range of music skills and would be a greater influence over students who struggle in school.

I am currently enrolling students for the new school year for piano lessons and a choral group, the RI Kids Create City Choir  If you would like to enroll, please use the contact form.  I am teaching on a concert piano for better performance at Avery Piano, Weybossett Street, Providence, RI  Students interested in learning to become concert pianists or choral singers are encouraged to enroll in my classes which are currently being held in Providence, RI.  An audition for the choral group is not reuired.  Must be 10-12 or 14 - 18, or 19 and up.  Contact me at 401-297-6681.

Enroll in seven piano classes, get one free now until the end of September.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Newport Slave Opens Music School

1st Congregational Church,  49 Division Street, Newport, RI

Newport Gardner was the first African American to open a music school and church for former slaves in colonial Newport, RI.  A former slave who purchased his freedom, he was well educated and an accomplished musician and composer.

Newport Gardner, born in Ghana in 1746, was sold into slavery to Caleb Gardner by a sea captain who promised his mother he would have a good education.  His African name was Occramer Marycoo.   He eventually did received an education in music and French as a slave, and was known for his great aptitude for music.  In 1791, he purchased his family's freedom from the proceeds of a lottery ticket an started his own singing school.  He published his first song in 1803.

                              Union Congregational Church, 49 Division Street, Newport, RI

Gardner established the African Free Union Society with the help of Dr. Samuel Hopkins, an abolitionist.  This society was a benevolent society established to help former slaves obtain help with finances to return to Africa, food, clothing, and medicine.  He then established the first African American Church in 1833,  the Union Congregational Church for the African Americans in Newport, RI out of the African Free Union Society.  The church first met in homes and then had its residence at 49 Division Street. The building still stands today.

Newport Gardner composed many songs, one of which was an anthem for the church which was the most known among his works.  Published in 1826 in Boston, Massacusetts, the words are as follows:

                                                       The Promise Anthem

"Hear the words of the Lord, O ye African race; hear the words of Promise.  But it is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to thhe dogs.  Truth, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their masters table.  O African, trust in the Lord: Amen.  Hallelujah, praise the Lord, Praise ye the Lord, Praise ye the Lord,   Hallelujah, amen."

Newport Gardner also established the first school, the African Free School for the education of African American freed slave children and advertised it in the Newport Mercury Newspaper on March 25, 1808.   The school, located at 8 Division Street, was free and Newport Gardner asked for cooperation of the whites in encouraging the African former slaves to attend.

In 1824, the church was renamed the Union Colored Congregational Church.  The church eventually moved to Thames Street where its name was changed to Mount Olivet Batist Church and then to West Broadway in Newport, where the name was changed again to Community Baptist Church. Community Baptist Church is still holding services to this day.

Newport Gardner and his group had a desire to return to their native homeland.  They eventually returned to evangelize the citizens, but soon died of diseases shortly after they arrived in Africa in 1826.  Newport Gardner was eighty years old.

The RI Kids Create Music School is trying to raise funds to establish a school in Portsmouth, RI.  We appreciate any support you can give us.  Please donate to our project at the top of this blog page.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Promote My Book Tour - I Will Blog about Your Business

For all of you adults who think you are too old to learn how to play piano, here is a course just for you.  Learn how to play your favorite songs!  I am teaching lessons on-line through webinars and one-on-one through Skype.  Join me now!  Sign up and encourage your friend to sign up as well!   Lessons are $25 per half hour - must pay four weeks in advance.   There is safety in numbers.....Don't procrastinate any longer.  All you need is a keyboard, digital piano, or upright - must be tuned!  You must have an open mind.  You can do it!  Keyboards need 65 keys minimum.

Win two free lessons when you support my book tour project on Kickstarter.  I am raising money for a school building.  Please share this posting in your social networks.  I have received some book orders since I started the campaign.  I also have a GoFundMe campaign for marketing funds.  Please take a look at both campaigns and support one or both.  I appreciate it!  If you have a business, I will blog about your business if you support the Kickstarter campaign. 

