Teacher Spotlight: Daria – Voice, Violin, and Piano Teacher in Frisco, TX

It is our pleasure to introduce Daria, our spectacular piano, voice, and violin teacher in Frisco, TX! Daria offers lessons online and in her Frisco studio.

Daria – Piano, Voice, and Violin

Educational Background
Daria holds both Bachelor of Music and Master of Music from The Manhattan School of Music, the world-renowned music conservatory. She has studied voice with Mignon Dunn and Maitl Peters and accompanying with Kenneth Merrill. She went on to study voice with Lorraine Ernst Sandra Darling and at John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, received her Artist Diploma. Later on she studied voice with David Jones. Additional studies include Musical Theatre from New York University, German Lieder Program from University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Dalcroze Teacher Training Program from the Dalcroze School at Lucy Moses School, Professional Artist Program from Songfest Festival, and Advanced Artist Opera Workshop Program from Daniel Ferro’s Vocal Program.

Daria's Studio
Daria’s Studio

Teaching Background
As a highly dedicated music teacher with more than 16 years of experience, Daria has taught classical voice, musical theatre, piano, beginner violin, and children/youth/adult choirs in a kindergarten, private schools with public schools’ setting, and a college.

Personality/Teaching Style
Daria is a cheerful and uplifting person who has a caring and a passionate heart. She believes in a flexible manner of instruction, responsive to the unique personality of each student.

Styles & Methods I can Teach
Dalcroze, Alfred, Bastien, Hanon, Suzuki, Concone, Marchesi, Alexander Technique, Stage Combat, Hymns, Classical, Musical Theatre, College/Grad school Audition Preparation, Competition Preparation

What others are saying about Daria:

Ms. Chung is extremely dedicated to the concept of education. She feels a strong sense of responsibility to the students in her classes and she takes their success very personally. She is also exceedingly patient with all students, encourages them and coaxes the very best effort from each and every one. And I think this is the reason that her students love her so much and made such a huge improvement on making their music in such a short period of time. Ms. Chung is clearly one of the best faculty I have worked with in the last 19 years.

Daria is an enthusiastic and dedicated teacher. She would lead the students patiently step by step to help them make the right sound needed for the piece. She is willing to repeat as many times as possible until the students finally understand the idea. I have seen many students be amazed at the sound they were able to produce after her coaching.

Daria is a very sincere and caring person. She is able to understand and relate to many different people with various environments which must be the reason she was able to successfully teach various students and work in different environments. Also, she has given many performances for charity for the people in need for help.

Special Skills
Daria has given numerous solo recitals throughout the United States of America, Europe and Korea including New York Debut Solo Recital at Weill Recital at Carnegie Hall as an award recipient. She has also appeared in various chamber ensembles as a soloist and operas as main soprano roles.
Daria was a winner of the Artists International Competition, National Society of Arts and Letters Competition and the NATS Artist Awards Competition.

If you choose to learn from Daria, you will not be disappointed! If you are ready to enroll, click here to fill out our quick enrollment form.

Click here if you have questions and would like to talk to us about scheduling a trial lesson with Daria. If you live in another city in DFW or would like to inquire about our other teachers, let us know! We will do everything we can to match you with your ideal teacher!

Learn How to Play Piano

Why is it helpful and beneficial for any aspiring musician to learn how to play the piano?

kidFor the beginner, the piano is a perfect instrument for so many reasons. For one, the piano is one of the easiest instruments to quickly gain success. Piano students do not need to focus on breath support as is the case with wind instruments. Guitar students need advanced dexterity and must push past the pain and develop callouses on their fingers in order to play comfortably. Not so with the piano. String students must struggle for weeks or months to train their ears to coordinate with their fingers. In contrast, the piano has specific keys. A student doesn’t need a trained ear to learn to hit the right notes to play music. And unlike drummers, those learning the piano learn so much more than simply rhythm.

A student who wishes to learn to play the piano is able to face the piano keys while learning to play. Many instruments require the fingers to be down, facing the audience,  which is more difficult to master. A well-trained pianist will be able to play without looking at the keys, but the beginner is able to gain more immediate success by being able to see the keys they need to play.

