Certificate of Merit 2015-2016 Assessments

  Monday, August 29, 2016 by Peter Dickson Lopez | Uncategorized

I mentor select students to pursue the Certificate of Merit (CM) course of study which is designed, offered, and evaluated by The Music Teacher's Association of California.  To a certain extent, I teach all students with this course of study in mind.  However, those who decide to formally pursue this and take the CM evaluations receive more intense and rigorous study with me.  

There is a dual benefit for students and parents to opt in to CM:

  1. CM is a great learning experience for students; they gain valuable performance experience; beyond this, they also learn about the importance of focused concentration, attention to detail, and working toward a high standard.
  2. Parents learn from the evaluation results not only how well their students are doing, but also how well the teacher is teaching!  CM provides an impartial third party evaluation of both the student and teacher.

Beyond this dual benefit, the students learn about commitment, persistence, dedication, hard work, and the benefits of that hard work, not least of which is a feeling of satisfaction and inner joy upon performing well.

I am delighted to share with all of you that the three students who opted in to CM this past year (2015-2016)  received EXCELLENT (the highest evaluation) in all categories as is detailed in the chart below.  I have to say that for any student to get EXCELLENT in ALL categories is not an easy task!  I did work these three students very hard, but in a spirit of joyful learning and high expectations.

Congratulations again to these three students!


Student Student #1 Student #2 Student #3
CM Level 1 2 3
Sight Reading Excellent Excellent Excellent
Technique Excellent Excellent Excellent
Repertoire Excellent Excellent Excellent
86% 94% 89%
Repertoire Program
(all pieces memorized)

Little Prelude, 
Ludwig Schytte
Ancient Dance, 
Michael Praetorious

Minuet in G major, BWV Anh 114, Johann Sebastian Bach
Franz Joseph Haydn

Minuet in G, BVW 116, 
Johann Sebastian Bach
Sonatina, Op. 36, No. 1, Vivace, 
Muzio Clementi
Planets and Stars, When the Planets Are Aligned, 
Nancy Telfer

Chopin Nocturne #20 in C# Minor: Learning Two Against Three

Friday, February 19, 2016 by Peter Dickson Lopez | Uncategorized

Listen to the audio file.

View and download the exercise PDF file.

Chopin Nocturne #20 in C# Minor: Tutorial #3 (Level 3 Ornamentation and Tempo)

Friday, February 19, 2016 by Peter Dickson Lopez | Uncategorized

Closing Section, bars 46 to the end. This tutorial covers ornamentation level 3 (notated glissandos) and tempo. In particular, lacking any specific metronome marking (MM), how does Chopin indicate what the tempo is beyond the general term "Lento con gran espressione")? I address the need to balance what is uploaded on Youtube with a deeper understanding and analysis of the music itself, as well as primary sources such as the original handwritten manuscript (not necessarily or only the "first" edition").