I a, promoting two books - Retailers Guide to Merchant Services, and Beyond My Imagination, which contains a music program for beginning students.   Both are available online at Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.  I am grateful for any support you could give me.  I appreciate my loyal readers.  Please subscribe to the blog so to get the updates.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Music Theory 1 for Beginner Piano

Here is an infographic which can help you remember how to begin reading music.  Music is read on a staff containing five lines and four spaces.    The Top staff has a treble clef on it and the notes on this stare are played with the right hand.  These would be the higher notes.  The bottom staff has a bass clef and notes on this staff are played with the right hand.  These would be the lower notes.    To beign, memorize the lines and the spaces on each staff.  The letters denote the notes on the piano.  Learning to read music is like learning how to read another language.  To schedule lessons, use the contact form.

Lessons are $25.00 per half hour and must be paid in advance at least four lessons at a time.  I accept Pay Pal.  Lessons are held on-line through Skype or via webinar.  Students must have a keyboard with at least 65 keys, digital piano, or upright  piano.   Schedule your lesson today!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Learn How to Read Music

If you would like to learn how to play the piano, the first thing you should learn is how to read music. Learning to read music is similar to learning another language.  Actually it could be quite fun when you finally learn to read the notes and actually play a song.  Children derive the greatest satisfaction form this!

All music is written on a staff.  A staff contains five lines and four spaces.  There would be a note on the line or the space and the notes are read from the bottom to the top. and then from left to right. Here is a staff containing the lines and the spaces.  Notice that each line contains a note and each space contains a note.  These notes never change.  Therefore, we must memorize the notes on each line and each space.  The curly symbol on the left is called a treble clef or G clef because the curved part of the treble clef curves around the G line.

We would start on the bottom line and read the notes there:  E G B D F.  There is a mnemonic device,a sentence, to help you remember the letters.  The first letter of each word in the sentence
corresponds to the letters on the line.  The sentence is :  "Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge."  However, because the girls are sensitive to being left out, I have cahnged the word from "Boy to "Baby."  If we examine the letters on the spaces, we will observe that the letters spell the word "space."  When we see letters written on the staff containing a treble clef, we would play these notes with the right hand.

The piano is the best instrument to use for composing music because you can actually hear all instuments on the piano.  Therefore, if you learn to read the notes on the piano for both hands, you can read the notes to play any instrument.  I am gpoing to be offering beginning lessons to read music at my website.  Sign up for piano lessons here on the Contact Me form. and receive my book free.  Limited time until August 30, 2015.  Enjoy!

I am trying to raise money to go on book tours.  I would appreciate your support.  Please make a donation in the sidebar at GoFundMe.  Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Thanks to the Sponsors

Last night was the performance of the Destiny Africa Children's Choir at the Common Fence Music Hall in Portsmouth, RI.  What an incredible experience!  The children began their energetic day teaching area children how to play an African drum.  Our students were very eager to learn drumming and spent a good part of the day testing out what they had learned on each of the drums which the children, both male and female, played.

At night, the choir gave an astonishing performance of highly energetic dancing, melodious singing, and powerful drumming, which reverberated throughout the room.  The music was upbeat leading everyone to arise and partake of the dancing!  The area students and a few others from the audience danced with the choir.

The children, who are all orphans living in Kampala, Uganda, were amazing.  They seemed so wel adjusted that one could hardly believe the harsh conditions under which they were living before they arrived at the orphanages.  Well- behaved children, they work hard and are being ttrained to be leaders in their country.  They were very eager to help the American children with their drumming techniques.

Many thanks to the  the sponsors of the event:

1345 West Main Road
Middletown, RI 02840

82 East Main Road 
Middletown, RI 02843

99 East Main Road
Middletown, RI 0284USA

933 Anthony Road
Portsmouth, RI 02871

AfriClassical Highlights:
If you desire to experience a performance of music in your area, here are some upcoming events.  

