Reflections of a novice piano teacher

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This past week a very interesting topic came up during one of the lectures I attend.

Are the current piano teachers fulfilling  the demands of the parents/students when selecting material for lessons?

This was an interesting question fruit for thought among my peers as most of us are music educators.

It was a revelation for my lecturer as she has been teaching piano for decades and it made her question herself when parents thanked her for teaching a modern repertoire that they could related to.

What then has happened to the years of teaching classical music or grade level repertoire?

What is the main purpose of being a music educator anyway?

I was stumbled with this quandary yesterday when teaching a private student. This boy has excellent memory and wit but he is tortured (me included) when we’re following the pages of a method book which I think was very good. He constantly yawned for the first 15 minutes or so of the lesson and I was getting very impatient with him.

Prior to the class, I knew this was going to happen as I see a consistent lack of interest in the lessons for the past few weeks and I felt very upset that I could not engage this student. I decided that perhaps a familiar tune will perk his interest and quickly made a simple piano sheet on ‘Row, row, row your boat’.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat.png

Given that my student has a good grasp of the basics and he was also learning about intervals, I felt that this piece was sufficiently challenging for him.

After boring ourselves with the method book, I brought this sheet out and asked him if he knew the song. He was immediately familiar to the words and gave the piece a try. I am happy to report that this song encouraged him to sing a bit more than usual and he was even willing to play it several times.

I heaved a sigh of relieve as I was able to engage him without instructing him impatiently. I even asked him at the end of the lesson if he liked the piece more than the book and his reply was positive.

I reflect that one book cannot fit for all students even if I think the method book is the most engaging of all. Times has change and teachers have to adjust according to the demands. At the same time, we still can teach the lesson.


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Kindly leave your email address in the ‘Add a note’ box, so that I could thank you personally.

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View my sheet music arrangement for purchase at Sheet Music Plus: https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/publishers/cherylynmusic-sheet-music/3008644

View my Fiverr profile for professional reviews and services: https://www.fiverr.com/cherylynmusic

Email at cherylynmusic@gmail.com for inquiries and music-related services.

 

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(‘Cause That’s Who You Are) Jesus – Original Song – The Process

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Lead Sheet

How do I even begin to explain how this song came about?

It’s a feeling. It’s an experience.

What culminates to the final product is what I have learnt or re-learned over the weekend.

Understanding God’s plan for mankind is so vital.

Understanding my own personal struggle is not easy but I think the song captures it very well.

I also challenged myself to come up with a new sound I have not done before. I have always been composing for children. I’m glad to say this sound is worthy for a more mature audience. All glory to God.

It started with a recent favourite pop song, Hello by Westlife. I just tinkered some chords from the song. It got stuck. The new grove got stuck. The melody, however, was kinda new for me. I have not write anything like that before.

The words were simple but the message is understood. I realize that simplicity is what we should strive for; mankind made things complicated for themselves.

Armed with limited live instruments and equipment, I did my best with the recording. The initial key was too high as I realized when I start to record the final version seriously.

This was the first version. Seems more like a draft and I sounded so pitch-y. Too high a key for me it seems. 

My workflow was figuring out the chord sequence and I liked the use of only one minor chord in the verses and chorus. I especially like the bridge section. It reminds me a lot of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors for some reason.

Like an ABBA song, I like a song to have a contrasting mood from the original intention. This song is a sign of my personal struggle but it doesn’t have to sound sad or moody. It is quite optimistic.

The piano track was the base of the recording and I recorded with metronome to set the tempo right. I experimented with my new cajon tablet that I bought from Timoz. I’ve been resisting from recording my cello but my playing has improved some what and I decided to give it ago. Last but not least, my trusty DIY rice shaker in a small glass bottle.

Here are more specifics of the recording and video:

DAW – Cubase LE AI Element 9

Microphone – Cardiode AT 2035

Digital Piano – Casio CDP 200R

Cello – Eurostring

Timoz Cajon Tablet

DIY Rice Shaker

Vocals – my own

Video program – Da Vinci Resolve

Video visuals – Canva

The vocal harmony was a last minute decision but I didn’t regret it. It adds a nice touch and provides more color to the song.

My only qualm is probably my production mixing can be better but I’m still learning and it can only improve over time.

If your ears are sharp, you can probably some bird tweeting sounds in the track. Those are natural occurring sounds while I was recording. My study room is not sound proofed enough and my microphone at the lowest sensitivity possible.

This is all I can share so far and I hope that anyone who listens will be blessed. Amen!

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Note: If you like my work, I would appreciate any amount of support to keep some of my uploads for free. Here is where you can donate: http://paypal.me/chermusic

Kindly leave your email address in the ‘Add a note’ box, so that I could thank you personally.

————————————————————————————-

View my sheet music arrangement for purchase at Sheet Music Plus: https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/publishers/cherylynmusic-sheet-music/3008644

View my Fiverr profile for professional reviews and services: https://www.fiverr.com/cherylynmusic

Email at cherylynmusic@gmail.com for inquiries and music-related services.

 

Corporate Music/Uplifting Music- Stock Music – Royalty Free Music

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For non-commercial purpose (eg. school presentations), you may email me at cherylynmusic@gmail.com to request to use it. Please credit me for the usage of the music.

