LMS Theory Workshop to Feature Guest Teacher, Elizabeth Valle

For more information or to sign up, contact Leslie.

Music Theory Workshop for grades 6-12
Intermediate piano students will be prepared to take the OMTA Theory Quiz. Featuring guest teacher Elizabeth Valle, writer of the OMTA Theory Quizzes.

Leslie’s Music Studio
Saturday, January 26, 2019, 1:30-4:00
Registration Fee: $30
Registration Deadline: January 18, 2019

Elizabeth Valle Biography

Elizabeth Valle is currently completing a Masters from the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance in Music Theory. She also has an undergraduate degree from Midamerica Nazarene University in Harp Pedagogy. During graduate school, she was the principal harpist for the UMKC Orchestra, as well as the featured harpist for the Midwest Chamber Ensemble in 2013 and 2014. She has also performed with multiple professional ensembles in the Kansas City area. Elizabeth has been teaching music to students in the Kansas City area for fourteen years, and has been active in many local music associations such as OMTA, KCMTA, and MAMA. In addition, she is currently the President of the Kansas City Lyra Chapter of the American Harp Society. Elizabeth has also chaired or co-chaired many large events in the KC area, including the OMTA Solo Festival, the Lyra Chapter KC Harp Weekend, and the KC Harp Competition.

Leslie’s Music Studio hosts Sean Hephner Piano Clinic

Leslie’s Music Studio was honored to host guest teacher, Sean Hephner, on September 8, 2018. Sean taught master lessons for students from Leslie’s Music Studio and Simmons Piano Studio to help them prepare for the KCMTA Fall Festival.

Sean’s playful approach eased student tension, helping students bring out a more natural and expressive tone. He offered new insights on score markings such as dynamics and articulations by encouraging students to imagine different characters within the contrasting sections of their pieces.

The KCMTA Fall Festival is known by area teachers to be one of the toughest judging events in the state of Kansas. Brenda Simmons and I are thankful for the masterful guest teaching Sean Hephner brought to our students this September, helping ensure successful performances on October 13-14!

Sean Hephner Biography

Born and raised in Wichita Kansas, Sean Hephner began playing piano in second grade. While the bulk of his formal training was at Dr. Timothy Shook’s Creative Keyboard Studio in Wichita, Sean also expanded outside the traditional piano curriculum, leading church praise bands, participating in choral music and music theatre productions, playing in jazz bands, and studying voice as a tenor.

Sean began attending MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas in 2011, where he studied under Dr. Erika Kinser, Jessica Koebbe, and Dr. John Leavitt. Here he participated in a wide variety of bands, vocal groups, school ensembles, and piano competitions before graduating in the spring of 2015 with a Bachelors in Music Education (Choral Focus). Sean was then accepted in the master program at WSU for Piano Performance in the fall of 2015, completing a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance in the fall of 2017, studying under Dr. Andrew Trechak.

Sean is currently an accompanist, pianist, singer, composer, and arranger working in the Wichita area. He teaches private lessons at the Creative Keyboard Studio, as well as at the Community Music School at Southwestern University in Winfield, Kansas and performs on both piano and voice. Ensembles that he has worked with recently include the Wichita State University Jazz Ensemble, The Friends University Singing Quakers, Concert Choir, and Opera program, as well as the Wichita Symphony Chorus and many others.

“Count Metronome” Halloween Practice Challenge

The maleficent mascot of meter visited Leslie’s Music Studio this October… and stole all of our Halloween candy! (*Insert maniacal villain laugh*)

To conquer the king of counting and take back their candy, students meticulously practiced their pieces with the metronome this month. Individual metronome challenges were assigned and completed and candy bags were filled one rhythmic reward at a time.

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How to Practice Piano at Home

We have all heard the statistics about how studying and playing music makes children smarter, or at least helps them get better grades. I’m sure there are many reasons for that, but I believe the primary reason is because learning an instrument takes practice, builds discipline, determination, patience, and resilience. You might say it builds character. And all those character traits make a very good student, whether in primary school or the school of life.

To make the most of your child’s piano lessons, it’s important to establish a consistent practice routine. Unlike most sports where kids meet for multiple guided practices throughout the week, piano students are expected to practice individually at home. Figuring out how to practice can be a process, especially for a young student. It’s common for parents to experience frustration in this department (“Getting Timmy to practice is a non-stop battle!”), but with a few basic guidelines it’s possible to facilitate an effective practice routine for your child.

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July 2018 Group Lessons

Five times a year, Leslie’s Music Studio hosts group lessons to give private piano students an opportunity to perform for their peers, reflect on and analyze performances, and enhance their knowledge of music theory with engaging group games. According to an article in American Music Teacher, “Today’s educational experts recommend an instructional model that includes engagement, exploration, explanation, application, evaluation, reflection and extension.” See below for a summary of our group lesson activities from July 2018!

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Dennis Alexander Workshop

IMG_9259On April 18, 2017, I had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite composers: Dennis Alexander. He debuted a new duet and presented a piano pedagogy workshop at Schmitt Music, covering teaching topics such as composition, playing by ear, and engaging students of all levels with quality repertoire.

It just so happens that Dennis Alexander and I are distant relatives! My husband’s great aunt is Dennis’ aunt. I will take that as my claim to fame!

Two of my favorite compositions by Dennis Alexander:

  • Toccata Brillante, Intermediate Piano Solo
  • King Tut, Late Elementary Piano Solo

Click here for a complete list of his compositions.