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ABC Academy of Music

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Adina Vlasov2021-08-04T04:23:39-04:00

Project Description

B.Mus (Humber) in-progress

Adina is a singer-songwriter based in Toronto completing her Bachelor of Music degree at Humber College in vocal performance. Trained classically in piano since the age of 5, she has branched out into pop and jazz as well.

Vocally she is well-versed in many genres including jazz (she loves to scat!), musical theatre, pop, singer-songwriter, country, R&B, and acappella. She has 7 years of choir experience in both chamber and jazz styles. Adina has been writing and singing original songs since the age of 12, and has two singles as well as an EP out on all platforms under the artist name Adina V.

She has performed all across southern Ontario singing with the Toronto All-Star Big Band, as well as at various venues in the GTA with her own jazz duos and trios. As a member of the Cawthra Park Chamber Choir she performed at Roy Thompson Hall with the TSO for two years in a row. At Humber College she is part of the Vocal Jazz Ensemble led by Lisa Martinelli; this group performs advanced repertoire at events like the Ontario Vocal Jazz Festival.

Adina has been teaching music for the past 7 years and loves helping students meet their personal goals while fostering a love of music that lasts forever!

Get to know Adina…Beyond the Bio!

Hobbies: reading, puzzles, video games, painting

Musical Influences: Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, Doris Day, Joni Mitchell, Taylor Swift, John Mayer

Favourite Food: Pad Thai

Least favourite food: eggplant

Favourite music: Indie rock and folk

Favourite song: All I Need by Jacob Collier ft. Mahalia & Ty Dolla $ign

Favourite movie: Matilda

Favourite movie music: The Pirates of the Caribbean theme

Favourite Musical: Dear Evan Hansen or The Last Five Years

Best Quote from your teacher: “It’s an amazing and wonderful experience to be able to be intentional about, in the moment, making music”

Favourite Quote: “Even as we are, we are becoming”

Favourite Book: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy – Stieg Larsson

Best thing about teaching at ABC: Sharing and fostering a love of music with students of all ages

Latest Homework from Adina

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Sunday, June 13th, 2021


Recommended minutes to practice: 15 minutes a day

What to practice: Rockin’ Robin, Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu

How to practice it most effectively: Please keep practicing Rockin’ Robin this week, full thing hands together! You can start looking at Rockin’ Pneumonia, keeping in mind we are in G major (so key signature of F#), with LH playing a lot of 5ths. RH’s melody uses even eighth notes (so no swinging long-short), and we labelled the tied rhythms that pop up throughout the piece.



Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes a day

What to practice: Rockets & Sea Divers, Play a Fourth, July the Fourth

How to practice it most effectively: Please bend your fingers a little more when you are playing your pieces. For Rockets and Sea Divers, try playing with dynamics (the f, p, mf markings). These two songs are very similar and use many skips and steps. For Play a Fourth and July the Fourth there is a new interval – the 4th! On the page you’ll see this as line to space, or space to line. Please pay careful attention to when 4ths switch to 3rds (these go line to line, or space to space). Watch out for repeated notes and tied notes!



June 13th, 2021|

Tuesday, June 15th, 2021


Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes a day

What to practice: Play a Third, Puppies and Guppies

How to practice it most effectively: For Play a Third, please be careful with the last bars for each hand (there is always a combination of steps and skips). Remember that skips move line to line or space to space, and we skip a finger number as well as a key. In Puppies and Guppies, the first 2 bars are all skips, and the next 2 are all steps. It would be helpful to point with your opposite hand to help you see the directions and any repeated notes.



Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes a day

What to practice: ooh-ah 5ths warmup *going up only*, Little Do You Know, My Girl

How to practice it most effectively: for the warmup, please only go as high as A5 as your bottom note. Anytime you feel straining you don’t have to continue! See if you can exaggerate the slide between your bottom and top note. For Little Do You Know, play around with trying to sing the guy part in chorus 2 and 3, then the girl part. For her part (I know it’s a little quieter), your guide note for the 2nd chorus is E4, and your guide note for the 3rd chorus is G4. Please continue to sing My Girl with the lyric video I linked last week – we will start with this one next class.



