Use photos as an improvisation tool to help students explore an instrument, a technique, or a compositional idea.
- A photo of a waterfall encourages students to explore the full range of the keyboard
- A picture of jagged mountain peaks encourages students to use full hand chords to create power
- A photo of a roiling clouds with streaks of lightning encourages students to explore the power of the bass in contrast to quick rapid notes in the upper register of the instrument
- A photo of mist-shrouded valleys encourages the use of the sustain pedal
- A picture of bagpipers encourages the use of 5ths as an accompaniment to a jaunty melody
- A photo of bumblebees encourages the exploration of 2nds and rapid running passages
Obviously the list is endless and with today’s technology one can easily share photos via the electronic devices most of us carry.
shared by one of my students —
1. Raise the “priority” of practice. Make it one of your prime goals instead of getting the time left overs of your day.
2. Don’t over practice a piece. When I do I start believing I know it and will then lose concentration. Go on to another piece and then come back later if you want to play it more.
3. Have some fun. Vary the voicing, even to extremes. Mess with the rhythm and time. Save a “lollipop” to reward yourself with at the end of your practice session that you can play well that will leave you with a good feeling.
Dr. Jeannine Jordan, teacher and concert organist
Fall is here…
and it’s time to “hunker down”
We’ve had nearly a week of off-and-on rain, wind, showers, rain, wind, a sunbreak, rain, and more rain. What a perfect week it has been to “hunker down” and enjoy our music room. Years ago one of my beach students added “hunker down” to my vocabulary. His thought was that practice sessions are more frequent and more productive during those fall and winter months when the weather gives us good reason to “hunker down” and focus on creating music. So “hunker down” for some great practice! ‘Tis the season!
Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist
“the work of preparation ruled by discipline should finally disappear,
so that the elegance and freshness of the form
should strike us as being spontaneous.”
It is time to start the work of the fall
by setting goals.
It is time to prepare to achieve those goals
by creating a realistic plan.
It is time to become disciplined
by setting a practice schedule realistic enough to maintain.
This work, and yes it will be work, will provide the means to allow
the elegance and freshness of the music you play to appear.
Ah, that we all could have the joy of playing and sharing our music
in a spontaneous and carefree manner.
Now, that is a goal!
The only way most people recognize their limits is by trespassing on them.
- Tom Morris
How? Asking others, looking around, watching clips on the Internet, exploring a museum, walking in a park, reading a book (eBook or a paper one), using a tablet and third-party software, etc. Open yourself in a big way, look around and pay attention with a focus. Whether sitting with friends, your family, at the office, in nature or elsewhere. Offline or online. Get inspired, let your imagination go wild. There is so much to sense.
Curiosity is the key to creativity.
- Akio Morita
Leonard Bernstein; “to accomplish something, you need to make a plan and have too little time.
The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.
Just some thoughts for the summer.
Dr. Jeannine Jordan, creator of organ and media events and concert organist
“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”- Bill Gates
Moving on is not about never looking back. It’s about taking a glance at yesterday and noticing how much you’ve grown since then.
“Since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of time you are incomparable.” – Brenda Ueland
Let’s make this summer a time to reflect in order to move on with purpose and a strong sense of where we want to be. What are the musical high points of the past few years? What really worked for you?