Thursday, August 18, 2011

Piano for Boys


I was thinking long and hard about how to improve my piano teaching and my piano studio.  While I was doing some Googling about new music for my students, I came across a giveaway on a piano blog, www.colorinmypiano.com.  I was so intrigued by the giveaway item, “The Adventures of Fearless Fortissimo” Piano Books for Boys, that I just couldn’t wait it out to see if I had won the contest.  I went straight to www.pianomusicforboys.com and downloaded the music.  I am so glad that I did.  

I was excited to present these comic book style pieces to one male student in particular.  Once he started playing the songs, his younger brother couldn’t wait to play them, either.  They quickly learned each and every piece of music in the down-loadable early elementary level music, and have been asking for the next installment.   They love the comics, the action-oriented music, and the mysterious and exciting sounds.  They are thrilled to use the pedal, and they have asked to work on the next level of difficulty (of the same pieces) to tide them over until the next installment is complete.  

The music is convenient to order, no trips to the music store are necessary.  It is very attainable for younger students.  The hand positions are easy but not static, there is enough repetition to facilitate learning, and the music writing is exciting, fun, and full of neat ideas that the students love.  My students have already improved on their note reading and especially in their musicality.  Suddenly, musical themes and dynamics have much more meaning when attached to a Villain and a Hero.  Fermatas and rests become secret hideouts and eighth notes are clues to the mystery.  This series has certainly added energy and excitement to my students’ piano lessons.    

These pieces are easy to teach, as well. The fingerings are not overly complicated.  I find that the pieces are just easy enough that the student feels successful, but just hard enough that they are learning new material.  I’ve already started using “The Adventures of Fearless Fortissimo” with a new batch of students.  Their eyes lit up and they couldn’t wait to run to the piano.  These arrangements are definitely a hit.  

You can download your copy of “Fearless Fortissimo” Piano Music for Boys at www.pianomusicforboys.com.  For $19.95, you’ll receive a down-loadable copy of the music.  You are licensed to print unlimited copies of each of three levels of music.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cure for the Common Life, by Max Lucado

Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado

Cure for the Common Life, by Max Lucado, is a blessing to the believer who is seeking God’s purpose for their life.  It is hope for the person who feels less than special, unnecessary, and unneeded.   It is encouragement for the soul who has become weary in their Christian walk.  Max’s view is that everyone has unique, special abilities and desires, and a ‘sweet spot’ for using them.  He says that fulfillment in life comes from walking with Jesus and using our gifts, talents, and resources in a way that is exciting, invigorating, and most importantly, reflects God to those around us.  Max walks us through the process of figuring out what our ‘sweet spot’ is, and how we can get to that place.  He helps us overcome our aimlessness, live a life of purpose, and share the Gospel through our everyday living.  Max’s writing is encouraging, uplifting, and filled to the brim with hope.
Cure for the Common Life encouraged and inspired me when I felt like everything was “meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 2:17b)  The humdrum of work life had me down, and Max reminded me that I’m here for a purpose – God’s purpose, and I can reflect Him no matter what I’m doing.  If you’re a believer searching for your place in life, wondering what God’s purpose is for you, then you need to read Cure for the Common Life.  You’ll come away refreshed, encouraged, and inspired by Max’s warm, love-filled writing.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Monday, August 8, 2011

Hope of the Broken World

Beautiful music. Pure harmonies.  Amazing musicianship.  Pristine mastering. Passionate love for Jesus.  These words cannot begin to sum up Selah’s amazing album, Hope of the Broken World, available on Auguest 23, 2011.  Hope of the Broken World crosses a variety of style lines.  The harmonies are pure and sweet, the vocals bluesy and intense.  Passion and authenticity can be heard in every note. Words of hope, assurance, and God’s love effortlessly flow through the captivating strains of music and catchy melodies.  Selah wears its hearts, not just on its sleeves, but on its CD jackets, as well.  

Selah’s sound is nearly impossible to put into a style box. As we listened to Hope of the Broken World, my husband and I discussed what we heard.  “Is that Southern Gospel?” “Broadway,” he responded. “I’m pretty sure that’s modern pop.”  “I think it’s Soul.”  The reality is, Selah is all those things.  Their sound is a sweet blend of styles, attesting to their impressive musical versatility and their ability to reach a broad audience.  

But what really hits home for me is not just the beautiful music, but the fact that Todd Smith, Allan Hall, and Amy Perry can worship God in spite of the awful tragedy and loss that they experienced in their personal lives.  Visit Selah’s blog, www.selahonline.com to read about the devastating loss of Todd’s infant daughter, Audrey Caroline, and the lives she touched during her short time on earth.  

Preview Hope of the Broken World at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KQG2BcNOX0&feature=player_embedded.  Please pre-order this amazing CD at http://www.amazon.com/Hope-Broken-World-Selah/dp/B004Y1QQ4A.  




Buzzplant was kind enough to provide me with a review copy of this CD in exchange for my personal opinions.  While they encouraged me to be forthcoming and honest in my review, I cannot lie.  I truly loved this CD and am grateful for the opportunity to listen in on such beautiful  music.




Monday, August 1, 2011

The Beauty Buzz for Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer is just flying by!  Where does the time go?  Are you enjoying your summer?  It's my favorite time of year, but it does bring about certain challenges for hair and makeup.  Check out these tips to deal with the summer heat and still look your best!

How to Keep Hair Frizz-Free All Day  Tips and tricks to keep away the dreaded frizz-monster!

5 Quick Hairstyles for Wet Hair  Easy, beautiful hairstyles that will get you out the door without taking the time to blow dry your hair.

3 Professional Hairstyles for Hot Summer Days  Keep your hair looking professional in spite of the heat and humidity.

Melt Proof Your Makeup  How to keep your makeup from melting off.

Makeup Artist Beauty Secrets  Tips and tricks to keep your makeup looking great.

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