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Madonna & Mozart

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Madonna Louise Ciccone(yes that is her real name) has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and is the world’s best-selling female recording artist in history. She is known for continuously reinventing both her music and her image. Madonna’s voice isn’t virtuoso, her contribution to music has relied on working with what she has and creating incredible hooks for her songs, and using music as a medium for an artistic statement.

Material Girl


Abba & The Entertainer

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Abba was a Swedish pop disco group formed in Stockholm in 1972. From 1972-1982 they topped the charts, and skyrocketeed to fame when they won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest. They’ve sold over 370 million records, still sell a million a year and Madonna begged them to let her sample gimme gimme gimme for Madonnas song ‘Hung Up’.

They have an interesting harmonic approach, orchestral arrangements and 4 part harmony. They experienced another revival in 1999 with the Musical Mamma Mia! which is based around the songs of Abba and was made into a Movie starring Meryl Streep

Our classical selection is a rag by Scott Joplin, ‘The Entertainer’. Written in 1902 it returned to fame as the theme for the 1973 oscar winning film ‘The Sting’.

A rag was a form of dance that was popular around 1911 when instead of going to a dance club with a sound system, folks would gather around the piano and dance. A happy playful melody, one of the songs most people want to learn on the piano.

Take A Chance On Me


Michael Jackson & Bach

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Michael Jackson (1958-2009) was an American recording artist & entertainer referred to as the ‘King Of Pop’. Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World records. His contributions to music, dance & fashion made him a global figure for over four decades. He is the youngest of 7.

Jackson’s 1982 album Thriller is the best-selling album of all time. His other records, Off the Wall, Bad, Dangerous, HIStory also rank among the world’s best-selling. He has won 13 Grammy’s & 26 American Music awards, more than any other artist. 13 number-one singles in the US. He also was one the world’s most prominent humanitarians donating more than $300 million to charity.

This week’s selections are off of ‘Off The Wall’ & ‘Thriller’. Produced by Quincy Jones. Songwriters for ‘Off The Wall’ include Rod Temperton, Stevie Wonder & Paul McCartney. Thriller has a duet with McCartney and on Beat It we have a guitar solo performed by Eddie Van Halen.

Don’t Stop til you get Enough


Elvis & The Sugarplum Fairy

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Elvis Aaron Presley (1935-1977) was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is commonly known as ‘Elvis’ and ‘The King’. He began his career in Memphis, TN working with Sam Phillips at Sun Records. Presley was the most important popularizer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat fusion of country & R&B.

Presley’s first single ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ released in January 1956, was a number-one hit. In November 1956, he made his film debut in Love Me Tender.

These selections are from Elvis’s ‘early’ years.

Our classical selection of the week comes from the Ballet ‘The Nutcracker’. The score is written by Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky and the story is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story ‘The Nutcracker & The Mouse King’. Although the original production was not a success, the 20-minute suite that Tchaikovsky wrote was. The Nutcracker experienced a revival in the late 1960’s when the New York City Ballet began performing it annualy around Christmas time. The tradition has since spread all over the U.S. and to this day around the holidays in every major city ‘The Nutcracker’ is performed.

The Dance of The Sugarplum Fairy comes from the opening of the second act where Clara & the prince have travelled in a boat pulled by dolophins to the beautiful ‘Land Of Sweets’. It is a celebration of sweets from around the world, chocolate from Spain, coffee from Arabia, tea from China, Candy Canes from china & Kolaches from West.

Heartbreak Hotel


The Beatles & Fur Elise

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The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. They became one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. The band consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. Rooted in 1950s rock and roll, the group later utilised many genres, ranging from pop ballads to psychedelic rock, often incorporating classical and other elements, in innovative ways.

The Beatles are the best-selling band in history, with sales of over one billion units estimated by EMI Records. They have had more number-one albums on the British charts and sold more singles in the UK than any other act. They were collectively included in Time magazine’s compilation of the 20th century’s 100 most influential people.

Below are some of their best selections from their early years.

Saw her standing there


How To Make Practice Fun!

| Practice

How to make practice fun!

What is practice? Can you define it?
I can!

Practice is the repeated performance of an exercise for the purpose of acquiring a skill or proficiency of that exercise!
or… Doing something over and over to be able to do that thing better.

What about a lesson? Can you define that?

