Creating a Practice Nest!

practice nest

All last week on the Facebook book, I shared 5 tips courtesy of Teach Piano Today on how to create a special place for your child to practice….so they will want to practice over the summer!  If you missed the posts, or do not use Facebook, here they all are together for you!  Thank you so much to Andrea Dow of Teach Piano Today for these wonderful idea!

1. When choosing a location for your piano, select a space that is lived-in, welcoming, and well-lit. Keep it close to “the action” but not in the action. Your children will gravitate to the piano more often if it is in a central place in your home. Avoid bedrooms, basements and other “put away” places. Feeling shut-off from the family while practicing will inevitably lead to a reluctance to spend time on the piano.

While choosing an appropriate space, also consider the noise factor; not only from the piano, but also from your family’s day-to-day activities. Your children want to be close by, but not competing with noise from TV’s, dishwashers and washing machines.

2. Make the space warm and welcoming. Your children will be encouraged to spend upwards of 30 minutes every day in this space. Is it a happy place to be for this amount of time? Small adjustments to lighting and heating can make a world of difference. Seek out places with natural light and ensure it is a cheerful and welcoming space that will encourage your child to visit the piano often for their own enjoyment.

3. Ensure your children have all required materials at hand. Help your children put together a small basket or bin of everything they may need for home practice. Pens, pencils, highlighters, and post-it notes will give your children a sense of organization that will then spill over into their practice habits. Your children will also need adequate lighting to see their music, and a comfortable bench at the correct height to practice comfortably and correctly.

4. Make the “Practice Nest” a communal space.  Children of any age appreciate company while they practice. Having a chair, couch, beanbag chair or pillows nearby where family members will be inclined to sit, listen and enjoy the music immediately sets the tone for happy time on the piano. Encourage siblings to stop by and listen quietly, and allow yourself even just 10 minutes to sit and listen with undivided attention each time your children practice. A set-up that is conducive to including the family in home practice will encourage everyone involved to make piano practice an activity the entire family can be a part of.

5. Set the stage for organization. Ensure your children’s practice space is uncluttered and organized. Clear out old sheet music and books from the piano bench, use a magazine organizer to hold current and favorite materials, and minimize knickknacks and other distractions from the top of the piano. If you can, avoid having the piano room do “double-duty” for laundry, toys and other clutter. Having the books your children need at their fingertips reliably ensures that no time is spent searching for lost or crumpled music. Get into the habit of placing the piano books in their appropriate space immediately after each piano lesson so they are ready and waiting.

Plus one more! Adding small surprises to your children’s practice nest (fresh flowers, a hand-written note of encouragement, a small treat, a new sticker pad, a special pen etc.) helps to show that you value the time they are spending on the piano and that you appreciate their efforts and dedication. Preserving the “specialness” of their practice space encourages positive feelings towards their home music time.

 

Aren’t those just fabulous tips!!  Enjoy creating a special place for your child to enjoy their piano practice!

 

Master Class Week!

Hey Everyone! Don’t forget next week there are no regular lessons, instead we will be having a special master class week again! Expect lots of fun: Solos, Games, Composer of the Month…..and I even heard a rumor that there might be some ice cream!   If you haven’t signed up yet, you still can on Sign Up Genius.

master class green

Summer Lessons!

We are heading into our last two scheduled weeks of piano lessons this year!  I think everyone is excited, even me! There is something special about summer.  I love the change of pace and flexibility in schedule that summer offers and a bit of a break is good for all of us.  However, it doesn’t have to mean that we don’t see each other again until September!  If you would like some help for your child over the summer or want them to learn new a couple pieces and have extra motivation to keep up the practicing, you have the option to book either A La Carte Summer Lessons or a Summer Lessons package!

A La Carte Summer Lessons will be 45 minute lessons for $40 each!

The Summer Lessons Package will be a package of three 45 minute lessons for $100 that can be scheduled at mutually convenient times throughout the summer.

When you book an a la carte or package, you will be sent a link to a signup page to choose from the available lesson times.

Happy Summer Practicing!

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May Piano News 2017

Can I just say again one more time what a wonderful job was done by all the students at our recital!  Your children are just amazing and I appreciate all the work you parents put in to helping that all come together!  A huge thank you to Nada Malica for providing those awesome red cowboys hats and bandanas and to all of you who brought the delicious and creative refreshments!!  They were pretty special!
Well, we are on the downhill slide towards the end of the year with just a very few weeks of lessons left!  This is the time of year where sports enter the picture and can create a bit of a schedule juggle for some which is why a few years ago I moved the recital from beginning of June to end of April/early May!
The studio will break for the summer on June 9th, but I will give you just a few important dates to mark on your calendars right now as I have a couple of days away and many of  the students have requested one more master class before the end of the year!  This will also add in a little bit of flexibility to those of you dealing with sports schedules, so here it is:

