music lessons

  • Music Teacher Gifts and Violettes by Becky announce Youth Music Composition Tie Winners 2019

    We are proud to present our Youth Music Composition Competition students.

    Remember to get your spring Music Teacher Gifts from

    Presenting 1st Place Tie Winners:

    Richard Ren, 15, with Piano entry from New York

    Music gifts Richard Ren, Piano Composer, 1st Place winner

    Richard loves to compose music because it allows him to express himself and be creative. He has been composing since he was nine years old, and since then, he has composed multiple solo, chamber, and orchestra pieces and has won the Music Teachers National Association award, a New York State School Music Association honorable mention, and 3rd place in the 2019 Golden Key International Piano Composition Competition. His pieces have been played by his school’s orchestra, in local music festivals, in a Long Island Composer’s Alliance concert, and will also be played at the Ehrbar Hall of Vienna during the summer of 2019. He loves to play piano and guitar in his free time and also has an interest in science, technology, politics, and animation.

    About his work, he writes,

    "Usually, my composition process begins when I sit at the piano and start having fun improvising various ideas, melodies, and harmonies. I was able to combine a lot of the ideas that I improvised into one beautiful, flowing piece. The various ideas and motifs in the song seemed to tell stories of various adventures and experiences. These adventures, connected together with legato phrases in a smooth, romantic, soft style, seemed to tell a long, winding story about a river’s journey, so I called it “The River’s Memoir.

    "The River's Memoir" by Richard Wren

    Music Teacher Gifts can include Music from our sponsors, Performers Music, and Sheet Music Plus or bags, scarves, card sets, prints from or


    Presenting 1st Place Winner: Emily Singleton, 16, String Quartet from Florida

    music teacher gifts Emily Emily Singleton Composer ,1st Place Winner

    Emily Singleton is a composer and violist from Gainseville, Florida. In 2016 she made her debut as a composer with the premiere of a trio for violin, viola, and piano, at University of Florida. Since then she has had her work featured by Interlochen Center for the Arts’ World Youth Wind Symphony and Advanced String Quartet Program, Gainesville Civic Chorus, Alachua County Youth Orchestra (ACYO), MATA, and Face the Music. She is currently principal violist in the ACYO and was selected as a member of the 2018 National Association for Music Educators All-National Honors Ensemble.

    Singleton has been awarded titles from National Federation of Music Clubs, Florida Federation of Music Clubs, Florida State Music Teachers Association (FSMTA), Sacred Music Florida, Technology In Music Education Foundation, Music Teachers National Association, and MATA. Among these titles includes winner of the FSMTA's 2018 Intermediate Strings Concerto Competition. Her primary instructors include Paul Richards, Stephen Fine, Jorge Peña, and Benjamin Reiter.

    Singleton is actively involved within her community presenting at local events, health care facilities, retirement homes, hotels, and schools. These efforts have been awarded by organizations such as the FSMTA, which presented their community service award for 9th graders to her in spring of 2018. She aspires to make a career in teaching, performing, and composing, and hopes to encourage audiences to appreciate and supprt living artists.

    Her program notes for her composition:

    Program Notes
    This work as a whole focuses on specific colors as seen in an
    urban environment, with natural and artificial embodiment of
    color around every corner. Commissioned by MATA,
    premiered by Face The Music at MATA Jr. Festival 2018.
    I. Prussian Blue
    Prussian Blue incorporates tremolo shimmers, sappy glissandi,
    and somewhat blues-style chromaticism to portray the imagery
    of blue within the context of everyday encounters: puddles on
    sidewalks, ice hanging off roofs, paint on buildings, the collage
    of fabric on busy streets, and the sky above.
    II. Carmine Red
    Carmine Red is a fast, lively miniature that captures the character of
    the color red through syncopation, agitated melodies, and breathless
    textures. Red has been historically associated with sacrifice, anger,
    love, danger, and courage, coming together to form a symbol of
    passion. This reflects the dedication of city-dwellers to their work,
    the busy flow of traffic, and urban night-life.
    III. Icterine Yellow
    The color yellow may represent optimism and amusement, betrayal,
    duplicity, and jealousy, or joy, virtue, and nobility. Due to the many
    interpretations of this color's character, Icterine Yellow takes on a
    wandering nature, drifting through the city's many alleyways, dabbling
    in moments of laughter, pranks, and confusion, lost in the city, as it
    seeks to find its place of rest in a role of honor.
    IV. Ochre Orange
    Orange is a color of oddity, celebration, and folly. This final
    movement, Ochre Orange, is a playful miniature that reflects the
    variety of cultures and holidays celebrated in a large urban
    environment and peculiar characteristics that may be imagined in
    the color orange. The mischievous and careless nature captures the
    joy found in this combining of traditions, celebrating the acceptance
    of diversity and providing an exciting close to the work.

