The Romantic Period (1810-1918)

The Romantic Period (1810-1918)

By Nathan Straub

Have you ever enjoyed the music that plays during a movie? Do you suddenly have “aha!” moments when you learn that a theme from an old cartoon was actually a legitimate composition (thank you, Looney Tunes!)?

You can thank the Romantic Period for these familiar sensations. The fact is that when most people think of classical music, they are thinking of the symphonies, concertos, operas, and sonatas of the Romantic period. Composers such as Chopin, Wagner, Debussy, Verdi, Puccini, Mahler, Schumann, Schubert, Beethoven (to be discussed a separate time!), and many more composed thousands of pieces still performed around the world.

Duets, Trios, and Quartets...Oh My!

Duets, Trios, and Quartets...Oh My!

By Kate MacKenzie

This is an exciting time to be apart of the AWSOM family!  In July we rolled out our official Chamber Ensemble Program, which gives our students the opportunity to make music with other students! The possible instrument combinations are endless, and the music written for these groups is quite fun! Each chamber music ensemble will meet once a week with their coach (one of AWSOM's awesome teachers). It is a great way to meet other like-minded musicians, make some fantastic music, and learn in a group atmosphere! 

Music in the Homeschool Curriculum

Music in the Homeschool Curriculum

By Maile Allen and John Hart

There are many ways students benefit from learning to play an instrument. Numerous students show students who take music lessons perform better academically, see an increase in verbal intelligence, and even see a boost to their IQ. Homeschooling families can enhance their students’ education and experience by adding music lessons to their curriculum.

Beginning the College Search for Music

Beginning the College Search for Music

By Megan Grady

The college decision process can be daunting - everyone has an opinion about what you should study, where you should go and what you should want. With so many options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when deciding what you want to study, what kind of college you want, and where you want to apply. These decisions feel like they will impact the rest of your life!

Beginning Piano Tips: Learning the Keys of the Piano

Beginning Piano Tips: Learning the Keys of the Piano

By Justin Hansen

During an introductory piano lesson, aside from getting a glimpse of the student’s personality, the primary goal for the teacher is to assess the skill level of the prospective student. If this student is new to piano, there are some fun rudimentary lessons we can give to ignite interest and provide a snapshot of any learning styles that become apparent. Some instructors may focus on teaching this student a simple song on the black keys using finger numbers. Others may focus on note heads and their values. One thing most of us choose not to start out with is teaching the keys of the piano; that perhaps the student will gradually learn these later with the help of method books, and it may just be too much information out of the gate.

Music History: A Brief Introduction

Music History: A Brief Introduction

By Nathan Straub

Have you ever wondered how music evolved into its current state? How did power chords, symphonies, rock concerts, Michael Jackson, and operas all come to be? This week, I will be covering three musical eras that answer a small part of these questions. These are known as the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic musical periods.

Teacher Profile: Justin Hansen, Piano

Teacher Profile: Justin Hansen, Piano

At AWSOM we value the personal connections we make with our students, and we want you to feel the same way.

That's why our teachers have taken a moment to answer some questions in between their busy teaching schedules. Read on to learn more about our amazing piano teacher Justin Hansen!

Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi

By Kate MacKenzie

One of my favorite composers was an Italian mastermind of the Baroque era, Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741). His beautiful treatment of melodies paired with appeasing Alberti bass and harmonic structure have made him an important figure of music history. Sure, most people fall in love with perhaps his most famous piece, The Four Seasons, but for me it was his Bassoon Concerto in A Minor that started my deep admiration for his music. 

Music Styles

Music Styles

By William Muñoz

When I started learning the trumpet one of my goals was to eventually be good enough to play salsa music. After all, growing up in Puerto Rico, that is one of the most popular styles of music and I thought it would be awesome to be in a salsa band. My first trumpet teacher played in many salsa bands, some of which he also directed, additionally, he also performed with the Puerto Rico Symphony and Puerto Rico Philharmonic among other ensembles. I remember that after a few lessons he asked: “why do you want to play the trumpet?” to which I replied: “I want to play salsa.”  He then responded: “Well, I am going to teach you how to be a trumpet player, more importantly, I will teach you to be a good musician.”

Reading Chord Charts

Reading Chord Charts

By John Hart

This skill is essential for music students who want to learn to play music genres such as blues, country, folk, hip, jazz, pop, soul, and gospel music.  Instruments such as piano and guitar are commonly used as the musical backbone of these styles because they can sound more than one note at a time. Though sight-reading written notation is an important skill to acquire for any instrument, it is not required for reading chord charts.  This skill doesn’t usually take long to learn and gives the budding musician the satisfaction of producing music that is pleasing to the ear within weeks versus the years that it takes to learn to sight-read proficiently.