THE GREAT PUMPKIN CHALLENGE - a month of fun and growth

Thursday, October 28, 2021 by William Suit | Uncategorized


Today the rain returned to our area and the temperatures dropped 15 degrees from the day before.  It really feels like a fall day today.  The pumpkins scattered about the building bring a delightful glow to the otherwise dreary day.

Next week we roll into November and start gliding toward the holidays.  Before that happens we all say a fond farewell to this year's Great Pumpkin Challenge and the moments of celebration it facilitated.  I've learned more about Chopin and Beethoven this month than I already knew.  In fact, I was fascinated at how enthusiastically even the adult students delved into research.  One adult student of mine read as much history as she could find on Chopin, then watched a movie about him, and transcribed one of his tunes by hand.  She even designed her songwriting challenge in the spirit of Chopin.  A four year old drew a piano and brought me a list of facts about him.  Beethoven is always a favorite and he was not neglected.  Did you know he was 5' 4" tall?  I could go on and on, but I'll stop.

As soon as the instructors hand me all of the sheets from the students who completed all 4 challenges, there will be a drawing for the giant pumpkin in the lobby.  I wouldn't recommend eating it, but it will make a nice decoration for your home during this festive harvest season.

This Saturday we have several students involved in the North Dekalb Teachers Association's Sonatina competition at Georgia State University.  I'm thrilled with the sounds I've heard coming from the studios as students vigorously prepare.  Good luck and have fun with it!  What an exciting time!

Thank you for all of the effort from parents and students alike!  I hope the growth continues in our musicians at Pedal Point Music.  You're the best!

Mr. Will


Tuesday, October 5, 2021 by William Suit | Uncategorized

We have a winner!  Check out the video on FACEBOOK!



Monday, October 4, 2021 by William Suit | Uncategorized

I really want my students to benefit from lessons while studying at Pedal Point Music.  Private music study can often be ambiguous when it comes to goals and clear paths to reaching them.  Over time I've come to understand that my students do best at reaching their goals when four elements are in place:  Focus, Presentation, Exploration and Creation.  During 2020, when the pandemic had us all hunkered down, I decided to visualize this for my students so that they could see it in the background when we had online lessons.  I had a large clothe banner of it made and hung it in a frame behind the piano.  It still hangs in my studio, and I was enamored last week when a student turned around, pointed at it and said, "Where are we in the lesson?"  So, for my parents wondering how to structure practice at home, here is the structure around which I build my lessons.  It works great as a daily routine of music study at home as well.

FOCUS - The study of any instrument involves the discipline of scales, finger placement, posture, etc.  One of the first things one should do is take a few moments to clear the mind, loosen the joints and warm things up.  Scales are a great way to do this.  However, scales, for the sake of scales, become tiresome and meaningless...leaving the student disillusioned and bored.  So, change your scales up from time to time.  Play them in duplets or triplets.  Pull out Hanon's Virtuoso Pianist exercises or play through an Etude.  The idea is to focus and prepare!

PRESENT - Once you're warmed up, play through a number from your repertoire.  If you have time, play through two or three familiar pieces before launching into exploration.  My students currently have a music journal with a section to list the songs they've already learned. (repertoire)  It's a great idea to do this so that you don't let songs slide into the category of "I once knew how to perform this."  Keep the list current and play through it regularly.

EXPLORE - This is where the student grows.  Go over the assignment for the week.  Complete theory and research.  Play through your song requirements.  Spend time on difficult phrases, slowing the music down until you can play confidently through each progression.

CREATE - This is your moment to get to know your inner musician and express yourself.  Write something every week if you can; even if it is just a few measures.  Your instructor can give you some guidance or an assignment.  Improvisation is a great way to build your creativity and develop your composition skills.  Try it!

Studying music can take you on countless wonderful paths.  With a bit of encouragement and structure yours can be a lifelong journey toward artistic fulfillment.  Happy studies!

Will Suit