For commercial purpose (eg. monetized video), please follow instructions below, specifying the duration of the music.

Duration and price as follows:

30-sec Corporate(1)/(2)      – free upon request by email

1-minute Corporate(1)/(2) – 3.50 USD

2-minute Corporate(1)/(2) – 4.00 USD

3-minute Corporate(1)/(2) – 5.00 USD

 

Please read the following instructions for purchase:

1. Paypal payments only at paypal.me/chermusic

2. Key in the correct amount and currency and select ‘Next’.

3. In the ‘Add a note’, please key in your email address and the title of the track you are purchasing.

4. Once I receive notification for the purchase, I should get back to you within 24 hours of purchase.

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View my sheet music arrangement for purchase at Sheet Music Plus: https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/publishers/cherylynmusic-sheet-music/3008644

View my Fiverr profile for professional reviews and services: https://www.fiverr.com/cherylynmusic

Email at cherylynmusic@gmail.com for inquiries and music-related services.

 

Happy Forest – Stock Music – Royalty Free Music

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You may email me at cherylynmusic@gmail.com to use this 30sec version for free if used for non-commercial purpose (eg. school presentation).

If you’d like to use this commercially (eg. monetized video), please take note of the following:

Duration and price as follows:

1-minute Happy Forest – 3.50 USD

2-minute Happy Forest – 4.00 USD

3-minute Happy Forest – 5.00 USD

Please read the following instructions for purchase:

1. Paypal payments only at paypal.me/chermusic

2. Key in the correct amount and currency and select ‘Next’.

3. In the ‘Add a note’, please key in your email address and the title of the track you are purchasing.

4. Once I receive notification for the purchase, I should get back to you within 24 hours of purchase.

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View my sheet music arrangement for purchase at Sheet Music Plus: https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/publishers/cherylynmusic-sheet-music/3008644

View my Fiverr profile for professional reviews and services: https://www.fiverr.com/cherylynmusic

Email at cherylynmusic@gmail.com for inquiries and music-related services.

 

Teach Me Lord [Original Composition]

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I recently wrote this song for my father.

I just wish and pray for everyone to know that our Heavenly Father is ready to receive us as long as we allow ourselves and allow Him to do so.

 

Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/album/572HQrjeCoOlkcJmnmmdGX?si=bFplPmMuTAmoFWA225aofw

For more music related services, check out my Fiverr profile:

https://www.fiverr.com/cherylynmusic

Keeping track of my cello progress

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It’s been 2 years and 2 months since I started learning the cello.

I’m happy to report that I recently obtained a Merit result in my Grade 5 ABRSM cello exams. What an adventure it has been!

Now that I’m officially a postgraduate student, I suddenly have a lot less tension in my life and lately, I feel very enthusiastic about practicing my cello. For the past week or so, I’ve been video recording myself to track my progress in learning some repertoire. I also realized that I have a lot to work on too!

On top of that, I was feeling very up for a challenge to learn a pop piece so I asked my friends on instastory what I should learn. It was at the back of my mind but good minds think alike. At least two friends said I should learn to play Memory, a popular cello soundtrack from the Japanese movie, Okuribito aka Journey. It’s a really good movie and I’m not going to spoil it for you, if you haven’t watch it already.

I’ve been practicing this piece for a little over 3 weeks already and I’m getting more and more confident with other pieces too. I’m able to borrow techniques from one song to another. I’m glad to say my application skills are slowly improving.

I thought I’d share some playlist that is going to display my progress in learning some standard cello repertoire. I’m especially looking forward to see how I will progress in Bach’s Cello Suite. Currently I’m learning the 1st minuet and it’s very, very challenging already. Slowly but surely, I’m getting a hang of it in this short few weeks.

Bach’s Cello Suite – Minuet no.1

Humoresque by Dvorak

Memory from Okuribito

I published my music to Spotify for Free!

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In all seriousness, I never dream I would be doing this one day with my own music.

This crazy business started with me and a group of friends, brainstorming how we could distribute our original Christian songs. Being the tech person I am, I did all my research including this.

Then I came across this very interesting article.

This person, as ordinary as I am have the same ambition but we simply can’t afford to publish music from our own coffers if our imagination is so free to run wild.

I read as many reviews as I could about Routenote. It is a digital music distributor and one of many companies out there.

I decided I would try this with a piece of music I arranged for a school Raya celebration. An instrumental, unorthodox version of Wau Bulan, a Malay traditional song.

The whole process is relatively stress free until you have to do some creative work like making an album cover.

Ms Cherylyn's Music Education.jpg

I made this album cover with Canva, a really wonderful website for amateur artists like me. All dimensions must be noted otherwise the outcome can be awful, I think.

Another thing to note is also the file you upload. I believed I uploaded a very good quality Mp3 and it worked.

Other than all that, there’s pretty much a lot of wait involved and that’s what you get for publishing your music for free.

It took me 6 days for the song to get approved and the next day I could see this on Spotify.

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I was so overjoyed I thought I broke the internet or something!

All in all, a very very interesting experience! I truly recommend to anyone who wants to give it a try and especially if you like sharing your original music through commercial channels.

The only disclaimer I would put out there is that your original music is not copyrighted in anyway. That’s a whole different process altogether.

At this note, here’s the link!

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/4pDxAsle6ZbGeeVgMV9iBa