Rebecca Zook - Math Tutoring Online

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Posts Tagged as "music"

Update: Me + my cello are going to Iceland!

Monday, August 7th, 2017

Rebecca Zook playing cello in Central Park – Photo Credit Martin Lee #ChineysPhoto

Hey beautiful ones!

I am so excited!

I’ve been invited to Iceland to perform and record with my cello this August in a sacred cave, on a magical glacier, and in an ancient forest full of elves!

So I will be stepping out of my office to fully immerse myself in the Iceland experience.

After taking two weeks as a full break, I’ll just be serving my magical math mentoring clients from Iceland while performing and recording.

I am totally looking forward to sharing this new magical Iceland energy with you when I return!

In the meantime, if you are interested in working with me one-on-one, you can submit your application for my special fall math mastery programs here.

I will be scheduling application interviews for when my schedule is open in September.

In the meantime, if you’d like to to follow my magical cello adventure in Iceland, I’ll be sharing updates right here on my facebook music page, including videos of me performing.

Sending you love,
REBECCA

PS. I am ecstatic that our gofundme campaign has already raised over 50% of our goal of $6,000. If you’d like to check out the campaign, or donate to receive awesome prizes including concert tickets, gluten free brownies, new recordings, and even a private concert, click here.

Posts Tagged as "music"

How to learn math when you’re in the car

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Do you find that your son or daughter is rocking out with their math facts and formulas – and then at the end of the summer, it’s like they’ve never heard of the nines times table? Or are you worried that your kid’s been trying to learn their math facts all year long, and it’s just not clicking?

A great way to learn or review math facts and formulas over the summer is to use math songs!

No worksheets. No flash cards. No silence.

What?? Yes. I do this myself frequently with my students to help them memorize and recall essential material easily, while having fun.

Whether you’re just listening, singing along with the recording, or belting them at the top of your lungs while you’re unloading the groceries (realizing you’ve unwittingly memorized them), math songs are a great way to move these key concepts deep into your long-term memory.

You can download them on your mp3 player and listen to them in the car while driving to the pool, going to ballet class or hockey camp, and even while you’re on a big family road trip.

I’ve listened to a lot of math songs on a quest to find ones that don’t suck and don’t insult my musical intelligence (or my students’ musical intelligence). Here are my three current favorite math song sources:

Rockin’ the standards. A school teacher created short, awesome, totally rockin’ songs for the times tables, concepts like mean, median, and mode, and shapes like quadrilaterals and triangles. Totally worth the price of the download (here) – or you can listen to them for free on youtube.


Multiplication hip-hop for kids.
If you’re more into rap than rock, these hip hop songs offer a great way to memorize the times tables up through the 12s. (“We don’t cry – we multiply!”)

An awesome music video about pi. This beautiful video has a super catchy song that helps students easily remember the first six digits of pi, with verses that explain where pi comes from and what it means. It is also really fun to do the chorus call and response with your kid!

This video also tends to be a great conversation starter for students who are new to the concept of pi. And it’s a big confidence booster to know not just the first three digits—which most kids learn—but the first six digits—which most people never learn!

Do you really want your kid not just to be singing their math facts loud and proud, but also using their math facts and formulas in ways that are meaningful and intuitive to them?

Just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs. Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to get really clear about what’s going on with your kid’s math situation and explore whether or not it would be a fit for us to work together.

Related posts:
Surface area of a cylinder song
What does pi sound like?
What a Balinese dancing queen taught me about praise and encouragement

Posts Tagged as "music"

Can math be a sanctuary?

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

I went on an adventure this week. I did my first recording session with my cello.

Me and one of my best friends went to my “power place,” this magical, beautiful tunnel in Central Park covered in beautiful mosaics that has amazing acoustics. We purposefully went late at night so it would be quiet.

Walking through the park, I saw that a film shoot was set up next to the tunnel, with this huge floating dirigible light and all this film equipment. And I was afraid that they would kick us out or tell us to not make any noise.

I thought, OK, well, the worst thing they can do is tell us to stop. So we went down into the tunnel, and I said out loud to my friend that my intention was for both us and the film shoot people to peacefully do what we needed to do without disturbing each other.

I had brought some special gluten free pastries, and before we started recording, we sat and ate our dulce de leche eclairs. My friend observed that she felt like a queen in a beautiful palace, and I had to agree. I felt like we were queens, too.

After our little pastry feast she set up the recording equipment and I started playing. My intention was to record my own original material, and then two covers of me singing with my cello, which is scary and new for me.