Recommended minutes to practice: 15 minutes a day

What to practice: warmups, Do a Deer, Michelle, So Long Farewell

How to practice it most effectively: A great warmup to continue doing is the skips warmup, which starts on C-E-G-E-C, using “ya-ya-ya” then moves up to D-F-A, E-G-B, etc. For Do a Deer, see if you can find a lyric video to help you learn the beginning verse section as well as the cute little ending. In Michelle, the French lyrics are “sont les mots qui vont tres bien ensemble” – try practicing speaking these a few times for pronunciation before singing them. Here is a lyric video for So Long, Farewell to start working with:



Recommended minutes to practice: 15 minutes a day

What to practice: scales, Court Dance, and finishing the rest of the “Theory” scales on page 5.

How to practice it most effectively: Please continue to play G major and F major scales hands separately; you can put C major hands together. Notice how the finger 3s line up together on E and A. For Court Dance, start by playing hands separately for the first part of the week, then try hands together closer to our next lesson. We are no longer in one position for the entire song! Please double check all notes and fingerings by using your sayings (Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge and FACE for treble clef; Good Birds Don’t Fly Away and All Cows Eat Grass for bass clef). See if you can add in the staccato articulation. Please complete the scales with note names and circling the tonic, dominant, and leading tones on page 5.



Recommended minutes to practice: 15 minutes a day

What to practice: Changing Moods, Sword Dance, Jazz Blast, any other songs you enjoyed from this book!

How to practice it most effectively: For Changing Moods you can now add the D and A position section – as always, take it a moderate speed so all fingers line up between the hands. For Sword Dance, you’re ready to add the fun dynamics in! Please also be careful whenever RH has phrases starting on E (bottom treble line), and remember that bars 13-16 are up the octave. For Jazz Blast, we wrote in the counting for the “2 and” beats. You can try this one hands together, noting when there are flats in the melody. Have a great summer!



Recommended minutes to practice: 20 minutes a day

What to practice: Frere Jacques Stands on His Head, Liebestraum, transposing Merry Widow Waltz and Spring!

How to practice it most effectively: For Frere Jacques Stands on His Head, you can try it hands together, noticing how RH’s melody is just repeated in LH. Please remember the Bbs and ties, and don’t rush the eighth note section. For Liebestraum, there are lots of 3rd and 6th intervals. Double check all your accidentals for this one! For fun, take songs you know really well (like Spring and Merry Widow Waltz) and try transposing them to different keys (like G major, D major, F major, etc.) Have a great summer!



Recommended minutes to practice: 20 minutes a day

What to practice: Burlesque in G, Pyrenese Melody, revisiting old songs you like!

How to practice it most effectively: For the Burlesque, remember to play LH down the octave! Please hold RH’s eighth notes the full value before playing the sixteenth notes they’re attached to. The last step for this one is working on the fluid transitions between bars. For Pyranese Melody, you’re ready to gradually speed it up! Try thinking of when you hit your A tonic triad. This summer you can try revisiting some of the pieces you enjoyed playing. Have a great summer!

June 16th, 2021|

Wednesday, August 18th, 2021


Recommended minutes to practice: 15-20 minutes a day

What to practice: warmups, Reflection, C’s Rock, Mozart’s Five Names

How to practice it most effectively: For your warmups this week, see if you can go through all 5 vowels for the 5-note major warmups. For the skips sliding down warmup, stick to just “ah”. Another good guideline is for the higher 5-note warmups, use open vowels like “ah” or “oh”. For Reflection, keep up the great work with your open vowels and gentle vocal tone! The one spot to be careful of is “Why is my reflection someone I don’t know” because it’s such a long phrase; the best place to breathe is after the word “I”. I’ll link a good karaoke to practice with below – the flute is also doing the melody, so you can use this to guide you. Please remember you can still always go back to using the lyric video to review. C’s Rock on piano will be a warmup song this week; our main piano piece is Mozart’s Five Names. The hands both start in C position, but as the piece goes on there are circled finger numbers which mean you must switch position. As long as you use your sayings you will be good to go! Anytime there is a slur, do your best to connect.


