It’s recital season!

Don’t fret; there’s absolutely no need to panic. Here are a few recital tips & tricks from HAA students and teachers.

 “Take deep breaths.”

“Calm down, there’s nothing to worry about.”

You may ask yourself, is it just me? Nope, you’re definitely not alone. Famous musicians such as Arthur Rubinstein and Luciano Pavarotti were also known to struggle with performance anxiety. Think about what your favorite type of relaxation is when you are feeling nervous. Maybe it’s relaxing with your pet, reading a book, exercising, or watching your favorite TV show. Before your performance, try one of those relaxation activities to clear your head space of any nerves.

“Focus on your music piece, not the audience.”

“Imagine you are playing at home.”

Pretend it’s just you and the music. At this point you have seen the music hundreds of times and it hasn’t changed…you got this! If you mess up during your piece, that’s okay! Shake it off and get right back into it. More than likely only you heard your mistake and the audience didn’t even notice! Here are a couple of more tips to think about as you get ready to perform:

  • Get a good night’s rest the night before.
  • Eat a well-balanced meal the day of the recital.
  • Stretch your muscles before playing. Instrumental performers be sure to keep your hands warm and loose. Vocalists, be sure not to lock your knees while performing.
  • While playing, think about how the music makes you feel and that feeling will be transferred to the audience.

And last but not least, as a HAA student once said…

“Don’t worry about anything. If you need to, pretend the audience is in their underwear!”

Happy Recital to all of our HAA students. We are SO proud of you!

The Holidays are just around the corner!

The leaves are turning, the days are cooler, and the nights come sooner and sooner. That can only mean holiday breaks are on their way! As quality family time, food, shopping, and visions of sugar-plums dance in you or your student’s heads and schedules, music practice takes the back burner. While some students still practice here and there, many do not because the holiday break is a break from everything!
While a break is great (and very necessary) from time to time, it’s important to remain consistent with practicing as “practice is the process of getting closer to achieving your musical goals.”(Activate Music)

If you don’t practice getting toward that goal becomes more difficult. For instance, let’s say you have a goal of running a marathon that is 6 months away. You start training for the marathon by running a little bit one day, a little more the next day, even more the next day, etc. Everything is great because you’re working toward your goal of running an entire marathon. BUT, in comes holiday break and you decide to take a week or two off from running. After taking the time off, you decide to start running again but find it hard to pick up where you left off. Now, you’re further from your goal then where you were before. Music practice “runs” the same way! Consistency is key!

You may be saying to yourself at this moment, “okay, I understand I should keep practicing but I am not motivated because there’s so much going on over the holidays!” When practicing is the question, holiday music can be the answer. Although it may not be in the student’s usual repertoire it’s okay for the student to try out new music every now and then. The important part is that they are practicing and staying consistent! Practicing holiday music may not even seem like practice because many students know the songs and enjoy them. Others around also love hearing holiday music and a holiday music performance put on by you or your student could even be a holiday present to a loved one!

And the best part? Harris Academy of the Arts offers a wide variety of holiday music for all instruments to purchase. Check out our holiday music inventory here. I’m sure you’ll find the perfect piece to bring in that holiday cheer!

Oh, the places you’ll go… 

Daylight is ending earlier, teachers are brushing off their textbooks, students are lacing up their shoes – school is right around the corner! This time of year can seem overwhelming, and it passes in the blink of an eye – but it is also one of the most exciting times of the year. As students pick and choose their activities, we wanted to take a moment and share with you the benefits of music education and how lessons and group classes can complement their school work.

Music lessons are known and proven to improve academic skills, develop physical skills, cultivate social skills, refine discipline and patience, boost self-esteem, and introduce those taking the lessons to new cultures. Even just the addition of listening to soothing, classical music while studying can help students focus on their schoolwork!

As the summer vacation excitement comes to a close, and school mornings come bright and early, we want to share with you an excellent reminder from Dr. Seuss:

You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

To the teachers and students of Lincoln and beyond, from all of us at Harris Academy of the Arts, have a fantastic school year!

