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Take Note! E-zine
March 13, 2016

What's New at



I've received permission (a license) to arrange and publish music from The Princess Bride movie, "Once Upon a Time... Storybook Love."!!!

This is the first copyrighted music I've ever received permission to publish, and I'm really excited about it. Hopefully I will have the page up on my website within a couple of weeks. Though the movie - and music - have been around for a long time, there has never been a really nice arrangement of the main theme song available for piano... until now.

You can listen to the main theme song on this YouTube video, starting at about 1:00.




Using "drumsticks" to beat out the left and right hands of a song's rhythm. Our drumsticks are pens or sacrificial pencils (the leads will break eventually and they will be useless for writing). Although slapping hands on the piano lid is also fun, drumsticks are more cool.

Several difficulties are dodged when you beat time this way: the obstacle of note-identification is removed, and also the hurdle of choosing fingers that work well. On the plus side, the satisfying "click-click" of sticks on wood is a very fun feeling!

Here's an obvious one for veteran teachers, that we sometimes get in too much of a hurry to remember: Turn yourself into the erring student & see if THEY can spot YOUR error. (Sometimes they can't!) But when they can, they remember it well.

I have an eight-year-old violin student named Kate, still learning the basics of posture.

Today, I didn't say to her, "Watch out for your elbow!" or "Bring your arm down!"

Instead, I made my arm into the wrong shape (as she was doing) and said, "Kate, what's wrong with my arm?" She looked, spotted it, and corrected herself at the same time. Several times we went through this little correcting process - it was actually a bit of a game. As I said, this is an obvious teaching maneuver, but sometimes we forget the humor & the games.


Occasionally, I will tell students something like this regarding their lesson book (or other work): "Just continue on in your book... Just continue on with your music... your song... this exercise..." Hahahahaha. There are only a few rare students for whom this approach will work, and it isn't the young ones!

Most of the time, this approach only works when a student is ON FIRE for a particular song. It doesn't work AT ALL with a student who has to be drug heels first into his method book. For that student, there must be DETAILS assigned and written down such as "I want you to use the metronome to get this up to 168 mm..." (and then set up the metronome right then and there and try out a few measures), or "Every day play this hands together one time." Then try out the "Hands together" right then and there, for a measure or two.

Bottom line: General instructions will probably fail, while very specific demands will likely be accomplished. And CONSISTENCY in practice approaches pays off - students who you despaired of ever counting aloud, for example, finally start doing it, when you demand to hear it at their lesson every week.


You can always find the latest pages listed at "The Music Notes Blog".

I've written a new song, plus a duet part to accompany it, called "I'm a Pirate." I'm actually pretty pleased with it! The duet part uses left hand bass notes with right hand Am, Dm, and E chords, which your second-year students may be able to handle if they can do the cadence in the Key of Am. There's a simple little rhyming lyric to which the notes are set.

There are some new pieces of music added to existing pages:


All of these can be found at the page called "Note-Naming Worksheets" as well as on their main pages:

Egyptian Dance helper

Fuzzy Wuzzy alphanotes & helper version

Indian Dance alphanotes & helper version

Irish Wedding alphanotes & helper version

Lake Pirates helper version

Lavender's Blue - with the Cinderella song lyrics!

Lavender's Blue helper version

Louie Louie

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Mary Had a Little Lamb alphanotes helper

Star of the County Down

Star of the County Down helper version

White, Orange & Green (for singers)

Wiegenlied, "Mozart's Cradle Song", for singers


- there's bound to be something there for your students! (And it's almost always free...)


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