Welcome back! I hope everyone enjoyed Part 1 of Tap Is Music (And I Can Prove It). We’re halfway there so read on, true believers! So far we have covered how tap dancers can control their dynamics to make steps loud and soft and how they can sustain certain “notes”. This article will focus on [...]
Without a doubt, one of my most commonly asked questions by students of all ages is, “why don’t you play music with lyrics?” It isn’t that I refuse to play music with lyrics but for so many reasons, I find music without lyrics better supports my teaching philosophy, my mission, and my lesson plans. Here’s [...]
The studio I work at has three studios – one large and two small — as well as a small theatre space that seats about 100 people. The two smaller studios and the theatre space have an upright acoustic piano, and the larger studio has a baby grand piano. I actually prefer to play on the upright acoustic pianos as I find their tone more appealing – not to mention the fact that I can get more emotion out of these pianos!
Musical creativity (or musical artistry) is the ability to connect with accompanying music, interpret it, or phrase and add movement dynamics that relate to music even in the absence of accompaniment, in a way that is unique or interesting. Musicality in dance then might be considered a measure or degree to which a dancer is receptive and creative in his translation or rendering of music through movement.
I’ve used this exercise with students before (usually in preparation for moving to the chosen selection). What I’ve noticed is that when listening to music, the students easily observe and express their reaction based upon what they’ve heard coming through the speakers. With very little prompting, they come up with vivid ideas, even without the benefit of lyrics as clues to the song’s intention.
There’s no questioning Michael Jackson’s influence on our current pop music and dance culture. His life was somewhat of a tragedy but his talent was a gift. So, in honor of this icon, I’m taking a moment to celebrate that gift.
There are many inventive ways that dance teachers can lay a foundation for musicality and a competency in musical theory within their classes. The suggestions (or perhaps more accurately, principles) below are by no means a complete guide to accomplishing the task but, hopefully they’ll prime the pump of your own creativity.