This year, it seems like January and February are going by much more quickly than they usually do and Family Day weekend was here before we knew it! To give my students the Monday off to enjoy some extra time with their families, I offered a February Master Class this week in lieu of regular lessons. Sometimes for my master classes, I will have an all encompassing theme, but this time around I wanted to keep it simple and so had three main components:
1. Performance Opportunity: Each student had the chance to perform a piece that they’d been working on since the New Year. Knowing this would be coming gave them a little motivation to keep practicing on those short, dark winter days! While each student played, I used a sheet that I had found on ComposeCreate.com to keep the rest of the students focused and particpating…an adjudication sheet. Each student had a sheet to use to help them give some specific and guided positive feedback at the end of each performance. I was so proud of the feedback they gave and the wonderful ways they encouraged and bolstered in each performer! What a great bunch of students I am blessed to have!
2. Specific Skill Development: Then I wanted to focus on one specific skill and it was RHYTHM, of course! I want my students to be strong in rhythm and to love it, so I pulled out the boomwhackers (because we LOVE them) and did a little Pinterest surfing to come up with some fun Boowhacker ensembles.
3. Composer Biography: February always includes a composing focus in my studio, especially for the MYC group lessons, and learning about the masters of composition is so important as well as the period and style of music they were a part of creating. This time our focus was Beethoven, his life and music. We learned that though he had a challenging childhood and went deaf as a young adult, he still found joy in his music and was able to create that beautiful melody we know as “Ode to Joy” in his 9th symphony. We enjoyed watching the Piano Guys put a fun new spin on this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17GLE-16_3g
Before we knew our time was up and it was time to head home!