    "4 Urban Miniatures" by Emily SingletonKeep Tuned for the next blog.We will present more winners sponsored by our Music Teachers Gifts web site.






  • Current Music Lesson Art Prints and Greeting Cards

    Violettes by Becky Music Lesson Prints and Greeting Cards

    Catalog of Available Music Lesson Prints for Reference

    Contact Becky at

    Because we are having a fundraiser for Knox County Schools Music Department, below is a reference to all our original music lesson art available as Note Cards and 11 by 17 or 16 by 24 prints.  Don't forget we LOVE requests. Don't hesitate to email or call with questions. (

    Before we start, I will show several of our currently popular prints. Please note that what is popular is tied to what audience we are dealing with - general public, music lovers, music genre, students or parents, piano teachers, general music teachers...

    Also note that many musicians, most local, but not all have contributed to this list. Most of contributors listed at end.

    Music Lesson Popular Music Art Prints

    General Instrument Practice Tips

    No. 1: Practice Slowly.

    No. 2: Warm Up with Long Tones.

    No. 3: Practice with the Metronome.

    No. 4: Only Practice on Days that You Eat. (Cat in the Fiddle Print)

    No. 5: Warm Up with Scales and Arpeggios.

    No. 6: Love Your Axe.

    No. 7: Practice Before the Dog Eats Your Music.

    No. 8 Just Do It.

    No. 9:  Play Music You Love   (Used to be No. 10)

    No. 10: Train Your Ear

    1. With Intentional Listening
    2. Mimic (or Copy Cat) what You Hear.
    3. Play It in Different Keys

    No. 11:  Record Yourself.

    No. 12:  Practicing Difficult Passages (when just practicing slowly isn’t enough) – vary the rhythm patterns of the passage.

    No. 13:  Practice Backwards

    For a difficult passage, start with the end of the phrase and add previous note, one at a time.

    No. 14:  Sleep On It.

    No. 15: Listen to Yourself for Tone and Intention

    -Know what makes your tone.

    -Know which notes on your instrument are sharp or flat and how to adjust.

    Perhaps reshape your embouchure, change your wind speed or finger pressure (depending on your instrument); even learn alternate fingerings.

    No. 16:  Mindful repetition is more effective than mindless repetition. Leave a small space between repeated phrases. Set your intention before you play.                                            Submitted by cellist Alicia Randisi-Hooker.

    No. 17: For Flute Players

    Space in the Face     (Attributed to Jill Bartine)

    Don’t be sharp on high notes:

    Aim the airstream to the floor. Drop jaw, open teeth, and open the mouth cavity as much as possible.

    Practice Tip No. 18: Practice BEFORE Performing in Public Places (not While)

    1. Xmas Practice Tip: Hoard Cookies Before Practicing.
    2. Chanukah: Practice Because Your Mother Tells You To, Oy Vey!

    Practice Tip 21: When Practicing a Phrase Repeatedly, slow down enough to play it correctly 5 times in a row before speeding up. (You don't want to learn it wrong.)

    Practice Tip 22: Express Yourself (Wild West)

    Practice Tips: No. 23 “Have Foam with Your Music!” caption from Ian McClure

    Practice Tip No. 24 Resolve Your Blues In the Final Four Bars

    Practice Tip No. 25: Relax – Piano Teachers say “Drop Your Shoulders”, relax arms wrists, fingers. But if thumbs or wrists droop, watch out for alligator bites!

