The Nelly Berman School of Music will be offering a number of online music programs, including online music lessons, online group theory classes, online performance classes, and an online “Practice-a-thon” Practice Challenge from March 13, 2020, until MontCo businesses reopen.

According to our teachers who have been teaching online for years, there are many benefits to online lessons, including:

  • Lessons can be recorded and students see their own posture and hands on the screen, which allows them to correct it better.
  • Recording and listening back allows students to hear themselves from an audience perspective – they’ll hear the incorrect phrasings, issues with balance and tone, and will be able to refine their pieces, and give themselves suggestions, as they do to others in performance classes. 

If you are an orchestra, band, or vocal ensemble student who would like to use this time to improve your music skills, our teachers are available to help! Please contact us for availability and pricing at office@nbsmusic.com.

The Nelly Berman School of Music will also be offering online group theory & music history lessons starting next week! The classes will be taught by piano/theory faculty member Dr. Ariane Alexander, whose theory/composition student recently won the PA MTNA Composition Competition.

  • These classes are interactive – students will be able to talk with each other and with Dr. Alexander in an online classroom format.
  • In music theory – offered Saturdays at 4PM – students will cover theory topics including: key signatures, major & minor scale structures, intervals, simple, compound and asymmetrical meters, basic modulation, and easy rhythmic and melodic dictation.
  • In music history – offered Wednesdays at 5:30pm – students will learn about some of the historical periods of music, including Medieval & Renaissance, Baroque, Early Classical, Romantic, Impressionistic, and 20th & 21st Centuries
  • Classes will be $36 per student and the curriculum for each class is 10 weeks long (total tuition: $360).

If you are interested in learning more about how music is written and learning more about the inspiration and historical context behind the works of famous composers, contact office@nbsmusic.com to sign up for online group theory/music history!

Starting on Saturday, February 21st, we’ll be holding our first online performance class!

  • Join our private Facebook group, upload your child’s video to the group (only viewable to group members) and leave (kind and constructive) comments on others’ videos.
  • Tune into our live “watch parties” at 3:00PM on Saturdays, where all viewers can listen and leave comments in real time!

The Nelly Berman School of Music will also be holding a few online competitions and challenges to make sure our students stay motivated:

Technique Skills Building”, a Biannual Studies Competition Online!

  • For our piano and string students this semester!
  • Important dates:
    • Registration – Register online via GoogleForm. The online registration is open from March 23 to March 27
    • Competition Application DeadlineMarch 27, 2020
    • Video Submission Deadline – April 24, 2020
  • The Nelly Berman School is excited to present to you a music technique program focusing on studies and etudes. 
  • The “Technique Skills Building” Studies Competition will be conducted online and will be open to all Nelly Berman School of Music piano and string students and will take place two times a year, during the fall semester and spring semester. It is our desire and goal that this new “Technique Skills Building” competition will motivate our students to develop superior technique which will, in turn, allow them to play some of the most beautiful and sophisticated repertoire in music literature.
  • This semester, the participation is free, due to the coronavirus situation.
  • The program consists of 5 levels, from Beginner to Artist Level.
  • Teachers of participating students will assign the suggested studies for each of the skill levels listed below. Students can choose to complete one skill/one study per competition in each level, or up to 4 studies to complete that level in entirety, which will allow them to move to the higher level at the next semester’s competition. Students will gain a clear understanding of what it takes to move up a level and what kind of repertoire, upon completing their level, they will be able to perform successfully. 
  • All participating students will be receiving a score from the judges, who will judge them on technical skill and musicality. The top three scores and two honorable mentions will be listed on the NBS website, and the top five audition videos will be streamed on our website. 
  • Students who complete the Artist Level will be put on the NBS Wall of Fame and represent NBS at an annual award winners’ Gala Concert.

Guidelines for studies/etudes selection:

PIANISTS

Teachers should assign students studies appropriate to their level. 

