Posted by: tammyspianostudio | May 2, 2011

Listening 31

Mozart.  The name alone says ‘genius’, ‘child prodigy’, ‘pianist’.  Listen for yourself and see if you recognize this tune:

Hear the Music

Activity Sheet

Posted by: tammyspianostudio | April 25, 2011

Listening 30

“The Planets” by Gustav Holst sounds more science fiction and Steven Spielberg than it almost does classical music.

In place of an activity sheet, do some research on your own this week about Gustav Holst.  Answer some of these questions:

  1. What kind of family did he come from?  Was everyone in his family musical?
  2. What was his childhood like?
  3. What similarities or differences do you see between your family and Gustav’s?
  4. Where did Gustav go to “college”?  He made a very good friend there who was also a great composer ~ what was that person’s name?
  5. Tell me how someone in your life supports your piano studies.  What do they say and do that makes you feel good about wanting to practice more, perform, and continue to get better and better?
  6. Listen to at least one of Gustav Holst’s pieces from “The Planets”.  Tell me which one you like the best and why.
  7. If you would like to play “The Planets: Mars ~ Bringer of War”, download the piano music for free here: The Planets – Mars by Gustav Holst.

Hear the Music:

Posted by: tammyspianostudio | April 18, 2011

Listening 29

George Bizet, a great French opera composer, was raised by parents who were also professional musicians.  Georges’ mom was a pianist and his dad was a composer and vocal teacher.  George started lessons at 4 years old.  At 9 years old, he entered the Paris Conservatory of Music and was considered a master of the piano at age 14.  He became a composer, wrote piano duets (“Jeux d’enfants” is a popular one), and many operas.  George became a music teacher in Paris and still composed music.

Today’s musical selection was originally composed for a play by Daudet called L’Arlesienne.  While the play is no longer in performance, the music lives on as a suite for orchestra.  You may also be familiar with another piece he wrote titled Carmen, also for opera, which is performed all over the world.

Hear the Music:

Activity Sheet:

Posted by: tammyspianostudio | April 4, 2011

Listening 28

Hello classical listeners!

Antonio Vivaldi brings us our popular classical music this week:  “Spring” from The Four Seasons.   Enjoy listening and studying!

Activity Sheet Please complete page 2 and take it to your next lesson.

Hear the Music


Posted by: tammyspianostudio | March 28, 2011

Listening 27

Hello classical music listeners! Aaron Copland: Appalachian Spring (AKA “Simple gifts”) Michael Flatley ~ Lord of the Dance finale (music starts at 3:00 mark….after the thundering applause, music starts again at the 4:45 mark) President Obama’s inauguration – “Variations on a Shaker Melody” (The outdoor temperature was 37 degrees.)

  • Cello – Yo-Yo Ma
  • Clarinet – Anthony McGill
  • Piano – Gabriele Montero
  • Violin – Itzhak Perlman

Aaron Copland is this week’s composer.  Do you know “Simple Gifts”?  Many composers have arranged this piece.  Michael Flatly, lead dancer for ‘Lord of the Dance‘, used this theme throughout the show with a finale chorus line of Irish dancing ~ a spectacular live performance.  Thanks to my husband who provided us with tickets to this show on my birthday 10 or 12 years ago.


‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free, ‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right, ‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d, To bow and bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight, Till by turning, turning we come ’round right

There is no Activity Sheet this week.  Listen and watch some of the musical variations of “Appalachian Spring” above.  See if you can play this piece by ear.  Can you harmonize it, too?

Happy listening!


Posted by: tammyspianostudio | March 21, 2011

Recital Invitations

While listening to a blog about knitting (it’s true – I pass time in the car listening to things other than piano sometimes), the KnitCents lady talked about  This is a free party or event invitation planning website.  If my young child were in a recital and I wanted to invite his teacher, friend, or Aunt Frieda, I think I would consider making one of these and emailing it.

I hope you can see the sample below that I made.  Of course, I don’t want nor do I expect anyone to respond to mine.  It ‘s just to show you what is possible.  To make your own with this same stationery, or to see the other music stationery, first scroll down to and click on “Themes”  when the Birthday Cards come up.  Then you can click on the sub-category “Music/Dance” and go to the 4th page.  (While I haven’t tried this out yet, the KnitCents lady also said that you can import your address book, design birthday cards, and choose the date to automatically email them out.)

If you check it out, let me know what you think!

Posted by: tammyspianostudio | March 21, 2011

Listening 26

A familiar tune to many and one that is sure to delight your ears.  This is Dmitri Kabalevsky week!  Kabalevsky is a favorite composer of many pianists.  His work, “24 Pieces for Children, Op. 39” is a classic set of repertoire for students in beginning to intermediate levels.

Activity Sheet Kabalesky:  “Galop: from The Comedians”

Hear the Music Kabalevsky:  The Comedians:  Galop

To listen to more of Kabalevsky’s music from “24 Pieces from Childhood, Op. 39”:

If you are interested in ordering this music and would like to bring it to your lesson: Book only Book + CD



Posted by: tammyspianostudio | March 14, 2011

Listening 25

Enjoy this 20th century composer and his fun piece for the week!

Activity Sheet Kodaly:  “Viennese Musical Clock” from Hary Jonas

Hear the Music Zolton Kodaly:  Hary Janos Suite

Posted by: tammyspianostudio | March 7, 2011

Don’t Miss This!

FREE, live music events going on in our area:

  • Saturday, March 19 – 10:30AM at the Santa Maria Library (Shepherd’s Hall, located to the right of the lobby).  Dr. Charles Asche, renowned professor of music from UCSB, will present a FREE lecture regarding the origins and pedagogical nature of J.S. Bach’s works.  He will also share techniques on the use of the piano pedal.  This event is geared toward piano teachers and advancing students.  For more information, call Louis Frye at 481-7561 or Debbie Lagomarsino at 237-2281.
  • Every Saturday – 11 – 5  LIVE music in the mall.  This piano studio will be one of these performing groups (June 4th from 5:30-7:30PM).  Go down to the Santa Maria Town Center Mall on a Saturday and check out the venue!
Posted by: tammyspianostudio | March 7, 2011

Listening 24

Welcome to week 24!  Current students, please bring in both completed Activity Sheet pages to your next lesson.  These are an excellent listening guide while you experience some of Beethoven’s music.  Just like these Activity Sheets provide you with an outline of what to listen for, you should do the same when starting a new piece of music.  Look through the piece first and notice the key signature and what it means, are there any melodic or rhythmic patterns that repeat later in the piece, what dynamics should be played and when, why kind of articulation does the piece have, what is the overall mood or character of the piece (does the title give a hint?), what is the performance tempo going to be and what would a good study or practice tempo be?  These are the very things that go into making a good listening guide or Activity Sheet.  You can become a better pianist this week by putting these same things into practice.

Activity Sheet Ludwig van Beethoven:  Symphony No. 8:  2nd movement

Hear the Music Ludwig van Beethoven:  Symphony No. 8, movement 2

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