Teaching Beginners in a Modern World

Owner / Director of Imagine Music Inc., Jennifer Aumentado held a workshop for her Teachers on October 14th and presented “Teaching Beginners in a Modern World”. The information presented was useful to teachers at any level from our new teachers to experienced ones. With changing times and modern technology, keeping up with knowing the best way to teach beginner students can be a challenge.

Subjects reviewed were: basic body concepts, finger striking, note reading, rhythm concepts, the importance of fun music, assessing students, parent involvement and so much more!!

A few interesting highlights were:

– If students are continually looking at their hands instead of their books, try covering their hands with a piece of paper.
– Basic body concepts were discussed, as in the importance of good posture – i.e. sit up straight, shoulders back, arms and wrists relaxed, fingers curved not flat on the keys.
– To encourage students to practice – find songs that inspire them!
– Parents can help make progress faster by helping children practice at times that fit their schedule. Keeping the lines of communication open between themselves and the teachers also can help to see where students might need a little extra help.
– If the student is old enough to write in their own practice book -they can mark down the things they need to work on for the following week. This will help reinforce it in their mind.
– The importance of keeping your students interested in music and wanting to learn more was emphasized. This can be done by adding in a “Fun Book” of songs or for younger children simply adding in some music games or coloring. Kids love coring and while their at it don’t even realize they are learning their notes!

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Terry – Playing Scales Correctly With 6♯’s & 6♭’s & 7♯’s & 7♭’s.

I’m happily an Imagine Music Inc. organ student. We’ve been reviewing scales. I also have been formally studying music theory. Recently I had a problem when playing scales with 6♯’s & 6♭’s & 7♯’s & 7♭’s in them between E and F and B and C. I could not remember what notes to play or what to call them when considering what they are called correctly in music theory, that is, E♯ and F♭ and B♯ and C♭. I had created a computer file and named the notes. My instructor told me I should memorize the scales and their properly named notes per music theory. I said I didn’t know how to do this without the crutch of my computer scales file document/crutch.

This is an example of where the excellent Imagine Music Inc. instructors know just how to apply music theory to actual instrument playing. The answer is scale patterns. These Major Natural Scales have the pattern tone, tone semi-tone, tone, tone tone, semi-tone. The semi-tones are where the E and F and B and C with no keys between them occur. Therefore, if you apply this pattern E♯ and F♭ and B♯ and C♭become obvious as long as you know the difference on the keyboard between a whole tone and a semi-tone. After I applied the tone pattern I could figure out what note came next and didn’t have to use the computer scales file crutch. This blending of music theory and playing certainly makes learning all about music with Imagine Music Inc. more pleasant, practical and professional. (I would not have been able to apply the music theory I knew to solve this problem even though it was very obvious.)

Terry – His Experience with Imagine Music Inc.

Imagine Music Inc. Organ Student Terry, prepared a song for the 2016 Video Project and wanted to share his thoughts about his experience with Imagine Music Inc. Terry is an adult student who is partially sighted. He has written two parts to his review.


PART I

Hello, my name is Terry and I’m a 75 year old partially sighted Organ student. I use a computer as well as Apple iPad apps to magnify music.

I became interested in the organ because I loved the music when I used to roller skate and and ice skate when I was younger and not partially sighted.

I’m going to play a song I learned with Jennifer (Terry’s teacher). It won’t be perfectly played but I’m satisfied enough with it that I want to learn some other old favorites for memory like this one. The song I will be playing is “Somewhere My Love” – waltz from the movie Dr. Zhivago.

Jennifer’s great patience and instruction has made me want to learn more. While doing this, I found myself thinking that I wanted to invite friends to visit and hear me play. I was pleasantly surprised at this feeling. When I found myself feeling like that, I knew I had succeeded in my organ instruction well enough to be able to be comfortable, confident and truly enjoy playing just for the pleasure of it.

I invite you to come along and learn like I did at Imagine Music where, at least for my part, students succeed in sprite of the mistakes we may make while playing.

PART II

Recently on the CBC Radio One’s 1010 AM , the Sunday Edition, the host, Michael Enwright, learned how to play the piano. Michael swore he’d never be able to learn to play the piano, let along play something worthwhile on the radio.

Many listeners wrote in and related to how previous music teachers had wanted absolute perfection and therefore had made piano not enjoyable. From my experience with Imagine Music Inc., if you want that kind of perfection, they certainly have the skill, talent and experience to not only play, but to teach. For my part, Jennifer has concentrated on enough playing perfection to make me a good organist. Better still, Jennifer has taught me that some mistakes are acceptable at certain playing levels and actually make a budding organist (or musician) endearing. This way, you know you’ll probably make some mistakes although you practiced long and hard not to. So, just accept a few low level mistake according to your playing level and become an endeared musician to your audience. I’ve heard it said that audiences do not always even recognize mistakes unless they are really glaring.

The next time you see a lonely, dusty, unplayed instrument in some forgotten corner, go over and say hi. Become friends and meet with an Imagine Music Inc. teacher. You’ll soon find yourself with a great new instrument friend and, for my part, you’ll appreciate each other forever! As the words to the waltz I played, “Somewhere my Love, there will be songs to sing….”

Elfin’ Around Junior & Acoustic Recital

Saturday, November 28, 2015
Renfrew Baptist Church

Calgary Arts Orchestra Fundraiser Event at Café Koi – December 1

Written by: Amy Melynchuk

Café Koi is a modern café in the heart of downtown, known to support a wide variety of artists and performers, and two Imagine Music students had the opportunity to perform there as a part of the Calgary Arts Orchestra first annual fundraiser concert on December

1.  Chloe wrote, “Playing at Café Koi was an amazing experience as a performer and as an audience member.  I’ve never played in a setting quite like that, which was really neat.  It was a great confidence boost.  Being able to see all the other musicians was fantastic and inspiring as well.  It was so much fun and I can’t wait to do it again next year!  Thank you!”  Jenay also commented, I was honored to be invited to perform with the Calgary Arts Orchestra at Cafe Koi. It was an amazing experience that allowed me to grow as a performer because I was able to play in front of very supportive people in a public venue for the first time. It made me step out of my comfort zone to discover that I had so much fun that I couldn’t wait to do it again. Amy and the other musicians made me feel comfortable at the venue while their professionalism made me want to do my very best. Thank you Amy for this wonderful opportunity.”

It was a unique and exciting experience for everyone involved, and both Chloe and Jenay played extremely well, demonstrating strong confidence and musicality.  Following Chloe and Jenay’s performances, there was a varied program of chamber music, including; Bach violin/oboe double concerto, Clara Schumann piano trio, a bassoon/violin/piano trio by Dave Latos, and a variety of pieces for String Quintet, including Grieg’s Holberg Suite.  Singer/songwriter Angie Coombes performed a set, and there were also appearances by Darren Young (guitarist) and Amanda Hillestad (opera singer), among others.

Imagine Music really encourages and attracts students who demonstrate courage and enthusiasm to try new things, and this is a great example of both.  Thanks to the students’ parents for the support, to Café Koi for lending the space, and to the Calgary Arts Orchestra for inviting our students!

Imagine Music Inc. Students at Café Koi

Imagine Music Inc. students at Cafe Koi

Imagine Music Inc. Students at Café Koi

Memories and New Beginnings Junior & Acoustic Recital Pictures (Performances only)

If you would like to have any of the pictures posted email to you, please contact Juliana at juliana@imaginemusicinc.com