It was totally magical. My friend took care of all the recording details, and she even did this amazing spontaneous backup harmonies. Which really made me feel like a badass, to have backing vocals!!

Somehow, the movie people right outside the tunnel were utterly silent, and didn’t bother us at all.

They even shone a spotlight down into the tunnel, which looked and felt amazing to be illuminated like that.

At the very end, for the last song, I was like, what the heck.

I turned to my friend and I said, “Please promise me you’ll still be my friend no matter what you think about what I’m about to do. This is hot off the press and I feel really vulnerable sharing it.”

Then I played what I know is the next level for me – the most exciting, and the most scary thing of all – which is to sing my own original material.

Afterwards, my friend said, “That was gorgeous! Who wrote that??” And I was so excited and gratified that I jumped up and down.

I told her, “I wrote that. This is the first time I’ve ever sung a song I created myself in front of another human being. And I’m so glad I got to sing it in front of you.”

Can I tell you a secret? Recording myself used to be one of the things I dreaded most in the entire world. Listening to recordings of myself playing would rip my belief in myself to shreds. It was so completely stressful for me – a lot like how math used to be completely stressful for me.

How the heck did I get from that place, to where I am now? How do you get from a place where you’re completely struggling, ashamed, in tears, stressed out of your mind, to feeling confident, spacious, and like a queen in your own beautiful palace?

I am still in the process of figuring this out, but here’s what I think it’s about.

Stake out your own territory. If you’re in a really agonizing classroom or math learning experience, you have to stake out your own territory, outside of the awfulness of what you’re currently experiencing. You can’t keep dwelling exclusively inside the “meltdown/panic” zone of what’s currently being offered to you. You have to create a new space for yourself outside that experience, because that meltdown/panic experience isn’t going to give you what you need to move forward.

For me with my music, this meant exploring territory completely outside the classical world, learning how to play by ear, traveling to Cuba and Bali, even taking acting classes. For me with math, this meant learning how to take things apart, go slow, find my own way of understanding. With my clients, in our tutoring time, we very purposefully create a new math zone where math is comfortable, enjoyable, and meaningful, no matter what’s going on in the classroom.

Do it your way. If the way you’re being taught or trained doesn’t work for you, it’s not the only way. So much of the way I was taught and trained in the classical music model made me feel so awful about myself and didn’t help me create good work. “My way” happens to be performing in a beautiful mosaic-ed tunnel next to a fountain with an angel on top.

Same thing with math. You can do it your own way, relying on your own strengths, your own fascination and creativity. With my clients, we find ways that really work for each individual so they can start to experience math as a source of joy and strength, even a way to express themselves creatively.

Surround yourself with true companions. That evening of recording in the tunnel was so magical. And at the end I told my friend, wow, it felt so effortless. But I know so much of it had to do with the fact that I picked my recording engineer – my friend who came with me to record – so very carefully. Not only is she one of my closest friends and an amazing musician, but I had also sang to her as an audience member in the tunnel over the summer, and I already knew I felt so comfortable and safe with her, and encouraged, even when I was doing the most vulnerable thing musically that I’ve ever done.

Having her there with me completely transformed the experience and made me feel so strong and safe. And this also happens in my work with my math tutoring students – finally having a true companion, a truly matched math mastery mentor, allows them to completely transform their relationship with math, and even with life.

Are you ready to have a true math companion who will support you in transforming your relationship with math from agonizing to euphoric?

Just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs.

This application process has been meticulously designed to help us both get clear about whether the special, magical way I work is a match for you.

Once your application is received, we’ll set up a special phone call to explore whether or not my magical math tutoring programs would be a fit for your family! I’m excited to connect with you!

Posts Tagged as "music"

Does having a math tutor make you a “loser”?

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

DSCN7627 (745x1024)
Playing my cello… in Central Park!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So in April and May I was taking a special acting class in New York.

Towards the end, my acting teacher encouraged me to start playing my cello on the street in New York City to help me become WAY more comfortable with playing in front of other people.

And part of me was like…WHAT??? This sounds

a) insane

and

b) terrifying!!!!!!!!!!

And then this weekend, I decided to try it. I put on an awesome outfit with crowns and feathers in my hair and took the subway to a super special spot in Central Park with great acoustics and beautiful mosaics, and I played from my heart.

And people stopped and listened … and it was so much fun!!! And I think this is just the beginning…

DSCN7629 (762x1024)
Victoriously holding my cello over my head after performing in the beautiful tunnel!

