Happy New Year!
I hope your holidays were wonderful! We loved the time off but are so glad to be back teaching music lessons. Looking back on last year, wasn’t 2016…unusual? I mean, in the world, yes, very. But also in popular music:

  • The Spice Girls reformed.
  • The Eagles are no more.
  • The Philadelphia Orchestra walked out on opening night.
  • Prince, my favorite pop musician, died (RIP, Prince! I’ll be your drummer in the afterworld! Nothing compares 2 U!) along with David Bowie and Merle Haggard, two more giants in the music world.
  • Steven Tyler topped the Country Music Charts (???)
  • Dolly Parton had her largest US tour in 25 years, spreading much needed sunshine and Dolly-ness.

So, yes, lots of unexpected stuff. Spotify made a hilarious ad campaign out of all this craziness and what people listened to in 2016, aptly titled, “Thanks 2016, It’s Been Weird.” May these hilarious ads brighten your day:
“Dear person who played ‘Sorry’ 42 times on Valentine’s Day, what did you do?”
“Dear person in the Theater District who listened to the Hamilton soundtrack 5376 times this year. Can you get us tickets?”
“Dear person in LA who listened to the ‘Forever Alone’ playlist for 4 hours on Valentine’s Day, you OK?”
“To the 1,235 guys who loved the “Girls’ Night” playlist this year, we love you too.”

Hope you guys have had a great start to 2017! Play on!
Laura Lee Crandall – owner, KC Rock Band & Guitar School of Music

Wizards in Winter Update – Matt Crandall
Matt wrote in our November newsletter about preparing for a solo with his army band. Here’s his update on how the concert went!
It came… and it went!  I had my guitar feature performance with the 312th Army Band in December which overall went OK. The caveat here is that a performer can be their worst critic and that may be the case with this performance of Wizards in Winter.  My parents came (thanks mom and dad) and Laura Lee was there and they all liked how the piece sounded.  I was concerned I hadn’t done as well as I would have liked, but Laura Lee has heard me play the same song, the same riff for six months, so she knows how it’s supposed to sound!  I know I improved a TON over the last 6 months, thanks to having guitar lessons (Mike English), fixing some techniques, and practicing for hours and hours so that is a win in itself.  As for the performance, I think the audience enjoyed it so we can call it a win.

Practice Tip of the Month

– Minute Drills –
If you are one of Laura Lee’s students, you probably got quite a list of “minute drills” to do over the holiday break.  If not, try out this practice method to see if you like it!

  • Make a list of all the tasks you need to perform.  Break longer tasks, like practicing a full song, into smaller ones—like “practice transition from chorus to verse…”
  • Set a timer for one minute and do the first task over and over for the full minute.
  • When the minute is up, reset the timer and go on to the next task.
  • When you’ve done all your tasks, you’re done practicing!
  • Repeat the next day.
This method is good for keeping focused, not getting frustrated at a difficult part, and breaking practice into manageable chunks.   Consistent, regular practice is much more beneficial that trying to cram it all in one long practice session.  Give it a try!  And if one minute isn’t enough, up it to two or three, by all means!
Welcome 2017! Let’s look at the music news of 2016…