Visually the piano is laid out in such a way to make musical concepts and theory straight-forward and much easier to understand. Many musical concepts such as scales, chords, half and whole steps, are very abstract and difficult to explain on many instruments. Concepts such as these are easy to demonstrate and for the beginner to visualize on a piano.

For these reasons those who desire to join most high school and university music programs will be required to first learn how to play the piano before they are able to continue with other musical instruments. In addition to what has been previously mentioned, playing the piano involves the use of both the treble clef and the base clef. Those who wish to compose music will find great benefit in being able to create music on the piano so they can hear all the parts together instead of waiting for each individual instrument to come together in order to hear their musical creation.

We are not saying that playing the piano is a superior skill to playing other instruments, it simply lays a wonderful foundation to enhance any musician’s skills. First learning how to play the piano enable a smooth and easy transition to any instrument. For this reason, if you are looking to ignite a life-long love of music, learning to play the piano is a fantastic place to start.

Starlight Music Lessons has wonderfully skilled and engaging teachers throughout the DFW metroplex. If you or your child would like to learn how to play the piano, our teachers would love to help you get started. We offer in-home piano lessons, as well as lessons on almost any instrument. Our teachers come to you! Click here to enroll in music lessons today! If you have questions and would like to speak with one of our office staff (who are also private music teachers) feel free to contact us.

Musical Preparation for Holiday Fun

web-1018832_960_720Do you ever dream of bringing the gift of live music to family and friend gatherings and celebrations? You have kids in music lessons! That dream can become a reality! Now is the time to prepare. Don’t worry, I won’t be guilting you into adding more stress to your holiday calendar! Here is what I’m suggesting:

img_2521Pick 3-5 of your favorite songs from your child’s piano books. (Or ask your child to do this.) These should be songs your child has already learned. Then encourage them to practice these songs every week. By Thanksgiving the songs should be adequately perfected, and your child can perform a mini recital for your family and friends. And… voila! Wasn’t that fun?

I’m doing this with my own kids, and they are so excited! This has even encouraged my kids to spontaneously join forces at the piano and create their own duets.

What event is not made more delightful and memorable by the addition of live music? Especially from the kids! So I would encourage you to put your children’s lessons to good use and see if they would like to play a few songs during special gatherings. It’s so enjoyable for all.

Be blessed this holiday season!

How to Practice While Away From the Piano

Is your child in and out a lot this summer and having difficulty finding time to practice? While I can’t stress enough the importance of spending time at the piano practicing, did you know there are some things a piano student can do to improve his/her skills even when away from the piano?

POSTURE

Good posture is very important for a piano player. Even when the piano player is away from her beloved instrument, she can practice correct posture. This practice away from the piano will make it easier for her to have correct posture while sitting at the piano.

HAND SHAPE

To play the piano correctly a student must learn to keep her hands in the proper shape while at the piano. Many students like to rest their hands flat on the piano, but this is a bad habit that negatively effects the playing and must be corrected, sooner, rather than later. Encourage your child to practice holding an invisible ball or bubble. This creates the hand shape necessary for playing the piano. The more a student becomes familiar with this hand shape, the better equipped he will be at playing the piano with the correct hand shape.

FINGER CONTROL & RHYTHM

Obviously, playing the piano requires much hand/eye coordination and individual finger control. While away from the piano a student can practice gaining control over his individual fingers. Here’s a simple game that can be fun to play when you have a few minutes to spare. Think: Waiting room, car trips, grandma’s house, etc.

To Play:

  • Have the child hold up both hands, with fingers spread.
  • Call out different finger numbers for the child to wiggle. (Ex: Left hand #4!)
  • The goal is to help your child remember piano finger numbers and practice moving fingers individually.
  • For older/more advanced students you can call out one finger from each hand. (Ex: Left hand 5 & Right Hand 2!) They should practice responding quickly and accurately, and wiggle both fingers at the same time.

This game can be fun and lead to lots of giggles while sneaking in extra practice. 🙂

To add rhythm practice into this game, you can bring along your child’s piano book. Have your child “play” his songs with the correct fingering and rhythm. The child can practice playing the rhythm on a table or on his lap. The fingers will gain practice which can help a student improve, even while away from the piano.

