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Free Blank Sheet Music!




When I was a kid, I loved buying expensive pads of manuscript paper. Trouble was, I didn’t quite know what to do with them!

Now, thirty-something years on, I’m always reaching for some manuscript paper to demonstrate to my students, scribble down an idea or to give to my pupils so that they can transcribe their latest creation.

A website that I’ve been using for some years now is blanksheetmusic.net. Great features include being very easy to use, available on all electronic devices, quick and best of all, free!

When you load the page you will notice a green “ribbon” at the top which quickly allows you to customize the paper before you. It is worth knowing that there are multiple functions to each button, so keep toggling through the options until you find the setting for you. You can easily increase or decrease the stave size according to the project and experience level of the student who will be using it. And when you are ready to print, click on the orange printer icon in the bottom right of the page. It really couldn’t be easier. That’s a promise!

Uses include:

• Treble or bass clef vocal music with a single line to write the lyrics underneath

• Four or six-lined TAB staves with option of a treble or bass clef attached to the system

• Grand stave for piano or harp

• Three stave organ notation

• Alto or tenor clef staves

• Single of five line percussion staves

As you can see, these options cover most bases. Anything more complicated will probably require a more traditional notation software package like Sibelius or Finale. If you need something more substantial, if may be worth checking out first the excellent, free, web-based software noteflight.com

Reuben Vincent

Reuben Vincent is a freelance musician working as a composer, producer and private music teacher, based from his purpose built recording studio in Bagillt, Flintshire, North Wales, UK. His main instrument is the piano although he is also known for a “mean” solo on the Kazoo!!!



11 Ways to Involve Parents in Music Lessons




How well do you know your students’ parents? Most of my students are dropped off on the fly, so I seldom see their adults. If someone else drives them to lessons, sometimes I don’t even meet them until a recital.

Parents care. They pay tuition for me to teach their children. Obviously they want a good musical experience for them, and hope and trust I can do for their youngsters what they cannot. Many of them would like to be in on the process, if they only knew how.

Involve Parents

  • Hold a Parents’ Week at your studio. Send an invitation a month ahead for parents to sit in on lessons. Plan at least one learning game the parent and student can play together. Make sure the student has something well prepared to show off.
  • Plan a Parents’ Lesson Week, at which you will give the parent a lesson. Let the student act as a Teaching Assistant, with duties outlined ahead of time. Make sure he or she is prepared to encourage, not criticize!
  • Send a bi-monthly or quarterly progress report. Call it something non-threatening like Uniquely Yours, _(student’s name)_. Consider including:
    • Anything cute/funny/brilliant the student has said.
    • Any area of particular improvement.
    • Songs or segments of songs learned during this period.
    • Progress in core skills.
    • Areas showing need of improvement. If you have genuine concerns, call the parent—this is not the place for a serious discussion.
    • Good habits mastered or working on.
    • Positive observations (“Aiden makes me laugh!” “Mia’s note was SO sweet.” “I love Ella’s determination!”).
    • Easy ideas for how parents might encourage the student at home.
  • Video the student playing something he or she knows well, and send it to the parents.
  • Ask parents of young students, as my friend Lori does, if they’d have time to read instructions to their child at home. Or if one of them could offer help during practice. She makes sure not to guilt them. She tells them it’ll be fine if they can’t—many parents, including her own, were hands-off when it came to practice. But Lori notes that there is often a marked difference in the progress of students whose parents are able to sit alongside and offer direction.
  • Follow up promptly anytime a parent offers a concern or suggestion. You don’t have to agree, but don’t just let it slide.
  • Give parents the address for your Music Teachers Helper website. There they might find tuition information, lesson and recital reminders, studio news, photos and more!
  • Host engaging recitals and invite parents to participate. Perhaps they will play a duet with their child. Help with refreshments. Write encouraging remarks to performers. Act as your photographer. You can read about five magical music recital ideas here: 1. Make it More than a Recital 2. Dynamic Duets and Excellent Ensembles 3. Really Rad Rock ‘n Roll Recital 4. Mickey Mouse Club Musical Review 5. Family Folk Song Celebration
  • Encourage voice students—or any students—to learn a simple round. When they know the melody well enough and have practiced it during lessons, send a note home to suggest Mom or Dad ask to be taught their round and sing it together. Great musical training!
  • Teach your students a melody from Andrea and Trevor Dow’s Piano Book Club (Teach Piano Today: Duets for Me and My Not-So-Musical Mates” ) meant for piano students to play together. Adapt it for parents and children. The accompaniment is simple enough to learn in just moments. Invite the parent to come, show how to play the accompaniment and have parent and child play together. This could even be performed at a peer recital, regular recital or other family-friendly venue.
  • Instruct younger piano or guitar students—level 1 or below—to teach their latest pentascale or scale to a parent. The student will play simple chords along with them. They might switch parts. Example:

Parent:     C  D  E  F  G  F  E  D  C

Student:   I                 V7               I

Hint: this can work equally well with grandparents, siblings or other relations and friends. Teaching is a wonderful way to reinforce skills.

