Teaching piano students is a joy, especially those students who can sight read music well. There are many aspects of playing an instrument but being able to sight read makes things a lot easier.
But this article is for those who are not good at sight reading music
Now there is an app for that (sorry Apple people) and the name of this new app is Concept of Music.
Concept of Music
Before I talk more about this one-of-a-kind app, I’ll show you a screenshot which helps to understand how it works.
As all apps for Little Composers, the left upper corner has the app title which is “Concept of Music” and below a tag line that says “learn to sight read” which is exactly what the app was designed to do.
The right upper corner has three menu buttons which enable a student to see, hear and then play the lesson. In the center is the actual score showing two bars of music. Pressing the NEXT (menu) button will advance the lessons and the process starts over.
The advantage is that beginning music students will be able to hear the melody which makes playing it correctly a lot easier. In time and with many repetitions their confidence level will increase and eventually, they can just sight read the melody und use the PLAY button to check if they make an error which hopefully is not the case.
Every piano teacher has seen her / his fair share of pianos with a marked keyboard showing the key names on the center keys. Because this app doesn’t allow for marking keys, a little readout is included which shows the name of the key pressed. This is an optional feature and can be disabled via the menu but it is off-screen and probably good to have.
The keyboard displays the black keys which are there for orientation but later modules will make use of sharps and flats as well.
We live in exciting times and it brings me joy to produce apps which make learning to sight read easier than it used to be. This app is ideal for children of age 5 and older as there is no upper limit. Those who want to learn or improve their sight reading skills will find the app most useful.
Little Composers apps are only available at the Little Composers website and if you want to be notified when this app gets published I recommend that you sigh up for a free membership account now.
Little Composers publishes the Creative Children Compose Music method which includes apps that teach children to compose their own music. The third module, PRE PiANO NOTES is progressing well and on schedule to be released later this summer.
PRE PiANO NOTES composes real music
Little Composers develops apps which turn moms into music teachers and children into famous Little Composers. Our latest module, NOTES is the third and last of the series. Module one, PRE PiANO LESSONS is for young Little Composers followed by PRE PiANO KEYS which uses the first seven letters of the alphabet to write music.
PRE PiANO NOTES, just as the name says, records and displays real music notes and therefore is suitable for children of all ages who want to experiment with composing their own music especially if they have outgrown the KEYS app.
Learn Note Names
In order to get the most out of the NOTES module, our Little Composers need to start to learn note names. No worry, we have several apps for that on our home page and iPhone users can use the search phrase “Little Composers” to find Notes for Little Composers in Apple iTunes.
Beginning Music Lessons
Parents often contact us and ask at what age their child should start with music lessons. Traditional music lessons where a student visits the music teacher generally start around age six or seven and it is OK to start even later. But music is changing and now comes in many forms and shapes. Music Lessons are not the only way to begin to learn how to play an instrument. Many children use apps to learn and play which not only enables them to start sooner, but also gives them a huge choice of apps and the amount of apps available is growing fast.
Little Composers is pleased to offer some of the best music education apps for kids who want to begin their music lessons early. If your child is curious about music then simply visit the Little Composers website and try a few apps. We offer support and even a composition contest which features the best songs in the famous Little Composers gallery.
See you there!
Little Composers just finished preparing a special package for music schools who are searching for new music lessons apps for the classroom.
Little Composers invites representatives of music schools and music studio owners to contact us so that we can assist you in preparing for the 2015 2016 school year. We are always working on new apps and because we have a long history of teaching, we understand your situation and will try out best to help and support you.
New Music Lessons Apps especially made to support music teachers
Many students love music school and look forward to each and every lesson. So much has changed and now that so many of the students have high end cell phones and tablet computers, music teachers are beginning to take advantage of the readily available technology. There are all kinds of apps out there and just looking for something specific can be daunting.
PRE PiANO NOTES
This app is ideal for music students who already know some of the note names and whose teacher is keen on introducing them to composing their own music. Little Composers has all kinds of PRE PiANO apps for beginners, intermediate and advanced students. If you are interested in mentoring your students and guiding them as they begin to compose music then check out all three of the PRE PiANO titles and give your students the very best apps available.
