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Scottsdale Arizona Vacations

Jennifer Weiss

If you are planning a vacation to the western part of the United States, one stop that is absolutely essential for relaxation and good times is Scottsdale, AZ. Scottsdale has been on the rise over the past decade and is currently at its peak as one of the top vacation destinations in the country. There are top-notch restaurants, sporting events, hiking trails, numerous golf courses, museums galore, and a number of lodging options to satisfy the outdoor and inquisitive spirit in every vacationer.

Since the weather in Scottsdale can rise upwards of 110 degrees in the summer, it is best to visit during the fall and spring. You will find the crowds are typically the largest during the winter months due to the flight of the snowbirds, so you can cram more activities into your stay during one of the warmer, but still manageable, months.

When looking for some of the best restaurants in the country, look no further than North Scottsdale. Here, you can find some of the best seafood and steakhouses in the country. The Ocean Club is an upscale and elegant seafood restaurant that is located in North Scottsdale within Kierland Commons. Although the wait is typically long during every season, the bar is fully stocked and most individuals believe that the wait for this seafood is well worth it. If you are looking for fine dining in a more casual atmosphere, try Mastro s Steakhouse, located off the 101 and technically on Pinnacle Peak Rd, but it is more easily visible from N. Pima Rd. Here you can find aged steaks, an extensive wine list, and a pleasant atmosphere emanating from the piano bar.

When most individuals think of Scottsdale, they typically think of the amazing golf courses that span the entire city. Troon North is located in North Scottsdale and takes full advantage of the natural surroundings of the Sonoran desert. Lying at the foot of Pinnacle Peak, Troon North carries through the hills and ravines of the desert but is exceptionally maintained to provide a pleasurable golfing experience. The Tournament Players Club, or the TPC, is a challenge to every golfer since it is a professional level golf course (the FBR Open is hosted by the TPC), meaning its mounds and bunkers are meant to be the downfall of every golfer whose game is not quite up to par. If you prefer to watch the game rather than participate, consider attending the FBR Open (typically around the end of January or the beginning of February) and parking yourself at the always rowdy and exciting 17th hole. The 17th hole has an island green that causes amateurs and pros alike quite a headache as their ball lands on the green and suddenly slides gently into the water below.

If you happen to be visiting Scottsdale during the winter and spring, consider stopping

If you have the energy for outdoor adventures in the desert, try a hike in the Camelback Mountain and Echo Canyon Recreation Area. Although this can be a taxing journey and is not designed for individuals who do not regularly hike, the effort is well worth it if you have a burning desire to see all of Phoenix and Scottsdale above sea level. For a more relaxing walk, head to the Desert Botanical Garden to see some beautiful, and unexpected, plants that come from this region. The giant saguaro is always a big draw along with the desert flowers, which fill what is usually considered a rather bland area with vibrant colors. When the summer sun blazes and you need to get out of the heat, visit the Heard Museum for some of the best Native American art in the country.

While there are clearly many activities throughout Scottsdale, one place that every visitor must experience is Old Scottsdale. The main streets are like a picture out of the Old West and are filled to the brim with museums, galleries, and restaurants. Be sure to stop into a couple of the galleries since each one tends to feature a different style or theme for their works of art.

Scottsdale is an exciting place to visit but it is important to plan in advance where you are going to stay since hotels and other accommodations can fill up quickly during the less sweltering months. If you are planning your trip, one option to consider is a Scottsdale vacation rental. A Scottsdale rental home allows you to enjoy all the comforts of home when you are not out exploring the terrain, golf courses, and numerous restaurants of this beautiful area. In addition, a rental will accommodate your entire family within a single location, making your vacation not only more convenient but also more memorable. You can find a variety of Scottsdale Condos at sites such as HomeAway.com, so take a look and you may be pleasantly surprised

Thinking As You Play: Teaching Piano in Individual and Group Lessons

American Music Teacher , August-Sept, 2006 by Meg Gray

* Thinking As You Play: Teaching Piano in Individual and Group Lessons, by Sylvia Coats. Indiana University Press (601 N. Morton St., Bloomington, IN 47404), 2006. 163 pp.

Thinking As You Play: Teaching Piano in Individual and Group Lessons is intended for piano teachers and college piano pedagogy students. It is a wonderful book for the experienced teacher who wants to take his or her teaching to the next level. Graduate pedagogy students or undergraduates who have completed at least one semester of pedagogy would also benefit greatly from this book. Because Sylvia Coats`s intention is to focus on how to teach, rather than what to teach, familiarity with modern piano methods and materials before reading this book would provide needed context.

The book includes the following sections: a comprehensive introduction, which presents Coats`s philosophy and provides an overview of the succeeding chapters; chapters on discovery learning, musical concepts and principles, designing a curriculum, communication and learning styles; and four chapters dealing with group teaching.

Coats`s purpose is to assist teachers with the development of piano students who are independent and creative learners. Coats states, "piano students need to learn how to learn so that they can make intelligent decisions about music they are playing. The development of the critical thinking skills of conceptualizing, analyzing, evaluating and problem solving should be a major part of instruction." Her idea is that teachers should teach from a curriculum they have developed, rather than simply turning the pages of a method book and doing what comes next. Coats demonstrates how to accomplish this goal by first clearly defining basic musical concepts such as pitch, texture and physical technique. She then explains how these concepts can be generalized into broader principles. For example, the concepts of pitch and technique can be combined with the realization that "in stepwise motion, adjacent fingers ate played." From these beginnings, Coats suggests ways that teachers can form their o wn curriculum and provides a five-year model.

The four chapters on group teaching are a valuable resource. Coats provides an introduction to group teaching, a very interesting chapter on how groups grow and change over time, and a chapter on problem solving in group lessons. She concludes with a chapter about group dynamics. Both the chapters on group teaching and the preceding chapters are full of interesting references to psychological studies, learning theorists and other "nonpiano" resources. At the end of each chapter, she includes reference materials for further study.

This thoughtful and thought-provoking book is stuffed full of information that sometimes must be digested slowly. Coats illustrates her points with stories from her own teaching and the teaching of her pedagogy students. The many non-piano references provide valuable jumping-off points for further study. Meg Gray, Columbia, Missouri.

* The items marked with this symbol can be ordered via the MTNA website through our affiliation with Amazon.com. Go to www.mtna.org, click on "Resources and Services" and scroll down to the Amazon.com section.

COPYRIGHT 2006 Music Teachers National Association, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2006 Gale Group

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