    Other Instruments: Recognize body stress points – shake out muscles when they tense, hold instrument ergonomically; perhaps learn yoga or meditation.

    Practice Tip No. 26: More Cowbell

    Music Lesson No. 27: Practice Makes Permanent, Practice Perfectly

    28: Push Music Phrases Like Spreading Frosting – continuous…

    Music Lesson No. 29 Bone Tone  Tah, Too, Toh, Not Tuh (says 27, change to 29)

    Music Lesson 30 Shape Your Phrases: Interpret Phrases and shape Them.

    (ML 31 Flute angel below in excuses)

    ML 32: Set Practice Time Goals (from Mary Ann Fennel)

    ML 33: Revert to the Masters

    ML 34 (Below in excuses)

     Music Lesson Excuses

    Music Lesson No. 31: Flute Angel, “I Played It Perfectly at Home”.

    ML 34  Excuse No. 12 “My Grandmother Died Dyed.”

    ML 35 Excuse No. 2  “I should have practiced scales!” (from Stacy Nickell)

    ML 36 Excuse No. 11 “My Mother Drained the Bacon on it.” (from Brenda Goslee)

    ML 37 Excuse No. 3: “My Mother Forgot it.”

    ML 38 Excuse No. 4: “I didn’t Practice because my Father was sleeping.”

    ML 39 Excuse No. 5: “I tried to practice. My brother was playing video games.”

    ML 40 Excuse No. 2: “I did practice. I practiced in Virtual Reality”.


    ML 41: Trumpet Lip Slurs: Keep the air constantly flowing. Change speeds, but the flow must never stop. Always produce the most beautiful sound that you can create.


    Tips for Playing in an Orchestra

    Orchestra Playing Tip No. 1: Put Your Ears out on Stalks

    Orchestra Tip No. 2: After an erroneous note, DO NOT make a face. It’s best to make it obvious that it came from your neighbor.

    Orchestra Tip No. 3: Listen to recordings and live performances of your orchestra music. Notice how your part fits and blends with other parts. Color me Card

    Orchestra Tip No. 4: Be Ready to Play when the Conductor Lifts the Baton

    Orchestra Tip No. 5: Play for the team. Always be mindful that you’re part of a collective sound. Never try to stick out. Listen to the players around you and blend in terms of sound and intonation.

    • From New York Musician and Education, Timothy Judd

    Orchestra Tip No. 6:  Only Leave Your Cell Phone on if its in the Right Key.

    Orchestra Tip No. 7:  Feel the Rhythm. Don’t Rush Fast Passages - Note subdivisions within main beats. Metronomes are good. Metronomes are fun.

    Orchestra Tip No. 8: Practice as if You are Performing. (Every note should have good tone, dynamics and phrasing.)


    Adult Practice Tip Series (currently sold separately)

    Pick Banjos, Not Fights

    Crazy for Dulcimers

    Brown beer guitar cards: “Have Foam with Your Music”

    Blue Beer Bass Guitar:  “ Resolve Your Blues in the Final Four Bars”.

    More Cowbell

    Winolin: When You just Need to Unwind (with Saint-Saens Syrahpy Red).

    Winolin 2: “How does a Violin Player Pour Wine?” (Sarasate Red Zigeunfandel, made from Gypsy Wine)

    Seize the Opportunity to Play, "Gift Set" of 8 cards (plus several extra available):

    Watch out for the “Bana..” Banana in Bassoon on elephant

    Rain Song Gone Awry

    Cloud Conjurers

    Chickens Chillin' with Chopsticks

    Tea Anyone?

    Bird Yoga

    Play and Bear It

    Garden Ensemble

    Additional Seize Opportunity:

    Mockingbird Air Guitar

    Singing Lesson Series:

    1. Sing with Resonance (1A).
    2. Sing with Resonance (1B).
    3. Sing with Joy (adult)
    4. Sing with Joy (children)
    5. Know Your Range.
    6. Break a Lip.
    7. Send Your Voice to the Back Wall.
    8. Relax and Plant Your Feet Solidly.
    9. Use a Natural Volume when Singing Just Like Speaking.
    10. Sing songs “on the Vowel” –maintain the vowel as long as possible and just touch the consonant.
    11. Find a comfortable vowel to vocalize on, and sing a simple song on a vowel that makes your voice feel good….
    12. Try to comfortably expand your ribs from the back of the sides. Keep shoulders and abs relaxed. Think “No work”.

