Parent Blog!

Helpful Links

Click HERE for: Zoom Teacher Meeting ID and Password! (This Page is Password Protected – for ISM Families only!)

Click HERE for: Masterclass Signup Link!

Click HERE for: How to Upload to Your Google Drive Folder for STUDENTS

Click HERE for: Staff Paper for Medal Level Compositions!

2020-2021 Irvine School of Music Calendar

Draft of the 2020-2021 Irvine Unified School District Calendar

NEW! Practice Chart and Token Week Prize Guidelines

Practice Chart and Token Week Prize Guidelines

At the Irvine School of Music, we are committed to providing students the skills necessary for a lifetime enjoyment of music. We are reintroducing one of our popular practice incentive programs – Token Week – which went through a few changes during COVID while we transitioned to online. Now that we are back for in person and online lessons, we have revamped our practice incentive program! We have transitioned this program from physical paper to an online google form, and have also introduced a tier system with new cool prizes!

Practice Chart Google Form: https://forms.gle/PWMkmpqAf2gZwMBT9

^^Please submit your answers by clicking on the link according to how much your student practiced this week, organized by each day (keep this link for your records, as your student should be submitting their practice time once per week!).

Every 8 weeks we hold a Token Week! We look at the practice times submitted by our wonderful students, and award tokens according to the length of time they practiced. Students are then able to redeem these tokens for cool prizes! Our next token week is April 26th – start inputting your practice time so we can award your student tokens for practicing!

Token Distribution Breakdown

Your student will receive 1 token every 8 weeks if they practice the recommended time for their age group: 

  • 0-6 years old
    • 10 minutes per day for at least 5 days out of 6 over the course of 8 weeks
  • 6-9 years old
    • 20 minutes per day for at least 5 days out of 6 over the course of 8 weeks
  • 10+ years old
    • 30 minutes per day for at least 5 days out of 6 over the course of 8 weeks

Note for Parents: These numbers are based on recommended minutes per day based on their age grouping. It is recommended for students ages 0-6 to practice 10 minutes per day, 20 minutes for ages 6-9, and 30 minutes for ages 10+.

Prizes

Your student has the option of cashing in their tokens every time they get one, or saving them up for bigger prizes (think of an arcade): 

  • 1 Token
    • Gumball Machine
  • 2 Tokens
    • Pencil
  • 3 Tokens
    • Wristband
  • 4 Tokens
    • ISM Button
  • 5 Tokens
    • Ball
  • 10 Tokens
    • Water Bottle
  • 15 Tokens
    • Practice Ninja T Shirt
  • 18 Tokens
    • Stuffed Animal
  • 36 Tokens
    • BIG PRIZE (TBD)
  • 54 Tokens
    • HUGE PRIZE (TBD)

FAQs

How do I redeem tokens for prizes?

Once your student is awarded tokens during token week (which occurs every 8 weeks), simply text or call 949-385-2034 to redeem your tokens for prizes! Tokens never expire, and students have the option to save up their tokens for bigger prizes, or redeem them right away to reward them for their hard work.

Say I have 5 tokens. Do I have to get the 5 token prize or can I get a 2 token prize and 3 token prize? 

Just like an arcade, if you want to redeem your tokens for multiple smaller prizes, you are more than welcome to!

Does my student HAVE to fill out the online google form?

We STRONGLY encourage them to fill out practice charts, either online or printed out on paper. If they would like to continue filling it out on google drive or print it out and fill it out, that is fine too! However, students are only eligible for prizes if they fill out the google form. It is completely up to you and your student!

Do we get the practice homework the same way?

YES! Your teacher will still upload the homework practice chart onto your students google drive folder. The only thing that is changing is your student will now be recording their practice time on a google form to be eligible for prizes!

Happy Practicing! 

3/14/21 12:00pm

New Lesson Policy!

We want to remind Students and Families of our In Person and Online Lesson Policy.

If your student does not show up at their regularly scheduled lesson time, teachers will wait HALF of the lesson time until they leave Zoom or the school.

