Opus | April 2020

April 2020 Opus

In This Issue

News at CCM

A Plan for All Seasons, One student's journey to play the twelve movements of The Seasons

Distance Learning, Making Music Accessible to All

Become a Music Promoter!

Effective Practice of Musical Instruments

Music as medicine? From ScienceDaily

News at CCM

Music Apps, what’s your favorite?

Favorite Apps

With all the games, social media, and other distractions filling both yours and your kid’s favorite digital devices, isn’t it nice to know that there are a few apps that might be helpful in your musical studies?  And with the onset of Distance Learning, the apps are even more important than ever.

Music Theory/Note Identification

We asked our faculty for some recommendations, and here are a few of their favorites.  Chorus director; Greta Feeney and has several suggestions that she is currently using with her students.  Each week during the Concord Conservatory Girl’s Chorus rehearsals, they use our schools’ fleet of iPads loaded with the apps.  For weekly music theory, she prefers Tenuto, which is based on the popular MusicTheory.net website.  Tenuto provides exercises related to note identification, chord building, key signature identification, and interval identification.  It also includes several aural training activities to help users learn to identify intervals, scales, and chords by sound.  The various modes allow you to identify chords on a keyboard or the frets of a guitar.  This app is not free, but you can also spend hours using it offline.

Tuner and Metronome

A tuner and metronome are two of the essential tools in any musician’s digital quiver.  There are lots of tuner and metronome apps—some free (these often have ads sprinkled throughout the application) and others costing a few dollars. The most popular tuning application is Cleartune, which has an easy-to-use interface yet is versatile enough for the most demanding professional musician. On the metronome side, Pro Metronome may be the most highly rated music application out there. It’s both intuitive and feature-rich.

The Amazing Slow-Downer

This aptly named piece of software lets you slow down music (down to 20% of the original speed) and play it back without losing the pitch or rhythm of the original. You can set repeating loops, change the key of music, and even have the playback match your mistuned instrument—a very cool piece of software that works on PCs, Macs, and most mobile devices. Our Executive Director, Kate Yoder, uses this app daily while practicing her mandolin.

forScore is a great way not to have to carry your music around anymore using this sheet music reader.  Looking for new music to play with friends, you can have a pdf of the music in seconds!

Here’s a list of all of the music apps that CCM uses on our iPads, many are free, a couple are not but are worth the investment.

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Robert Goodnow


A Plan for All Seasons: One student's journey to play the twelve movements of The Seasons

Four and a half years ago, CCM student Robert "Rob" Goodnow decided that he wanted to learn the entirety of "The Seasons" by Tchaikovsky and perform it for an audience. "The Seasons" is a collection of twelve distinct piano movements, each paying homage to one of the twelve months of the year. Learning all of the "months" can be an intimidating goal; it requires studying a large volume of music and also demands a fair amount of technical skill. Rob said that learning this piece was like when he trained for his first marathon. There was a lot of planning and many hours of practice to reach a very far off goal. For Rob, it has always been about the journey, not just making it to the end. Despite the challenges this past year, Goodnow's efforts came to fruition as he finally was able to perform the entire cycle of "The Seasons" for an audience.

Goodnow first started learning to play the clarinet and then the piano in fifth and sixth grade. In high school, he played in the school band and took some piano lessons, but would not consider his musical studies "intensive". In a story familiar to many adults, Goodnow put a hold on his piano instruction when he graduated high school. Many years later, Goodnow jumped back into the musical community and enrolled in piano lessons at CCM with piano faculty Yoko Hagino. He has now been taking lessons for the past five years.

When Goodnow first conceived of his plan to learn "The Seasons", he not only wanted to perform the piece but also to "bring the music to the advanced listener using a performance booklet." He intended not just to perform, but to create a listening experience where he would guide listeners through all the complex emotions and ideas behind the notes. Goodnow envisioned himself as a musical tour guide, not unlike what one might experience in a museum. He guides the audience so that even those untrained in classical music can enjoy the intricacies of the performed art.