I can tell you right now, this NEVER would have happened without having my acting teacher mentor. The idea never would have even crossed my mind. I would still be thinking that playing out on the street was insane and terrifying, instead of having the experience of going to a beautiful place and then an audience just shows up and we have fun together!

So does having a mentor, a teacher, or a tutor, mean that you’re a loser?

This is something I’ve really been thinking about a lot.

I hear this all the time. Parents will tell me, “I don’t want to take my kid to a tutoring center because they’re worried someone will see them and then they’ll feel embarrassed/ashamed/humiliated…” Or even, “My kid isn’t allowed to have a tutor if they’re taking an honors class…”

And I’m like, WHAT?????????????

It’s like…every single athlete playing in the world cup… did they get there just by showing up to soccer practice? No frikkin’ way!! They had personal trainers, massage therapists, sports kinesiologists, and it wasn’t because they were “losers” or “not talented” or “just not a football/soccer person”… because they were committed to their own growth and their own vision and they knew they would get there way faster with support.

For some reason in our culture, we understand that if you get support with sports, it’s because you are committed to becoming stronger, faster, more flexible. We see that kid with a personal trainer or a private quarterback coach and think, wow, they are REALLY into it! But somehow there’s this like unspoken assumption that if someone has a tutor in academics, it’s because they are “not smart” or “a bad student” or even “a loser.”

WHY do we think like this?

The first time I ever heard of someone having a professional tutor, I was in high school. One of my classmates in my (notoriously challenging and amazing) high school history class mentioned that our teacher had encouraged him to get a professional tutor to help him with his essays for her class.

And by the way, his tutor spoke five languages and thought in Chinese (even though it wasn’t his first language).

I thought, wow, that sounds really cool!!!!!! My classmate got to hang out with a super interesting and unique adult who was mentoring him so he could master the skill of writing history essays.

It was just about receiving support from someone farther along the path in developing a very specific and valuable skill that happened to be challenging for him at that particular point in his journey.

I was almost jealous, and definitely intrigued!

I was not like, “OH, this kid is a LOSER!”

So why do people think that if they have a tutor, it will make them a loser?

I think it all comes down to three subconscious misunderstandings about how true mastery works:

Subconscious misunderstanding one:

“You either have it or you don’t.”
(This is also known as “fixed mindset” – however much intelligence or ability you’ve got, that’s how much you have, and it’s never going to change.) In this case, for example, being tutored means that you “don’t have it”.

Subconscious misunderstanding two:

“Support doesn’t create true mastery.” This can also look like, tutoring is just about getting by, getting through it, scraping by, and surviving by the seat of your pants.

Subconscious misunderstanding three:

“You get to the top on your own.” So if you’re getting support, then you’re not one of those ‘special people’ who ‘got to the top’ working in isolation.

Fortunately, these are all actually just misunderstandings, and they are not true. (Phew!)

Here is the truth.

1. If you “don’t have it” with math, you can acquire it with persistent, incremental effort.

2. True support does create true mastery. A good math tutor will help you achieve complete security with what you’re working on so it becomes part of who you are and you can truly thrive.

3. Everyone who “gets to the top” or “makes it” gets there with support.
It’s not black or white – it’s about a continual upward spiral, continual course correction, continually stretching out of your comfort zone into the growth zone.

So here are three easy ways to help your kids understand that having a tutor does not mean that you are a loser:

1. Model and nurture a growth mindset. There is no such thing as a “math person” or a “non-math person” – we are all absolutely capable of learning math. If you’re confused about something, it’s just because you need to practice it more, or hear it explained in a way that makes more sense to you, or both. It doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with you. You can literally grow the part of your brain that understands math.

2. Mastery orientation. Focus on truly supporting the process of mastery. Don’t settle for tutoring that’s just about getting by, getting the homework done, or getting the grades. Focus on supporting your kid in deeply understanding the concepts until they become part of who they are and even a form of self-expression.

3. Normalize support. Explain that everyone who achieves greatness – even if their path is extremely unique – gets there by working with those who are farther along the path. Bill Gates uses an executive coach. Soccer stars, musicians, actors, artists – they all get mentored. Having a mentor is just a sign that you are deeply committed to your own growth and bringing your own gifts and vision and passion into the world. And it happens a LOT faster when you have help.

Would you like your passionate, visionary kid to experience the kind of accelerated math transformation that can happen with true math mentoring?

