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Brent M. Gault On Listen Up! Fostering Musicianship Through Active Listening
By West Music Company
7/8/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Author Brent M. Gault explains the concepts behind his book Listen Up! Fostering Musicianship Through Active Listening

All individuals respond to music through listening. Since music listening is such a universal part of life, and the skills fostered through critical listening to music can transfer to many other areas, making listening an area of focus in a music curriculum is logical.
In elementary general music settings, children learn actively through direct experience with given concepts. As a result, it makes sense to approach listening instruction actively by using other musical behaviors (singing, moving, chanting, creating) and aural, visual, and kinesthetic learning modes as a way to develop a deeper connection with musical material while fostering musical skills and introducing or reinforcing musical concepts.

Listen Up! provides sample experiences that utilize music excerpts as a means of not only providing an opportunity for children to listen and experience given pieces of music, but to also foster musical skills and reinforce given musical concepts (rhythm, melody, form) that are prominent in the chosen selections. In addition to providing an overview of the planning process for developing these types of lessons and providing sample experiences for 23 specific pieces, a companion website includes Power Point presentations to accompany each experience that provide visual material students can view and respond to as they listen. The site also includes sample videos demonstrating some of the listen experiences and a link to a Spotify playlist that includes musical recordings.

The listening lessons in this book developed through my own exploration of active ways to introduce wonderful music to children. I have spent the last 20 years developing these ideas and utilizing them with children and teachers. Having the opportunity to put these together in one collection is extremely exciting, and I hope the book serves not only as a resource for existing lessons, but can also provide ideas that can be applied to other pieces of music.

-Brent Gault



Tags: brent gault, listen up, teaching, listening, book, lessons, author
Categories: Kids & Movement, Music, Books & Resources
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Extraordinary Associate of the Month June 2016: Daniel Richmond
By West Music Company
7/6/2016 8:00:00 AM  

At West Music Quad Cites, we have affectionately called him “Dan the Man” since he joined the West Music family right before Christmas 2015. In just six short months, Daniel Richmond has quickly become an integral and influential member of our staff and our entire company. Daniel has made the West Music experience extraordinary for many customers and with the school year fast approaching, we know he’s just getting started!

Additionally, Daniel has identified opportunities with key centers of influence throughout the Quad Cities, as well as an opportunity for clarinet step-up sales. His extensive musical knowledge and outstanding musicianship is a key factor to his success - you should hear him play the piano!

Cathy Miller had this to say about Daniel as well: “Daniel’s knowledge of the clarinet and motivation to translate his knowledge into sales at West Music is nothing short of inspiring! He clearly cares deeply about serving the clarinet community to the best of his ability. It’s been such a pleasure to work with Daniel as he explores the possibilities for growth in this area!”

Additionally, Daniel leads by example. His professionalism and integrity are evident and influential by all who work with him. It’s a joy to watch him work with our customers. He is excellent at qualifying and identifying discerning needs, and when it comes to beginners starting their new instrument, Daniel’s enthusiasm for making music is particularly contagious with those students!

Congratulations, Daniel! Keep up the fantastic work and thank you for all you do!

As told by Patrick Downing,
West Music Quad Cities Store Manager



Tags: quad cities, Daniel Richmond,
Categories: Extraordinary Associate of the Month
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Coralville July 2016 Musician of the Month: Ella Anneling
By West Music Company
7/6/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Ella has studied violin with Gayla Drake for 3 years.  She was nominated as the Musician of the Month because of her hard work and accomplishments this year.   She recently focused on preparing for an audition for her school talent show, was selected to perform and played the piece perfectly!

Ella is 10 years old and will be in the 5th grade next year at Coralville Central elementary school.   In addition to the violin, she plays soccer and enjoys writing.   She also excels at math and scored very high on her advanced placement tests this spring. 

Ella’s older brother, Erik, also studied violin with Gayla Drake.  Gayla has this to say about working with Ella: “I love working with Ella, she's smart and creative, and has such interesting taste in music! She once commented that she was impressed by the ability to create a piece of music from an idea or emotion. Being a composer, that got me excited, because that's where music composition starts. I can't wait to see what Ella does with music during the remainder of her school years and beyond.” 

Congratulations, Ella!



Tags: Coralville, violin, gayla drake
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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Cedar Rapids July 2016 Musician of the Month: Sarah King
By West Music Company
7/6/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Sarah King is an alto saxophone student of Laura Phillips. She has been studying with Laura for 1 year. She attends Xavier High School and is in the 11th grade.

Laura nominated Sarah because she is an outstanding, hardworking saxophonist. Her honors include: solo saxophone in her school’s jazz band which was a wild card competitor at State Jazz, her ensemble’s Division 1 rating at state solo/ensemble, and selection as drum major for next year’s marching band!  She has graduated to advanced level method books and knows ALL her scales.

Some of her goals are to lead by her own example of excellent performance skills, and her relevant interactive and peer leadership skills.

Sarah loves music because she likes how it feels when she can lose herself in playing music. She is in the concert band, jazz band, and pit orchestra at Xavier. She also participates in track. Her musical goal is to be better in music than she is now. Her advice to other musicians is, “Don’t quit band!”

