October 2019 Master Classes and Halloween Fun!

We had a terrific October of musical fun!  Here’s a little recap:

The week of Thanksgiving was our first master class (all studio group lessons) of the year!

We opened our master class with a partner game where older students were paired with younger students and searched for musical clues around the room then matched the musical vocabulary to their sheet.  This was a great moment to have some of the older students teach some of the terms to the younger/newer students.

 

Then we did a little musical improv with Halloween rhythms.  Students picked a rhythm card and created a melody for it on their keyboard with their partner while I accompanied.

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Students were given the opportunity to perform a piece they’d been working on since the start of lessons in November.

Then we tried something called SQUILT.  Super Quiet Uninterrupted Listening Time.  We learned a little bit about Edvard Grieg and the music he composed for the play Peer Gynt and spent some time listening to and dissecting the piece, In the Hall of the Mountain King.  I wanted the students to listen attentively and focus on the essential elements of beautiful music:  Rhythm, Tempo, Dynamics, Instrumentation and Mood.  As we develop this habit for active listening it will be easier to be mindful of incorporating these essentials into our own playing.

We also had a little bit of a mini photoshoot and prepared new photos for our wall.  The polaroid photos and cards of last year were so cute but we have many new students this year and these photos turned out so great.  Pop in and check out our wall!

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Master classes are always a fun time and the little ones enjoy listening to and being partnered with some of the older students.

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We finished the month with a week of Halloween fun during our regular lessons and classes.  Particularly popular was the Trick or Treat cards.  Randomly throughout classes or lessons I would have a student pick a card that would have either a musical trick or treat on it.  If they drew a trick card, they learned a piano trick or technique and if they drew a treat card, we watched a fun piano youtube video.  We didn’t get through all the tricks and treats in lessons so if you want to try out more at home, here you are:

 

Hope you all enjoyed a safe and fun Halloween!

Year End Excitement 2018

It’s June! The last few months have flown by and we are wrapping up yet another wonderful year of Music making  with something very fun this week…but first, a bit of a recap:

May was a busy month preparing for our spring recital and we fine tuned our pieces in both private lessons and a  boot camp style master class rehearsal week. We had relay races that drilled bits of our pieces and then full run through both with and without distractions,

Then we celebrated with our first ever coffee shop style recital, a super fun experience!

 

This will be our final week of lessons until September and we are going out with a bang! In lieu of regular lessons this week we will have master classes with a very special theme inspired by my son’s birthday party: an escape room.

Bring the musical knowledge you’ve gained this year, your piano books and a sundae topping to share. I’ll provide the challenges and the ice cream to celebrate with at the end!

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Easter Master Classes ~ April 2018

We enjoyed another week of special all studiomaster class groups this week! I used the theme of Easter surprises throughout the class.

We opened with an ice breaker game. Each student pulled an Easter egg half out of a bag and then had to find their matching half. This also helped review their musical terms.

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Next we did a little ear training with mystery eggs. The mystery eggs each had a small household item in them that students had to guess without looking. Some were able to guess, some asked for help before opening the egg….some items really stumped the. But it was wonderful to watch them engage their ears listening for the pitch and timbre of the sound in the egg to help them identify it.

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Then we had SoloTime and each student played a piece they had practiced over Spring Break.

We did another mystery egg listening game but this time the mystery items were a treat to be enjoyed while watching a Piano Guys video.

Then we improvised as a group in 3/4 time .

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We finished up with one last game of interval identification “survivor style” with Scrambled Eggs! The older students paired up with the you get students…but the younger students caught on so quickly, I’m not sure they needed the help!

 

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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Christmas Master Classes 2017

Merry Christmas Everyone!! December 2017 will go down as one of my favourites I do believe! I’m still glowing from a wonderful Christmas Recital! Cookies, Carols and Christmas Lights was a hit and I’m so proud of my students! Beautiful solos, beautiful ensembles and I’m so appreciative of the 100% participation that both the students and audience gave at the end for our glow stick number, A Thousand Christmas Lights! It was so exciting to be able to put the live feed on Facebook for parents and grandparents who had been unable to make it that night.

The week following recital we had Christmas Master Classes. We enjoyed a large improvised ensemble of Carol of the Bells using keyboards, Piano and rhythm instruments! Each student was assigned a part and given a couple minutes to practice and then we threw it all together! I’m going to have to upload the video to YouTube and then post it here!

Then each student had a chance to play their Christmas piece for me to upload to YouTube so they could share it with family or friends easily!

We finished up with a few wild rounds of Notespeed:

some Christmas cracker fun:

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and some yummy treats leftover from our recital!

 

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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