August 13, 2015 - Flutronics will release their new EP, City of Breath,
which features their classical perfomance on flutes. 

August 12, 2015 - John Malveau is featuring Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl,  2301 Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA.  Admission and bus ride are free.  Bus leaves Long Beach.  For more info call (323) 850-2000

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Promote Your Business by Supporting the Children

The Destiny Children’s choir will be visiting with us on July 20, 2015.  At that time, they will give a workshop on choral singing and African drumming.  They will then give a performance at night for the community.   We expect 200 children to be attending the camp and 200 guest for the performance.

We would like your company to be a sponsor for our events and we would be grateful for your support.
We have three levels of sponsorship for a brochure design: 

Level 1 advertising -$25.00 business card size ad – Your logo and business name will be prominently displayed on our brochure.

Level 2 advertising – $50.00 quarter page size ad– Your logo and business name will be prominently displayed on our brochure.

Level 3 advertising - $100 –  one half page size ad - Your logo and business name will be prominently displayed on our brochure.

Level 4 advertising – 175.00 – full page ad.

Thank you for you kind consideration of this request.  If you would like to be a sponsor, please fill in your donation in the link at the event site.


Gail E. Cavanaugh

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Beginner Piano Lesson

Anyone who would like to learn how to play piano will be
able to take piano lessons by webinar beginning on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 1:00 am, 2:00 pm, or 4:00 pm EST.  The lesson is one half hour long.  The fee is $25.00 per half hour.  Details and instructions on where to sign up on-line are included here:

The first song we will attempt to play is I Know Where I am Going, on page 42 in the book, How to Play Piano by Roger Evans.  The book can be purchased in a local music store or on-line at Amazon.  Be sure to bring a pencil (not a pen) to take notes.  You will learn how to read this music sheet and play the song.  If you would like to attend the meeting, please send me an e-mail to the address located on this notice or use the contact form on this blog.  I will then send you a Pay Pal invoice to the e-mail address you provided.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Read an Exerpt from My New Book

Here is an exerpt from my new book:

"The students must know where Middle C is on the piano, because from there, they will be able to find all of the other keys, as they are in alphabetical order.  Hence, one of the prerequisites to learning how to read music is that the student must know the alphabet.  If not, it will be very difficult to teach the students the sequence in the pattern of keys.  After learning the placement of the keys on the piano and the placement of the notes on the staff, the children should strive to read a new piece of music each week, beginning with simple pieces of music.  The ultimate goal is for the students to be able to read and play any piece of music, beginning with this class."

From Beyond My Imagination.

The book is available for free as an e-book on Amazon on the Kindle and at your local library on e-Zone. Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth, Rhode Island Libraries have the e-Zone installed on their websites.  

Saturday, July 4, 2015

History of African Drummimg

As we are awaiting the day when the Destiny Africa Childrens Choir arrives at our local music center, I thought it would be interesting to study the history of African drummimg.  African drums are believed to be the oldest musical instrument in the world.  The Africans have observed that everything that moves has rhythm.  Most of the drums are made in Ghana, Bali, and Thailand today and drumming is an art that is taken very seriously.

The djjembe drum, as it is called today originated in West Africa with the Mandinkas.  It is made with a piece of African hardwood topped with an animal skin stretched across it, most likely goat skin from Central Africa, which has the best goats for making drums..  It was introduced by the Malian empire about 400 – 800 years ago.   Drumming in Africa was so prestigious that Blacksmiths made the drum and the people who made the drums were said to be of the djembe families.   They were the only ones who were allowed to play the drums.  The families were called "djeli" and are still prominent in the area today.  They originated from Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast, where the art of djembe drum making began.  These areas have the trees which theae highly desired drums were originally made.  If the drum is made elsewhere, it is noticeable in the way it sounds.   They use the drums to play for weddings, funerals, baptisms and other rituals.