FLASH CARDS
Ah, flash cards…. Some people love ’em, others hate ’em. Frankly, whether a student enjoys or hates flash cards often is a reflection of the attitude they’re presented with. If it is presented as a boring but necessary task, the child will trudge through flash cards only when forced. This doesn’t have to be so! Flash cards can be loads of fun and something that your child actually requests to do! Easiest way to make flash cards an enjoyable task? Make it fun! Make it easily accomplished. Don’t just hand your child a stack of flashcards and say, “Learn these.” Start with 3-5 flashcards. Have the child spend 5 min (or less if they catch on quickly) with those few cards. Then you’re done for the day! The next day have them do those first few cards again. Once they are strong on those, add 1 more card. Now the child only has 4-6 flash cards to work with, but most of them are easily recognized.

If you stay consistent with this method and have your child work on flashcards just about every day, he/she will have the entire stack of cards memorized in a couple of weeks! That might not sound like a great accomplishment, but IT TRULY IS! Usually what holds beginning students back like nothing else is a struggle with identifying notes on the staff. If they can learn to identify the notes with ease, learning new songs and progressing to bigger and better pieces is SO much easier! Click on the picture below in order to print out free flashcards for the Treble Clef and the Bass Clef.

You can also turn flashcard practice into a game: a race against the clock! Set a timer and see how many flashcards you can do in that amount of time. Then see if you can increase your score every day. Encourage your child to tell his/her teacher about the progress he is making in his flashcard time. His teacher can be a cheerleader and extra encouragement to get those flashcards learned!

If you have a child that can easily identify note names, don’t think they are done with flash cards! Oh, no! You can use this same simple method to help him/her quickly master a plethora of crucial music theory concepts such as intervals, dynamics, and other important theory. Hint: This method is also a great way to study for tests in all subjects. Remember, rather than trying to soak it all in at once, break the subject into smaller chunks. Go over that small chunk multiple times until it’s imprinted. Then add another small chunk. This is the best way to retain large amounts of information quickly.

Other ways may be used to improve music skill while away from the instrument, but this is a quick overview of a few ways to get your child practicing today! Don’t let the busyness of life get in the way of improving!

Want to hear a fun piano prodigy? Click on the video below. Hint: If you just want to hear the piano playing, skip ahead to 3:20. Do you think this child was born with incredible skill? Perhaps. But what is more likely is that he practices every day. If you want your child to improve on his/her instrument, even 15 minutes of practice per day can make all the difference! Consistency is key. Enjoy your summer, and enjoy that practice! 


Pssst! Did you know that Starlight Music Lessons offers a Practice Program that makes practicing fun?

Practice Pals
We take the dread out of Practicing!
Practicing is a must. Period. But practicing can also be fun! Our Practice Pals program is an add-on program available to those taking lessons. When you enroll in Practice Pals, your practice leader guides your practice sessions three times per week online via webcam. Practice Pals makes your practicing fun, engaging, efficient and motivating. Students who practice regularly will progress faster, enjoy learning more (since they can quickly see progress) and are more likely to build a life-long love of music.

November Newsletter: The Importance of Effective Practice and Setting Goals

Is practicing a chore in your home? Developing consistent and effective practicing habits is often the biggest struggle for those learning an instrument. Sometimes you just need a little help. If practicing is a struggle in your home, you could definitely benefit from our Practice Pals program. This program allows you or your child to have a Practice Leader actually practice with you three times each week! This is a great opportunity for beginning students as well as for those who have been playing for years.Practice Pals

Practice Pals can help teach a student how to practice by walking with the student through his/her practice assignments throughout the week in a fun, engaging way. This will help lay a solid foundation for long-term musical success. It is crucial for a student to not only practice, but practice in such a way to make that time effective. If a student doesn’t know how to practice, much time will be wasted. Many students get discouraged due to ineffective practicing habits, leading to dropping out of private lessons. We have spoken with many adults who have had that experience themselves, only to regret their decision to quit music lessons.

We want to help! Practicing doesn’t have to be a chore! Give Practice Pals a try and see the amazing difference in your child’s progress! Don’t let your kid be the one who grows weary of the process and quits, only to regret that decision for the rest of their lives. Contact us today to get started with Practice Pals!


