ABC Academy of Music

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 6th, 2021


Recommended minutes to practice: 20 minutes a day

What to practice: Best Friends, Gorilla in the Tree, and My Invention from the Piano Adventures Book, Beyblade Burst Turbo

How to practice it most effectively: For the Piano Adventures Songs, we now have a new note for LH! The important note F is on the 4th line of bass clef, under middle C. At the beginning of each song there is always a position instruction, telling you which fingers to play your starting notes with. Since we could be playing with both hands on the grand staff, always make sure you read left to right, looking at both clefs. For Beyblade Burst Turbo, please practice singing along with the youtube lyric video, but also with your RH playing the melody! We will sing an octave lower than the notes your hand plays (so same letters, just the lower version for your voice). For playing this song on piano, see if you can add LH chords (E minor and D major) to the 3rd line of the melody. E minor always comes in first, then the chord changes to D major when the melody gets to the E.



Recommended minutes to practice: 15-20 minutes a day

What to practice: C major triads (hands separately), Rockin’ Robin

How to practice it most effectively: The C major triads will have the same shapes and fingerings as F and G major, except now with notes C-E-G. Whenever there is an interval of a 4th with your pinky, you use fingers 1-2-5 (for RH this is first inversion, and for LH it’s second inversion). For Rockin’ Robin, we can now play the C section hands together! LH’s part is mostly just long ties on either a 3rd or a 5th. In the B section, please remember RH’s C-D-F chord comes in with LH on beat 3 in bars 9 and 11. As always, double check which octave each hand is playing in.



Recommended minutes to practice: 10 minutes a day

What to practice: Rock Song, Rockets

How to practice it most effectively: This week we started playing intervals of a 2nd and 3rd at the same time (you can tell the difference by the note spacing – 2nds look squishy while 3rds are stacked). Both of your songs are still using C position, so please make sure your fingers are each playing their specific note. In Rock Song, there are quarter rests which are one beat of silence. In Rockets, there are moments where RH and LH play together at the same time, then LH continues holding as RH plays its other melody notes. You can play as slowly as you need to as you learn these. Also, thank you for uploading those photos!

June 6th, 2021|

Tuesday, June 8th, 2021


Recommended minutes to practice: 15 minutes a day

What to practice: Calendar Song, Play a Third, and finishing labelling notes for #4 on page p. 55

How to practice it most effectively: For Calendar Song, try bending your fingers a little more so it makes connecting between notes easier. Make sure you’re counting 1-2 on your half notes. In Play a Third, we learned about playing thirds, or skips, on the staff and keyboard. A skip will be space to space or line to line on the staff, and you will skip a finger and white key on the keyboard. Please do the 2 warmups (one for RH, one for LH) on the song page before playing just the first line with RH. It will be helpful to speak or sing the letter names as you play.



Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes a day

What to practice: ooh-ah-ooh 5ths warmup, Stop in the Name of Love, listen to My Girl and Little Do You Know

How to practice it most effectively: For the warmup, make sure you get your starting notes (C4 to G4) to hear the new 5th distance. Use a slight “H” in front of the first note so you get a gentle onset. For Stop in the Name of Love, make sure you pronounce/enunciate all the lyrics in the verses clearly. You can totally try this with a karaoke track – I’ll link one below, as well as a lyric video for My Girl, and the new song I’d like you to listen to and let me know what you think next week, Little Do You Know:



Recommended minutes to practice: 15 minutes a day

What to practice: If I Can’t Have You, Michelle

How to practice it most effectively: For If I Can’t Have You, your octaves in the verses and prechorus are going well! Let’s make sure in the bridge section we are also doing a full octave above Shawn (it’s just a little higher than you might think). Always be doing full belly breaths, especially before the chorus where it gets big. For Michelle, you can sing all the English lyrics (we will discuss how to do the French pronunciation next week). Here is a good lyric video to use:



Recommended minutes to practice: 20 minutes a day

What to practice: C, G, and F major scales (one hand at a time), Little March, I, IV, V7 Chord Review

How to practice it most effectively: For the major scales, please be really precise with your fingerings and crossing spots – we won’t be able to put the scales hands together until fingering is well learnt. Don’t worry about the dynamics on the scale page. G major always has an F#, and F major always has a Bb. For Little March, be careful with the RH intervals – you can use FACE in the space to help find space notes in treble clef. Still use the animals sayings for LH in bass clef. The Chord Review uses roman numerals for numbers 1, 4 and 5 (I, IV, V). Please go slowly so you make sure all 3 notes of the triads are correct (note there is an F# int he key signature).