One of my goals for the coming season is to involve parents more.

How about you? Do you make efforts to involve parents in their children’s musical journey? How do you go about it?

About the Author

Robin Steinweg

I’m Robin Steinweg, happy to join the team of bloggers at Freedom for Musicians. I teach students of every age piano, guitar and voice (sometimes clarinet & recorder); perform; direct choirs; compose for students, choirs and worship; love to learn and improve. I’m wife of one and mother of two recently-launched musicians. Presently I am caregiver for my mother, a vocalist, drummer and pianist … [Read more]



FFM’s Advent Calendar of the Greatest Christmas Songs of All Time




Every day throughout December, FFM will be opening a virtual advent calendar window featuring a different Christmas song, culminating with our readers’ all-time favourite on Christmas Day. Vote for your favourite by commenting in the box below.

Here is a classic to get you started.



Feel the Healing Power of Music, Regardless of Your Age


We all know that music heals, uplifts and unites, but what happens to those who have never taken up music in their lives? Do they have to miss out on the soul soothing, healing effects of music just because they discovered their passion in their later years?

Time and time again, great musicians like Pat Martino have shown the world that it never is too late to learn music. Martino lost almost all his memory after having a brain aneurysm in the 1970s, but he reversed much of the damage by re-learning to play the guitar!

Research has pointed to the astounding effects of learning an instrument; one study carried out by the Radiological Society of North America found that taking music lessons increases brain fiber connections in children, which is why music is such an important part of learning. Sadly, those born before these discoveries were made may have missed out on a musical education because they thought they "just weren't musically inclined."

Music and Mature Minds

If you have always dreamed of mastering the piano, violin or saxophone, by all means, make a start. These days, doctors are recommending that older people take up a musical instrument to keep their brain young; much in the way that brain games enhance important skills such as problem solving and creativity, music, too, can keep the brain sharp, staving off memory loss and dementia.

In one study conducted at Baycrest Health Sciences, researchers recommended that music lessons form part of prevention programs to help keep conditions like Alzheimer's at bay.

Music and Mood

If you need a little inspiration before your first lesson, just listen to your favorite band or better yet, enjoy a classical music concert. Research carried out at the University of Helsinki found that simply listening to classical music has powerful effects on brain function. Music by masters like Mozart or Beethoven increases our (feel-good hormone) dopamine levels and helps keep our neurons healthy. Another study showed that music lights up the whole brain, since it demands that we process so many aspects - including tonality, rhythm, and timbre.

There has never been a time like now to learn or, at the very least, listen to music. Those who believe it is one of life's great treasures will often speak of music's transformative power and its ability to soothe pain and lift our mood. Science has backed what we already instinctively knew - music is an exciting light party for your whole brain, regardless of how old you are when you first allow its magic to take over your heart and soul!!

-Sally Writes - MU Columnist

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How to play Sina Makosa – From FFM Kenyan Ambassador King’oi Mkenya


By King’oi Mkenya – FFM Ambassador for Kenya

One of the things I would like to do as ambassador is to demonstrate that Kenyan/East African music has produced evergreens that have left a mark, and stand out in expressing the themes of our lives.
I have always wanted to explain the hypnotic and catchy way in which African guitar-based popular music is often driven by just three chords in a riff that cycles over and over but has enough variation and colour to keep the audience listening and the dancers moving.
One such song is “Sina Makosa” (I have no fault), a Kiswahili classic from the early 70’s that still enjoys radio airplay today and captures ever younger audiences. It was written by two brothers, George Peter and Wilson Peter Kinyonga, Tanzanians who moved into Nairobi to take advantage of the thriving live entertainment and recording industry of the time.
They performed in smoky clubs, playing all-nighters to entertain revelers. Fortunately, they also recorded this song and many others, which are often to be found on YouTube channels.

Sina Makosa (1) (will open pdf of TABS and Notation)

What I have done is to enter the notation and TABS into Notion, generated a synthesized rendition of the two main lead guitar riffs, and provided an excellent tutorial on YouTube by a young guitarist.
It is my desire that beginning and intermediate guitarists will listen and learn the tune.

