Piano Olympics 2018 Wrap Up

Well we wrapped up our Piano Olympics this week with some very special all studio masterclasses!

The students worked so hard on all the challenges these last 6 weeks and many completed above and beyond the 5 needed to receive gold!

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We began our master classes with a bit of Olympic Trivia as an icebreaker and I was so impressed with their knowledge!

Then it was on to SoloTime as each student prepared a piece to play for the class! I’m always so happy to see how eager they are to get up and play and how attentively they listen to each other!

After solotime we played several “minute to win it” style music theory games. Some were played in teams of two like Rhythm Sort and some were played in two large teams like Composer ABCs (sorting composers by alphabetical order) or rhythm dominoes.

Then then it was time to award medals.

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We finished up with Olympics torch popcorn and a short YouTube video of Mr Bean playing Chariots of Fire with the London Symphony Orchestra. 😊

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March News 2018

What a fun week of Piano Olympics wrap up we have had!!  Today is our last day and there is still some room in today’s 5pm class if you missed out this week!  We enjoyed some really outstanding solo time (great practicing this week!!), a little Olympic trivia (boy these kids have been paying attention to the Olympics!), some very fun “minute to Win it” music games, a special treat with a fun Olympic/Piano themed youtube video….and of course, some very special awards!  Our gold medal tally has rivaled that of Canada’s right now!

We will now soon be heading in to March and I thought I’d send out the March newsletter early as there are a few important dates and studio closures coming up, so take a moment to read through this newsletter which I have tried to keep brief and easy to read.  I will do my best to send out quick reminders when needed over the next month.

IMPORTANT DATES/STUDIO CLOSURES
The studio calendar has been updated on my website (https://wordpress.com/page/mmmusicstudio.com/168) but here are some important upcoming dates:

I will be away Wednesday Feb 28-Tuesday March 6 and there will be no lessons those days.  I will be with my husband helping to host the Fountain Tire Convention in Banff.

2. SPRING BREAK:  Spring Break will be March 26-April 2.  There will be NO LESSONS during this week

3. April 3-6 Easter Week Master Classes,  no regular lessons this week.  A sign up sheet will come out just before Spring Break.

4. I will be away again April 22-28 and there will be no lessons that week.  My husband has a conference in New Orleans and it just happens to be Jazzfest that week so I  had to jump at the once in a lifetime chance to take that in.

5. SPRING RECITAL: Ivories & Espressos!!!  The Spring Recital is officially booked!  Mark your calendars for May 26th!  We have a very special and unique Spring Recital in store for you this year!  A relaxed, coffeehouse-style recital will take place at the Legato cafe located inside Sherwood Park Alliance Church (1011 Cloverbar Road, Sherwood Park, AB) on Saturday, May 26th between 11:30 and 1pm.  I have booked the coffeeshop for a private function our studio only.  Seating is very limited (approx 75 or so seats) so we will divide into two separate concerts: one at 11:30am and one at 12:15pm.  This will allow room for family members to come and join us.  Please sign up for just ONE of the two time concerts.  Sign up only the performing student(s), not the family members, just as you would for a master class. (Siblings are of course encouraged to play in the same concert!)  Bring some goodies or water bottles to share at your table or surrounding tables during the concert as you will be free to mingle, visit and enjoy treats during the concert.  The Legato Cafe will also be opened by volunteer baristas  for coffee, tea, hot chocolate or even iced beverage purchases during the concert if you are interested.

To sign up, click on the link emailed to you  to choose your concert time! Please sign up before May 18th so I have time to put together our program.

 

 

 

 

November Piano News! 2017 Edition

November is still a few days away but next week is going to be a busy week, so I wanted to post this newsletter before the weekend as there are a couple things coming up in early November to watch for!  It is chock-full of information and I apologize for the length but November is FULL of some great musical opportunities as well as some very important dates with our studio schedule!

 

OCTOBER 31st  NO LESSONS

After some feedback from studio families, I have decided to cancel lessons on Halloween. Whether you celebrate it or not, it was decided that no one wants to be out driving that evening unless absolutely necessary.

CHRISTOPHER NORTON CONCERT, November 1st, 7:30pm

There has been a poster by the door and calendar and I have mentioned this by email before but it is now less than a week away!!