Vivaldi celebrated Spring through music…

Best known for his violin concertos “Spring,” “Summer,” “Autumn” and “Winter” – (known as “The Four Seasons”) – Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1678 –1741) was an Italian Baroque composer, virtuoso violinist, teacher and ordained Catholic priest born in Venice. His compositions demonstrate he clearly had an appreciation for each of the seasons, but we at Harris like to believe his favorite season was Spring! Here’s the full quote attributed to Vivaldi’s mention of Spring. [Note: For example, there’s no record of his mention of Winter! :)]

Springtime is upon us. The birds celebrate her return with festive song, and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes. Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven, Then they die away to silence, and the birds take up their charming songs once more.
– Antonio Vivaldi

Vivaldi is celebrated as one of the greatest Baroque composers who also composed many different instrumental concertos for a variety of other instruments, sacred choral works and even more than forty operas! Harris Academy of the Arts celebrates the arrival of Springtime, and we wish everyone a chance to enjoy the warmer days ahead with a place in the sun and a favorite song in your heart!

Click HERE for a sample of Vivaldi’s “Spring” on the Harris Academy of the Arts Soundcloud page!

Shakespeare on Music and Love

Love is in the air! We’re built on celebrating the food of love!

In the wise musings of William Shakespeare, “If music be the food of love…” (he instructs us – then…) “play on.” Indeed, all faculty and students at Harris Academy of the Arts play on! With the approach of Valentine’s Day, love is in the air and our studio is filled with music! We celebrate music and love in a way that might please Mr. Shakespeare, were he here in Lincoln today.

We can all relate to the connection of music to feelings of love in our lives. Just think about how a particular song suddenly transports you back in time to a memory of love. We hear, and we remember. In fact, throughout history, many couples select a song to be known between each other to be “their” song. And, of course, we can’t even think of a time when music wasn’t an important element to the wedding day. That special day of union, all in the name of love. Piano, guitar, violin, voice – each are instruments used to convey feelings of love throughout history.

Imagine, also, how unnoticed music is at certain times. Our busy lives can relegate a song or piece of music to the subconscious only – as if a background soundtrack to our day-to-day living. Often, only years later do we have that “magical experience” – we hear that song and remember “that time.”

The Power of Music

You hear the power of music talked about in a number different of ways. While Shakespeare’s quote about music might be among the most famous, others have said things like: music is the language of love, or, music is a universal language. As music educators, you might guess we’re extra passionate about how our students progress toward music mastery with their lessons, but we also believe deeply in the power of music. We’re committed to sharing the best music education for your student, and helping to foster the magical way it connects all of us around the world in ways that transcend spoken language.

As a member of the Harris Academy Family, you’ve already taken an important step in contributing to, and participating in, music instruction. We hope music will serve as the soundtrack to your day-to-day living, and transport you to memories of love in the years ahead. Happy Valentine’s Day from Harris Academy of the Arts!

Review, Reflect and Look Forward

As we review, you made last year the most amazing and inspiring yet!

As we review and reflect while looking forward to 2017, we at Harris Academy of the Arts share Mr. Einstein’s thoughts on the importance and ubiquity of music in our everyday lives. Each of us at Harris Academy of the Arts also see our lives in terms of music, and we anticipate an even bigger and busier music education and performance schedule in 2017!

You’re the reason we review how far we’ve come, and we’re honored to be celebrating our 13th year of serving Lincoln, Nebraska, with quality music instruction! The familiar adage, “time flies when you’re having fun,” is a testament to the growth, student achievements and success over these years — that often feels as though it all began just yesterday! These 13 years have flown by, and the Academy would not be here today without you. Thank you for helping make such a musical adventure!

We wish our Harris families and dedicated faculty a most healthy, prosperous and joyful new year. We’re extra excited about 2017, and remain grateful and profoundly moved by the amazing support and trust you’ve placed in us to educate and inspire your talented students. Their happiness, advancement and success mean everything to us!

As we review, reflect and look forward to our next chapter — we invite you to do the same. Please take a moment sometime to share any feedback, new ideas or thoughts about your experiences with Harris on our updated >> Google Reviews << page, and as always — we encourage you to keep thinking, dreaming and living in music! Viva, 2017!