The drummer usually starts the ritual and then a singer joins him.  The guests then gather around in a circle and dance with the drummer and singers.  Some drummers today do not have the singer and the art has been lost.  African drumming was discovered by the Europeans first and then by North Americans.  It has spread all over the world with Japan and China taking up an interest more recently.  The drumming is an art and each new member of the family studies the art of drumming for many years with the master.

Music teachers often use the African drum to teach rhythm to young children, as the Africans believe that everyone has rhythm.  Additionally, drums and piano make a nice duet.

We look forward hearing the  Destiny Africa Childrens Choir.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Destiny Africa Children to Perform

The Destiny Africa Children will perform at the Common Fence Point Music Hall, Portsmouth, RI on 7/20/2015 aspart of their I AM LOVED tour.  Sponsored by the RI Kids Create Music School, it will include singing, dancing, and African drumming.  Additionally, the children will spend time during the day working with children from the school and the local community on their singing skills and will teach the children how to play an African drum.  Lunch is included.

We at the school are looking forward to meeting and working with the children, who have remarkable stories to tell about how they were rescued from the streets of Uganda and given an opportunity to develop their talent.  Many of the children were separated from their families during wars or lost their parents due to AIDS.  The children live and attend primary school at the Kampala Center in Uganda, Africa.  However, the city needs more schools and orphanages for other children who are in need of a school to attend and a place to live.  The donations will help fund the school, orphanages, and provide medical care to the children.  Plans are underway to construct a primary school.    

To register for the event, please go here.    Thank you in advance for the support of this program.  If there are any questions, use the contact form to reach me.  Please subscribe to this blog and share it with your friends.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

African Violinist Kidnapped by Naval Officer

                                  Joseph Emidy playing with the Truro Philharmic Orchestra
                                  This painting is on display at the Royal Cornwall Museum,
                                   in the United Kingdom.  From AfriClassical

Here is the entire painting in black and white.

Joseph Antonio Emidy is not a household name, (in my house, anyway) yet he was acclaimed in Lisbon, Portugal for his ability to play the violin.

Born in 1775 in West Africa and enslaved by a slave master in Brazil, he was later transported to Lisbon, Portugal at the age of 12.  Noticing that he had a passion for music, his slave master gave him a violin and music lessons with a teacher.  Joseph Emidy became so skilled in playing the violin that he became one of the second violins in the orchestra at the Lisbon Opera after about four years of lessons.

He was then kidnapped by a naval commander, Sir Edward Pellew, who saw his performances at the Lisbon Opera and was very impressed.  Sir Edward brought Emidy to his ship, the Indefatigueable, while it was undergoing repairs.  For the next four years, Emidy entertained the ship’s mates, after which we was discharged at the Port of Falmouth, Cornwall, United Kingdom.  He then became a teacher and played in the Truro Philharonic Orchestra.  He was a composer of concertos and symphonies, but none of his music has survived.  He died on April 23, 1835 in Truro, Cornwall.

More details about Joseph Emidy are written in Dr. Richard McGrady’s book, Music and Musicians in Early Nineteenth-Century Cornwall: The World of Joseph Emidy 'Slave, Violinist and Composer.    One of Joseph Emidy’s ancestors, Marjorie Emidy, of the United States, discovered her relationship to Joseph Emidy while tracing her family tree.  She wrote a book, The Emidy Family in 2000.  Additionally, James Silk Buckingham, a Cornish-born author, wrote extensively about Joseph Antonio Emidy in his own autobigraphy, which was completed in 1855.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Beyond My Imagination - Just Published!

As promised, my new Book, Beyond My Imagination is now available in paperback and on the Kindle through Amazon.  The book is for parents and pre-teens and includes some music instruction and a story for pre-teens.  I wrote the book to promote my business and to give parents some aspects on my background and experience.  I would encourage everyone to read the book to get a better understanding on the school's mission.