Christopher Norton – a very famous jazz composer  from England – is coming on November 1 and I have had the privilege of helping to organize his visit! He is leading teacher workshops in the morning and some of my older students are able to participate in workshops as well as a masterclass with him that afternoon.
And….just as exciting: on that same November 1 in the evening he is doing a CONCERT for ANYONE who would like to attend!  The cost is BY DONATION.  So whatever you think you can afford, that is the admission!  I feel this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Many of the students have played his compositions in the Royal Conservatory grades….or will very soon and to hear this caliber of musician at a very minimal cost is unheard of.
The concert will be at 7:30pm, and although I realize it may be late for some of my younger students, being that it is by donation basis, just pay for what you think you will attend.  If you think your child will only last half an hour, it would still be a half an hour of an amazing connection for them, both with pieces they may know, a composer they may have played pieces by, and even a composer that is STILL ALIVE!  And if they haven’t played pieces by him yet, they will eventually and those pieces will make such a connection with them when they can relate it to the concert
The details:
When:  Wednesday, November 1 at 7:30
Where:  St Thomas Anglican Church, 4A Raven Drive Sherwood Park
Cost:  By Donation

This is an exciting opportunity that I hope you can all enjoy!

WEDNESDAY STUDENTS:  Reminder! There will be no lessons for you on this day as I will be co-hosting this event all day!

NOVEMBER BREAK  NOVEMBER 9-15, No lessons
Over the last few years both Edmonton Public, Elk Island and some Sturgeon school boards have introduced a fall break in November.  I have tried over the last few years to honor this break as I think it’s a nice way for students to have a bit of a break in their routine before we gear up for our annual Christmas recital.  I am working right now to ensure that all students have their Christmas recital piece to be working on over the break, so be checking their lesson assignments over the next couple of weeks.  The breaks do very a bit between the school boards and last year I went with the EIPS schedule as both my children were in the district and we had some “Stay-cation” plans.  This year I will be going with the Edmonton Public dates which are:  Thursday November 9-Wednesday November 15.  So, unless you are told otherwise (Tuesday and Wednesday students!)  there will be no lessons during that break.  A reminder will be sent out to you again in the week coming up to those dates!

Our very own annual CHRISTMAS RECITAL
This is not an November Event….but just had to get another reminder in:  Mark those calendars for our Christmas Recital:
Cookies and Carols, Friday December 15th, 6:30pm  at Bethel Community Church 14204 25 Street, Edmonton…roughly 12 blocks north of our studio!
OTHER UPCOMING CONCERT OPPORTUNITIES AND LISTENING OPPORTUNITIES
The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra kicks off their Symphony For Kids series on November 18th!  I will have the privilege once again of being involved in the pre-concert activity planning once again this year and though I am not yet sure if I will be at the November 18th concert, I will most certainly be at the December Candy Cane Family Concerts as well as the SFK concerts in the New Year.  These concerts are a wonderful way and introducing beautiful music to your children!
Also:  Arden Theatre in St Albert will be present Elf The Musical JR on November 28th! Another fun and musical event.
For those of you who cannot make it to these events as well as those of you who would like more beautiful music to share with your children/family.  I will be occasionally sharing a listening calendar with you.  By email today you will receive a listening calendar for November and December that you can print off. It was made by my colleague, Doreen Hall. Each day in November and December I will be posting that youtube video on the studio Facebook page…..but if you do not have Facebook, you can also find the videos at: pianoparents.net
I you would like tickets to Symphony for Kids, Candy Cane Family Christmas or Elf the Musical Jr:

https://www.winspearcentre.com/tickets/subscriptions/2017-2018-eso-season/symphony-for-kids/

Rhythm and Dynamic Fun! October 2017 Master Classes

This week we are taking a break from our regularly scheduled private lessons and MYC classes (we do this about 5 times a year) and enjoying our first Master Class group sessions of the year!  And what fun we are having!

1. Icebreaker:  each student introduces themselves and say their favorite Thanksgiving treat

2. Piano Charades:  I used the Decide Now App to create our own little Wheel of Fortune of Musical Terms to review/introduce and then we played the game like this:

A) First I called out the words such as: piano, forte, fermata, ritardando, presto, largo, etc. and asked students to act them out physically.  For example: piano could be walking on tip toes while ritardando could be jogging in place and gradually slowing down the pace–like a train approaching a station.