If this has been helpful to you, please help us by clicking on our sponsor’s ads. It won’t cost you anything but we will get a few pence per click.
Much love and happy music making,
Roger Moisan




Embarrassing Musical Moments – Up On the Roof!



By Roger Moisan

The nature of music making means that there are many opportunities for making a complete fool of yourself in front of a lot of people. One particular event that stands out in my mind is the end of year concert at Hailsham Community College, Sussex, England in July 1998.

As the visiting brass teacher and band director, I was due to conduct the College band at the opening of the concert which was a showcase of the year’s musical achievements and annual prize giving ceremony. In attendance at this year’s celebration were the usual school dignitaries, guests and the Mayor as well as many hundreds of parents and children.

As a busy peripatetic teacher, I had been rushing around all day from school to school and had hardly anytime for myself. Having arrived in Hailsham with plenty of time, checked in with the band and Director of Music, I still had fifteen spare, precious minutes for a long needed trip to the toilet! So, off I go to the staff room, on the top floor, locate the men’s room at the far end, find a clean cubicle and breathe a sigh of relief. Not one minute into my activity, I hear the terminal ‘clunk’ of a door being locked. The toilet door! After a few moments of disbelief, I begin calling out “Hello, hello, I’m in here!” To no avail. I am locked in the toilet on the top floor of a remote part of a huge Community College five minutes before curtain up.

The over zealous caretaker had decided to get a head start on his evening’s shutting down routine and I was on the inside, trapped.

A small window was my only option and route of escape, so after prizing it open, I managed to squeeze my six foot frame through the unfeasibly small orifice only to find myself on the roof of the main hall some fifty feet above ground level. A quick scout around found a skylight looking directly down and into the concert hall where my band and the audience were waiting patiently for the arrival of the conductor. Me! Over the PA, I heard the chilling words, “Please welcome our brass teacher and band director, Roger Moisan” Audience applaud and I do not walk on to the stage because I am on the roof!

Panic kicked in and I decided I had to get down some how, so after a bit of roof hopping from level to level, I managed to get low enough to be able to slide down and drop on to a dumpster, leg it around the front of the building, into the hall, pick up my baton and start the band. We played well and all seemed ok until my chat with the mayor after the show. “Roger, do you realise you have what seems to be a tyre track mark all the way up your trousers and jacket?” It was the summer and my concert attire was a beige Chino suit (it was the 90s) and those in the know are aware that schools use non-setting, thick black paint to prevent the most athletic kids from climbing onto the roof. I had performed, with my back to the crowd, looking like a victim from a Road Runner cartoon!

If this has been helpful to you, please help us by clicking on our sponsor’s ads. It won’t cost you anything but we will get a few pence per click.

Much love and happy music making,

Roger Moisan.




Introducing FFM Member: JJ Appleby

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Winston Fraser – aka JJ Appleby – moved  to England. There he was part of the successful band, The Equators, who toured the UK, Spain, and even went to New Zealand.
He’s got a folksy, gospel sound, a unique Reggae twist, love songs, and a positive message.

Please check out JJ’s YouTube channel  and wonderful sunny mix of great original music.

ROGER MOISAN SAYS, “MAKE IT LOOK EASY”

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roger moisanRoger Moisan is famous for having turned down a Pink Floyd gig. He’s the founder of Freedom for Musicians, an online platform for musicians and artists to maximize the potential to monetize their musical skills.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

THREE KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. The perils of “youthful arrogance.”
  2. There’s nothing more important to your performing career than your integrity.
  3. For every failure, there’s a moment of redemption.

ROGER’S WORST MOMENT AS A PERFORMER

“It was wrapped up in youthful arrogance. I had an audition in front of the brass musicians of the London Symphony for a scholarship sponsored by the LSO. I knew I had practiced it enough, although my teacher said differently. I had never rehearsed it with a pianist. AS it went from bad to worse, I was clamming up, my palms were becoming sweaty and I was looking right into the eyes of Maurice Murphy, one of my heroes on the trumpet.

“As we got to the slow section, Maurice walked up to me and said, ‘I think we’ll stop here.’ I had serious issues with performance anxiety after that for several months.”

QUOTABLE QUOTES

  • “I’ve had more fun sharing the story as to why I didn’t play with Pink Floyd than the gig would have been.”
  • “Prepare, Prepare, Prepare. The moment you think you’re prepared, start preparing.”

THE HOT SEAT

Q: It’s 5 minutes before you go on stage for an important performance… What are you doing?

A: Checking, checking, checking. My music, my trumpet, my valves, myself. I also visualize the performance beginning to end, and it’s perfect.

