ASU Concert Discount Tickets

Because many of my students go to concerts at ASU, I want to pass on to you this notice about discounts.  Please recall that many of the ASU concerts do not have an admission price, although many of them do. 

Also remember: only concerts on the Concert Review Agreement are automatically approved for review.  Any concerts not on this list must receive advanced teacher approval.

Through Saturday, Sept. 15

Time is running out to save 25 percent on your season tickets! Select at least three performance dates and receive 25 percent off the total price when you purchase by Sept. 15. To receive the discount, tickets must be purchased through the Create Your Own Season ticket package at


Why concert reviews?

Occasionally I get questions from parents or students about our concert review requirement in music classes.  Why are students required to review concerts?  Why two?  Why college-level performers or above?  Why not recordings; why do they have to be live performances?  Why classical (art) music and not pop or folk music?  Why do we have to spend so much money to attend an expensive concert?

While we’ve refined some of these requirements (including introducing a form to complete rather than a two-page review to write), the basic requirement has remained the same for my entire 15-year tenure at TPA, including the three criteria for concerts that qualify for review. 

The 81 concerts on the Concert Review Agreement all meet the following criteria, qualifying them for review:

  1. Live
  2. Classical (art music, not jazz, pop, or folk)
  3. College-level performers or above

As regards the last question above, why do we have to spend so much money to attend an expensive concert, the answer is you don’t.  There are plenty of free concerts, but not at the end of the semester.  Be sure to plan ahead so you don’t get stuck choosing between going to an expensive concert or not meeting the requirement at all. 

For a rationale for the concert review requirement, click here

Some students tell me that the concert review requirement is one of their favorite parts of the class. 

Both concert reviews are due Friday, December 7, 2018 at 3pm. 

Hayden’s Ferry: world-class chamber music

While I haven’t yet posted a complete list of concerts acceptable for review, I can guarantee that the Hayden’s Ferry series will be on it. 

Organized and produced by former TPA mom, Catherine Hayden, the Sunday-afternoon series features world-class performers in the intimate surroundings of the TCA Gallery.   Every concert in the series, which begins on October 21, is acceptable for review. 

Tickets are $10 for students and $30 for adults.  A reception follows where everyone can meet the artists. 

Mrs. Hayden recently contacted me with free bookmarks for our music class students and a note, which said in part:

This series is a great way to introduce kids to concerts and give them a chance to fall in love with chamber music. 

The following other concerts (which are not a part of the Hayden’s Ferry series) are coming up very soon and probably will happen before I have the list of acceptable concerts available. See if there’s something you’d like to hear:

September 1: Claudio Soares, Piano; ASU Katzin (
September 9: Shuang Zhu, Clarinet; ASU Katzin (
September 9: Michael Kirkendoll, Piano; ASU Katzin (
September 14-15: Phoenix Symphony; Symphony Hall ( Get tickets now; they often sell out of this one

All of these concerts also are acceptable for review. Write your review on the form. (

AZ state song sung at McCain funeral

Rex Allen Jr.

According to AZ Central, a song from Music Theory for Choral Singers was sung at the funeral for Senator John McCain. 

The 1982 song, “Arizona” (or “I Love You, Arizona”) was performed as a tribute to the long-time senator and Vietnamese war veteran. 

The song by Rex Allen, Junior, is one of the few copyrighted pieces in my book and is used by permission.  It is found on page 315. 

“Arizona” is one of two official state songs, the other being “The Arizona March Song,” written by Maurice Blumenthal in 1915.  This song also appears in my book, on page 312. 

A few years back, one the 11th grade classes performed Rex Allen’s song in a curricular choir concert with improvised harmony. 

Music literacy declines in US

According to some sources, only 5% of Americans can read music.  Others estimate it as high as 11%.  Still, the decline of piano or other private instruction in music and budget cutbacks in schools mean that students and parents find it harder to get an education in the basics of music reading. 

According to “The Tragic Decline of Music Literacy,” published in Intellectual Takeout, a smaller population of the people in our country are able to read and understand music now than just a few years ago.   According to the author, who is the president of an investment-oriented firm, the decline in music literacy is responsible for the rise in popularity of lower quality (meaning less varied) popular music, which he claims has been proven scientifically.  In other words, the author contends that the quality of popular music is declining along with the music literacy rate.  (Thanks to Mr. Clay Sanderson for drawing my attention to this article.) 

At Tempe Prep, we are determined to offer every student the opportunity to learn to read and understand music.  In 6th grade, students are exposed to American folk songs from the colonial period onward.  In 7th and 8th grades, students learn to play a musical instrument (the recorder) and also learn

  1. Playing by Ear
  2. Sight-reading
  3. Improvising
  4. Transposing
  5. Technique
  6. Ensemble Performing

In High School, students learn to sight-sing and perform in a choir, as well as the basics of vocal technique, music theory such as the scales and modes and harmony, as well as some of the great choral literature in western music. 

In each of the four, one-semester courses students are required to hear live, classical-music concerts at a professional or near-professional level.  Each of our one-semester courses also includes a unit on “music appreciation,” listening to some of the great masterworks of western music. 

Our hope is that every one of our students will leave TPA musically literate. 

Jupiter String Quartet at the TCA on Sunday April 22 at 2:30pm

Another stellar performance is available to our students for concert review. 

The Jupiter Quartet won the Fischoff Grand Prize, Young Concert Artists International Auditions, received an Avery Fischer Career Grant and many other awards. They recently performed all the Beethoven Quartets at the Aspen Music Festival. The Jupiter plays in America, Europe, Asia, Canada and the Americas. Quartet in residence at University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, they also hold visiting faculty residencies at Oberlin Conservatory.

For more information, please see Hayden’s Ferry Chamber Music Series website.  Mrs. Catherine Hayden, mother of a former TPA student and friend to TPA is the producer.


“Impressive, Fast-rising soprano” and Our Own Impressive Tenor

I received word from Mrs. Catherine Hayden, producer of the Hayden’s Ferry Chamber Music Series, about soprano Julia Bullock‘s  performance on March 18, Sunday afternoon at 2:30pm in the Gallery at the Tempe Center for the Arts.   (The link takes you to a 2-minute video of Ms. Bullock’s performance with the London Symphony.)

This concert of course meets the requirements for concert review in the music classes, as do all of the concerts in the Hayden’s Ferry series.

Ms. Bullock has won Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Naumberg International Vocal Auditions, Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award and many others.

A reminder that student tickets are $10 and accompanying adults pay the reduced season ticket price of $24 by quoting  “Charter” when they buy their tickets at the TCA Box Office on 480-350-2822.  As usual, there is a reception following to meet Julia and John.

Now, about our own tenor: congratulations to Eric Johnson for placing 8th chair in All State Choir!  Your school is proud of you, Eric!  The All State Choir performance is on April 21 at University of Arizona in Tucson and also meets the requirements for concert review for TPA’s music classes.