     TIps for Playing in a Band

    1. Medleys have a lot of Tempo Changes. Be Prepared for them.
    2. Play Musically, Not Mechanically
    3. When Caught in a Whirlwind of Notes, Don’t overlook Dynamics.
    4. Know who has the Melody and Play under the Melody unless it is You.
    5. When Playing Fast Rhythmic and/or Syncopated Music, take extra care to hit Notes Precisely on Time.
    6. Interpret Phrased and give them Shape.

     Tips for Playing in an Ensemble:

    1. Keeping in Tune is Key
    2. Familiarize Yourself with all Parts.
    3. Communicate with Your Audience (Verbally or/and Nonverbally) in progress.
    4. Communicate with fellow musicians.

    For Elementary School Teachers (this is a link) - IN Progress

    1. Criss-Cross Applesauce.
    2. For Recorder – “Use Your Paws, Not Your Claws” from Sarah Davis
    3. “Put the Beat in Your Feet” from Tracy Doty Ward

    Also see “Voice Tip” Series

     Music is the food of Love Series:

    1. Music is the Food of Love, Feed Your Puppy 2
    2. Music is the Food of Love, Feed Your Friends- “If its lentil soup, we’ll have bass.”

    Flutist Yogini Series

    Flutist Yogini 2 – Downward facing Dog

    Just Do It Series

    Just Do It 2 Ukulele Moon Cats

    Asian Instruments (10 cards)

    Musical Animals

    1. Catchamouse Tango
    2. “Raising Cool Cats”
    3. “Times, They-are–a–Changing”
    4. “What does a Cat Sing in the Shower?”
    5. “Stayin’ Awake”
    6. ”You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks, But You Can Teach Him New Songs.”

    Many, but not all folks who contributed are listed here:

    Jill Bartine, Flautist, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (KSO)

    Judy Bartine, Flordia Voice Teacher (Jill's Mother-in-Law)

    Robert Bonham, Maryville Piano Professor Emeritus, Trillium Trio

    Paul Brody, Composer, Trumpet Player, Writer, Berlin

    Sarah Davis, Retired Knox County General Music Teacher

    Mary Ann Fennel, Violinist, KSO

    Brenda Goslee, Piano and Organ teacher

    Denise Griffin, Amazing Brainstorming Non-musician Friend

    Kelle Jolly, Knoxville Jazz Singer

    Ian McClure, Colorful Cellist

    Stacy Nickell, Cellist, KSO

    Alicia Randisi-Hooker, Cellist, Trillium Trio

    Pam Robertson, Composer and Piano Accompanist

    Susan Shor, Violist, Oak Ridge Symphony

    Tracy Ward, Sequoyah Elementary School Music Specialist

    Sandy Wells, Tennessee Valley Ensemble Band Conductor

    (and a couple teachers I met at state music teacher convention)


  • Music Teachers Extravaganza

    Music Teachers Love Them

    Music Teachers Music Teachers Unite: Play Under the Melody

    Whether you are a music teacher or looking for a music teachers gift, we are getting an overwhelming response from teachers that love our new Music Tip Prints and Greeting Cards.

    The prints make great posters for offices, and the greeting cards are blank inside and great for sending notes to students. The sets make fun gifts.

    I, Becky, have been painting whimsical illustrations of tips for practicing musical instruments, and for playing in a band or orchestra, and more. Not only that, but I love requests for tips. If I use your request, I'll send you free greeting cards when the project is complete.

    I have only just begun to create videos to show the prints available. Please let us know what you think, and whether you are a music teachers, music student or other.

    There are many more to come. The video below might need to be slowed down al little, which you can do yourself. (Ask us how if you need help).

    Peruse all cards and purchase HERE. Feel free to contact us with any questions.

    If you know music teachers that would like these, we can give a discount for large orders to teachers. In addition the cards and prints are great for music department fundraising. Contact us at for fundraising opportunites.

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