Because of the ability of pianists to play any instrument once they have learned how to play the piano, I am expanding the school to include the instruction of all instruments.  We currently have guitar, drum, trombone, and brass teachers.  The instruction is going to be given on-line in keeping with the digital age through webinars and on Skype.  The first webinar will be available soon.  I will be teaching chords for the playing of praise and worship and Gospel music, for those who would like to learn how to play by ear.

If you have not visited the website lately, I would encourage a visit to the library which is located in the links section.  I have added some books on the history of African American music.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Seeking Sponsors for Busy Beaver Piano Camp

Men's t-Shirt

Women's t-shirt

                                                              Kid's t-shirt

Busy Beaver Piano Camp and Happy Hands Watercolor Camps are slated to begin soon and we need sponsors for the event.

We are a for-profit music school, sole proprietor, providing lessons in the instruction of various musical instruments.  I would like you to be an important part of our plans to offer a music and art camp this summer.

The camp will run for six weeks, but the sessions run for one week, Monday through Friday from 9 am – 12 pm or 1 pm – 4 pm.  The music camp involves learning how to improvise and compose music and learning various art and design techniques.  Each week will feature a different genre, including pop, jazz, blues, classical, country, gospel/praise and worship.  The Destiny Children’s choir from Uganda will be visiting with us on July 20, 2015.  At that time, they will give a workshop on choral singing and African drumming.  They will then give a performance at night for the community.   We expect 200 children to be attending the camp and 200 guests for the performance.

The Happy Hands Watercolor Painting Camp will feature worshops in different aspects of art and design in addition to watercolor painting.  It will include Website Design, Video, Photography, and Book Writing and Illustration.

We would like your company to be a sponsor for our events and we would be grateful for your support.  I am promoting this in the local newspaper, flyers, and in the social networks.
We have three levels of sponsorship: 

Level 1 advertising -$2000 – Your logo and business name will be prominently displayed on our website and clothing.

Level 2 advertising – $1000 – Your logo and business name will be prominently displayed in smaller advertising on our clothing and programs.

Level 3 advertising - $500 – Your logo only will be displayed on our clothing.

Thank you for you kind consideration of this request.  If you would like to be a sponsor, please use the "Contact Me" form on this blog.


Gail E. Cavanaugh

Monday, May 4, 2015

Programs with Children in Mind

It is no secret that Jesus enjoyed the children and made it clear that there were to be protected.  By reading about what he said about children, it is clear that he spent time with them, even though there are no accounts of the his activity with them.

However, they had a special place in his heart, because he says, “And who shall receive on such little child in my name receiveth me.  But, whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it would better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he would he were drowned in the depth of the sea,”  Matthew 18:5, 6.

No doubt, anyone who has a close relationship with Jesus would feel the same about children.  It is the ones who intend to do children harm that we have to be on guard for the sake of little children.  Jesus warned about them in these verses, also.

Children are too young and powerless to defend themselves against those who intend to do them harm.  Anyone who cares for them should do so with the utmost care and concern for them.  We read daily about countless numbers of individuals who abuse and neglect children.  Some go to jail for it and some go unnoticed. 

It is for this reason that I have carefully planned the programs for the RI Kids Create Music School so that children have activities that they can enjoy and that will enrich them for their future pursuits in college and for future employment.

For parents who would like to involve their children in music, it is advisable that they learn at an early age, six years old, if possible.  It takes many years to master a musical instrument and it takes careful sustained practice for the talent to develop.  Children have to be engaged in regular practice.

The should begin by learning how to care for a piano and then learning how to position the hands and strengthen the fingers in order to play the piano well.  When there is an interruption in the learning process, the child must revert back to previous  lessons and exercises in order to "catch up."  Things happen, and life gets in the way, but parents should be aware of the consequences when the child falls behind.  For, time does not wait for anyone.

