Minnesota School Of Music - October 2021

10.2021 763-432-9713 www.mnschoolofmusic.com



B eing a parent is a journey of trial and error. We all want to do the best for our kids, but raising them can be one big learning curve. Recently, my oldest son taught me another lesson in fatherhood. We’re new to the neighborhood, and he’s been having a bit of trouble getting out and making new friends. At age 11, I know that can be difficult. The other kids in our neighborhood love to play basketball, but Caleb has studied music all of his life, not sports. I could tell he felt a little isolated from the other kids but assumed he would figure it out. He recently asked me to go to the basketball court with him to shoot some hoops and get better at the game. Now, I don’t know anything about basketball. I couldn’t give him any practical tips, so what kind of help could I be? I told him I was going for a bike ride instead and sent him on his way. Upon my return, I asked him how the basketball went. That’s when he told me he hadn’t gone to play at all. At that moment, I realized that my son hadn’t been asking for my technical pointers about how to make baskets — he was requesting my presence and support. Maybe he’d felt afraid of being embarrassed in front of the other kids, or maybe he wanted someone else to learn alongside him. If I’d gone with him, I might have been able to do nothing more than sit on the bench and say, “Good job, son!” But I realized just how

far that would’ve gone in motivating him to practice. Maybe you’ve experienced something similar with your child’s music lessons. If you’re not a musician, you might feel that you can’t be much help when they’re struggling with a new piece of music. And like I did with my son, you probably assume they’ll figure it out on their own. In education, there’s something called the student-teacher-parent triangle. The student’s job is to commit to their learning, the teacher’s job is to provide guidance and engaging lessons to the student, and the parent’s job is to provide support. If you take away any of the three sides, the triangle falls apart. At MnSOM, we always do our best to uphold our side of the triangle, but we need your help, too. That doesn’t mean you need to learn how to play an instrument. In fact, the students who do the best in our program aren’t necessarily the ones who have musical parents — they’re the ones who have the most involved parents. Be willing to lead your child, and start by listening to them practice. I don’t mean listening from the other room while you make dinner (I’m guilty of that one, too), but physically sitting down and listening to them play. If a student hesitates to practice, it’s often because they’re afraid. Maybe they think they won’t be able to get something right; maybe they’re embarrassed to have their family

hear them make mistakes. Just being there to offer encouragement and let them know that you’re proud of them, however they do, creates a safe and nurturing environment for them to learn. We also encourage parents to attend their child’s music lessons. (If you have COVID-19 concerns, we will be glad to have you Zoom in from the comfort of your car.) This will give you a better idea of what your child is learning every week and an opportunity to show them that you’re invested in their education. If you have questions about how to support your child through their music lessons, we’ll be happy to provide additional guidance. (In fact, we’ve included some on Page 3!) But it’s important to remember that kids and adults alike can struggle to communicate exactly what they need. When one of our children asks for our assistance, what they might really need is not our expertise but our love and support.

I’ve learned my lesson and will be shooting hoops with my son soon.

–Eric Nehring

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You Can Use WHAT to Tidy Up?! 4 Deep-Cleaning Hacks to Prep for the Holidays

Prepping for the holidays is exciting and fun, but it requires tons of planning, cooking, decorating, and cleaning. To avoid getting bogged down while preparing for cheerful celebrations with friends and family, try these easy ways to get your house sparkling clean and ready to host. ROLL THE CEILINGS When it comes to ceilings, especially if they are textured, thoroughly cleaning off dust, dander, and cobwebs can be challenging. When you use a broom, chunks typically go flying around and make a larger mess. However, if you whip out a painting roller, dampen it, and roll your ceilings just like you are painting, you are sure to get the job done! SOCKS ON YOUR HANDS Have you ever run a finger along a panel of your blinds and it comes up black? Blinds tend to be huge dust collectors. By throwing some socks on your hands, you can get back to clean blinds. All you have to do is find a pair of old socks, “glove up,” and dampen them. From there, if you grip each individual blind Kirsten Rotvold has been involved in music for as long as she can remember. Now, she uses that passion and experience every day as a piano teacher at the Minnesota School of Music. She has always wanted to teach, but since her primary instrument is the flute (though she is proficient on the piano as well), she didn’t consider piano instruction until she saw the posting for the Minnesota School of Music. She decided to apply for the role and became the first undergraduate to teach at the school! “My favorite thing about teaching is being able to form a unique relationship with each student by knowing what’s going on in their lives besides piano,” Kirsten says. “I also like being able to see how excited they are when they succeed. It makes them so happy, so I enjoy pushing them toward their goals.” Kirsten started taking piano lessons when she was about 5 years old. “I was really excited to play piano,” she says, “because I would always hear the organ at church, and I thought it was so cool.” She and her brother, who also played, didn’t have the most typical musical taste for children. “When I was little, my mom would take me to the library,” she remembers. “My brother and I would look at the classical music cassette tapes and take them home to play. I was interested in Beethoven and Mozart!” MEET NEW PIANO INSTRUCTOR KIRSTEN ROTVOLD! A LIFELONG PASSION

panel and slide your hand along the length of it, you will gather tons of nasty dirt and dust onto the sock. CLEANING BALLS Utilizing tennis balls for your house chores may sound strange. However, when drying a bulky bed comforter in your dryer, adding a few tennis balls will ensure the stuffing does not gather all to one side. The balls help keep everything nice and even. PILLOWCASES AND FANS Your ceiling fans collect all of the nasties — dirt, dust, bugs, and allergens. For an easy way to clean them without spreading all the grime around your home, turn to old pillowcases! Simply slip the pillowcase over each individual fan blade and then wipe. All of the debris will end up in the pillowcase itself. A clean home is the key to happy living and is paramount for hosting over the holidays. With these tricks up your sleeve, you are now a cleaning expert!