NO LESSONS FOR TUES, WED and MON coming up!!
Tuesday, May 16th, Wednesday May 17th and Monday, May 22nd, there will be NO lessons…for a variety of reasons but one very important one is that I have some dental work that has to happen on the afternoon of Tuesday May 16th.  Monday, May 22 is the holiday Monday.  We will still finish the year with all 34 lessons no matter which day of the week your lessons fell on (Thursday students had to miss a lesson back in March when I was away at a convention).
MASTERCLASSES MAY 29-JUNE1
Our final masterclass of the year will be the week of May 29-June 1st.  This will not be our last class of the year, we will have one more regular class/lesson of the year the following week to wrap up and give students their summer assignments. Some years we have wrapped with a master class at the very end of the year, but this year due to some sports activity scheduling and my involvement in both the Children’s Festival AND my daughter’s grad that week just seemed like a good fit.  This master class will be for all ages and level (including Sunshine 1 kids) and I’ll send out a sign up sheet very shortly.
LAST WEEK OF LESSONS and Summer Lessons
The last week of lessons will be June 5-8 and then we will break for the summer.  Regular lessons and classes will resume on September 11th.  Summer lessons in a package of 3 will be available to those private students who are wanting to work towards a particular exam or complete a certain level that they may be partly through before lessons resume in September.  These three lessons will be able to be booked over the summer months around traveling and holiday schedules….more details to come in the next couple of weeks.
Well that should be enough information for now.  I am now opening up registration for new MYC students for the fall, so if you know of any preschoolers or students ages 5-7 years of age interested in beginning lessons, they are now free to email or call and even visit a class!

 

March Piano News

Here are some updates and news for the month of March!
SPRING BREAK
Though the weather hasn’t exactly felt very Spring-like, we are only 11 days away from Spring Break and I just wanted to remind you that there will be no lessons from March 24-April 2.  We will resume April 3rd and begin a full scale preparation for our Spring Recital of Canadian Music!!  Enjoy the Spring Break.

APRIL MASTERCLASS
There will be another master class in April immediately following the Easter weekend!  Lot of fun is being planned for that.

More information will be sent out AFTER Spring Break.
SPRING RECITAL
Just another reminder that our Spring Recital is booked for Friday, May 5th at 6:30pm.  It will be the same location as the Christmas Recital:  14320 94 street (First Church of the Nazarene auditorium).  Students will be choosing pieces to play by Canadian composers as we prepare to celebrate Canada’s 150th!!
REGISTRATION AND SCHEDULE FOR 2017/18
I have been working out the schedule and planning for next year and will be sending out registration forms in the next week or so.  The deadline to register for September will be May 1st.  Tuition fees and book fee prices are currently being updated on the studio webpage (mmmusicstudio.com) and will be included with the registration form email as well as the class times and lesson times for next year.
I know that you have a lot of expenses in your life and I am sure you are always wisely re-evaluating the value of these expenses. So I wanted to send you two things that will illustrate what you are receiving for your piano lesson investment.

The first is a link to an infographic that beautifully depicts both the primary and secondary benefits of music lessons. I know you’ll enjoy seeing all the benefits that piano lessons give to  your child.

I also want to share with you a webpage that explains all that your tuition covers, which is much more than the 30, 45 or 60 minutes I get to spend with your children each week. I know it helps to know that your money is always being invested in your child’s music education even when they need to miss a lesson. So be sure to take a look at what all your tuition covers:
Thank you again for choosing to enroll your children in music lessons in my studio. It is absolutely a privilege and honor to be your teacher!!
Now, back to picking out music, marking theory pages and lesson plans,

 

February Piano News

Here we are almost one full week into February!  We made it through January and I have been quite impressed with both the practicing and the composing that has been going on!  Each and every student whether in the MYC program or private lessons has been creating their very own composition and it’s been delightful to see their enthusiasm as well as their astounding creativity.  We are going to wrap up our compositions over the next two weeks.
There’s not always a lot of news at this time of year but there are a couple of important upcoming dates to go over including another all studio master class session.
SUNRISE PRESCHOOL CLASS
First and foremost is an upcoming Sunrise class for preschoolers.  I will be starting a Sunrise music class for ages 2-4 this month on February 15th.  This class will run on Wednesdays from 11-11:45am until May.  If you know of anyone in that age group who would be interested, feel free to share.  I’ve created an event on the Facebook page that can be easily shared. There is still time to register! Sunrise kids will play a special part in our Spring Recital. 🙂
FAMILY DAY MASTER CLASS SESSION
We will be having another masterclass session immediately following the Family Day holiday weekend.  February 21-24 there will be NO regular lesson schedule, instead we will be having all studio master classes.  I’ll be sending out a sign up sheet similar the one I sent out in December shortly, this way you are able to see that you signed up….and also change times if needed all on your own.  The theme of this master class session will be “Creative Keys”  and focus on creativity through improvising and other fun AND it will be a chance for all the students to show each other their very creative compositions as those will be their solo pieces.  Keep your eye out for that sign up sheet!
SPRING RECITAL
I am still working on officially booking our Spring recital, but there is a very good chance is will be May 5th.  I will let you know as soon as it is official!  It will be in the same place as Christmas!
SPRING BREAK
It is still several weeks away, but there will be no lessons during March 24-April 2 for Spring Break.  The studio will be closed and I will be away.
Well, that is all for now!  Have a great day….and stay warm!!