Music, in particular, piano lessons, have been known to discipline children, and children who are disciplined are more willing to listen to and obey authority figures.   They have a better work ethic and take their commitments more responsibly. 

We, at the RI Kids Create Music  School are looking forward to working with your children.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Joy of Developing One’s Talent

If one has a real passion for a talent or skill, there is no way of preventing him/her from utilizing it.  I have taught piano to many disadvantaged youth and one trait I observed was a determination to learn and to play the songs which I taught them with accuracy.

There are countless numbers of stories in history of individuals who pursued a passion and accomplished much just by doing so.  James Ford of Miami, Florida is one such individual who was able to develop his talent, even in the face of discrimination against him.  However, his mother desired to see him to pursue his dream and was able to enroll him at The Miami Fine Arts Conservatory in 1951.  She especially wanted to enroll her son because he was composing music at home. 

They were able to find acceptance and encouragement from Ruth Greenfield, the founder of the Miami Fine Arts Conservatory, the first to admit students of all races during a time of segregation in the U.S.  James Ford was her first black student.  James Ford became a concert pianist and still plays today at the age of seventy-seven.  

Another black pianist who was denied piano instruction was Margaret Bonds, (1913-1972), who composed her first piece of music at the age of five.  She later studied at the Julliard School of music and with two private instructors.  A third refused to give her private lessons, stating that she needed further study.

After graduating with a master's degree in music, she played in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Women’s Symphony Orchestra.  She then formed her own Margaret Bonds Chamber Society, which performed the music of black classical composers.  Margaret Bonds was well known for setting the woks of Langston Hughes to music.  Later in life, she became very active in theaters in New York and with the works which she dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr.

 These stories should be an inspiration to anyone who is trying to pursue a career in music or is merely trying to develop a talent and passion for the piano or any other instrument.   For this reason, the RI Kids Create Music School is planning a music and art camp in Portsmouth, RI this summer.  For more information, visit the event site where we are offering a discount for a limited time only.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Interactive Music Videos – Do Children Benefit?

The Digital Age has changed the way that we acquire knowledge and has provided ways for us to accumulate knowledge at a more rapid pace than before we had access to computers.  Just about everyone we know has access to some type of digital product, whether it be mobile phones, iPad’s, computers, videos, or tablets.  Many of us rely on these products to help us make important decisions in our lives about products and services.

In their desire to help their children to develop their talents and to expose the child to an environment of learning, many parents are choosing interactive videos to teach their children about life.  Some parents desire to give their children a head start on their learning process to ensure that they have acquired the knowledge and necessary skills to help them perform better in school.

As a result, many parents who value a musical education for their children are choosing the Baby Einstein videos and DVD’s to help educate them.  Many understand the benefits of a music education and desire to groom their children before they enter preschool.   Studies have shown that children who have a music education have better reading and math skills and perform better on standardized tests.  

With the introduction of interactive videos, educators fear that parents will use it as a way to keep the child occupied while they do their work around the house or take a needed break away from the child.  However, educators warn that the best way to utilize the videos in an effort to educate the children is to engage in discussions with the child after viewing to reinforce what they have learned.  In this way, the child has a better chance of learning than they would if they were left on their own.  For more information about the Baby Einstein videos and DVD's or to order them, please refer to the right sidebar of this blog.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Joseph Boulogne "Chevalier de Saint-Georges"

One of the most important influences on Beethoven, Mozart, and Haydn, classical pianists, was Joseph Boulogne, otherwise known as Chevalier de Saint-Georges, in recognition of his noble heritage.  Born in Guadelupe, Joseph Boulogne was the son of George de Bologne Saint-Georges. a plantation owner in France, and a slave.  Because he could not claim his heritage as the son of nobility, he changed his name during his adulthood to Chevalier de Saint – Georges, to bring attention to it.  Friends and family called him by this name as a child.  “Chevalier” means knight in French. 