Then I invite you to begin the application process for my individual math tutoring programs. This application process has been meticulously designed to help us both get clear about whether the special, magical way I work is a match for you.

Just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs.

Related posts:
Dealing with overwhelm (2)
What I learned on the streets of Paris, and in a Dutch grocery store
What a Balinese dancing queen taught me about praise and encouragement
How to use the summer to catch up or get ahead in math without burning out or going crazy

Posts Tagged as "music"

What changes when someone believes in you?

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Math Butterfly

(Here’s a “math butterfly” one of my students and I created during a recent tutoring session!)

What changes when someone believes in you?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.

I just had a huge performance breakthrough on my cello with my acting coach, and I’m getting ready for my quarterly business retreat with my business mentor. I’m going to be spending over a week surrounded by people who love me and believe in my highest potential and biggest vision.

In both of these situations, I feel so safe and accepted to really go for it, and I cannot believe how much better my music and my business and teaching gets as a result.

It completely changes my concept of what I’m capable of. It makes me believe that my dreams really can come true, because I can see it already happening.

Let me tell you, though, it hasn’t always been like this! At ALL.

Just as an example, not so long ago, when I was in graduate school for cello performance, I went to audition for two different summer chamber music festivals.

At the first audition, the person I was auditioning for radiated skepticism about me and my abilities. I didn’t feel very comfortable – I could tell she thought I had something to prove. She asked pointedly, “Do you have anything fast you could play for me?” I don’t even remember how I responded to that, but I remember thinking that if she accepted me into her festival, she would think she was doing me a favor, and I would feel seriously inferior.

The very next day, I went to audition for an amazing violinist, and took the commuter rail all the way out to New Jersey to meet her at the festival location. Her demeanor was so warm and welcoming and enthusiastic. I felt so comfortable!

I had fun playing for her, and when I was finished, she said very firmly, “You DEFINITELY have what it takes to be accepted to this festival!”

So guess which festival I ended up attending?

Yes, the one with the enthusiastic and welcoming teacher!

This experience was a real turning point for me. At this festival, I played the Cello 2 part in the Mendelssohn String Octet, which is both one of my most favorite-est pieces of music in the WORLD, and has an unbelievably hairy and notorious cello solo at the beginning of the last movement – that I had to learn!

This amazing violinist teacher went completely out of her way to set me up to really rock it. She even demonstrated how to play this solo holding a GRAPEFRUIT instead of using her fingers! And her musical partner and husband, also an incredible teacher, gave me a great fingering. I learned how to do it!

When we performed, I just went for it. And the audience response was so phenomenal. We were playing in a church, and the audience members stood up and BANGED on the pews, they were so excited! We were riveting!

This experience gave me the rock-solid conviction that classical music can be just as electrifying as anything else – and can truly bring an audience to its feet with RAUCOUS joy, not just polite or intellectual appreciation!

Looking back on this experience, it is so funny to me that that first person I auditioned for was skeptical that I could play fast. Because the second person, the amazing violinist, trusted me and helped me learn a SUPER FAST cello solo that I completely rocked (if I do say so myself)!

So what changes when someone believes in you?

I think it’s really simple.

1. When someone believes in you, they automatically ask you to do more.

2. Ideally, they also give you the TOOLS to actually DO it.

3. You have the opportunity and the tools to go beyond what you thought you were capable of.

4. You experience mastery! Breakthroughs happen! People respond with incredible enthusiasm! You are so excited and happy!

5. You believe in yourself, and you keep going. You begin to inhabit a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT REALITY.

Amazing, right? But – let’s look at the shadow side.

What happens when the teacher or mentor you trust DOESN’T believe in you?

1. They don’t trust you, so they don’t ask you to do more.

2. They usually don’t give you the tools to do more because they actually don’t know how to really help you, or they don’t even think you would “get it.” (A lot of times this is subconscious or unconscious on the teacher’s part, I’ve found.)

3. You don’t go beyond what you thought you were capable of. Your idea of what you can do starts to shrink.

4. Super important: you subconsciously pick up that they don’t believe in you and you start to entrain with that. You start to believe in yourself less, and you don’t do as well.

5. Or you start pouring an enormous amount of mental, emotional, and spiritual energy into defending yourself in your own mind. But inside you really just feel like you suck.

6. Downward spiral continues until you shift the pattern or reincarnate and start over!

Trust me, I know, because I’VE BEEN THERE! I have wasted so much time and energy with people who did not believe in me… constantly feeling insecure and defending myself in my mind. And I did not bloom. If I improved, it was so slow and painful. And I did not shine at my fullest light. This was not helpful for me or anyone else!

