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McKinley

This blog was written by SMT’s very own Mari Carlson in anticipation for her upcoming Swedish fiddling workshop on May 16th—click here to sign up now! If you’ve ever heard Swedish as a spoken language, you’ll recognize the pronounced diphthong — the sing-song lilt and melodic cadence of the language. Similarly, the polska is a Scandinavian type of dance that is as Swedish as the diphthong. The polska is a dance tune, or, rather, an overarching term for various subsets of polskas from different regions. Its rhythm defines its melody and also gives it direction, drive, and an invitation for the listeners to MOVE! Characterized by its 3/4 meter, it bobs along with heavy emphasis on 1 AND 3, and...
  • April 25, 2021
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Picking up a new instrument often feels like a daunting challenge, especially if it’s a woodwind instrument that requires such a unique set of muscle movements. That’s why we asked Seth Kibel—SMT’s own clarinet, saxophone, flute, and woodwind teacher—to tell us about his own Secret Sauce for Musical Success. In the following collection of practice tips, Seth talks about how you can make the most of your woodwind lessons and dodge some of the biggest pitfalls of beginning musicians! 1) PRACTICE OFTEN: So much about learning music involves muscles and muscle memory. As woodwind players, we use muscles in our fingers, our lips, our tongue, our cheeks, and more—which is why it is VITAL to practice regularly in order to build...
  • March 28, 2021
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This blog post was written by Rhia Morsberger — a Maryland-based yoga instructor and mobility specialist who will be teaching a Movement for Musicians workshop for the School of Musical Traditions on March 8th. Anyone who uses their body for some art, sport, or trade will experience some effect of physical overuse or fatigue. For musicians, it is not so much the movement itself (e.g. working their wrists and arm muscles to play an instrument, maintaining poor posture during practice, etc.) so much as the lack of variety in the movements that get them into trouble. What you really need to treat those aches and pains is actually more movement. I can teach you all kinds of novel exercises and...
  • March 7, 2021
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Spring is just around the corner! So here are some important updates on our school closures and term invoicing… Closed for Easter We are closed April 3rd and 4th. Students will not be billed for those dates, but if you and your teacher would like to meet for a lesson that weekend, simply let us know so we can add that lesson charge to your monthly invoice! Spring Term starts April 5! Dates: April 5th – July 2nd Memorial Day Closure: May 29th – 31st Why sign up for the term? The term cost includes one free week, to be used at any time during that term. This allows you to miss one lesson or receive an extra lesson at...
  • March 4, 2021
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Hello musical friends and neighbors! I’m Jonathan Vocke—banjo, ukulele, guitar, mandolin, and violin teacher for the School of Musical Traditions. We are very excited to announce that we will be offering—for the first time EVER—an in-person/virtual hybrid youth string band class! Before we go any further, let us assure you that we are taking COVID-19 very seriously here at the school and we will be implementing a number of safety precautions for the in-person workshop meetings. So what is a youth string band? For starters, string band—also known as “oldtime music”—is a popular form of folk music that most commonly accompanies square dances and that sort of thing. In the youth workshop, we will be learning a set of 3...
  • February 25, 2021
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It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you have been playing music—it can always be a challenge to sit down and practice your instrument on a regular basis. But have no fear… our SMT teachers are here! As a means of helping our beloved music students stay motivated, we asked our teachers to share their top tips for how to practice on a regular basis and make the most of your music time. Over the course of the last month, we have published two collections of practice tips (here are the links to our first and second collection)—so now without any further ado, here is our third and final anthology of teacher tips! To Start Us Off,...
  • February 17, 2021
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It doesn’t matter if you just started taking lessons or if you’re a longtime instrumentalist—it can be difficult to sit down in front of your instrument for practice on a regular basis. Believe it or not, music teachers experience the same problem. That’s why we reached out to our SMT teachers and asked for their top tips on how you can use your time efficiently, how to stay motivated, and how to get yourself to practice regularly. We published the first collection of teacher practice tips last month—so now, get ready for part two! Short and Simple: Here are 3 Basic Practice Tips From Marta Samuel (violin/fiddle, viola, piano) 1. Practice consistently and focus on the basics. 2. Do a...
  • February 11, 2021
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With so many hundreds of guitar method books being pushed on the beginning musician, it can be difficult to figure out which ones to use. Over the years, I myself have worked through a number of different theory books with my students—and I have found that they are not all created equally. Most method books are pretty good in terms of content, but even though they may contain a lot of the same information, they all offer something different. While it is important to consider a student’s individual goals, age, and experience when selecting a book, I have found that these are some of my all-time favorite method books for guitar: 1) The Hal Leonard Guitar Method is a classic...
  • February 2, 2021
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What, exactly, is arranging? How is it different from composing and production? And why should songwriters care about it? In short, it is your secret weapon for making songs more powerful. You don’t have to be a veteran songwriter with a library of original material under your belt to write your own arrangements, either—you just need the motivation to get creative with your music. Want to get started? Well, SMT teacher and composer Ethan Foote will be teaching a weekly “Arranging for Songwriters” workshop on Wednesdays from February 17th to March 10th. In the upcoming workshop, Ethan will give you the tools you need to enhance your music and songwriting through the process of arranging. In addition to exploring your...
  • February 1, 2021
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It doesn’t matter if you just started taking lessons or if you are a longtime instrumentalist—it can be difficult to sit down in front of your instrument for practice on a regular basis. Believe it or not, music teachers experience the same problem. That’s why we reached out to our SMT teachers and asked them to give us their top tips on how you can use your time efficiently, how to stay motivated, and how to get yourself to practice regularly. Let’s Start Small: Here Are Three Short and Simple Practice Tips From Carol Anne Bosco (cello and piano) When in doubt, sing it out. No matter what instrument you play, singing the rep helps your ability to listen and...
  • January 21, 2021
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