Supplemental music apps for the classroom
Some of our educational apps for Little Composers are especially designed for teaching the note names. Both, treble and bass clef versions are available and help new students with memorizing the note names faster. Later, we will also release more titles with teach chord names and chord progressions to help music students understand and expand their composition skills.
Creative Children Compose Music
To learn how Little Composers came to be visit our website and check out the about us page
Little Composers develops the PRE PiANO and Creative Children Compose Music apps which teach and encourage young children to learn how to compose and play their own music.
To help us allocate resources better, we would like to invite you to vote and show us which apps you use the most. Please take a look at the poll below and if you currently use any of the Little Composers apps, then feel free to mark which ones. Families who have more children enrolled may check any app they use because that too helps us to get organized and serve you better.
Thank you for taking part. We really appreciate it.
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Suggest a new app
We are constantly experimenting and evaluating the feedback we get from the small beta group which helps us with tweaking and improving the apps. Now we ask you to join in and send us your feedback, criticism, improvement suggestions or a short testimonial
The more feedback you provide, the better we can fine-tune the apps which means that the children gain access to better learning tools which is why we do what we do.
What kind of information are we looking for?
- Were you pleased with the download speed
- Are all apps working in your browser?
- Did you have to switch browser in order to get the sound working?
- Does your child understand the software?
- Do you use a touch screen device such as a cell phone or tablet?
- Which devices do you use to open the apps?
- Which browser do you use?
- What kind of computer do you have? Laptop, desktop, tablet?
- Are you happy with the sound quality?
- Did you have to get external speakers?
- What does your child say about the Little Composers apps?
- Do you need help with getting featured in the Famous Little Composers Gallery?
- Anything we are missing or should know about?
Each item on the above list helps us to understand our users and students better and therefore we encourage you to vote on the poll, ask questions and even post on our Facebook page
Thank you for your input!
Little Composers needs your help because we want to give you a website that is useful for you and not just looks pretty. This is your chance of telling us anything and everything that you don’t like and want changed.
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Touch or click on the Facebook icon at the bottom of this page to gain access.
www.littleComposers.com load times
Our webmaster constantly monitors the load time and keeps on optimizing every little detail that can speed up the overall load time of the page.
We are not happy with the overall layout and welcome your suggestions regarding the arrangement of information and. Some buttons load other pages and other buttons load apps. Should we color-code the buttons or are you OK with the way the function now?
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
No matter when you discover this article, the optimization of https://www.littleComposers.com is ongoing and therefore, your input, when ever you happen to read this is always valuable. As of today, June 12, 2015 the website index page looks like this:
The top banner shows PRE PiANO which is an app we’ve developed for very young children who are not yet at the reading stage. Then a brief “About Us” block quickly states who we are, what we offer followed by the mission and vision statements.
How do you like the registration process?
Little Composers offers visitors a chance to use the Creative Children Compose Music app plus a chance to try a demo version of PRE PiANO. The PRE PiANO demo was made available so that parents cant test and identify compatibility issues. If the PRE PiANO demo app loads than all other apps will load to.
Why do you have to register?
In order to provide fast loading times for those who are serious about educating their children, we have decided to provide access to most of the apps via a login system which was just recently implemented. This way, registered members enjoy the fastest access possible while visitors still are able to participate in the creative children compose music composition contest.
Online Composition Contest for Children
We hope to always provide access to the online composition contest for children for free and no registration is needed. Because the internet is often misused, the decision to give access to anyone and let them upload an image of their composition is subject to ongoing evaluation.
We are manually checking every composition which gets submitted and delete all other images in order to provide a safe browsing environment which is suitable for children. The registered members feature allows for removing those who abuse the rules but in the end it is up to you, the users, to help us by making suggestions where we can improve as well as reporting any activity which isn’t appropriate for out Little Composers.
Little Composers continues the PRE PiANO series of apps with the new PRE PiANO KEYS app which is almost ready to be released. Visit www.LittleComposers.com to learn more about this amazing new music method from Austria and watch a short demo video which will get you started quickly.
PRE PiANO KEYS
Once children outgrow the PRE PiANO LESSONS app, they can continue with PRE PiANO KEYS which is a little more advanced. Instead of animals, they little composers begin to work with keys and letters which are based on the animal names.