Kirsten later started flute around the age of 10, and she is now a flute performance major at the University of Minnesota. She plans to eventually go for her master’s degree, and her ultimate goal is to play flute in a professional ensemble — while still teaching on the side. In her free time, Kirsten plays in the University Symphony Orchestra and the University Wind Ensemble. She also enjoys photography and spending time with her Brittany spaniel, Lexi. As for what she likes best about MnSOM, Kirsten notes, “Playing in orchestras can feel very cutthroat and competitive, but MnSOM isn’t like that. They do a really good job of making the students feel encouraged and like they’re doing well.” Even more importantly, she says, “When you walk in, it’s a nice, friendly environment, and it feels close and tightknit. Mr. Nehring is very welcoming and friendly, and John is always at the front desk, happy and smiling.”

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Autumn M. Ewon B. Emily S. Sam A. Eli D. Jonah F. June A. Jayda A. Autumn J.

Chloe W. Naomi G. Sydney M. Gabrielle C. Liang S. Nick E. Nolan R. Colin C. Genna M.

We’ve already discussed how your child needs emotional support in their musical journey, but something else parents can offer is structure. Since your child is still developing time- management skills, you can help them set up their environment and routine for maximum success. To do so, every parent should know the components of an effective practice session. Music practice should look a lot like a workout with a warmup, a period of increased effort and exertion, and a cool-down. Depending on the student’s skill level, a warmup activity can take many forms. One great way to get the ball rolling is through theory books, which refresh the student’s mind with something familiar. These activities may involve practicing scales, reading stories, or doing simple puzzles. Like with exercise, many music students tend to skip their warmup activity, but they shouldn’t because it puts them in the correct state of mind for the challenge ahead. Focused study — or the task the teacher records in the student’s practice journal — should take up the majority of practice time. Students are most likely to get frustrated during focused study because they’re working on a new concept. Focused study asks the student to do something hard, and they may not always meet the goal we set for them. Your child might get discouraged or be tempted to give up, so this portion of the practice is where your emotional support and encouragement matter most. Many students end their practice after focused study, but they should cool down with musical free time. In other words, they should do something fun! End the practice with something they feel good about by having them play some of their favorite songs. Giving kids the autonomy to choose how they’ll spend this time helps reinforce their love for music and motivates them to keep learning. To make the most of their musical studies, your child should always complete all three components of an effective practice. Your support in structuring their practice time will ensure that they keep progressing both in skill and dedication.

Q: Why did the golfer wear two pairs of pants? A: In case he got a hole in one.

Do you consider yourself a budding comedian? Are you known for your sense of humor? Now Introducing CALEB’S COMEDY CLUB We will select a winner each month to have their joke printed in our newsletter! Winners will receive a Caleb’s Comedy Club T-shirt and sticker. For your chance to be featured in our monthly newsletter, send us your funniest kid-friendly joke to office@mnschoolofmusic.com.

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3533 88th Ave. NE, Blaine, MN 55014 763-432-9713 www.mnschoolofmusic.com



Supporting Your Child Through Music Lessons

Deep-Cleaning Hacks for the Holidays Meet New Piano Instructor Kirsten Rotvold!

Welcome New Students The Three Components of an Effective Practice Session

Corn Mazes Date Back to Ancient Greece?


Exploring a corn maze is a great way to get outside and enjoy the fall season with friends and family — but who came up with the idea of wandering around a corn field for fun? As it turns out, outdoor mazes are an ancient tradition, and the American corn maze of the ‘90s sprouted from the mazes of 17th-century European gardens. Don’t believe it? Here’s a quick tour of corn maze history. THE MINOTAUR AND THE MAZE Have you heard of Theseus and the Minotaur? This ancient Greek legend tells the story of the hero Theseus, who ventured into an elaborate maze to kill the half-man, half-bull imprisoned there. The monstrous Minotaur was known to eat heroes, and the labyrinth was known to trap them, but Theseus managed to slay the Minotaur and find his way home with the help of a string that he unspooled as he walked. This story isn’t the first recorded example of a maze or labyrinth — according to the World History encyclopedia, “[L]abyrinths and labyrinthine symbols have been dated to the Neolithic Age in regions as diverse as modern-day

Turkey, Ireland, Greece, and India, among others” — but it’s perhaps the most famous ancient tale. If you’ve ever navigated a Halloween corn maze staffed by ghouls and ghosts, you can see the parallels! GARDEN ART TO GET LOST IN Mazes formed from bushes began popping up European gardens in the 17th century. They were a popular artistic feature of upper- class gardens in England, more for looking at than solving. One famous example is the half-mile-long Hampton Maze, which was

planted in 1690 and still stands today. THE CORN MAZE: AN AMERICAN INVENTION

Garden mazes eventually hopped the pond to America but didn’t become interactive puzzles until Don Frantz, Creative Director of the American Maze Company, came on the scene. In 1993, Frantz created the “first ever cornfield maze for private and public entertainment” to attract college kids in Pennsylvania. Today, every small-town corn maze is a descendant of his “Amazing Maize Maze.” To learn more about that wacky history, visit AmericanMaze.com.

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