Goodnow feels he has learned a lot through his musical journey, especially in terms of where technical and performance skills intersect. "I see how important it is to prepare to the highest technical level to focus on interpretation and showmanship during a performance," says Goodnow. He explains that sometimes when he is nervous about a performance, he would mess up little things that he thought he knew well. Goodnow learned that "it is important to anticipate mistakes and [know] how to recover from them during the "drama" of the performance."

Goodnow has played "The Seasons" at several venues and finds that while each audience offers a new experience, they each have brought a high level of energy. "Many people were curious about the music I was playing but didn't have detailed knowledge, so they responded to my guidance and commentary about 'The Seasons,'" says Goodnow. He intends to continue perfecting his performance of "The Seasons" and play it several more times but then wants to find another cycle of music to learn. As Goodnow looks for new music with which to continue his journey, he is determined to "find something that is approachable and enjoyable for the average piano listener.  Sometimes, the most famous piano music of any difficulty is a challenge not only for the player but for the listener".

Enjoy his performances!

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Distance Learning

Distance Learning, Making Music Accessible to All

Breaking news! Distance Learning lessons provide great benefits to students and their families. The payback from learning music continues. The well-known list of benefits of learning music, whether lessons are provided in-person or online, is long. Music improves cognitive skills, advances math achievement and boosts English language skills, helps with self-confidence, reduces stress, and on and on.

CCM clarinet student

Our creative and resilient faculty and students continue with their lessons. They are learning new technology, how to be buoyant and keep to a schedule despite not in a school setting, and especially, how to focus when home distractions occur all around them.

Music accomplishes remarkable things for our students so here's a shout-out to our parents who keep our students practicing and playing, thank you.

This time at home provides the ideal opportunity for you to pick up your instrument. There's no better way to show your child how to practice and learn an instrument than doing it yourself. Use your time at home to reignite your musical passion!

CCM is accepting new students for private instruction using our Distance Learning Program. Experience the dynamic Distance Learning Program firsthand.

You don't have to wait until CCM returns to 1317 Main Street. Turn to music to boost your creativity, improve your cognitive skills, and soothe your nerves. Inquire about music lessons today. We'll be sure to get back to you right away.

When the school discontinues Distance Learning, you'll continue your lessons at our building for the remaining weeks of the semester. 

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Distance Learning at CCM


Become a Music Promoter!

Music Promoters are those dependable, steady, and special friends who provide continuous support to CCM throughout the year. 

You can become a Music Promoter for as little as $5 a month – about the price of a cup of coffee for two. Your generous gift of $10 or $20 monthly assures our students that they are valued members of our community!

Thank you for believing in the importance of music and for giving so generously. Your support is connecting people and building more positive community ties for us all. Your monthly gift helps to provide high-quality music education, performance opportunities, and free concerts to thousands of students and patrons in Concord and surrounding communities. 

It’s easy to do. Choose your CCM Music Promoter Level by selecting your monthly giving amount.

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Effective Practice of Musical Instruments

Effective Practice of Musical Instruments

"Practice, Practice Practice! But it's not only the time we spend practicing that makes us good at playing our instrument, but it's also the "how" we practice that matters!

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Music as Medicine

Music as medicine? From ScienceDaily

Interesting read published on March 18, 2020: Music as medicine? 30 minutes a day shows benefits after heart attack (Source American College of Cardiology)

"Daily music sessions found to reduce anxiety, pain and subsequent heart problems."

Summary: Listening to music can be enjoyable, but is it also good for your heart? Patients who suffered episodes of chest pain soon after a heart attack, known as early post-infarction angina, had significantly lower levels of anxiety and pain if they listened to music for 30 minutes a day, according to a new study.

"...music therapy was found to be more effective than standard treatment alone in terms of reducing anxiety, pain sensation and pain distress."

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