A quick refresher for those who have gotten used to the Bird, Camel, Dolphin, Elephant, Fish, Giraffe and Alligator. Take the first letter from every animal, and you get B, C, D, E, F and G. Please note that PRE PiANO KEYS does not use the Alligator because that would slow down learning and in some cases even be confusing because this app differentiates between two colours.
Red and white piano keys
You probably have apps on your tablet or smartphone which use color-coded keys and you know that there are a ton of such apps out there. Unfortunately, color-coding the keys isn’t really a good solution to understand music and therefore, Little Composers is not using them. Instead, we only color-code the C major chord to signal a kind of “home” position.
To see how the system works, look at the 15 blocks above the keyboard. The first four blocks are red and the next eight are light grey. The last three blocks are red again.
Why 15 and not 16 blocks?
The reason why the last block is a long one (takes up twice the space) is that if a long sounding C is played, the composition will sound complete and finished. It is important that beginners end every composition with C. Later modules will provide a lot more flexibility but for now, we have to learn and follow the rules until we know enough to brake them here and there.
At what age should we start out child?
Children are amazing and know a lot more then we think. Therefore, Little Composers only provides rough guidelines when it comes to age. Our experience shows us that the above app is ideal for children of age five but then again, some four-year-old children who play computer games might be able to figure the app out in a few minutes.
The app does not only let you play a melody on the keyboard, it also records “what” is played. Touching the first red field will put PRE PiANO KEYS in record mode and then all a child has to do is keep playing.
Erase and replace.
Once a melody has been composed, the composer will most likely want to make a few changes. To do so, simply touch the letter which will make the block blink. Any time a block blinks, it is ready to be erased and any new note played on the keyboard will replace the previous letter.
Sometimes, a little composer doesn’t feel like composing and if that is the case, a special compose button will do the job beautifully. The compose button is also a great learning tool so give it a try and see what you can come up with? Feel free to stop the melody and “erase and replace” some notes.
To see all apps for little composers, visit our homepage and register. Doing so will give you access to all premium apps and more.
A new generation of little children is getting ready for piano lessons this fall and many look forward to learning how to play an instrument.
Preparing for and getting ready for piano lessons
The new term 2015 / 2016 is about 10 weeks away and your child can’t wait to start piano lessons. Excitement is a good thing and this article outlines a few things you, the parent, can do to make the excitement last. Before we tackle the number one reason why children fall behind and stop enjoying their piano lessons, we’ll quickly outline a few things which are good to know and prepare for.
Make a schedule to get your child there on time
Every music teacher knows that being late for a piano lesson is bad because 30 minutes go by fast and squeezing the reminder of a lesson into a 20 minute time frame means that something else has to be cut. Please make a schedule and allow for adequate traveling time to the music studio or school. This way, you give your music teacher a much better chance to provide a relaxed learning experience which benefits your child and reduces the stress of practising.
Organize the tasks your child does now and free up time to practise
Time goes by faster than we think and in just a few weeks, your little one will be back in school and a week later, music lessons start which means that life will be busy for everyone. Unfortunately, learning to play the piano well is a skill that takes years to master which is why those kids who are serious about music practice almost every day. Not only will the music teacher recommend practising as much as possible, you child should also want to practice because much depends on the time spent with the piano.
One of the biggest reasons why new piano students quit
Music notation is more complex than we think. As a matter of fact, reading music and becoming a fluent sight reader takes effort, time and practise. There is a reason why they say that practise makes perfect. At first, the piano teacher will assign a few note names to learn and memorize and most students have no problems remembering the C, D, E, F and G. After that, things change and there are many reasons for that. A long time ago, I was a young music teacher and when I noticed that many students fail to prepare I felt that I needed to investigate what causes the distraction. Now remember, I said that this was a long time ago and before the internet but even back then, there was this thing called TV. Do you remember Knight Rider? Well, most boys in my music class decided that a talking car was much cooler to spend time with than learning note names which, at the age of six or seven, made them experts on speeding and computers that could talk but not on reading music.
Please watch your child once the music lessons begin and make sure that you clear some of the more obvious distractions. What ever is on Facebook now will be there later but the next music lesson will not wait which is why children need to learn and understand the importance of prioritizing.
Most of all, don’t leave it up to them to deal with music notation on their own. If they express little interest in learning note names maybe buy and app or talk to the music teacher and find out what she/he recommends because otherwise, you run the risk of your child quitting early.