Recommended minutes to practice: 15 minutes a day

What to practice: Sailing in the Sun, Ferris Wheel

How to practice it most effectively: For Sailing in the Sun, we are ready to work on some details like dynamics and articulation. In line 3 we have lots of cool things going on. First, see if you can do a down-up legato between each LH low note and RH’s skip. We want to be as connected as possible under our slurs, even if they go between hands. Then, see if you can start piano (soft) and slowly get louder and louder until the end of the line where we are forte (loud)! For new song Ferris Wheel, we start in the same position as the other piece – thumbs are neighbours on C and B. Again, the main focus is being nice and sticky with our fingers during legatos. For the ending, try to do the f – mf – p dynamics, as well as the pedal!



Recommended minutes to practice: 10 minutes a day

What to practice: lip bubble warmup, Do You Wanna Build a Snowman, Let it Go

How to practice it most effectively: The lip bubble warmup we did in class is a great one to slide around your range! Take a deep breath and gently start high, then make your way down low as smoothly as possible. Try counting and see how long you can keep the bubble going. The idea here is to not push too much air right at the beginning, but instead stretch it out over a longer period of time. For Do You Wanna Build a Snowman, please try to memorize lyrics for the first verse (so beginning of the song until ‘it’s like you’ve gone away”). For the high notes like “away”, do your best to keep your voice light, like a choir tone. We want to avoid the crackling that comes with pushing too hard. You can practice this by first singing “it’s like you’ve gone a-HEY” a few times – the “H” will help you get into that softer, head voice tone. For Let it Go, we worked on just the chorus (from “let it go” to “the cold never bothered me anyway”). These lyrics seem to be close to memorized, so this week please work on getting them all feeling really comfortable. On that last line, because it goes so low, we talked about “whisper singing” – softly and kind of sneakily so even if you don’t hit the lowest note, it sounds in character.



Recommended minutes to practice: 15 minutes a day

What to practice: Half-Time Show

How to practice it most effectively: Our new piece Half-time Show has both hands in F position. RH please make sure you’re using the FACE in the space saying to help you remember your notes. Notice that when we are playing with just space notes we will always be skipping. In bar 3 and 7, the two hands are playing 3 notes all together! Just make sure LH is playing a 5th (the Star Wars interval) while RH is on an A. In the last line, the hands are always playing the same letters – see if you can do the staccato articulation in this line!



Recommended minutes to practice: 20 minutes a day

What to practice: Minuet in A Minor, Tired Turtle Express, preliminary looks at Early One Morning and More

How to practice it most effectively: The Minuet in A Minor is very close to done! Two places to isolate to help with dotted rhythms are bars 5 and 14. In each case, start by playing with only the hand that has the dotted rhythm while tapping quarter notes with the other hand. Once that feels good, you can add the other hand on its quarter notes. For Tired Turtle Express, try putting bars 7-8 hands together right away so the melody makes sense (this complete string of 8th notes will also help establish the long-short swing rhythm better). For the rhythms in bars 3, 4, etc. it might help to speak either “long-short-long-short..” or “1+2+…” swung counting out loud, noticing how the eighth rest comes in on beat 3 (a long portion of the beat). Adding LH in later in the week will help because LH’s quarter note lands on that beat 3. Early One Morning is a sweet song to have a look at if you’re feeling like you’re done with the Minuet. The new jazz song I’m linking you is More; this piece is in E flat major (3 flats, Bb, Eb, and Ab). I suggest playing that scale a few times to familiarize yourself with which notes are diatonic – if you’d like as a bonus you can also try playing the 4-note chords of the scale. Do your best with the slash chords, but don’t worry if anything is confusing – we will discuss everything next week!