Two caveats:

1. Caveat #1: It doesn’t work if your teacher or mentor wants it for you more than you want it for yourself. You have to want it as much as your teacher or mentor, or even more.

2. Caveat #2: Don’t get me wrong. I know that there are times in life where we are going to encounter people who don’t believe in us. I’m not saying that we can only talk to or work with people who are constantly cheerleading us and telling us we’re awesome. (In fact, that’s not really what this awesome teacher did – she challenged me and gave me the tools I needed, which is so different from empty praise.)

But it IS up to us who we choose to study with and learn from. It IS up to us who we trust with our unfolding dreams. And it is so much more FUN and so much more POWERFUL and everything happens like a BAZILLION times FASTER when we choose to spend time with people who believe in us. It’s like the difference between picking crumbs off the floor of a MacDonalds and feasting on your favorite foods with people who love you!

If you or your kid is suffering in math right now because of a crisis of confidence – if you are feeling like your kid’s teacher doesn’t believe in them anymore, or you’re worried that your kid doesn’t believe in themselves, or that they feel deep down inside that “math doesn’t like me anymore” or “I’m not good at math” even though they’re busting their butt and trying their absolute best, I would love to talk to you.

Just click here to get started with your special application for my one-on-one math tutoring programs.

Once your application is received, and we’ll get you all set up with a super special complimentary appointment, just me and you, to get clear on what’s going on with your kid’s math learning and whether or not it would make sense for us to work together!

Posts Tagged as "music"

Surface Area of a Cylinder Song

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Here’s a fun way to remember the formula for surface area of a cylinder—singing these lyrics set to the tune of Camptown Races (in the style of Foghorn Leghorn):

2 times pi times r times h; that’s the middle.
2 times pi times r times r; top and bottom, too.
Surface area!
Of a cylinder! It’s
2 times pi times r times h plus two times pi times r times r.

If you’re not sure about how to fit the lyrics with the Camptown Races melody, just listen to the intro of this sweet rendition on YouTube:

With this handy mneumonic device stuck in my head, I feel the urge to belt “Surface areAAAA! Of a cylinDERRRR!” while walking around my neighborhood and puttering around my kitchen!

Many thanks to Becky Brickell for sharing this great idea on the Texas Instruments Classroom Activities website!

Related Posts:
What Does Pi Sound Like?
There’s Always Room for Cello
Happy Pi Day – a beautiful song about 3.14159…
Five fun ways to help your kids learn math this summer with rock songs and raps

Posts Tagged as "music"

What does pi sound like?

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Just in time for Pi day, here’s a delightful musical interpretation of pi from Michael John Blake, using a piano, ukelele, autoharp, accordion, and bowed something-or-other, not to mention some totally sick handclaps!

I have already listened to this 3 times today. Maybe I should go listen to it another .14 times to bring the total to 3.14!!

If you’re not sure about this song, hang in there until around 2:33, where it really starts to rock.

Makes me want to make my own cover/dance music video of this song!!

Happy Pi Day, everyone! (Thanks to my Dad to bringing this video to my attention.)

Related posts:

It’s 3.14 – Happy Pi Day 2010 (beautiful song and video about 3.14159…)

Five fun ways to help your kids learn math this summer with rock songs and raps
There’s always room for cello

Posts Tagged as "music"

There’s always room for cello!

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

I want to give a MASSIVE shout-out to my dear friend Nan Kemberling, who created this awesome rap video about cello technique!

Not only did Nan come up with this totally creative, fun, sassy, helpful, and accurate rap full of cello do’s and don’ts, but she also directed and starred in the video, honed a new persona as a rapper, showcased her own students, and created a viral youtube phenomenon!

This video is also a powerful example of what can happen when artist/teachers create educational music that you actually *want* to listen to.

When I asked Nan about the creative process of writing this rap, she said that she was always telling her students the same things, so why not make a rap song about it? This seems to echo the sentiment of Tim Bedley, veteran teacher and creator of the “Rockin’ the Standards” album of math songs: “My students just have the hardest time remembering some really important concepts. I have to keep reteaching and reteaching. If only I could get them to sing the information, they would NEVER forget!”

Here’s to a world where there are more awesome songs to help us learn the important stuff!

Related posts:
Five fun ways to help your kids learn math this summer with rock songs and raps
Happy pi day (beautiful song and video about 3.14159…)
“Simple, but not easy” (Lynn Harrell)