Recommended minutes to practice: 15 minutes a day

What to practice: Changing Moods (C and G positions only), Whirling Leaves, Sword Dance

How to practice it most effectively: Changing Moods will continue to be a warmup song – make sure you start at a moderate speed so you have control over your fingers in the stepping sections. For Whirling Leaves, please really hold quarter notes their full amount. Practice bars 3 and 4 a few times – these rhythms come back over and over in this piece. Since notes are quite comfortable, start adding in dynamics! Most of the piece is quiet. For Sword Dance, focus on playing just the RH melody with all rhythms and staccatos. In bars 9 – 13 please watch your octaves. LH, you can play through the first line with counting – this same line repeats for LH many times in the piece.



Recommended minutes to practice: 15-20 minutes a day

What to practice: Libestraum, Frere Jacques Stands on His Head

How to practice it most effectively: For Libestraum, please play nice and slowly – this song is a lullaby. Use the saying FACE in the space to help you find RH treble clef notes – we don’t want to guess notes. For Frere Jacques Stands on His Head, please play the whole piece hands separately. You’ll notice the melodies for both hands are the same! This is a canon, meaning one hand starts the melody then the other hand comes in with the same melody while the first hand continues on. Please remember the Bb in the key signature.



Recommended minutes to practice: 15-20 minutes a day

What to practice: Burlesque in G Major, Pyrenese Melody

How to practice it most effectively: For the Burlesque, double check your eighth-sixteenth-sixteenth note rhythms; make sure those eighth notes are held long enough. In bars 8-12, please do the forte to piano dynamics (you’re basically playing an echo of the initial phrase). Once notes and rhythms are feeling good, start gradually speeding this one up! For Pyrenese Melody, please make sure you do the staccatos – even if you’re unsure what notes come next, you can always figure the notes out in silence. You can add dynamics in this song too. Mostly it’s bars 1, 5, and 13 where you start very loud then quickly decrescendo to a piano level for the staccatos.


June 8th, 2021|

Wednesday, August 11th, 2021


Recommended minutes to practice: 15-20 minutes a day

What to practice: Mexican Jumping Beans + L’il Liza Jane, C’s Rock, 2 vocal warmups, Reflection

How to practice it most effectively: For fun this week, you can try singing the lyrics while you play the 2 pieces Mexican Jumping Beans and L’il Liza Jane. The new piano piece is C’s Rock, which uses treble, middle, and bass Cs (as well as a few As and Gs for LH). Make sure you’re counting rests and holding all notes their full beat value. For the vocal warmups, continue doing the “ya ya ya” skips warmup, starting on C-E-G-E-C then moving through all the white key positions until A minor position. The other warmup is the sliding down “ah-ah” from E-C then moving each note a semitone down. Feel free to repeat any warmup spots a few times if you didn’t feel great on them right away. For Reflection, please continue singing along to the pink lyric video. The main things we talked about today are: keeping your vowels nice and tall/round at the ending for both the loud and soft versions of “when will my reflection show…”. In terms of breathing in these phrases, best places would be after “show” and after “am”.



Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes a day

What to practice: page 5 warmup, Little River, Sailing in the Sun

How to practice it most effectively: Continue gently speeding up the warmup every time you play it. This week, try it in both C and G positions! We will keep Little River as a warmup song to really get comfortable doing legato playing. Sailing in the Sun is our new full song; there are many slurs, and some of them go between the hands. RH, please notice your quarter rests. LH be careful when you’re playing B (above the staff) or G (top space). You can use your labeled finger numbers to help you find notes. Feel free to sing along with the lyrics if you’d like!



Recommended minutes to practice: 10-15 minutes a day

What to practice: Young Hunter, Skipping in Space

How to practice it most effectively: For Young Hunter, let’s put the whole song hands together! Watch out for when each hand does steps versus when it does skips. For the second line, both hands should be skipping in the same direction (both down, then both up, etc.). For Skipping in Space, we are in 3/4 time, meaning we count to three in each bar; make sure those dotted quarter half notes get all 3 beats, and are much longer than the quarter notes! This song is all skips since we’re just using FACE in the space.



Recommended minutes to practice: 20 minutes a day

What to practice: F major scale hands together, Cossack Ride, Lunar Eclipse

How to practice it most effectively: For the F major scale, please think of your key signature (Bb) before you jump in and start playing. Remember that finger 1s line up on Cs and finger 3s on Es. For Cossack Ride, you can put the whole song hands together, being extra careful when LH has staccatos while RH has legatos. I’d isolate 3 bars a few times each in this order: easy is bar 4, intermediate is bar 2, and hard is bar 7. Really ground through the RH while LH is bouncy. For bars 25-28, try it with the pedal! Each time there is a “spike” in the pedal bracket, lift and re-press the pedal while the notes above the spike are played. Once articulation feels good, work to speed it up little by little. For new song Lunar Eclipse, watch out for slight changes in LH’s note patterns of the first 3 lines. In bars 17-24 there are moments where RH has two voices in one hand. Please play the top voice stronger and the lwoer voice (plus the LH in these sections) softer. LH should always double check notes on the 7ths intervals. Please only go until bar 24 hands together this week.

August 11th, 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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