Winter Session RCM Examinations

Bravo to Andrei Lao who received a mark of 88 on his Grade 1 RCM Examination!

Upcoming Events

Spring Session RCM Examinations

Good Luck to the following students who will be taking examinations in April:

Dinuri Punchihewa, Grade 2 piano

Noelle Puhacz, Grade 3 piano

Bridget Puhacz, Grade 4 piano

Aidan Lao, Grade 5 piano

North York Music Festival:  April 4, 6, 10-12, 17-20, 24-27, May 2-3

Location:  Lawrence Park Community Church (2180 Bayview Avenue, North York)

ORMTA Scarborough Auditions 2015:  April 11

Location:  Bendale Bible Chapel (328 Bellamy Rd North, just South of Lawrence)

Oshawa-Whitby Kiwanis Music Festival:  April 13-24

ORMTA Scarborough Honour Recital 2015:  April 26 

Location:  Bendale Bible Chapel (328 Bellamy Rd North, just South of Lawrence) 

This Month's Feature  

Can my child learn to play songs that are currently on the radio or tunes that are more familiar?

This is a good question.  I try to do this when I can but unfortunately, there really are very few books that feature songs that are currently playing on the radio. In fact, I have not yet found a method book where this is the case.  (Method books introduce musical concepts gradually according to various approaches depending on the author's preferences.) Occasionally, I have found sheet music that is suitable but often it is not at an early beginner level of piano study.  There is also the issue of the age appropriateness of some of the songs playing on the radio as many of the lyrics contain mature subject matter not suitable for young students.  Recently, I found Firework by Katy Perry for one particular student.  This was for a pre-teen who had completed more than 2 years of lessons.

I could make arrangements for my students to play based on what is on the radio but there are a couple of issues with this.  I could not publicize or use my arrangements without the approval of the composer or the   publishers. I would also want to be compensated for my efforts in this regard.   As far as familiar tunes go, I could make arrangements of those tunes that no longer have copyright issues associated with them. Many people have done this and there are many music books with such tunes in them but the tunes are from long ago.  The tunes are older because copyright generally lasts for 50 years after the composer dies.  Once copyright has expired, a musical work falls into the public domain and anyone has the right to record it, copy it, modify it, or adapt it.  Any new arrangements of public domain material can then also be subject to copyright claims by the arranger.  For example, I could create and publish my own arrangement of "Amazing Grace", a tune that is familiar to many people, and my new arrangement would be subject to copyright.    Complicating the matter even further is that different countries have different rules about copyright. For example, the melody for "Happy Birthday" was written in 1893 for a song called "Good Morning to You", so the tune (when played without the lyrics) is in the public domain. However, when the tune is performed with the familiar lyrics to become ”Happy Birthday to You,” it is still under copyright in the U.S.  The copyright has expired in Canada.  This is illustrated in many of the method books my students use.  These books will often have simple versions of "Good Morning to You" which my students immediately recognize as the birthday song.

Socan, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, is the not-for-profit organization that represents the Canadian performing rights of Canadian and international music creators and publishers.  Through licenses, Socan grants businesses the right to use any music that they wish and distributes royalties to its members and equivalent societies and groups around the world. The relationship that Socan has with these other similar groups is a reciprocal one too.  Finally, Socan plays an advocacy role on behalf of their members to ensure that copyright is respected and further, plays a role in nurturing emerging artists. 

In conclusion, please know that I will continue to explore and provide opportunities where I can to include music currently on the radio in student repertoire for those students that desire this.