General Music on Spotify!

As you may know, our Pre-K to 6th grade students get 2-5 blocks of music instruction each and every week. In addition to singing, playing instruments, and creative movement, we also incorporate opportunities for listening to various musics from around the world.

Thanks to the Kindergarten parents for requesting I share out my General Music PK-6 Spotify playlist. Feel free to put this on in the car or whenever the desire arises. Most BCD kids will recognize the tracks, although some are more subtly used as background” or “transition” music. Also, feel free to check back throughout the year as our listening repertoire grows!

Musically Yours,

Mr. Martin

By |2016-09-23T12:06:00-04:00September 23rd, 2016|

Simple Music Practice Tips from Mr. Martin!

Music is a rewarding and lifelong journey that can begin at any time and place. Oftentimes the joys of music-making can be lost (for some!) by the dread of regular practicing.

I know our returning musicians are probably thinking about their private lessons for the year and (potentially) cramming in some last hours of practice time before Wednesday, September 14!

Please see below for a few simple practice tips for aspiring musicians of any age:

 

  1. Drink water and take care of bodily health. It’s good to stay active, but also make sure you feel relaxed and centered before beginning practice time. This is important to make sure no injuries occur, as well as to ensure a productive session!
  2. Warm up before practicing scales or repertoire. This could mean playing/singing long tones, taking deep breaths, or another warm-up technique given by your private instructor.
  3. Slow down! It is common for musicians to practice tricky sections of music at an inappropriately fast tempo. When learning or practicing a new/challenging section, make sure to take the tempo down to a crawl. Then work your way  up to the faster tempo.
  4. Quality over Quantity. There are a lot of varying opinions about practice time. For an adult, 1 hour of great practicing is worth 4 hours of mindless practicing. Or for a younger student, 15-30 minutes of daily practicing could do the trick. If you have more questions about developmental appropriateness and practice time, feel free to reach out.
  5. Be mindful of repetition. From an outside perspective, great practicing probably sounds like lots of repetition of various musical snippets of a piece. What the musician’s brain does, however, is practice getting one thing right (i.e. hand position or a tricky accidental note) and building on another element, in order to bring the piece closer to concert-ready.
  6. JOY. What a great privilege and opportunity to have the chance to play beautiful music! Even when playing a scale, we can bring expression and joy to that by thinking about how much we love what we do.
  7. Take time off. One mantra could be: Practice 6 days straight, and then give yourself a break on 1. Private instructors can give more specific advice on how to best take breaks and avoid burnout.

Thanks for  reading, and happy practicing to our BCD performers!

Musically Yours,

Mr. Martin

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Here’s a fun photo of me in soundcheck, preparing for a 2014 performance in Beijing, China.

(Feel free to reach out to cmartin@berkshirecountryday.org with any questions.)

 

By |2017-08-11T11:06:28-04:00August 31st, 2016|

When to start private music lessons?

This is a question asked frequently here at BCD and in my private studio.  There is no “magic age” to start and no one correct answer to this question.  Generally, brass and woodwind lessons are given to students around 4th grade. Guitar is most often taught starting in 3rd grade. Piano, violin, viola and cello are great choices for our students to begin as early as 3 years old.

I had the opportunity to begin with piano lessons at 4 years old, and that’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. Having said that, there’s a dialogue between teacher, student, and parent that informs these choices. My mom says I made it abundantly clear piano was an early passion!

Begin lessons when your child is ready to take direction from an adult, take responsibility for practicing and when the family is ready to devote time, money and energy into this wonderful new adventure.

 

Feel free to reach out to me at cmartin@berkshirecountryday.org with any additional questions. Happy Summer 2016!

 

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By |2017-08-11T11:08:05-04:00July 8th, 2016|

Spring 2015 Slideshow

The end of the school year is a flurry of activity for everyone – concerts, tournaments, finals, projects, Fun & Field Day, performances, field trips, graduation, and so much more.  As we all ease into summer’s routine and look back on a wonderful year, please enjoy the slideshow below for glimpse of life at BCD this spring.

Have a wonderful summer!

To see the slideshow again, view it full screen, or to download pictures, visit Slidely.

For more BCD pictures, follow Paul Lindenmaier’s photo blog or the school’s flickr posts.

Music: “RUNNING WATERS” by Jason Shaw (http://www.audionautix.com)

By |2019-01-10T13:00:39-04:00June 12th, 2015|

Describe BCD in 3 Words

We all have a BCD story and this spring our students were asked to tell their story using only 3 words. Their answers reflect the generosity of spirit and strong sense of community which we all appreciate at BCD.

Enjoy the short video and tell us your 3 words in the comments below.

By |2019-01-10T13:00:45-04:00May 5th, 2015|

The Arts at BCD Today

The arts program at BCD has undergone a major expansion this year and we can’t wait to share it with you. This magazine is a small window into the art studios where students work with educators who are renowned artists in their own right.

Whether carving a wooden chess set, building an outdoor kiln, animating a short video, or stage managing a production, our student artists are doing amazing things every day.

If you haven’t been to BCD in a while, you need to see this for yourself. Call today to set up your visit!

By |2019-01-10T13:00:47-04:00April 9th, 2015|

School Closed – Friday, January 9

Due to hazardous travel conditions in the area, Berkshire Country Day School is closed today, Friday, January 9.

Look for a second message soon concerning the status of Ski Friday.

Stay safe and warm!

By |2019-01-10T12:39:40-04:00January 9th, 2015|