A lesson is a period of time where learning is intended to occur involving one or more students being led by an instructor.

Both lessons and practice are incredibly more enjoyable with the addition of fun! For students, parents and teachers all together!

Here are some ideas for you to make your students practice & lesson time more fun.

Keep in mind that not all of the ways to improve practice and lessons are found at the piano bench or in the students practice room!

In fact the best thing that you can do for a students education is at your fingertips. Use You Tube, iTunes or Spotify to introduce your student to what you consider the musical greats. Tell them their names, share the music that you love with them. Let them see, hear and feel the music that has moved you. It will only be natural for them to want to play it after that.

Here is the list we’ve come up with.

encourage creativity
variation – have them play songs, exercises….but just a little bit differently
play with their eyes closed
play slow, medium, fast
play soft, loud
memorize everything!
make up words to a melody without words
sing along with the melody
family recital(play for the family)
make up a song
timed note reading race(keep track and time)
introduce your child to music you like
explore new music
listen to the top songs on and find out whats new that they like
make and keep a list of songs that they know
make and keep a list of music they like!
compliment & show approval when they play
use suggestion instead of command ex. ‘I would love it if you played Fur Elise for me, it makes me so happy to hear you play that song’
only play songs that they like!
make it a game, keep score, points, everyone likes to win
reward them
take them to concerts
take them to musicals
watch musical movies(check my blog for the movie list)
discover what songs in video games they like – Super Mario Bros.
Discover what songs in movies they like
sing to your kids(even if you think you aren’t a good singer)
have them listen to a bird whistle and try to figure it out
play outside
sugar them up before they practice(with candy)
funny word associations –
bounce and play
dance and play
wiggle head and play
beatbox and play
Play one chord in a pretty arpeggio form!
play an instrument with them
clap your hands along with them
watch them practice – keep them company
help them practice
learn a song with them
do something in the room while they practice(keep them company)

If you are struggling with your student ‘practicing’ at home, don’t panic, be patient. Pick a couple of these ideas to try out(don’t do them all at once) and be positive with them. Listening to music and discovering new music is much more important than practicing scales, exercises and songs that they know.

Because it gives them a target!

I promise you if you are positive and patient with your student and make practice fun for them soon your home will be filled with more music than you ever imagined.

Have Fun!

-David Hall

Homegrown Volume 2!

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Album Cover Album Cover

Local Music Studio Produces
Student Recordings Again…..HOMEGROWN Volume 2!!

Southlake, TX (July 17, 2012) – Local Southlake music studio, Hall Music Productions announces the release of their second student-produced CD, Homegrown Volume 2. Last Year Hall Music Production released their first student-written CD which sold over 1000 copies both locally and on iTunes. With the release of Homegrown Volume 2 the students are back with more new songs and even more variety. Hall Music Productions has been sharing musical knowledge and expertise with their students for 10 years. With a faculty of inspired, talented instructors, the studio has grown into quite a local treasure. Owner David Hall, recognizes the amount of creativity and talent in this area and encourages and cultivates it. It is this reason that they are back again with their second volume. Listening to Homegrown Volume 2, you will hear 18 tracks of non-stop entertainment –stimulating songs featuring students ranging from ages 6 to adult. Each of these students has a gift and love of music far beyond the imagination, and this will become apparent to any listener. The creativity behind each track is the work of the students, nurtured and enhanced by their instructors for an added touch. Children who listen to the music their peers are creating are sure to be inspired and motivated by their work.

As the CD plays, you will hear songs from many genres of music, ranging from pop to country, solos to bands, movie soundtrack to dubstep, female and-male vocals. The variety of Homegrown Volume 2 will not disappoint. It is our hope that it will stimulate the listener’s love for music as well as demonstrate the inspiration played out by each student. You will hear sounds comparable to Taylor Swift, Jason Mraz, David Guetta, Rihanna, Weezer and Evanescence. These are just a few of the recording artists which the students have been moved by. With countless hours of practice and lessons under their belt, paired with the creative outlet of Hall Music Productions, they are thrilled to be a part of this exciting new CD release.

Homegrown Volume 2 is available for $15 at, local Southlake businesses and on iTunes. All of the proceeds from the sales of this CD will be used to produce future student recordings So, grab a copy today, hold on to your seats and prepare to be taken on a journey into the imagination of the next generation of musicians!