In her free time Sarah enjoys working out and the music of Beethoven, Bruno Mars, pop and classical music. You also might be surprised to learn that Sarah was born in Florida!

Congratulations, Sarah!



Tags: alto saxophone, lessons, student, laura phillips
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Marion
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Decorah July 2016 Musician of the Month: Katrina Mikhailova
By West Music Company
7/6/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Katrina just finished her sophomore year of high school and has been taking violin lessons from Mykal Finch for nine months. Katrina's teacher has high praise for her:
"Katrina is one of the kindest and hardest working people I know. She is so passionate about her music and is always eager to learn and improve. She has made great strides in her playing and shows a lot of musical promise. It is a joy and a privilege to work with such a great student!"

Katrina is a very active individual, participating in volleyball, softball, art club as well as keeping up with her schoolwork. When she is not practicing her violin, Katrina also enjoys drawing, watercoloring, reading, photography, traveling, and listening to music. Her passion for all she loves to do really shines through!

Katrina loves music, especially electronic and dance. She has aspirations of expanding her musical abilities and someday learning to also play the piano, guitar, and drums. Katrina loves to make music so much because "of how music can bring a smile to peoples' faces and make their hearts flutter and give them goosebumps when they really like a song." Katrina wants other musicians and aspiring musicians to know that "it's never too late to learn something new. You can accomplish even the hardest of things so long as you want to."

Way to go, Katrina!



Tags: violin, student, lessons, Mykal Finch
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Decorah
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Coralville July 2016 Teacher Feature: Jessica Saunders
By West Music Company
7/6/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Jessica has been performing since she was seven and teaching privately since 2007. Growing up, she competed in the Bill Riley Talent Search at the Iowa State Fair for fifteen years. She was a Sprout Champion in 1999 and a Senior Finalist in 2007. She loves the competition because it gives youth all over the state the opportunity to perform and practice their craft. Saunders and her students have appeared in multiple productions with City Circle Community Theatre, Young Footlighters, Iowa City Community Theatre and other groups.  In addition to private lessons instruction and community performance, she works as an adjunct vocal music professor at Waldorf College.

Jessica is finishing work on her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance at the University of Iowa. She currently holds her Master’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa, and her Bachelor’s degree from Wartburg College.

Jessica teaches both classical voice and musical theater style to students of varying skill levels from sages 6 to adult. She believes in building confidence in her students and strives to work with each student to explore their individual skills and talents.

Click here to get 50% off lesson registration with Jessica Saunders through July!




Tags: jessica saunders, vocal, teacher, instructor, lessons
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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Cedar Rapids July 2016 Teacher Feature: Ryan Swedean
By West Music Company
7/6/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Ryan Swedean is a low brass instructor here at West Music Cedar Rapidsa. He received his Bachelor of Music in trombone performance from the University of South Dakota. He has done graduate work in trombone performance at North Dakota State University and has his Masters in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. Ryan has taught lessons or band in a large setting in the states of Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota and Iowa.

Ryan started in 4th grade on trumpet and shortly thereafter switched to euphonium. In high school he switched to tuba which he still plays in the Eastern Iowa Brass Band. In college he switched to playing trombone. He substitute teaches in various school districts around Iowa City and Cedar Rapids.

Ryan has just recently moved to Cedar Rapids so does not have a lot of performances here yet but he does play with the Eastern Iowa Brass Band. He has played with The Beach Boys, Train and for a presidential inauguration. In his spare time he likes to watch Netflix with his wife and plays with his dog.

His favorite thing about teaching is seeing a student’s face when they make the real sound of their instrument. One of his most interesting experiences includes teaching in one of the poorest counties in the country.

Click here to get 50% off lesson registration with Ryan Swedean through July!




Tags: ruan swedean, low brass, teacher, instructor, lessons, marion, cedar rapids, trumpet
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Marion
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Quad Cities July 2016 Teacher Feature: Melinda Leasman
By West Music Company
7/6/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Melinda Leasman has been teaching piano and violin since 2010. In 2011 she began teaching at QC Rock Academy and in 2012, she received her BA in music from St. Ambrose and began teaching here at West Music Quad Cities. She started playing piano when she was 8, and when she was 10, she started violin. She is currently working as a Dental Assistant for MyoTech Dental. She also is playing keys in a band called Tambourine. 

When asked about her hobbies and interests, she responded “Raising my beautiful daughter Alita. Spending as much time outside as possible: Hiking, kayaking, long walks on the... Wait never mind I live in Iowa. “ 

She is very excited about the opportunity to see Paul McCartney live in August and hopes it will be as inspirational as seeing Aretha Franklin wailing it out on stage in Sioux City in 2015. Melinda is quirky, outgoing and very fun.  She loves teaching and works hard to make her student love what they do. She loves that moment when the student’s eyes light up and they really grasp a new concept or technique for the first time and how they really fall in love with their instrument as they progress and understand their instrument.

You can find Melinda on Facebook at Facebook.com/leasmanmusic. 



Tags: melinda leasman, piano, violin, teacher, instructor, lessons
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Quad Cities
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