Rudiments, Diction & Tiny Books, Oh My!
These days, like many other small businesses, Crescendo Music Loft has adjusted to a new normal with technology leading the way, making this New Student Guide an obvious blog post. So many new platforms and applications have allowed us to not just carry on in this unpredictable climate but to restructure, strengthen and expand. But man or woman, can this technology stuff be intimidating! Luckily, with a little time and a bit more dedication, this New Student Guide will set you up for success and show you all of these platforms are master-able.
When my daughter, who was eight at the time, started taking singing lessons at Crescendo Music Loft we quickly saw there was a whole world of music terminology and methodology we had to amass, and quick! Sandy, the beloved owner and instructor of The Music Loft, has done a thorough job building her music school and structuring the departments within it. Here is the basic structure.
Crescendo Music Studio
the all-encompassing parent company
- Crescendo Music Loft – the open-air lesson space
- Crescendo Music System – the original curriculum created exclusively for Music Loft students
Crescendo Music System is comprised of many facets, mainly five, all equally important and structured in a methodical and intentional way. This structure creates a natural progression through the lessons that consecutively builds upon themselves and facilitates understanding and learning.
fundamentals of music study
- Sight Singing – reading music
- Rhythm Studies – counting music
- Melodic Dictation – interpreting music
- Composition – writing music
- Concepts in Harmony – harmonizing and interpreting
Other Necessary Lingo
The Diction section of your Binder as a new voice student will see a lot of action. This is where you go to work on pronunciation and articulation. In our home, were always working on the R’s and sometimes T’s and then back to R’s. You will start with fun, recognizable riddles and work your way up to complicated songs from any genre you could image. Check out our own Kirsten’s new jam!
The Repertoire section of your Binder holds all of your sheet music and homemade song maps. Here is where all of your effort and training in fundamentals comes together in the form of song, either sung or played.
Daily Workouts. This does not involve walking or running or lifting weights but rather two to three minute long vocal exercises. For the first 6 months my daughter was taking singing lessons with Sandy, I was referring to this section as Daily Warmups. Workouts makes more sense. And yes, they really should be daily, or as close as possible. As in the physical conditioning sense of the phrase, the more you work out the better the shape you are in.
Apps That Are Your Friends
The ProMetronome app will quickly become a reliable friend to any music student. Do not hesitate to download this one through the Apple App or Google Play Store. Ted Ervin, our resident Factotum at The Music Loft, wrote a meticulous Blog Post on the ins-and-outs of this invaluable app.
The app PA Player is a user-friendly tool for any piano student using the Piano Adventures music books. The free version gets you 3 free songs for each Level as well as Gold Star Performance books for some Levels. For $4.99/level you can purchase the Interactive Accompaniments version which includes play-along tracks for the Lesson Book, the Performance Book and Technique & Artistry Book for most Levels, which Sandy states is a no-brainer for the price.
Vocal Pitch Monitor is a straightforward, no frills app that displays the pitch it is receiving from the microphone it is connected to. You can record up to three minutes and save the recording to playback at a later date. In the settings menu you have the option to change the score and colors for easier viewing.
With many safety precautions in place nowadays, Google Drive has been a lifesaver for Crescendo Music Loft. It has allowed staff to send out Practice Plans, sheet music, even full music tracks. With a Google email account you gain a Google Drive account along with Google Docs, Google Sheets and the rest of the free suite which all sync fluidly with each other. Google Drive is extensive and can be overwhelming which is why it will earn its own Blog Post from this site in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
Zoom & Cameras
Zoom! Many of us have had a similar thought at some point this year – why didn’t I think of that?! We’re all used to FaceTime, and, while initially Zoom didn’t appear that different from the standard cell phone call with video, it has proven to be a game changer. You can access Zoom through a browser or download the app to any mobile device or computer for some additional options. If you are not yet familiar with Zoom, I recommend Zooming with a friend or family member as using it is the best way to become familiar with it. In April, my daughter’s singing classes were promptly switched to Zoom, and while we had the occasional Wi-Fi hiccup, we didn’t miss a beat.
It is safe to say that most Mobile Phones, iPads, Chromebooks, Laptop Computers and Desktop Computer etc. available today now come with a camera installed and an app that runs it. Rather than using one device to take a picture and emailing it to another device to properly upload and send it, check out this Blog Post and become familiar with all your options. The Online Core Curriculum (see below) will rely on the ability to upload photos of your hand-drawn work.
Crescendo Music System’s Online Core Curriculum
Crescendo Music System’s newly constructed Online Core Curriculum has taken the aforementioned Rudiment structure and transitioned it to a fully operational online platform. The curriculum is divided into twelve Course Levels and each Level is broken down into mini lessons which are taught via TINY BOOKS – the educational product of Sandy and Kirsten’s tireless focus and dedication – and other curricular materials. Taking these Courses in the online format allows you to work at your own pace and frees up your precious lesson time with Sandy so you can spend more of your 30-minute lesson singing and/or playing. I anticipate a Blog Post entitled Crash Course In Online Curriculum to appear here in the coming weeks.