Rhythm Festival, 2012

This post gives some great information, including directions to the venue. This year’s date is Nov. 12 and times will be announced soon.

Tempo Drive Music Studio


Sunbeams 1 at the Rhythm Fest, 2008

Rhythm Festival
When: Saturday Nov. 17th, 2012.
Where:OLD LOCATION – The Bridge Church, Kanata. (Directions).

  • Sunshine 1- 9am
  • Sunbeams 1, Moonbeams 1, & Sunshine 2- 10:45am
  • Sunbeams 2 & Sunbeams 3- 2:30 pm

Expect to be at the church for an hour.

Cost: This is considered a class. There is no additional cost to you. Audience members may choose to make a donation to the Alliance for Canadian New Music Projects.

Saturday classes will not be held in the studio on Nov. 17th as I will be at the church most of the day.

Why: For younger students in particular, there are not many venues to perform in. The Rhythm Festival is perfect, because it provides child friendly adjudication and interaction with peers who also take music lessons. Students will get to practice in class for the performance…

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Why I encourage “Noodling” on the piano

Noodling is a laid back term used to describe a loose sort of musical practice, almost “messing around” with the sound and patterns in music. At least, that’s what I mean by it. 

Most of what our children do is structured and piano is not much different for the most part. But I want to tell you that is doesn’t always have to be that way. There is a lot of value in noodling around on an instrument.

 Let me explain. We learn patterns, steps versus jumps, solfege, dynamics, pitch, tempo and harmony (chords or bridges). All of these can be fun to play by themselves, AND to experiment with. Sometimes you just need to “get away” from the task at hand before you can make sense of it. Like taking a walk to problem solve. 

I’m sure you’ve heard a song before, and you can’t get it out of your head. (That’s called an “ear worm,” by the way). Playing it out, or trying to discover how it sounds, is actually an excellent way to train the ear. 

And noodling serves a creative purpose. When you get around the keyboard without the constraint of note reading, you take risks, and you learn quickly that either a) “I like that sound” or b) “That didn’t sound so good.” It’s a time where it is OK to make mistakes. A safe space to fail and pick yourself up again. 

So do enjoy noodling around from time to time. You never know! It may be just what you need to gain a different understanding of what you’re currently working on. 


You asked for it… 

Hellooooo parents! 

Some of you have convinced me to do what I consider the unthinkable, but I’ve made a concession. I think I understand now. Here it is, your Grand Staff reference page!

Here’s what I’ve realized: 

  • Sometimes a visual is helpful
  • Some of you have never read music before, or you did but it was really limited 
  • You just want this for yourself so that you can be confident helping your child
  • You want a quick reference 

I hope it helps you, and I hope you understand that there are many ways to help your child with note reading and playing.  Here are a few of those ways:

  • Remember the critter stories: who sleeps on Mrs. Treble Clef’s lap? Who has muddy boots? Who is shy and standing in the door? These characters and the way your child was told these stories are incredibly memorable to a child. Even if we think they’re simply cute, they actually mean a little more to the child. I find that they get excited to find out what new character will be doing what each week. Some even like to give them nick names 🙂
  • Read in patterns. Line, space, line space all in a row are steps. Line to the next line, or space to the next space is a jump. 
  • Read by saying finger numbers aloud. 
  • Read by saying letters aloud. 
  • It’s ok to put SOME markers on the page (a letter here or a finger number there) but writing them all in disrupts the fluency in music reading that we are trying to reach. 
  • Be patient. Wait for your child to figure out that vertically up means move to the right on the keyboard, and vertically down means move to the left on the keyboard. Letting your child figure it out means that they can OWN their accomplishment. 
  • Point ABOVE the notes with a pencil or other small pointer. Then your child can compare from the last note where the next note has moved. 

Happy note reading! 



Hello students and parents!

Compositions are due to class the week of Feb. 24th. Students who started in January will not be composing at this time, but probably will in late Spring.

Head on over to the composing tab (under downloads), enter the same password you use for homework, and browse some useful links and files.

Have fun! Be creative! Don’t stress over it 🙂



New Classes + Referral Bonus

New classes are being added on for January 2016. On Tuesdays, I will be bringing MYC classes to the Manotick School of Music: Sunshine 1 (ages 3 & 4) at 2:45.

In Kemptville: Thursday evenings will see the addition of a Sunbeams 1 class (ages 5 & 6), and Saturdays at 10:30 (ages 3 & 4) will be Sunshine 1.

Sunrise (ages 2 & 3) will continue in it’s 9:30 Saturday time slot, but a Block 1 will be introduced at that time.

See the schedule to find out more!

Do you know anyone interested in taking music lessons?

Referral Bonus If you: a) Are a current student of mine, and b) know a child between the ages of 3-6 who want to start piano, refer them to me to receive $20 off your last month’s tuition. Referral must take one full course for the bonus to be applied. Sorry, only available at Kemptville studio.

That’s all for now, music peeps!



Hello Halifax! 

I’m here for Music For Young Children’s International Conference, and we’re having a great time! So many new things happening, so much to learn. Today is the final day and already I’ve learned more than I could have imagined would be packed into three days. 

Here are just some of my highlights:

  • An inspirational speech and performance by Terry Kelly
  • Joining my colleagues in playing and singing hits in a fake book– well past midnight!
  • Learning even more about integrating technology into the classroom
  • Having the Royal Conservatory of Music come and tell us that OUR students are the best going through the exam process today (Wow! What high praise!) 
  • A great workshop by Frances Balodis on the parent-student-teacher relationship
  • And… Stay tuned for exciting news from Roland! 

Can’t wait to get back, kiss the kids and hubby and put what I’ve learned into action!





2015 Recital – What you need to know

Hi everyone! It’s that time of year again- time to show off your skills.

But really, it’s another learning experience (of course!). Musicians need to learn performance skills no matter what their age and stage. Fortunately, our recital will feature children of the same age, plus a few of my senior students as well, all of whom are MYC grads.

When: Sunday, May 24, 2015. 2pm
Where: My studio, 16 Westerra Way. A very familiar place!

I will be turning my basement into a mini-concert hall, so please don’t hesitate to invite as many family and friends as you wish! It’s going to be a great time!

Please let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to sharing all that we have learned with an audience!



The Power of Singing

The best thing about MYC classes is that it combines all aspects of of a strong music foundation- and one of those things is singing. You can sing anywhere, anytime. With singing, you always have your “instrument” with you.

I have been singing for as long as I can remember. In church, with friends, and when no one is looking 🙂 I trained in sight-singing and solfege in university, but to this day I have not had a formal, one-on-one lesson. Perhaps some day I will get into it more seriously!

But there is no denying that there is something powerful about the human voice- especially in a group- that says something fundamental about the human condition. We want to create. Communicate. And experience togetherness.

Last week I listed to DNTO (Definitely Not the Opera) on CBC Radio, with host,  Sook-Yin Lee. There were many great stories and information, and I’d love to share it with you. You can access the show here. If you don’t have much time, go here and listen to Choir! Choir! Choir! ‘s rendition of Sloan’s Coax Me. It’s kind of chilling- in a good way!


♪ Mairéad