Teaching / Music Musings
As a Teacher
Suz shares an expansive approach to playing with the language of music by integrating diverse learning styles—students explore how to speak and understand music by ear (oral tradition), how to read and write it (written tradition), and how to use chord theory to understand how songs are made. For example, is Fur Elise hundreds of notes—or a few simple chords? See her Music Musings Factsheets to learn more.
Suz teaches: Piano, voice, guitar, ukulele, mandolin, and bass — as well as practical songwriting skills, recording and CD production, orchestrating and arranging, rock band coaching, and music technology (notation and recording software and other digital doo-dads). She delights in inviting students to explore their unique musical journeys. Learn more about Suz’s workshops here.
Check out Suz’s YouTube videos below and FREE FACTSHEETS below. You can also find her free instructional videos on her YouTube channel — and a fun presentation of the below information in Piano Dreams: the Movie.
Download Suz’s free factsheets for more music fun
Suz’s Music Musings factsheets can be downloaded right here (in .PDF format). Learn how to:
• play a melody by ear, using just 7 simple piano notes • instantly make up songs using just 3 chords • understand how songs are made • play 1950s songs using just 4 chords • easily create a song’s feel & style with bass lines (made out of chords!) • improvise (make up melodies) using a simple - but really groovy — blues scale! • have oodles of fun with music RIGHT AWAY!
“Suz invites people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to find the music uniquely in them. She believes that music belongs to everyone, not just “the professionals.”
Suz’s New Music Theory Factsheets (free to download)
Click on the title of the factsheet below to preview it, then select the download button to download it to your hard drive.
Explains the quick and easy formula for creating major scales in any key based on understanding the intervals between the seven notes of a scale. Covers different ways to remember this formula, and includes a practice sheet for writing out major scales starting on notes of almost every Western Scale, organized in the order of the circle of fifths.
Planning a memorial service while dealing with the emotional aspects of losing of a loved can be challenging. This article, written by a seasoned performer who has provided music at hundreds of funerals and memorials, helps you understand how to choose music for memorial services, and — most important -what the function of the music and musicians are at these gatherings. This article is free to copy and share, but not to sell or re-sell.
NEW! How to Transpose a Song
A practical (and easy to understand) introduction to how to transpose (change) the key of a song to a different one. Includes explanations of major chords, minor chords, how to simplify a song (with a detailed example), and handy at-a-glance transposing charts for both Major and minor keys — not to mention a brief explanation of what the heck a key is! 3 pages.
Different ways to look at a scale.
This handout shows 6 different languages used to talk about a C Scale, from notes on a staff to note names, numbers, solfege, scale formula and tetrachords — all in one handy chart. It describes the advantage of each one, and also shows a scale in guitar and mandolin/ violin tablature. ALSO includes a BONUS guide to the old “Guitar & Mandolin/ Violin Switcheroo Trick” (how to flip a chord upside down from the guitar and play it on a mandolin).
A handy chart to help you easily transpose chords from one key to another. Each row shows the 7 different chords built on the notes of the scale in any given key (chord number 1 is the name of the key). Just take the chord numbers from the key a song is in, and play the same chord numbers from a different key. Each key has 7 different chords.
A handy Chart to help you easily transpose chords from one key to another. Each row shows the 7 different chords built on the notes of a scale in any of the minor keys (chord number 1 is the name of the key). Just take the chord numbers from the key a song is in, and play the same chord number from a different key.
Blank Chords by Measure Chart
Here is a template of a blank “Chord by Measure” chart. Add the title of your song, chords used for the intro, and then the name of chords measure by measure. A great way to chart out a song by how the chords line up in a given measure, based on the number of beats per measure. For guitar, piano, or any instruments that use chords.
Blank Ukulele Chord Diagram Chart
A page of Blank Ukulele chord diagrams, so you can easily draw your own Ukulele chord diagrams.
A Visual Look at 7, 9, 11 and 13 chords
A graphic look at the basic way chords are made out of skips on the keyboard.
Note Geometry of Chords No. 1
A nifty chart in which you can draw lines between the 3 notes of every chord in the key of C, and see the resulting geometric shape.
Note Geometry of Chords, No. 2
More geometric shape drawing exercises for various kinds of C chords.
How to Memorize Notes of a C Scale
A quick, visual guide to memorizing the name of the 7 notes of the musical alphabet (and of the 7 notes that make up the C Scale).
How to Memorize Notes on the Treble Staff
A quick and easy way to memorize the names of the notes on the lines and spaces of the treble staff.
How to Memorize Notes on the Bass Staff
A quick and easy guide to memorizing the names of the notes on the lines and spaces of the bass staff.
New! Amazing Grace chords - 5 Variations
Five different versions of how to play Amazing Grace. Includes words & chord to these styles: 1) 3-chord easy version; 2) Softened version (minor chords); 3) More chords (minors and 7ths); 4) Jazz Ballad Style (Major 7th and 9ths); and 5) Gospel Style (alternate bass notes, 4 chords with 5 bass notes, 1 to 4 chord riffs).
Suz’s How-to Videos on YouTube
Suz now has free educational videos on her YouTube channel. Check out the titles below, and click on ones you’d like to learn about. Contact Suz if you have suggestions for topics you’d be interested in learning more about.