Setting Goals
It’s amazing what a difference having goals to work toward can make, no matter what the area of life. You set goals for yourself, right? Business goals, fitness goals, spiritual, financial, family goals, etc. Music education is no different. Goals are so valuable in keeping music students motivated and excited about their education. Do you or your child have musical goals to work toward? Here are some ideas that might help motivate the musician in your family: 

  • Participate in Starlight’s recitals!
  • Schedule family recitals for your child throughout the year. Invite grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts, and family friends. Have your child put on a mini-performance.
  • Set a goal date in which your child successfully completes his book. (This one’s a larger goal, you might want to break it up into smaller goals for accomplishing specific songs in a certain amount of time.) You can speak with your child’s teacher to figure out what reasonable goals might look like. 
  • For every 30 minutes of practice the child gets 30 minutes of tv/video game/computer time.
  • If the child practices for the agreed upon time each week they get special time with mom or dad. (Making cookies, go on a special walk, play a board game, etc.)
  • Here’s an idea that can help students visually see their effort: Place two jars on the piano, one with beads (or rocks, pennies, marbles, etc.) and one is empty. Every day the student practices he/she can move one bead from the full jar to the empty one. Once the jar is full the child gets a special prize. This may or may not cost money, depending on your family goals. Maybe your child can get a special toy or movie when the jar is full. Maybe you can have a special family day out. Maybe the reward can be a lazy Saturday: movies and games all day long! 

Be creative, and don’t be afraid to get your child involved in the brainstorming process! Encourage their practice to be a fun activity that they look forward to every day!

But DON’T

  • Use their music practice as a punishment. This will create a negative association with music, and they will likely lose interest in learning music altogether.
  • Don’t ridicule or make fun of mistakes your child makes. Learning an instrument is challenging, and they WILL make mistakes! Regularly! If they feel shame or embarrassment for those mistakes they will lose heart. 
  • Don’t force your child to perform in front of family and friends if they don’t want to.
  • Don’t apologize to others about your child’s weak/flawed performance. They are doing their best, and they will grow the best in a supportive and nurturing environment. Children who fear ridicule or shame will often just give up.

As always, if you ever have any questions or struggles or need ideas, feel free to discuss your thoughts with your child’s teacher, and you are always welcome to contact us in the office about you or your child’s lessons. Hopefully you will be able to take something away from these tips to help your child on his/her musical journey!

Have a wonderfully happy holiday season!

Introducing Jessica, Starlight’s Newest Piano Teacher in Carrollton, TX!

Jessica
Jessica

We are pleased to welcome Jessica to our team of awesome teachers!

Jessica attended Pensacola Christian College where she studied under Daisy Deluca Jaffe and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Piano Pedagogy as well as her Master’s in Music Education.

Jessica has taught beginning elementary students and helped adult students achieve their dream of playing the piano.

Enthusiasm and positivity are key elements to lessons with Jessica. She is constantly challenging and increasing students’ abilities through memorization and incentives. Jessica’s friendly and encouraging attitude help lessons pass quickly. Students will be excited for their time together and to show off their progress to others.

Styles and methods Jessica can teach include: Beginner, Classical, Hymns, Piano Accompaniment, Pre-School Piano Classes

Feedback & References

Jessica is confident, organized, inspiring, and demanding, yet kind.  She has a very pleasant, likable nature that will be attractive to both children and parents. I would describe her strengths as being well-trained, sweet-spirited, a hard worker, and energetic.” – Dean of Visual and Performing Arts, Pensacola Christian College, FL

Jessica is an exemplary student, has high goals for her life as well as being very conscientious in all of the tasks that are placed before her. She enjoys her life, has a great sense of humor but most of all, Jessica accomplishes her goals with diligence, honesty and integrity and strives to achieve above the norm.” – Previous Piano teacher from elementary school through senior in High School.

Jessica has grown up playing the piano in church and has traveled the country accompanying vocal ensembles. She has extensive background in church music and performance.

Jessica will teach in the following cities: Carrollton, Frisco, Plano, The Colony

If you are looking for a piano teacher in Carrollton look no further! Contact us to schedule a trial lesson with Jessica. We have great teachers all over the DFW metroplex, so if you are looking for a music teacher, contact us today!