B) After all terms were physically re-enacted I had each student come up to the piano one at a time to play their solo piece OR to play one phrase of a well-prepared piece as the composer intended.

C) Then after that the performer had to spin the wheel featuring all the terms just reviewed without letting the others see where the Wheel-of-Fortune-like spinner stops.

D) The pianist at the bench then played the same phrase but this time changed the performance to “portray” the term.

E) The audience had to guess the word and if they did, everyone got a treat as the performer was successful in communicating the music term through a performance and the audience demonstrated excellent listening skills.

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3. Rhythm Cups and Bucket Drumming:  I chose a rhythm to put to Cups or Buckets.  One they had mastered the rhythm and where to put it on the Cups and Buckets we added in some suspenseful music….In the Hall of the Mountain King!

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4. Notespeed Game:  This is a super fun new card game I found by Tara Cunningham that is very reminiscent of Dutch Blitz.  Tara has her students play it as a 2 player games but I divided the students into groups of 4 kids more like Dutch Blitz.  It was a HUGE hit among all the students and if you are looking for a fun and educational Christms gift or stocking stuffer that would help to foster great note reading skills you can find the game here: http://amzn.to/2xR9t6p

 

I had a bonus activity from Teach Piano Today up my sleeve just in these activities didn’t fill the time but I didn’t need it at all for classes this week but I’ll be saving it for the next class for sure:

Rhythm Telephone:

Instruct piano students to sit in a row, one behind the other, with their eyes closed. The oldest student should be at the back of the line. Your row can have as few as 5 students or as many as 20!

How To Play:

  1. To begin, show a two-measure rhythm to the oldest piano student (who is allowed to open her eyes) at the back of the line. (For example “quarter, quarter, half, half, quarter, quarter”).
  2. Next, instruct the oldest student who was shown the rhythm to tap this rhythm onto the back of the student sitting in front of her. This student then taps the rhythm onto the back of the next student.
  3. The chain of tapping continues until it reaches the final student, who then leaps up and writes the rhythm on a white board or poster paper.
  4. Next, reveal to your students the original rhythm. Did they pass it along correctly or did the rhythm get morphed somewhere down the line?
  5. Each time the group is correct, score one point for the kids. Each time the group is wrong, score one point for yourself (the teacher).
  6. Continue the activity with increasingly difficult rhythms.

 

 

 

 

***This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that by clicking on a link and making a purchase I may receive a small commission. You will never be charged extra for this.

 

September Piano News and Important Dates ~ 2017 Edition

Hello Everyone!

Well the weather as well as the dates seem to be telling us that fall is here!  We had a whirlwind of first lessons last week but we are settling in well this week and it’s been so exciting and encouraging to see that practice that has already begun and the piano pieces that are already starting to take shape!

In this newsletter I want to share a little bit about some important dates coming up as well as a resource or two you might find helpful as we head into this year and some other info!

POLICIES SHEET

I’ll start with saying that I did try to send home a policies sheets with each student but in case I missed you, I have just emailed a copy (or you can pick one up off of the music stand by the practice tree).  For those of you that have been taking lessons here a year or more, there’s really no change to the policies but I did add a little bit of helpful information to you as well as some suggested practice guidelines so it’s worth the read through.  I also added a place to sign and am asking that signed copies be turned in so I know you are familiar with everything on the sheet.  You will have the document attached to the email as your copy. 😊

CHRISTMAS RECITAL (New location!!)

I’ll put this next on the list as many of you have been asking about this already as you plan vacations, get-togethers and juggle other holiday events.  I had a tentative date on the website calendar and that has all been updated now.  The date remains the same but the LOCATION HAS CHANGED!  We have a new location for our recital this year just up the road from my studio.  This will be a big change for some of you who have been with me for a while but I think it will provide a nice central location for those coming from either east or west.  The recital will take place at Bethel Community Church, 14204 25 street on Friday, December 15th at 6:30pm.  Our theme is Cookies and Carols and we will enjoy a time of sharing refreshments after our program.  More details will come as we get closer to the date, but for now you can mark your calendars with the date, time and location!

