Holiday Performances

Students have been working hard on holiday music to prepare to entertain the community!  I love to go to local nursing homes to share this joy.  Solo students are invited to perform at Highland Oaks (WRC) at 10am on Dec. 16th, then we will move on to Jefferson Manor in Brookville at 2pm where all of the group classes will join us!

I understand that this is a crazy month to add anything to your schedule.  So, please don’t worry if you or your student can’t make it.  If you need me to transport you kiddo to, from, in between, anything, I am happy to!

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Prepping for the ALF Parade

I am so excited that, for the first time, we will be in the ALF Parade on Saturday, October 7.  The group classes have opportunities to perform both on the float and while walking.  All private students are invited to walk, throw candy, and have fun!  This includes adults too! (Come on, grown ups, you know you want to practice waving at your adoring crowd)

I will try to coordinate our placement so as not to interfere with the many other floats and activities students will be walking with. So, please send me a message with that information and I will attempt to devise the best place and then ask the chamber to help us out.

If you are interested in helping to decorate and/or donating candy, please let me know!

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Ukulele Workshop

Did you get a ukulele on vacation this summer?  Did you know that you can learn to play some basic ukulele in just a few hours?  Well, guess what, you can!  On Saturday, August 26th at 6pm you can bring a ukulele (or rent one for $10) and spend a few hours learning to strum poolside.  We will also have snacks to keep your energy going, so make a night of it, bring a friend, and learn something new!

The workshop is only $25, and spots are very limited, so sign up today!

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Time for fall scheduling!

Forms for fall scheduling are available in the music room.  Fill it out as soon as you can, since scheduling is on a first come, first-served basis.  I try to make it work for everyone, so give me a few options to work with and I will do my best!

Also, the early bird prices are available until Friday, July 28th.  Cash, check or online payment are all welcome. Online payments here:

Please make sure you are on Remind101 for more information:

and if you are in a group class, there is a separate group for you, let me know if you need your link!

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We are almost ready to make a recording studio!

The Kickstarter campaign is in it’s last few hours.  We have raised more than the minimum goal of $1000 to make a recording studio at Hillary’s Music!  This will be free to all students to use, learn and share from.  It feels wonderful to have the support from the community who understands that we are moving forward in a unique way that will help motivate and teach students of all ages.

It is not too late to be a part of this project.  There are rewards starting at only $25, but you can also donate a smaller amount which will help in adding more than the bare minimum equipment, help to upgrade the hardware, and put more into the scholarship fund.  Thanks for joining in!

click the “K” in the upper left hand corner to go to Kickstarter!

Want to donate in person? Send me a message with your pledge amount so that I can add it to the total, and drop it off or mail it anytime this week! (63 N 3rd Ave Clarion, PA 16214)

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Kickstarter helps turn up the volume!

I have been gradually gathering equipment to create a recording studio for all students to have access to, and we need just a bit more funding to complete the project.  Please consider donating to the campaign either in person or through Kickstarter:

Thanks for all of the support, you will be rewarded with t-shirts, stars, and glass!

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Summer Opportunities

Summer is a great time to try something new.  Give guitar or violin 3 months and see what you can accomplish by the fall.  Pick up a banjo or ukulele and learn a few songs to practice on vacation!  There are many group classes to explore and jump into at any level of experience.  You can also try private lessons for the summer while you have some extra time.  Contact me if you aren’t sure where to dive in!  814 229 0821

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Recital Week

You should have received some of this information this week, but here it is just in case, plus some details for Saturday.

All classes and lessons are at the First Baptist Church on Main St. except for Wednesday after 6pm.  Parents are welcome to stay and listen.  Come in the side door by McDonald’s.  If it is locked, text me: 814 229 0821

Most students might not need their full time this week.  So, if you want to stop by a few times, I can work you in on the piano for extra practice.   Give me a heads up if you would like to get some extra practice in.

SATURDAY Arrival times (if possible):

noon-chorus, band, Noel Anthony

1pm-Orchestra, vocalists and students with instruments to be tuned


The recital starts at 2pm and will last approximately 2.5-3 hours, there will be an intermission.  There is  a pot luck reception following the performances, if you can bring a delicious addition, let me know!

Chorus class: if you have any “old people clothes” like cardigans, hats, etc. Bring them!

Orchestra class: don’t forget your Harry Potter digs

Don’t forget to take advantage of early bird prices by Friday!  Make online payments here or bring it with you this week.


Thanks Everyone!




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Practice or Di(c)e!

As we approach the recital, students are working on perfecting the song they chose months ago. From the outside, it would seem like repeating it over and over again would be the most effective way to prepare it for performance. Throughout the years, I have watched as students who only know how to start a song from the beginning struggle when a note gets fumbled halfway through the song. They want to re-start the song, in part to get a “do-over”, but also, because they always started at the beginning in practice.

One of my solutions is to practice with randomization using a set of dice. I use the normal 6 sided dice that come in every board game, plus some with 20 sides, and some with 10 sides. Depending on the length of the song, you choose the right combination to equal the measure numbers. Or, if the song is multiple pages, you use 2. One to designate page number and one to designate measure number. Then roll them and play only the measure determined by the die and the one following. If you end up with a song with 16 measures, but use a D20, you can make numbers 17-20 wild cards.

At a point in recital prep that can feel tedious, this adds a fun game aspect. It has the additional bonus of making the student actually see the notes again, when a lot of the song is memorized. I use this technique during lessons, but adding it to home practice would be helpful.

I have no idea if I invented this technique, but I haven’t encountered it with any other teachers. I guess having the combination of a gamer husband with an extensive dice collection and a music teaching wife was the start!

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Motivating books!

I provide the lesson books for students and we use a lot of web content to supplement. However, there are a ton of books on Amazon that are graded to specifically be accessible to the student, depending on their level. for example:

Books like these have everything from the “Minecraft” theme to “Let it Go” to “All about that Bass”  They might be what you are looking for, in terms of a motivational tool, stocking stuffer, or something for an Easter basket!  If you need other suggestions, don’t hesitate to ask for advice!

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