Wauna woman authors music book about her unique teaching methods


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Leila Christiansen-Larson

Mary Alice Salciccia works in her Wauna music studio. She recently released Hello Music, a book about teaching methods. Photo by Leila Larson, KP News

Local author Mary Alice Salciccia has just released her new book, called “Hello Music,” from Blysster Press. It is a do-it-yourself instruction book, introducing students to music.

Salciccia has been a resident of the Key Peninsula since 1983, when she moved from Juneau, Alaska. She has taught music since the late 1970s. She was a visitor to this area for several years, before becoming a permanent resident here.

Salciccia wanted to write about her teaching methods, to share them with a wider audience.

“The real big reason was to help people who can’t afford music lessons. It is the perfect starter book. “Hello Music” does not require an instrument to follow the program. One can clap hands, use a spoon on a pot, use their voice or anything to make a sound will do,” she said.

Salciccia had a love for music at a young age.

“When I was 8, my father was talking with a priest and I went over to the piano and started to play it. The priest told my father that I had a gift. From then on came the piano, and then the lessons,” she said.

She began touring as a professional entertainer with a band as a teenager. “My parents had to come to the gigs because they were in clubs and I was just 16,” she said.

After touring all over Alaska, then in Texas and California, she returned to Juneau in the late 1970s and began a career as a music teacher.

“It was then that I thought about the ideas in my book. I was teaching music and all of the beginner books were just too hard,” she added.

Salciccia has been involved in music all of her life. Teaching music is her first love. She has arranged music and provided accompaniment for three seasons with the Peninsula High School choir.

“I teach my students that music should be a part of your lifestyle. You should be willing to nurture and not just emphasize practice, but emphasize participation,” she said.

Salciccia has an alternative method of teaching rhythm.

“I teach rhythm differently, through feeling, as opposed to cerebral counting,” she said.

For Salciccia, music is about the language of music and not the song.

With plenty of personal performing experience, she believes that when one plays with confidence, it is beautiful. She said her method of emphasizing participation encourages self-confidence in her students.

“The book is a whole lot cheaper than taking lessons from me, and it works very well with home schooling,” she said.

Salciccia plans to publish a series, taking a student from the beginning through intermediate and on to advanced.

“Hello Music” is available at many bookstores and online by emailing mary@expressionsmusic.com.