Practice makes perfect
It AMAZES me that many children don’t know about the importance of repetition. The reason why it amazes me is because these days, children watch a lot of sport and see athletes perform amazing flips and twists and turns on bikes or skies and many other things. How do they do that and how did they get so good at it?
The answer is simpler than you might guess. They design a routine and then practice practice practise. My first music teacher told me that it takes 25% talent and 75% effort to learn to play the piano well.
Next time you watch a basketball or other game with your children please take a minute and point out to them that there is much more than we see on TV. Professionals spend a lot of time in the GYM, eat a special diet and definitely stay away from alcohol and drugs. Yes, there are a few exceptions to every rule and the media will make a big deal out of those who go agains what I just said but all in all, only the disciplined ones make it to the top.
Please praise and encourage your child. When you do that, you support your music teacher and your child will enjoy practising and putting in much more effort which in turn does miracles when it comes to learning.
Prepare and take your time getting ready for piano lessons and above all, watch the progress carefully. Every week is different but if you get your part right, then you will be very proud on the day of the year-end concert and many more.
Apps running on powerful smartphones and tablets have revolutionized the way we live and provide a different way to learn about music.
We need a different way to learn about music
Why? Simple. Every child is different.
Traditional music lessons have been the same for centuries. Parents bring their child to a music teacher and practice lessons from music books. Every child gets to play and learn from basically the same books and many get bored and quit. That cycle repeats every year and the blame is usually on the student. Some parents try a different teacher which is a good idea and sometimes even produces the results they expect.
But what does it really mean if a child quits music lessons? Well, it could mean a lot. In my experience, the students don’t find classical training exciting enough to spend two or more hours every day playing the piano. And who can blame them? After all, they won’t grow up to play Mozart or Bach for a living and only a small fraction finishes the program and do I dare to say it, become music teachers. And so the cycle repeats. Music teachers teaching what they learned to a new generation of children who rather play games than practice every day.
Quitting music lessons can be a good thing
It never failed to amaze me when new piano students started their lessons with me based on some recommendation from someone who wanted to be helpful and pointed towards an alternative.
Teaching music is easy because every child is already musical. Every child has music built in and it is the job of the music teacher to find what is there and begin to build it.
Little Composers has been a long time in the making and it is only now that electronic devices that connect to the internet make it possible to learn what we want to learn.
Think about it. The internet is there 24/7 and you chose what you want to see. Do you want to kill time or do you want to satisfy your curiosity and actually learn something?
Online learning mostly provides different ways to learn about music
I love online learning and admire the young generation because they have some much in front of them.
The song “What a Wonderful World” says it best:
I hear babies cry,
I watch them grow.
They’ll learn much more,
Than I’ll ever know.
2015 and beyond is the age of learning but not just learning as we “had to” learn. No, this time, it is learning what we want to learn.
If you have a child which is creative and love music then visit Little Composers and experience a radically different way to learn about music
Gone are the days of printed music books. Little Composers starts even young children by letting them compose their own music right from day one.
It’s hard to describe what happens when a young brilliant mind begins their musical journey with PRE PiANO, an app especially made for children who are not yet at the reading stage and moms who never had any music lessons.
Little Composers just updated the apps page which provides an overview of all of our piano apps for beginners.
PRE PiANO LESSONS
The first of three beginner piano apps for young children is called PRE PiANO LESSONS.
The name is perfect because this app actually teaches music lessons to anyone who wants to begin piano lessons, especially to young children of age three and up.
Because little children have a hard time with identifying music notes, the PRE PiANO LESSONS app starts off with six symbols which are instantly recognizable.
The symbols are animal pictures which have been chosen because of their names. The camel represents the C key and the dolphin represents the D key. Visit the PRE PiANO LESSONS page to find out about the names of the other animals we used and to give the app a quick try.
Registered members have access to all of our apps
If your child is interested in learning and making music then register so that you can access the advanced features of the PRE PiANO LESSONS app right away. Besides the composition module which allows for making changes to the melody, the app features three special buttons.
The most powerful button is the octopus button because it can compose hundreds of different melodies for you. Every time you touch the button, you create a new composition which can be changed or played just as is.
How to play a composition?
Looking at a new composition and wondering how it sounds is no fun. Therefore, Little Composers included a special playback feature which plays what ever the composition modules displays. This way, learning is a lot more fun and for those who need to listen a bit more carefully, a special “turtle” button was added which, compared to the “rabbit” button, plays the songs slowly.
Visit LittleComposers.com and check out out little story which tells you how the PRE PiANO series of free beginner apps for young children came to be. On the top right corner of our homepage you will find a support link as well as a way to register and log in.
We look forward to welcome your child as a new little composer and hope that you both enjoy the musical journey.
This article teaches beginners how to learn note names by studying only three lessons. Each lesson covers small steps that are easy to remember and the Little Composers website published an interactive note chart for some extra practice. Both versions, bass and treble clef are available.
image for the LEARN NOTE NAMES TREBLE CLEF APP by Little Composers
Before You Learn Note Names
This article assumes no prior knowledge about music notation. In case you have tried to learn the note names before but stopped because learning got too hard then this article is for you as well.
Look at the picture on top of this article and get a good look at everything you see. Don’t memorize any note names just yet but look at the shapes instead. Before we can learn note names, we must remove them from the picture so that our mind can start empty. Now picture a white sheet with nothing on it and proceed to lesson one.
Learn Note Names : Lesson 1
This first lessons is not about notes but rather examines all the different lines which hold the notes. Before we do that we need to identify the treble clef. You can find the treble clef at the left side where the lines begin as shown in the picture below.
Now let’s look at the five lines. In the above example, the long lines are sub divided into four spaces which are called measures o bars which is plural for bar. Did you ever hear about the 12 Bar Blues? The number 12 just means that the song is 12 bars long. If you have troubles with imagining measures or bars simple think of them as containers that are lined up side by side.
To complete this lessons, we need to recognize the vertical lines which show us where one bar (or container) ends and where the other one starts.
Learn Note Names : Lesson 2
One bar at the time
To make things easy, let’s focus on the first bar only with another look at those lines in more detail.
To make this really easy, let’s get rid of four lines and only keep the centre line.
The center line is called the B line.
Remember this because from now on, we start out with finding that line.
Look at the image and focus on how the B note is exactly centred on the line. Half of the note is above the line and half of the note is below the line. This is very important to understand because from now on, we differentiate between two kinds of notes. Those who have a line in the center and those who do not (like the A and B).
A B C
Now we are learning the first three notes and you should not go on to the next lesson until you have the A, B and C memorized. Memorizing the A, B and C is easy because music notation has borrowed them from the alphabet. The alphabet starts with A B C D E F G and once you remember those seven names, you know all the note names that I know. The tricky part is that those same seven letters get reused over and over just as the image on top of this page shows. Do you see that the first three notes (top image) have a second note on top of it? And now you know why they share the same name.
Learn Note Names : Lesson 3
Let’s take a little brake from learning the note names and do a bit of math. Don’t worry, it’s really simple. The most common form of time signature is the 4/4 one. What does that mean and why are we learning about them now?
As you already know, each note has a name. The name can only consist of A B C D E F and G.
What we need to understand is the length of a note. You could say that a note is a little like a person. A real person has two names. A first name and last (family) name. For example, my name is Ernst Renner and your name also has two parts or possibly more if you have a middle name. So for now, let’s say that a note has two names. The letter name and then the length name.
How long is a note?
Take a look at the four bars (remember bars from lesson 1?)
The first bar has one note which is just a round hollow shape and there is only one note in that bar.
The second bar has two notes in it. The also have a round hollow shape but each note also has a line attached to it.
The third bar has four notes in it. The round shape is no longer hollow and each note has a line attached as well.
The fourth bar has eight notes in it which look almost like the notes in bar three but they are connected in two groups of four notes.
Study this list a few times:
- Round hollow shapes are called whole notes.
- Round hollow shapes with a line attached are called half notes.
- Solid filled round shapes with a line attached to it are called quarter notes.
- Solid filled round shapes with a lines attached that are connected are called eight notes.
Look at the above image one more time and examine the blue numbers. Each measure or bar has the numbers 1 2 3 4 written which helps us to visualize the note length. The rules are simple. A whole note takes up the full space and is four counts (1 2 3 4) long. The half note, just as the name says, is half of that and each note is two counts long. Therefore, you are allowed to fill a bar with two half notes. The quarter notes each are one count long and it takes four quarter notes to fill a bar of music.
If this made sense to you then you can expand one these rules by mixing up half and quarter notes. For example, if a bar begun with a half note, then you could add another half note or two quarter notes. The order does not matter. The quarter notes could be first followed by the half note or, the half note could even be in between but that is sneaky.
Learn Note Names : Lesson 4
Well, it’s time to leave you.
WHAT??? We just started and I only learned three notes. What about the rest?
Let’s switch back to math. You’ll see in a minute why. As you know, it all begins with 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 and 10. Once you knew those numbers, the teacher introduced the next set of numbers which continued from 10. Just as a refresher, they are 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 and 20.
The word eleven is a new word to remember. Twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen are also new and at first hard to remember. After fifteen the more familiar six(teen), seven(teen) and so forth make more sense which is why we learn those faster.
But wait a moment! What happens after 20?
Good news, counting gets a lot easier. Why does it get easier? Because there are hardly any new words to remember until you reach hundred. Every time you finish a block of ten, only the last one has to be remembered. Like thirty, forty, fifty and so on. Even those become predictable and do you know why that is? The magic word is “pattern”. A pattern is something that kind of repeats and because of that, we can take advantage of patterns. There are many patterns in music and there are many patterns in math.
Now I want you to count to 100 (and don’t cheat! because it is important)!!!
You only have to do this exercise once so, as you count, try and focus on patterns.
Do you notice how often you say one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and nine? Quite a bit. The reason why I asked you to count ’till hundred and search for patterns is because if you were able to find all or most of the patterns, you will also be able to find all the note names just as easily.
Always start with what you already know.
A quick refresher. You know the center B line and you know that there are seven note names which are exactly the same as the first seven letters of the alphabet. If you string them together, you could say (just like you counted before) A B C D E F G – A B C D E F G – A B C D E F G and on and on and on for ever.
If you were in front of a grand piano right now, you could open the lid, touch the very first key on the left side and do the A B C D E F G – A B C D E F G …. until you end up at the very last key which is the C.
Hint: If you just did that then you touched 52 white keys.
Now I would like you to take a piece of paper and a pencil and draw five long lines from left to right. All the way across the paper. Make them as long as you can and if you have trouble making them kind of straight then use a ruler. Space all five lines the same as seen in the images above. Don’t worry if they are not 100% yet. This is just so that you can begin to draw your memory map. Skip drawing the treble clef for now. It takes a bit of practice to make it perfect so it’s OK to just imagine that it is there plus, you probably need to use the space for notes.
Now start at the very right part of the page and draw the C note. If you need to, take a quick look at lessons 2 (A B C).
Make sure that you draw the C note in between the spaces. To the left of the C, draw the B note, again, just as in the image you studied in lesson 2. Now draw the A note. The A note is almost like the C note except that it is one white space lower. Stop drawing for a bit and take a look at your three notes. If the B is centred on the line and the A and C notes are exactly between the lines, than you did it right.
On the bottom of the page, write the note names exactly like this: A B C D E F G A B C
Now you have a little helper sheet to figure out the missing notes. Below the A, you need to draw the … what comes before the A? Take a look at the letters you just wrote. The note before the A is the G. Now draw in the G just like you drew the B. The G note is also centred on the line which means that if you can draw a B, you can also draw a G.
What comes before the G?
Finish all the way down to the A and then take a look and compare your drawing with the picture below.
Do you see what happens when you run out of lines? Simply draw short “helper lines” which are just long enough to hold the note nicely. This is how you extend the five long lines. Pay special attention when you draw the low A because you will need two short helper lines instead of one. Let’s repeat this. The first three notes (low A B C) need short helper lines.
If you do this exercise every day, you will memorize and know the note names and maybe teach other kids who struggle with music notation.
I hope that you have learned how important it is to see patterns. Patterns are a sort of a shortcut and the more patterns you notice, the faster you will learn.
If you need help with something I’d be happy to do answer your questions. Just go to the Little Composers support page and ask your question
After you know your note names, you can use the TREBLE CLEF app for Little Composers to make sure that you don’t forget them.
Register here to comment on any of or articles and let us know which parts need better explanations.