February Announcements


February Announcements

Greetings Parents and Students! Please read all of this important information.

1) Africa Ensemble

Here is some more information about the rehearsals and performances regarding the upcoming group ensemble (see the January announcements for more information). If your child is interested and can definitely be involved, please fill out the form below and submit it. If you are interested but unsure if your child can be involved, please be sure to contact me and let me know.

Africa Ensemble Information

To be a part of the Africa Ensemble for the June recitals, you MUST be available for the following dates for rehearsals and performances:

REHEARSAL: Saturday, June 3rd – any time between 2pm and 8pm

REHEARSAL: Friday, June 9th – any time between 6pm and 8pm

PERFORMANCE: Saturday, June 10th – 4pm

PERFORMANCE: Sunday, June 11th – 4pm

These two main rehearsals will focus mainly on the entire ensemble rehearsing together. You may not be needed for the entire time, but we won’t really know what the schedule will be like until we’re closer to those dates and have an idea of how everyone is doing.

It’s also important that you are prepared to come to possible secondary rehearsals just for your section (just singers, or just percussion, etc). They may not be necessary but we won’t really know until we’re closer to June. They would occur sometime after June 3rd and before the 9th.

2) Following the Blog

In the top right section of this page, you will see an option to follow this blog. In following the blog, you will be automatically informed any time there is a new post.

3) Auto Billing

If your child takes home lessons, you may sign up for auto billing instead of paying by check. To set up auto billing for your account, please call or stop by the studio.

4) Online Student Assignments

MusicMadness247 now has a page for online versions of student’s assignments. Students can reach them by going to the blog and clicking on “Assignments” in the menu. From there they can click on their name and find everything they worked on in class. If you or your child is interested in this, please let me know and we’ll set it up in class.

5) Facebook Live Performances

The first Facebook Live performance will be on Saturday, February 18th at 1pm. If your child is interested in performing, please contact me ASAP. If your child is not involved please watch us live on the By Ear Musician Facebook page!

6) Group Class Update

We need three more students to start a class for 6-9 year olds. The class will be taking place on Wednesdays from 4-5pm. Please see the Post on group classes for more information here.

Have a great month!


Africa Ensemble Form


Group Classes Information



Starting in February, TBEM will be offering four group classes.

For a class to start, we need a minimum of 5 committed students for that class.

Each class will be taught for 1 hour per week at the studio for approximately a  five month (February-June), and the tuition will be approximately $170 for those five months (about $8.50 a class) for current students taking private lessons and $240 for students not additionally taking private lessons (about $12 a class). The actual tuition amount will vary depending on the start date of the class. The groups will be performing in the June 2017 recitals. The class times currently available will be on Wednesday afternoons and evenings.

*UPDATE* Currently filling a class for 6-9yr olds on Wednesday at 4pm.

Other class days and times may open up depending on interest of students and the availability of the teachers.

Each class will be mixed-instrument. That means we could have a group with two guitars, a piano, and two singers. Or, we could have a drummer, three guitarists, and a violinist. Songs will be arranged to fit that particular ensemble.

No experience is required.

Contact Danielle or Claire for more information.



Lead Sheet Major Chord Chart


Here is a chart of all 12 major chords and their inversions. You can download the pdf here: Basic Lead Sheet Major Chords and Inversions

Remember, the three notes in the chord are all played at the same time, and the first note in the chord is the starting note. It will be the lowest note you are playing in the chord, so if you’re using your Right Hand, your thumb will be playing it, and if you’re using your Left Hand, your pinky will be playing it.

You’ll notice that the blue chords are all connected by brackets. That is because they are the two enharmonic versions of the same chord – in other words, it’s the exact same chord but using flats instead of sharps.

You may also notice that some notes have an x next to them instead of a #.

X is the symbol we use for a double sharp.

A double sharp means we sharp the note twice by going up two half steps instead of one – so we’re really going up a whole step.

For example, if you see Fx, that means you’re actually going to play a G note 🙂

Cx = D

Fx = G

You can use this chart whenever you’re not remembering a chord in a song that we’re working on in class. 🙂

Instruments of the Orchestra

This is a great video that introduces you to the different instruments of the orchestra and what they sound like. Watch the video and fill in the worksheet at the bottom for 20 points! Click “next” to go to each section.

Orchestra and Band instruments are grouped into what is called Instrument Families:

– Brass
– Woodwind
– Percussion
– Strings
– Keyboards

We’ll have more on this soon.

In this video they call them sections because in the orchestra, each family has its’ own section on the stage.

Have a great day! 🙂

Intro to Music Theory, Part 1: Chromatic Scale, Half Steps, and Whole Steps

Good afternoon! This is the first video in a series that is designed to help my students better understand how the music they play works. It will also help with ear training and sight reading. Here are the main vocabulary words to keep track of:

Chromatic Scale – the series of all the notes, moving up or down by half steps

Half Step – moving from one note to the note right next to it

Whole Step – moving from a note to another note, but skipping just one note in the middle

*Just as a disclaimer, I don’t have super duper recording or video software, but this does get the job done!

After watching this video, take a look at the chart below that is appropriate for your instrument. For guitar and violin, the notes move up in pitch as you move down the fingerboard. Chromatic Scale

Fret Chart for Guitar - Right HandedBeginning Violin Fingerboard Chart


Here is a worksheet to help you recognize whole steps and half steps by sight and by ear. Make sure to hit play on the videos.

Then you can head over to the post on Melodic Direction to learn about how the movements from one note to the other are categorized and what they sound like.

Learning about Dynamics with Arabesque



Today we’re going to talk about Dynamics. In music, dynamics has to do with how loud or how soft you are playing. The main terms I want you to remember are piano, forte, crescendo, and decrescendo.

Instead of just reading a bunch of words about it, however, here are some amusing videos that help get the point across:

Forte and Piano

Crescendo and Decrescendo

There are actually a lot more than just these four terms though! Here is a chart of some of them.
Dynamic Markings

I thought this one was interesting because it helps give an understandable idea of what the sound difference is supposed to be:

Dynamic's Note Velocity

For even more information, you can check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamics_%28music%29

And that’s about it! Go back to the recording of Arabesque above and listen for the different dynamics when the markings appear.

Have a great day!

Danielle 🙂



Quote of the Week

I’ve been thinking about this concept today. Remember that music is important firstly because of how it affects you and me! Playing an instrument wouldn’t be meaningful if we weren’t touched by the music that we hear. Different types of music can cause a world of different emotions. Isn’t that amazing when you think about it? It’s not about being perfect – we’d just have computers do all the music making if it was. 😛 Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy what music you listen to and are learning to play!

🙂 Danielle

PS The photo you see on the right sidebar is from my instagram!