Farewell Spring

The end of spring brings the close to another year of great classes. My Orff students continued to grow and develop their musical skills, amazing both me and themselves (you can see some of their work in the videos on this site).  Our group classes for younger children were a delight. I’m truly fortunate to have so many enthusiastic families making music with us, and I’ll miss you all over the summer break!

This year’s spring recital marked our 10th anniversary. We celebrated with great snacks, some very old student pictures, and (as always) our student’s wonderful performances. I’d like to congratulate all my students for their hard work, and give special recognition to those who took exams this year and those who attended the Davenport Festival. It’s been an honour to accompany each one of you on your musical journeys.

Two Videos of What We Do in Orff Class

In Piano Orff Experience classes–our group classes for older children–we have a great
time. A large part of the fun is our huge repertoire of music games and activities.
Here are just a couple of examples of what we work on.

In music, a canon is a musical form where a melody (or an imitation of a melody) is
overlapped over itself at different times. In Orff, we play a three-part movement canon game, where children pair up and perform different actions in time to the music. It’s good practice for playing or singing in any music ensemble, because each player needs to focus on their part while other parts are being played. It takes a surprising amount of concentration, but I think our students did great!

In our younger Orff classes, children have free reign to improvise in time to the music
to a song we’ve learned, in a key we’ve chosen. In our more advanced Orff classes, we
take a song we know and apply different techniques, including imitating a motif and
part-playing. This video shows a clip of a younger class improvising and an older Orff
class planning and rehearsing their instrumentation of a song.

Questions about our Orff classes? Email us at faria@sugarbeat.ca.

It’s a Wrap!

Sugar Beat has had another wonderful year with music and children both new and familiar. We relaunched our infant classes which were very successful, and fun for all involved. For the families who enrolled, thank you so much for making this precious class such a positive first experience for our little babies! My little Aisha has really been missing these classes over the summer.

The Orff classes again were full throughout the year. We did a simple version of Street Song this year, as well as a scattering of material from other cultures. The children had lots to show me–I even learned a new song from a student which was then performed on our own composed instrumental background! It is so nice for me to see the span of what the children can accomplish at each stage, from beginner to advanced. I am again so grateful for the participation from such musical families and children. Together we learned so much and had a great time doing it.

And so as to not leave out my beloved piano students, I must also mention that our two recitals were great fun. Kiwanis festival students did me proud, with several students making placements in the top 3 of their classes. Many students did exams this year also, some for the very first time. All passed with a minimum mark in the honours category, all the way up to first class honours with distinction. When I said “I am so proud of my students” at the end of this years spring recital, I truly meant it. This has been a wildly rewarding year. Thank you all for your hard work and dedication!

Have a great, relaxing remainder of summer and hope to see you in the fall. In the meantime, enjoy this clip of Keira rounding out our spring recital.

The New York Times on the Benefit of Music Education

Two recent articles in the New York Times highlight the remarkable benefits of musical training.

The first, “Is Music the Key to Success?” (full article here), describes the sometimes surprising correlations between music education and outsized success in other, seemingly unrelated fields. Although the examples are anecdotal (who knew Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, was also a professional clarinet and saxophone player?), it’s fascinating to find that so many musically trained people credit the enriching effects of their own music educations, claiming that it has sharpened their “collaboration, creativity, discipline and capacity to reconcile conflicting ideas.”

A second piece, titled “Long-Term Benefits of Music Lessons” (article here), picks up on a recent studies that show the neurological benefits of childhood music lessons. Neuroscientist and study author Nina Kraus gives us this winning quote: “Our general thinking about music education is that it is for our children,” she said. “But in fact we are setting up our children for healthy aging based on what we are able to provide them with now.”

Promotion for New Students

This is my 13th year of teaching group music classes in Bloor West, and my 10th year of teaching under the Sugar Beat name! Over the years, I’ve seen many students grow, change, and develop their love of music (and some have even found their way into my piano studio). But it’s time once again to welcome new faces, which is why I’m happy to offer a first-session discount for students who’ve never taken a Sugar Beat class before.

Simply add the promotion code FALL-2013-SBM4C next to the “Have you attended Sugar Beat classes in the past?” question in the registration form  (available in Microsoft Word format or Acrobat PDF format), and deduct $15 from the class fee. This offer applies to group music classes and Piano Orff Experience classes.

I look forward to meeting you in September!

Welcome Baby Aisha!

Baby AishaSugar Beat welcomes its newest member, baby Aisha Sky MacDonald, born on May 9, 2013 weighing 7 pounds 8 ounces. Her older sisters, Maya and Brenna, are thrilled as are we.

Aisha is thriving and is eager to join her music friends in our infant music class starting this Fall on Thursday mornings. Only 7 weeks old and she is already enjoying when I practice my material on her. Do you have a new baby ready for music classes in the Fall? Email me at faria@sugarbeat.ca with your questions!

COVID-19 Update: Piano Orff classes will not resume in 2020. Piano teaching continues via Zoom and will begin in-person in September for small numbers of students. Read our full update.