THANKSGIVING MASTER CLASSES

We will have our first all studio master class the week following Thanksgiving, October 10-13.  Many of you are old hats at master class week, but some of you are new and I’ve had a chance to tell you a bit about it and look forward to sharing it with our new students.  Just to re-iterate, during master class week, there are NO regular classes or lessons.  Instead we have all-studio master classes for all ages and levels.  It’s a chance for the students to build community, learn about composers, and have a small scale performance opportunity making recital time much more comfortable.  It’s also unparented and give the MYC parents a week off of helping in class.  More information including the exact master class times including a link to a sign up sheet will come out by the end of the month.  If you’re new and would like to see what a master class looks like in my studio of enthusiastic musicians, check out this link and scroll on down.  I’ve not been organized enough to post them all but there are several there to take a little peek at:  https://mmmusicstudio.com/category/master-classes-2/page/2/

 

HELPFUL RESOURCES

The best thing we can possibly do for our students is to support their practicing in any and every way we can!  Practice is the key to making progress and progress is the key to feel successful and joyful about piano.  I’ve shared both on my website and facebook page some ideas for creating a “practice nest”.  If you missed it, you can find it here:

Creating a Practice Nest

Another great resource is this book by Tracey Selle:  http://amzn.to/2yqsLwe   It’s called 101 Piano Practice Tips and is full of refreshing ideas whether you are new or you’ve been at this a while.

Another recommended (and easy as well as entertaining) read, especially for those with teens or pre-teens, is Coffee With Ray:  http://amzn.to/2jLkcsL

That should give you enough for now!  You can always the newsletters on this website where you can even subscribe to email updates every time something is added to the website.  You can find the studio Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/mmmusicstudio

Enjoy a warm and cozy rest of the week!  Looking forward to a fantastic year!

 

 

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that by clicking on a link and making a purchase I may receive a small commission.  You will never be charged extra for this.

Back to School, Back to Lessons!

Happy Back to School for those of you who sent your kids off today (this is week two for us!).  We are less than a week away from our own Back to Lessons! Just a couple things to let you know this week!

Invoices/receipts were sent out last week on the 29th.  If you did not receive one by email, please check your junk mail.  I am using a new accounting system this year that automates and customizes invoices and receipts and your email may have not recognized the address origin (mailer@waveapps.com).  It will show Michelle Miller Music Studio as the sender.

Schedule and Calendar is up on this, the main website:  mmmusicstudio.com     You can bookmark this address OR I usually include it in my email signature to make it easy to find.   I am currently working on booking the Christmas recital so just know that is TENTATIVELY scheduled right now and will be confirmed hopefully very soon!  You will also find newsletters, announcements and practice tips posted there as well, so if you can’t find it by email, check out the site and it is usually posted there too!

I am off to get a little more last minute organization and re-decorating done in the studio now!  Looking forward to a wonderful new year of music making with all of you!!  See you next week!

An Apple-icious Practice Incentive!

The days feel just a bit cooler and I’m seeing apples on trees everywhere!  I think this means that our September kickoff is just around the corner and piano lessons are almost back in session!

In preparation for this, I have been working away in the studio and one of the projects I’m super excited about is a practice challenge for my entire student body.  I wanted a challenge that would work for every student, from beginner to advanced.  One that would introduce the beginners to a daily practice routine and one that would help the experienced students return to that daily practice routine.  As it’s the start of the year, I also wanted something simple so as not to be overwhelming.

Several years ago Teach Piano Today put out a fun apple-themed practice challenge, but though all the work was done for me, I wanted something a little less involved for our kickoff…and the chance to have a little fun with Canva  and some simple graphic design was an added bonus.

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I’m really excited with how it turned out and if you’re a parent who would like a copy for your child at home or a teacher who would like to try it in your studio you can get it right here.

In keeping with the apple theme, I dug out my old “practice tree” and placed little apple name tags all over the tree with my student’s names.  Each week they complete one of the challenges, they will be able to place a sparkle apple sticker on their name.  This challenge will wrap up just in time for our Thanksgiving master classes and we will celebrate completing the challenges with an apple-y treat!

I can’t wait to show my students!

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