Q: What’s the best performance-related advice you’ve ever received?

A:  Concentrate on the sound. If the sound is horrible, no one wants to hear you. Make it look easy.

Q: Can you share one tip for our listeners to help deal with stage fright? (Physical, mental, etc.)

A: Prepare, prepare, prepare. And when you think you’ve prepared, start preparing. The moment you think you’ve got it put together is when you’re most prone to make mistakes.

Q: What’s a non-musical activity that contributes to your success as a musician?

A: Sport. Playing and watching. The discipline required to play sports can teach a lot to musicians.

Q: Imagine you’re on stage. It’s the end of the performance and the audience is on its feet, applauding. They don’t want any more and they don’t want any less. Everything is perfect. What have you just done?

A: I’m at Royal Albert Hall at the BBC Proms. I’m playing the Arutunian trumpet concerto in front of 3,000 people. It’s gone stunningly well. All those people that were in that terrible audition years ago are looking at me, saying, “Well done, Roger.”

You can now study online one-to-one with Roger Moisan

This Girl Scout Faced Off a Neo-Nazi in This Epic Picture

 

By Gabriella Canal

Every so often, a photo symbolic of the times surfaces, a freeze frame that captures how large swaths of people feel. On Monday, during a rally of extreme right groups in Brno, Czech Republic, a young girl scout was pictured facing off a visibly exasperated neo-nazi.

Arms defiantly by her side, the scout, Lucie, remained calm, cool, and collected.

She was reportedly part of the counter-protest that was being held to challenge the far-right march against the European Union and immigration. The photo, which was originally taken by Vladimir Cicmanec, joins the ranks of other evocative images that show women calmly resisting hate and intolerance.

 This Woman Stared Down a Far-Right Racist With the Ultimate Act of Defiance

By Tuesday, the image had been shared on the Scout’s Movement Facebook Page, which celebrated the scout’s diversity and steady resilience in the face of hatred.

“People from all walks of life, and #Scouts among them,” the post read. “Came to the streets during an extreme right march yesterday to express their support for values of diversity, peace and understanding. Creating a better world!”

Unlike the United States, the Czech Republic has a co-ed Scouts program. Alongside boys and girls her own age, Lucie held a sign that read “We will raise your children” — a Scout motto.

Canadian and Lebanese Ambassador: Dr William Nassar

It is with great honour that we announce the appointment of Dr William Nassar as Freedom for Musicians Ambassador for Canada and Lebanese musicians worldwide. William has devoted his life to promoting peace through his music and we look forward to regular updates on his work and support of musicians in Canada and particular those involved in the Arab-Israeli peace movement.

William Nassar is a Canadian – Lebanese most outstanding and successful protest singer and composer. He has achieved a worldwide reputation as a protest singer and peace activist.William Nassar descends from al Batroun, a very beautiful Christian city North of Beirut. He was born on December 25th, 1966 in the Northern Lebanese village Batroumeen (The house of god), of a Lebanese father and a Palestinian mother.
For he was born in Batroumeen, his close friends call him al Batroumeeni (The Batroumeenist).

He started his career at the age of 11, when he sought refuge into music to run away from the sounds of civil war, and took a stand against the sectarian killing at a very young age throughout his music and songs.

On the year 1987, he was subject to an assassination attempt in Beirut by Islamist fundamentalists after his song ( Beirut) Thus, he left Lebanon on February 13th, 1993.

William Nassar possesses a P.h.D. degree in Ethno-musicology and taught Arabic composition and orchestration at various musical institutions and conservatoires, besides his work as a songwriter and singer.

He is a member of several musical organizations and considered one of today’s leading political “protest” composers and singers who promote peace and non-violence in the middle east.

On the year 2014, he was diagnosed with Leukemia and Liver Cancer. He undergone a tough treatment and survived.
Being a Cancer Survivor, William Nassar dedicates half of his musical works income to the Canadian Cancer Society, which helps Kids living with Cancer, and he is an active volunteer with them.

William Nassar albums have been runaway hits in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan and other Arab states, as well as Canada, the United States and Europe, especially after his hit song On the Road to Aytat, (Al Tareeq Aytat) which was released on the year 1986 and re-recorded on 2015 under the title (A Red Hymn) track 2 of the CD album You look like Pomegranate.

William Nassar compositional skills have been honored with distinguished awards by several International and local music festivals and civil societies.

To become an ambassador for your country, email Roger Moisan directly at rogermoisan@yahoo.co.uk introducing yourself, outlining your musical story and what you can offer to this role.