  • Level I – Beginner
  • Choose one or more studies focusing on the following technical skills listed below. To pass level I and move to level II, you must complete a study for all listed skills:
  1. Scale based study emphasizing the right hand 
  2. Scale based study emphasizing the left hand
  3. Arpeggio based study
  4. Mixed technique study, i.e. focusing on thirds, repetitions, sixths, chords, etc.
  • Suggested studies: studies from Book 1 of Czerny-Germer, Loeschhorn, Bergmuller, or other studies of similar difficulty level
  • Level II – Advanced Beginner 
  • Choose one or more studies focusing on the following technique skills. To pass level II and move to level III, you must complete a study for all listed skills:
  1. Scale based study emphasizing the right hand
  2. Scale based study emphasizing the left hand
  3. Arpeggio based study
  4. One mixed technique study: such as thirds, or chords, repetitions, etc.
  • Suggested: studies from Book 2 of Czerny-Germer, or other studies of similar difficulty level
  • Level III – Intermediate 
  • Choose one or more study or etude focusing on the following technique skills. To pass level III and move to level IV, you must complete a study for all listed skills:
  1. Scale based study
  2. Arpeggio based study
  3. Mixed technique: thirds based study/or large chords, turns, repetitions, jumps, etc
  4. Octave based study, or another mixed technique, if the hand is too small for octaves
  • Suggested: studies from Book 1 or 2 of Czerny Op.299, Liszt Op. 1, or other studies of similar difficulty level
  • Level IV – Advanced
  • 4 studies, with at least 2 from the suggested composers, must be performed to pass level IV and move to level V
  1. Must have emotional expressive texture, with the melody interwoven through the technical elements
  • Suggested: Moszkowski (from 15 Grande Etudes), Chopin (Op. 10 & Op. 25), Liszt (Etudes de Concert), Scriabin (12 Etudes, Op. 8), or other studies of similar difficulty level
  • Level V- Artist
  • 4 etudes from the following composers must be performed to complete the Nelly Berman School of Music “Technique Skills Building Program”:
  1. Chopin – Op. 10 & 25
  2. Liszt – Transcendental Etudes
  3. Scriabin – 12 Etudes, Op. 8 or another Opus.
  4. Rachmaninov – Etudes-Tableaux
  5. Kapustin – 8 Concert Etudes, Op 40 

STRINGS

  • Teachers should assign students a study appropriate to their level. Studies/skills levels TBA
  • Registration – Register online via GoogleForm. The online registration is open from March 23 to March 27. 
  • Deadline – March 27, after which date NO CHANGES WILL BE MADE.

Guidelines for Competition Video Submission:

  • Deadline – April 24, after which date NO SUBMISSIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED
  • All submissions should be emailed to office@nbsmusic.com with the title indicating “[Student Name], Technique Skills Building Studies Competition”.
  • The email body should indicate the level and particular skill the student is competing in.
  • The submission video must be clearly shot, with a full view of the musician’s upper body, instrument, and hands.
  • This semester, during our closure due to coronavirus, the competition will be free for all NBS students through our NBSCMI 501(c)(3) nonprofit scholarship program. 
  • The piano competition will be judged by NBS faculty for Level 1, 2, and 3, and by Professor Faina Lushtak, head of the Piano Department at Tulane University, and judge of the Chicago International Music Competition, among others, for Level 4 and 5. 
  • The strings competition will be judged by NBS faculty for Level 1, 2 and 3, and by Paul Arnold, a violinist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, for Level 4 and 5. 
  • Starting from the fall 2020 semester, the cost for participation will be $25 per student entry. Students will receive the judges’ scores and comments and a certificate of completion for those who complete a level. We will post a list of participating students on our website and the recordings of the top 5 students.
  • Donations by check (made out to NBSCMI and mailed to 461 W. Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, PA 19041) or through Paypal (through nbsmusic.com/support) are appreciated to help cover the costs of the competition!
  • Weekly “Practice-a-Thon” Practice Challenges
    • All interested students can submit their weekly “Practice-a-thon” practice charts; the top three will be listed every Monday on the website and on Facebook
    • All “Practice-a-Thon” participants are encouraged to participate in the weekly performance classes online!

While lessons move online, the Nelly Berman School of Music will be offering recording audio files of accompaniment parts by our accompanist, Yanzhima.

These accompaniment recordings can be used by students to aid their practice at home. In Russia, all strings, winds, brass, and voice teachers had an accompanist present at all lessons; students would rehearse with accompaniment, hear how the piece was written, and hear themselves as a melody in a larger harmonic structure, instead of as a single line.
Though the experience differs from the work that an accompanist does with a student in in-person accompaniment rehearsals, where the student learns how to perform with another person, give and receive cues, and feel the piece as it is meant to be performed live, there are a lot of benefits:

  • Students learn rhythms quicker
  • They figure out where they were out of tune or had a wrong note sooner
  • They are able to learn their pieces at a much faster pace.

Please see below for pricing:

Recording of accompaniment part:

  • $10 for a piece from Suzuki Volume I
  • $15 for a piece from Suzuki Volume II
  • $20 for a piece from Suzuki Volume III
  • $30 for a piece from Suzuki Volume IV
  • $40 for non-Suzuki & more difficult pieces

*Discounts are available if students would like to request recordings for multiple pieces; all desired pieces must be requested at the same time for discount to apply. We encourage students to request more than one piece at once. Please inquire via email.