As a child, Joseph’s father provided for him and gave him a good education which included swimming, fencing, and music.  He studied classical music with Jean-Marie Leclair, who instructed him in the violin, and composition with Francois-Joseph Gossec, who taught him composition.
As an adult, he pursued a music career at Le Concert des Amateurs orchestra, where the conductor chose him as First Violinist. In 1769.  

He became so well-known for his musical ability that Mozart paid him a visit in 1778.  Boulogne was known as the “Black” Mozart,   “Le Mozart Noir.”  Queen Marie Antoinette appointed Boulogne as her music director in 1775 and he was director of the Paris Opera under King Louis XVI. His directorship under the Paris Opera was opposed by his fiercest rivals and as a result, he lost the position.  He was then appointed as music director of  Marquise de Montesson’s private theater,  where he wrote the only music for a musical comedy, “Ernestine.”

However, after travelling to Vienna, he met Franz Joseph Haydn whom he commissioned to compose the Paris Symphonies, Nos. 82-87 for the Paris Opera.  Mare Antoinette was a fan of “The Queen,” No. 85.

Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, was not only a leader in his musical career, but he went on to become the colonel of the Légion des Hussards Américains  (Legion of American Soldiers) where he met.  This legion was a group of about 1000 black volunteer soldiers who were asked to fight in defense of the French Revolution.  There he met Alexandre Dumas Davy de La Pailleterie, also the son of a slave and a nobleman, who became the father of Alexander Dumas who wrote the “Three Musketeers.”

His works include several classical violin concertos, symphonies, quartets, operas for the Comedie-Italienne, and sonatas for violin and harpsichord composed between 1773 and 1778.  Only about one third of them have been discovered and they show the characteristics of classical music which include melody, symmetry, and attention to balance.

Monday, March 23, 2015

New Book -"Beyond My Imagination" to be Published Soon

My new book, Beyond My Imagination is just about ready to be published.  This book highlight some of my experiences in teaching children how to play the piano at community centers and after school programs and introduces my teaching style.  If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, I would suggest that you join my mailing list, at the top right corner of this blog, so that you can receive a link to purchase a copy as soon as it is published.  You will also be subscribed to a newsletter announcing book signing and book tour dates.         

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Should Children Attend the Symphony?

Attending classical concerts is a great way for children to become involved in their music to gain an appreciation for the talents and works of those who have gone before them.  Depending on the age of the child, this event could greatly influence their desire to develop their talent.  

Many of the schools sponsor field trips to a symphony at special times during the year, such as Easter or Christmas as a way to enrich the children.  However, with the coming changes in school curriculum, such as the new Common Core standards, this may not be included in the curriculum.

However, parents can take their children to a symphony on their own once or twice a year, as a treat to the children.  I can remember as a child that I was fascinated by the many people in the orchestra and the instruments they were playing.  It was such an exciting event to me, because it was not something that I could experience on a regular basis in my life.  There were so many different sounds.  My favorite instrument was the xylophone.  I would watch the player intently as he/she crafted beautiful, melodious sounds from an oddly shaped instrument.  I was intrigued!

Children can also learn to appreciate classical music when they see their peers skillfully playing the same instruments.  I observed in my piano classes that the children often helped each other learn the new songs.  The children are more motivated to learn the songs as they strive to keep up with their peers.  Here is an example of a video which would influence and encourage children to develop their talents. 

If you are in California or are going to be in California on March 25, 2015, GirmaYifrrashewa, an accomplished Ethiopian pianist, is touring the United States and will be giving a concert at the Carriage House in Los Angeles, California.  Girma just released a CD entitled “Love and Peace.”  Having a Master’s degree in Piano, he specializes in the music of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven.   He also plans to travel to the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club in Bethesda, Maryland on May 3, 2015 and to Joe's Pub in New York, NY on May 5, 2015. 

In conclusion, children can be greatly enriched when they attend classical concerts and symphonies from time to time.