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

APTA Conference

September 26 & 27, 2014
Black Knight Inn, Red Deer
By Kay Alexander

The theme for this year was ‘Wild About Teaching’ and the clinicians lived up to the idea!  Michiko Yurko is a very highly regarded and experienced Suzuki teacher who openly shared her ways of engaging her students.  She strongly believes in supporting many learning styles and has a line of teaching strategies that can be found at www.musicmindgames.com.

Dr. John Burge, a fellow Calgarian, was energetic and entertaining as he shared his ideas on nurturing music in his students.  Joseph Fridman spoke on teaching artistry and expression while beautifully demonstrating his topic.  His gentle and humble approach makes his amazing talent all the more striking.

Friday evening began with a banquet, the presentation of scholarships and finished with a performance at the Red Deer College.  Colleen Athparia played an extensive program from Mozart, Grieg to Granados in the first half.  She began the second half, typically with some lesser known works by Clara Schumann, flowed into Chopin and finished with the very modern style of Allan Gordon Bell’s Danse Sauvage.  The whole performance flowed with such apparent ease and beauty that it was difficult to come back to reality at the end.

Between sessions there were many things on sale at the trade show.  Here I found a set of music books that are aimed at the child with ADHD and/or autism. The composers, Eleanor Gummer and Marie-Therese Gummer, are ADHD themselves.  There are 4 lesson books that take students to playing music hands together and learning scales.  Each book has a spiral binding so the book clearly show one page at a time.  Each page is clear and appealing without a lot of distracting clutter.  There is a set of books for the older beginner and activity books that correspond to the lesson books.  I was very excited to find someone addressing the needs of these students and look forward to using them in my studio.  For more information on this go to http://www.oneeyepublications.com.

Overall it was a great time filled with much inspiration, many friends to meet and ideas to share.  All in all it was a good way to gear up for the teaching year.

Effective Practicing Techniques

As the school year begins, we understand getting back into the routine of practicing can be difficult for students of all ages. Here are some helpful tips the Imagine Music Inc. Teachers have compiled to help motivate students!

Proper Set-up

Before any practicing begins, make sure that you have the proper equipment and space for your instrument. For example, try not to play your keyboard on chairs that are not a correct height. Ask your teachers if you’re unsure whether or not your music space is set properly.

Parent Support

Parent support is one of the most important ways to get your child to practice. It is important that parents are just as dedicated as the child is towards lessons. This means taking an active involvement in the child’s daily practice. This can range from physically sitting with your child to supporting them and reminding them that they need to practice everyday. It is very easy for parents to tell a beginner piano student to sit on the piano and play, but they often are not sure about what to practice. If you do not sit with your child, we encourage parents to at least go over what the child needs to accomplish in their practicing that week. Parents should also be actively communicating with the teacher with regards to the child’s lesson progress and the strengths and weaknesses of the child.

Positive Feedback

Mastering and instrument is hard, both physically and mentally as students are often multitasking between playing, reading and listening. It is very easy for students to become disinterested in an instrument as soon as they realize how hard it is. Encourage your child even when it is tough and try to see what you can do to help the child feel better about their practicing. In addition, encouraging them to play for other people will also not only help your child gain confidence but also to give your child a sense of accomplishment.

Daily Ritual

The brain works best with repetition. Rather than sitting on your instrument for an hour the day before your lessons (trying to remember everything that you worked on last week), try to put aside a little bit of time everyday to your music practice.

Some teachers call this a daily “music ritual” where the student can have quiet time with themselves and their instrument. Do not have distractions in the room while they are playing (for example, leave their phones and/or other electronic devices in the kitchen). Create a music sanctuary for your child.

Everyday Practice but in Short Sittings

Most teachers will tell you that a child will need to practice every day for 10-15 minutes (depending on the level of the student). In an ideal world, this would be great, however, with all the crazy after-school activities children have now, it’s hard to practice everyday in one long sitting. Instead, you can try to get your child to sit at their instrument multiple times throughout the day focusing on a different aspect.

For example, beginner students may choose to play one song a few times in the morning, another song a few times in the afternoon and a last song a few times before bed. This is ideal for young beginners as they sometimes may not have the attention span to sit at the piano for a long period of time.

Focus on accomplishing a goal, rather than playing a song over and over again

For intermediate and advanced students, practicing should not be to simply play a piece of music from the beginning to the end multiple times, but to focus on the areas that they struggle with. The area which they struggle with may be the same spot everyday, but if they practicing efficiently, they should be able to master that area within a few days (rather than being able to “get by”).

Performance Opportunities

Practicing usually increases when students are asked to play for a special function. Imagine Music Inc. understand that performance is an important part of taking music lessons. This is why we offer multiple performance opportunities throughout the year. From our beginner recitals to our big semi-annual recitals. We also offer students a chance to play at the Chateau Renoir Senior Living Centre as well as the Children’s Hospital. In addition, parents may choose to have “family and friends Recitals” where students can play weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly to the people close to them.

Practice Log

Practicing logs are a great way for students to see overall how hard they work within the year. Students would record the date/time spent practicing and initial the date. During the lessons, teachers and students can set a goal with regards to how much practicing they would do for the week (for example the student has to fill 4 times slots, etc).

Reward System

No matter what the age, students love to be rewarded for their accomplishments. For young beginners, the reward may simply be a trip to the Dollarstore whereas for older students, they might be more interested in “apps for their devices” or allowance money. Parents should set up the reward with the child and discuss it with their teachers so that everyone is aware of how the student can receive their prize.

Here are some examples of rewards (some examples are currently being used by our students):

  • 10 cents per Star/Sticker
  • X-amount of stars for an “app” for their iPads
  • x-amount of stars for dinner at the students’ choosing
  • Student recital – at the end of the month, the student must play for the parents. If the performance is good (and the child passes the parents’ standard) they get x-amount of money, if it is bad, students gives x-amount of money back to the parents.