The Mother Ann Nursery kids visited Entebbe zoo and wildlife centre in Uganda last week. This has become a yearly trip to them and it is a rare opportunity for them to leave their home surroundings in Kampala. As you can see from the photos, everyone thoroughly enjoyed their day out.
Our school and consultancy in Kampala, Uganda, has been working in partnership with Mulago Development Group. The group provides education and health care to children in Ghana and Uganda. Their ethos is that no matter anyone’s background, everyone has the same right to a good life.
You can find more detailed information on the group on their facebook page:
A few weeks ago, the group rescued a baby girl who had been abandoned by her parents and left in a pit by a road. She has been doing well whilst being looked after by members of the group . Generous donation from our European supporters have helped to get basic food and clothes for her. At the moment she is receiving treatment for malaria, which is still a very common illness across Africa. Any donations towards her treatment and other basics are much appreciated – please get in touch with the group via their facebook page in regard to this.
Here you can see her sweet face and what an adorable girl she is despite the tough start to life!
One of the things that I love about my job is that students introduce songs to me that I might not have otherwise paid much attention to, even if I had heard them on the radio. One such song is ‘Passionfruit’ by Drake. We worked on a piano cover for the song with a teenage student yesterday. What beautiful melody and catchy rhythm!
The Theorist on youtube has an excellent piano tutorial. There is also an option of downloading the sheet music – the link is below for you to enjoy!
There is always amazing energy at Glastonbury, but it seems that this year it was even more electrifying. With all the upsetting events of late, people got together in the name of music and we could see all the great energy at the festival this year.
For anyone looking for music inspiration this week, here is coverage from the festival that can be viewed outside of the UK as well:
This week we have been busy getting ready for grade exams. In the midst of business, we have managed to play some relaxing jazz music. One favourite for this week has turned out to be Herbie Hancock’s ‘Chameleon’.
You can find a good piano cover and tutorial here – it’s a nice listen on it’s own too!
Performance anxiety is very common – most musicians and music students would report to have suffered from it at some point in their lives. Even very seasoned musician admit to feeling very nervous before performing – for example, Rita Ora, the singer and recording artist, has admitted feeling extremely nervous before going on stage to the point where she feels like throwing up. She said that the only way for her to cope with it is to keep telling herself that she can only be as good as she possibly can and to do her best.
Now is the time of Grade exams and so many students are struggling with nerves.
There are some simple tricks to coping with performance anxiety – for some handy ideas, check out this list from http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/stage-fright-performance-anxiety#1:
Performance Anxiety Treatments
Here are some tips to help you overcome your fears and shine on stage, on the field, or at the podium:
1. Be prepared: practice, practice, practice.
2. Limit caffeine and sugar intake the day of the performance. Eat a sensible meal a few hours before you are to perform so that you have energy and don’t get hungry. A low-fat meal including complex carbohydrates — whole-grain pasta, lentil soup, yogurt, or a bean and rice burrito — is a good choice.
Shift the focus off of yourself and your fear to the enjoyment you are providing to the spectators. Close your eyes and imagine the audience laughing and cheering, and you feeling good.
3. Don’t focus on what could go wrong. Instead focus on the positive. Visualize your success.
4. Avoid thoughts that produce self-doubt.
5. Practice controlled breathing, meditation, biofeedback, and other strategies to help you relax and redirect your thoughts when they turn negative. It is best to practice some type of relaxation technique every day, regardless of whether you have a performance, so that the skill is there for you when you need it.
Take a walk, jump up and down, shake out your muscles, or do whatever feels right to ease your anxious feelings before the performance.
6. Connect with your audience — smile, make eye contact, and think of them as friends.
7. Act natural and be yourself.
8. Exercise, eat a healthy diet, get adequate sleep, and live a healthy lifestyle.
Keep in mind that stage fright is usually worse before the performance and often goes away once you get started.
Grieg’s ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ is a piece that has become very famous over the past 100 years. Although initially composed for a full orchestra, it is equally beautiful on single instruments and for smaller ensembles.
We have been working on this with different students on and off for the past year. Recently, we rediscovered it after a teenage student heard it on the Alton Towers TV advert and wanted to learn it.
We discovered a couple of excellent tutorials on youtube – see below and have a go a home! The piece is highly addictive so be prepared to get hooked!
This week we are working on Miley Cyrus’s ‘Wrecking Ball’. The piano cover of it is very beautiful – the melody lines come out nicely with a strong baseline in the left hand. Once again, Peter PlutaX has an excellent piano tutorial on youtube:
John Legend has some very beautiful songs – and as we all working with the piano know,he also loves featuring his piano playing skills in his videos!
For our all time favourite John Legend song ‘All of Me’, go on youtube and search for Peter PlutaX – he has an excellent youtube channel on piano tutorials – here is a direct link to his piano tutorial on ‘All of Me’: