Monday, July 25, 2011

Studio Supplies: Printer Ink Review Post

     Remember this post, where I told you about the amazing deals on printer ink at Printer Filling Station? Well, I got my order weeks and weeks ago, and I've never been so anxious for my printer to run dry so I could try this refill method out for myself. I was a bit nervous around my bottle of black ink, but it was super easy and not messy. Here are some pics of the process:

They send you everything you need- small drill, needle for filling, syringe, and refill ink- tons of it!

Simply use the drill to enlarge the air hole in the top of your cartridge. Insert the needle in that hole, then insert the syringe of ink into the top of the needle. Push the ink in until the cartridge is full.

                                 My cartridge started dripping, and that's how I knew it was full.

     Then you let the cartridge rest for 30 minutes before putting it back into your printer. They advise to run a cleaning cycle,  and wait 8 hours before using it. I didn't wait quite that long (because I was printing off the score to a classical song I really wanted to play it!) and it printed off just fine.

     There are two things that aren't explained in the instructions for this process:  The measurements are a little off as far as how much ink to use. So I didn't know when to stop filling, until I saw it dripping. Not a problem, really. And the ink cleaned up so well- no staining or spreading. The company sends plenty of extra filling supplies, and the ones I used washed out perfectly for next time.

     Also, I did have some streaking problems when I first started using this ink (as in some of the lines not printing).  After contacting the company, I received the answer to this problem. If you let the cartridge remain empty for too long, it gets clogged with dry ink. Likewise if you let the empty one sit out in the air, the same thing happens. I had to hold my cartridge over a steaming kettle to loosen the dry ink. Once the ink began to run, I knew it was unclogged. Now I just keep it at least half full and don't let it go dry. I haven't had any streaking problems since and I've done a lot of printing (as in a few hundred sheets for various projects).

     I spent $39 and some change, plus shipping, for 20 refills of color and 12 refills of black. But you know what? There are WAY more refills than 12 in that black ink bottle. I can't even tell that I took any ink out of it! This is definitely worth checking out for your studio supplies. (BTW, they didn't ask or pay me to write this review). :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Musical Furniture

Although a bit pricey, these musical furnishing are gorgeous!  They have everything from kids' furniture to coffee tables and outdoor benches.  Take a look at their site- you will be impressed. They actually don't look that complicated to make...if you know a carpenter. :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Fun Teaching Aid for Chords and Scales

I believe it was Anne who first posted about these little clay teaching aids. They were so easy and fun to make, and I've already used them with one of my adult students, who thought they were so neat!

I love how the flowers turned out- so bright and cheery. I made the clay circles first, pressed the flower into the clay, and then removed the flower. I baked the clay, and popped the flowers back in with a dot of craft glue.
Perfect for building chords...

...And great for making scales more visual to the student. The ladybugs are a bit smaller, and work a bit better for scales. 
Total cost for this project: $5

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

An Intriguing Memorization Aid

In my search for Debussy's Claire de Lune, I came across this video (and others like it) on YouTube.  It's pretty long, but if you watch just a few minutes of it you'll get the idea.

   It got me thinking about how this type of concept (though totally synthesized) may help with music memorization. While I watched, I immediately saw what key it was in; I then noticed certain patterns of note grouping throughout the piece.  You can watch it at full speed or at 50% speed, so as to grasp it better. The poster of this video has many on YouTube like it, and from what I read he plays mostly by this method- not by notes or theory. While that type of playing may be a fun hobby, I am not advocating that people learn to play the piano this way. However, I think it could be a helpful aid for students (or teachers!) to be able to see the note groupings and patterns of their piece. It also distinctly shows rhythm patterns and duration- so lots of things are going on at the same time, which intrigued me to whether or not it would help solidify the music in my brain when I'm away from the actual score. I think I'm going to give it a try!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Although I live in Canada, I am first American, and I want to wish my American readers a Happy Independence Day. I hope you have a great day reflecting on the freedom God has given us. And don't forget to enjoy some patriotic music!