MyBCD Blogs

Amazing (Winter Music Concert)

Weren’t they great? I am still recuperating from being blown away by our talented young musicians in grades PreK-9. From “Peace is the World Smiling,” to “White Winter Hymnal,” each student really brought their best self to the stage and to all the rehearsals before as well.

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Looking forward to seeing what our performers do at Arts Night 2, Spring Concert, Private Lessons Recitals, Arts Night 3, and LS Spring Musical in the New Year! Until then, time for us all to bundle up by our hearths and enjoy some seasonal festivities…

Thanks to each and every BCD community member, you all helped bring our 2016 Winter Concert to life. Special shout-outs to Mr. Lee and the Facilities team, Mr. Spitzer for mounting Student Art, our ebullient co-M.C. Ms. Doherty, and our creative team of parent and student Elves who helped setup the beautiful concert space last night.

Lucky me to teach these amazing young musicians. Lucky us to enjoy listening to the final product of their efforts! You can access some Audio from our Winter Concert and Arts Night performances available on SoundCloud! Thanks Ms. DelCarpine for recording.

Musically Yours,

Mr. Martin

www.soundcloud.com/bcdmusic

By |2016-12-09T17:38:31-04:00December 9th, 2016|

Gratitude Presentation

Thanks to all of our BCD Musicians for an excellent Fall term. Special thanks to Vocal Ensemble and our Thanksgiving Soup instrumentalists. Happy Thanksgiving, and looking forward to Arts Night (12/1/16) and Winter Music Concert (12/9/16)!

If anyone missed Soup today, or wants to revisit the memory, here is the text from our Gratitude Presentation. As read by our fabulous 9th grade narrators:

We are blessed with many gifts, and we take this time to acknowledge and appreciate them all. As a community, we value and cherish each other. We also know that not all things in this world are fair, and there is yet much work to be done to create a better place. Perhaps, at some future point, we will have that better world. Perhaps we will achieve a peaceful society. “When true simplicity is gained, we won’t be ashamed to bow or to bend,” the Shaker hymn suggests. We asked several BCD students to share which inhibitions they might cast off in order to move closer to that ideal world.

When true simplicity is gained, we won’t be ashamed to:
“Speak up for ourself and what we believe in.”
“Do the right thing, even if everyone does something else.”
“Support a friend that needs help.”
“Believe in yourself.”
“To asks questions and take time to be unsure.”
“Play with a new friend.”
“Believe in magic.”
“Help to others that are in need.”

“We won’t be ashamed to show others we care.”
“To give to the young and old alike.”
“Work together to solve problems without fighting.”
“Enjoy God’s creations.”
“To sing together in harmony.”
“Communicate using our words instead of violence.”
“To share jokes and laugh together out loud.”
“To have peaceful and democratic resolutions of world conflicts.”
“To act differently from the norm.”
“Express our true and authentic self.”

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By |2016-11-22T17:51:57-04:00November 22nd, 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|

At Berkshire Country Day School,
we value connection.

Tell us a little more about you and your child so we can connect and learn more about what you are looking for in a school.