For example, if your lesson is 30 minutes, the teacher will wait 15 minutes until they leave. For 45 minute lessons, they will wait around 23 minutes, and so on.

If you let us know that you are running a FEW minutes late, or give us a call regarding technical issues of course we will work with you and communicate that to the teacher. If you have any questions about this policy let us know!

5/12/20 8:00pm

RCMD Students: Important Update regarding Examinations!

“We are committed and dedicated to your ongoing music education. We recognize that you were looking forward to completing your RCM examination, receiving your well-deserved credit, and celebrating your achievements after a year of dedicated study.

The RCM is pleased to be able to offer our practical examinations remotely via online video conferencing. In development for over a year, our new Remote Practical Exams offer students the ability to complete their exams from the comfort of their own home.

By utilizing easy to use software, and your smartphone, PC, iPad, or Mac you will be able to connect to an RCM examiner, at a time of your choosing, to conduct your exam.

What does this mean?

  • To be able to take your practical exam for the Preparatory Level(s) through Level 8, you will need an Apple iPhone, iPad, Samsung/Android tablet, Android/Samsung smartphone, a PC with webcam and mic or a similarly equipped Mac computer. We recommend using your smartphone or iPad instead of a computer.
  • You will need a reliable Internet connection. Most high-speed (1.5Mbps and faster) services will work well for the examination. For best results, we recommend that during your exam, others in your household refrain from accessing the internet.
  • You will need your instrument available at your location.
  • For pianists, we will accept select 76 or 88 key weighted electronic instruments as a substitute for an acoustic piano.
  • You will need to install the Zoom app on your device.
  • Collaborative pianists are not required for brass, strings, and winds exams in levels Preparatory – Level 4.
  • Students in Levels 5 – 8 in brass, strings, and winds, and all voice students, will need to reschedule their exam for a future in-person session if they cannot provide a collaborative pianist for their remote exam.
  • We recommend that you and your teacher conduct a mock-exam over Zoom to get a feel for how to use Zoom.
  • Please see our “Guide to Online Meeting Safety” page for more details on how we are making Zoom secure for our examinations and protecting your privacy.
  • For your instrument, we will provide instructions for how to place your device for best results. A stand for your device is recommended during the exam.
  • Your exam will be conducted in the same order as an in-person exam. The sight-reading example will be provided to you 24 hours in advance of your exam to ensure that you have time to print it out. You may prepare your sight-reading in advance.
  • To accommodate the change from in-person to Remote Practical Examinations, you may schedule your examination on a day of your choosing from June 1st to July 31st between 9am and 9pm EST (6am and 6pm PST). Additional information on how to do so will be sent as soon as it is available.

For a handful of practical exams, where the instrument is difficult to obtain, or accompaniment is required, you will be eligible to take your exam at the next in-person session when available. We will contact those students directly to re-schedule.

You will receive an invitation to attend a webinar on how to prepare for the exam. As you are already registered for a practical exam, you will be automatically enrolled and there will be no additional cost.

We wish you the best of luck with your studies!

We will continue to send updates as they come, and please keep checking their website where they are posting updates: https://www.rcmusic.com/about-us/news/covid19-update

Thank you so much! If you have any questions please let us know.”

COVID-19 Update

Not to worry, the school is still open for online lessons! All 27 of our teachers and all 350 students have converted to online Zoom lessons. We have been doing online lessons for over 5 years! We currently have a student in Japan who takes ongoing voice lessons, and it has proved to be very successful for our students!

What our students are saying about online Zoom lessons:

“We love our vocal lessons on Zoom – we get to work on technique and all the fun music from our in person lessons. Thank you ISM for making this transition so easy!”

– Elvira M., Mother of ISM piano student Sofie (age 5) and ISM drum student Arthur (age 8)

“We get to go in depth with many parts of the online lesson, even technique!”

– Colin S., (age 15) and ISM piano student since 2005!

“The Zoom lessons have been so easy to use and fun – Ms. Joey plays music theory games online and we are learning just as much online as in the classroom – Thank you ISM”

– Anna K. mother of ISM piano student Jonathan (age 9) since 2012

Helpful “How-To” Videos

Zoom Walk-through for a Laptop:

Zoom Walk-through for an iPad:

Google Folder: How to upload sheet music for my teacher!

