Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Teaching Lesson #1 - Discover, Learn and Play!

We've been using the Kore Series with just about every student on campus at DSM for a few years now and since the new version is starting to take off with enthusiasts and teachers around the world, I thought it was time to document how our team presents the software to our students beginning with Lesson 1.

During the enrollment process each family learns that the Kore Series will be the main curriculum used in our sessions. Parents and students are excited to learn that musical concepts are the main focus of lessons (rather than 'songs') and that the material is available online.

Step 1 - Discover
At their first session, students are presented with a personalized binder containing lesson material, the 9 songs and a password to access the software at home.  Depending on the age and previous experience of each student (we have 4  to 78 year-olds playing at all levels) we'll generally start by reading through the concepts introduced in Step 1.  They are; notes, rests and the musical staff.  

Step 2 - Learn
Many students are ready to begin taking the quizzes after spending a few moments going through the lesson material.  The software allows you to easily toggle back and forth to review and search for answers. We recommend that students be able to answer the majority of quiz questions correctly to best be prepared for the next step. There are 30 questions in each of the 3 levels of quizzes. We encourage students to re-read the lesson material and take the quizzes at home and make both activities a part if their practice routine.

Step 3 - Play
When a student is very young or has had absolutely no experience on their instrument, it may take several sessions until they are actually ready to perform the songs or exercises.   Generally, students are ready to begin applying the lesson concepts during their first or second session.

There are 5 notes presented in Lesson 1 and our Support Centers include videos to help remind students how to assemble, hold, and make a sound on their instrument. The exercises can be used as a stepping stone to playing the songs, and 3 levels of play alongs provide ample  performance options. A Note Finder is also available for every instrument and many students have found it to be quite useful in the first few weeks of sessions.

We sometimes supplement our curriculum with selected pieces from standard method books and the sequential nature of our program allows both teachers and students to accurately choose the appropriate level of material. It may take from 1 to several weeks or more to complete a lesson, again, depending on the experience, age and determination of the student.  Many students can begin discovering and learning concepts in the next lesson while they continue to complete and play songs from their current lesson. 

Click here to learn more about's Kore Series.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Student Spotlight - Mia Ford

Mia Ford has been a student at The Dallas School of Music since 2004, that is, when her busy schedule isn't taking her away to Hollywood, Strasbourg, or any number of other fabulous locales.

The Ford's are a musical family. Mia began her musical training on piano but has more recently taken up the acoustic guitar. Mom Aileen is a noted jazz singer who studied at the University of North Texas, Mia's brother Austin plays cello and bass guitar, sister Madison (also an actress!) has played drums and electric bass and father Mike (who is fortunately a pilot!) has been learning guitar for a few years. 

Mia's busy travel and work schedule doesn't hinder her interest in learning music.  "Mia always has a smile and is completely focused on the task a hand during our sessions" says Eugene Cantera her teacher,  "and she's made great progress on guitar in just a short amount of time." 

"I'm hoping in the future that I might be both a successful actress and musician.  But in the mean time, it's just fun!"

Mia just finished a graduate film for Matthew Mercer at USC called "Your Wedding" and also starred as Maxine in "Wonderful World" with Matthew Broderick.  "That was a blast and it was filmed in Shreveport, Louisiana so it was closer to home than usual."

"I just got back from a Director's Session for a film with Robert Duvall called '7 Days in Utopia' and I think my chances are pretty good!"

Mia can be seen starring in her first feature-length film, a thriller titled Within where she plays Rachael, a "sweet girl with a troubled soul caused by a unique gift."   The movie will be shown on the Lifetime Channel July 31 at 8PM CT .  It will air again on the same station August 15th and August 20th.

Congratulations to Mia and the entire Ford family....and don't forget us little people!