Recommended minutes to practice: 20 minutes a day

What to practice: Lunar Eclipse, rhythm exercises page 26, Scarborough Fair

How to practice it most effectively: For Lunar Eclipse, give it a shot with the pedal this week! While playing, make sure you’re counting with “ands” so we get a clear difference between eighth notes and quarter notes. In the 3rd line, LH goes to an Ab – please double check those bass clef notes there. The tenuto markings (lines under some notes) are not as strong/loud as an accent; see if you can make them just slightly stand out from the rest of the bar. Great work with dynamics especially top of the 2nd page! Before playing Scarborough Fair, please practice counting and clapping the 3/8 time exercises on page 26. This piece can be played hands together right away, just don’t use the pedal yet. LH, notice what chords/intervals you are playing.


August 19th, 2021|

Preferred Books for Adina’s Students

Click to buy them here, and they’ll come right to your house! What could be easier?

Alfred's Basic Piano Library Lesson Book 1A

Cover of Alfred's Basic Piano Library Lesson Book 1AThis easy step-by-step method emphasizes correct playing habits and note reading through interval recognition. Lesson Book Level 1A begins by teaching basic keyboard topography and fluent recognition of white key names in relation to black keys. It focuses on simple rhythms and prepares students for intervallic reading with entertaining songs that focus on “same,” “stepping up” and “stepping down.” It then introduces lines and space notes in treble and bass clefs, melodic and harmonic intervals of 2nds, 3rds, 4ths and 5ths, and graduates to reading on the grand staff. It also introduces the flat and sharp signs. This course is most effective when used under the direction of a piano teacher or experienced musician. Songs Include: Balloons * Batter Up! * The Donkey * A Friend Like You * Hand-Bells * A Happy Song * Horse Sense * Totem Pole Song * It’s Halloween! * Jingle Bells! * Jolly Old Saint Nicholas * July the Fourth! * Just a Second! * Love Somebody * Merrily We Roll Along O’er the Deep Blue Sea * Mexican Hat Dance * My Clever Pup * My Fifth * My Robot * Old MacDonald * Old Uncle Bill * Play a Fourth * Raindrops * Rain, Rain! * Rockets * Rockin’ Tune * Rock Song * Sailing * Sea Divers * See-Saws * Skating * Who’s on Third? * Willie and Tillie * Wishing Well * The Zoo

Buy on Amazon

Alfred's Adult Basic All-In-One

Book 1

Alfred's Adult All-in-One Book 1 Cover

Alfred’s Basic Adult All-in-One Course is designed for use with a piano instructor for the beginning student looking for a truly complete piano course. It is a greatly expanded version of Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course that will include lesson, theory, and technique in a convenient, “all-in-one” format. This comprehensive course adds such features as isometric hand exercises, finger strengthening drills, and written assignments that reinforce each lesson’s concepts. There is a smooth, logical progression between each lesson, a thorough explanation of chord theory and playing styles, and outstanding extra songs, including folk, classical, and contemporary selections.

Buy on Amazon

The Brown Scale Book

The Brown Scale Book

This essential resource includes all major and minor scales, triads, arpeggios, dominant sevenths, and chromatic scales organized by key. A favorite for decades, The Brown Scale Book belongs in every student’s library.

Buy on Amazon

The Real Vocal Book

Cover of The Real Vocal Book

The Real Vocal Book has many of the selections from Volumes 1 and 2 of the instrumental Real Books, but now with complete lyrics added to the pre-existing melody line. This edition features 300 essential songs arranged for low voice, including: Alfie * All of Me * Autumn Leaves * Bewitched * Bluesette * Don’t Get Around Much Anymore * Fever * Georgia on My Mind * Misty * Moon River * My Funny Valentine * Satin Doll * and more. Looking for a particular song? Check out the Real Book Songfinder here.

HIGH VOICE Buy on Amazon
LOW VOICE Buy on Amazon

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