Please Ground your Zoom Device to Router with an Ethernet Now!

Please enhance the lesson experience for your student and teacher by doing the following – this technique makes it possible for teachers to hear and see nuances as if you are in the same room! 

  • Ground your device to the router with Ethernet. Ethernet cables at 100 ft long are about $14, and the connector from Ethernet to computer or Ethernet to tablet/iPhone is $20-$30. Here are some recommendations:
    • 100 ft from Walmart at $12.99, click here
    • USB to Ethernet from BestBuy at $24.99, click here
    • Lightning (iPhone/iPad) to Ethernet from Amazon at $22.99, click here

Zoom Lessons- An Example!

Teacher Gilberto coaching student Shawin (Age 7, student since 01/2020) in dynamics and overall phrasing with Bachs’ Minuet in G minor.

Zoom Best Practices

Best practice for parents/adult students to set up Zoom device:

  • Be as close to the router as possible if you cannot hardwire to your Zoom device, although hardwire is ideal as it will produce amazing video and audio results!
  • Have more than one device available – we’ve found some iPhones/tablets work better than computers and vice versa – if initial device isn’t working well, having a back up device will make better use of lesson time in case there are technical issues
  • Be in a quiet space without sound distractions as Zoom settings requires this for best lesson sound
  • All apps on computer closed besides Zoom
  • All other activities on Network paused during lessons – no Netflix, streaming, or other computers on the WiFi
  • Voice and Winds – students should be 3 to 6 feet away from the device for best sound
  • For Piano set ups, the device should be 2.5 feet to the right or left of piano keys, 2.5 ft in front of the keys at the R/L location, 2.5 feet above level of keys looking down to give a clear hand/finger view – here is an example:

Computer Distance from Piano

  • One of our teachers purchased a floor stand from Amazon to hold her iPad steady at an ideal angle where her students are able to see her piano and hands. It is a great option for positioning your device! See the stand here.

Best Practices for Parental Involvement in the Parent-Teacher-Student Triangle

We at ISM want to thank you for all the ways you support your child in his/her music lessons. With school starting up again we’d like to provide some pointers on how to get the most from music lessons.

Timely arrival

 Make every effort to arrive on time for lessons, music books in hand. Students who come in late disrupt the class flow and have already missed a portion of their lesson.

Should I sit in on my child’s lesson?

Allow your child to build his/her trust by bonding with the teacher one on one. Parents are welcome to watch through our observation windows, but experience has shown that when parents are present weekly in the classroom, a student’s attention is divided and the student/teacher bond is often compromised. That said, there are times when the teacher may call a parent into the classroom to observe the student for instructional purposes.  The last few minutes of each class are reserved to update parents on their child’s progress, answer questions, and provide parents with ideas for helping at home.

Come in the last few minutes of class to touch base with teacher

Even if your child is old enough to be dropped off at class, please make it a priority to come in for the last 5 minutes of class so the teacher can update you on your child’s progress. This is very important to your child’s success in music class. Teachers want to keep you informed, but it takes time away from the lesson if the teacher has to walk the student to the car to touch base.

Time management for at home practice

Parental involvement at home is key to a child’s success in music lessons. While older children may practice accurately at home, younger students need positive guidance to be sure they are practicing correctly. Most six year olds cannot be realistically expected to practice alone. Show interest by asking your child to show you their new songs for the week.  Set up incentives to reward them for playing the song more than once, counting aloud, singing their notes, curving their fingers, etc. Your teacher can provide you with an appropriate practice check list. Help in finding a consistent time each day for practice. Daily consistency is important to ensure students retain their musical instruction.

Finding a consistent practice time, providing incentives, and monitoring practice with encouraging words are all ways to help your child get the most from music classes. Ask your child’s teacher for more ideas.  Be creative. Make music a family priority, and watch your child grow in self- discipline as well as musicianship. 


Thursday, April 2nd, 2020 / Natalie Teichman Natalie Teichman / no Comments
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