Happy New Year! What will 2020 bring? What goals will you set? I am working on a few personal and professional goals and highly anticipate seeing what this year has in store. In the meantime, I’m excited to share a few things coming up in our studio!
- Lessons and classes will resume Monday, January 6th! We will return to our regular schedule.
- January and February will once again have a composing focus as we all work on creating our own music. In preparation for this, I’ve enrolled in this 10 day chord challenge that starts on Jan 5! It’s run by a colleague of mine who is a prolific composer and songwriter! It’s geared towards both piano teachers and intermediate level piano students and I think it would be an excellent way for us to start the new year! A great way to build upon those lifelong piano skills! The course is only $7 to enrol! I hope all my students who are a grade 4 level and up enrol and go through the challenge with me! https://elissamilne.simplero.com/page/133889
- UKULELE is returning! We had so much fun during our Holiday Ukulele classes that I’ve decided to continue a once a month class for those who would like to continue adding new chords and songs to their repertoire. For those of you who wished they could be a part of that holiday class and would like to take part in the once a month class, I will be offering a one day “Crash Course in Ukulele Playing” on Saturday, January 18th at 10:30am. We will cover 3-4 chords, strumming basics, learn a couple songs and get up to speed enough to join the monthly ukulele circle! Cost will be $25. Must be between the ages of 8 – 108. 😉 Book now.
- CALENDAR: this year our calendar has a couple anomalies! We have a leap year with an extra day in February AND we have local school districts split between two different Spring Break schedules! Because of this our studio will be doing a two week Spring Break from March 23 – April 5! This will allow everyone to be able to plan their break without worry of missing lessons. Also the calendar page on the website has been updated showing which weeks are Spring Break, which weeks are master classes and when the projected last week of lessons will be in June!
- And finally, booking for the Spring Recital is in the works…will likely be the weekend of May 9.
December was a busy but beautiful month! We spent hours of practice time preparing for the recital. I personally spent an extra amount of time in daily practice as I was challenged by family members to do an advent calendar of piano music! For each day of practice we all did, we added a link to a paper chain. You can see our Christmas Practice chain really filled out!
Our recital went off with only one technical hitch and the audience enjoyed dozens of beautiful piano solos, several festive ensembles and a ukulele led carol sing!
We wrapped up 2019 with Christmas Master Classes the week after recital! It was a fun way to celebrate and bond!
We played a few rounds of Holiday Who Am I.
Then we reviewed note naming (key naming for the preschool class) with a Snowball Fight Game. Teams raced their way up the mountain to see which team would be the first to declare “snowball fight”!
We did a little improvising utilizing the “snowflake technique” a repeating pattern found in The Piano Guys video “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”.
And we did a little solo playing.
We wrapped up our class with popcorn and one more favourite Piano Guys video:
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!
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.
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.
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 .
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!
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!
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.
We finished up with Olympics torch popcorn and a short YouTube video of Mr Bean playing Chariots of Fire with the London Symphony Orchestra. 😊
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:
and some yummy treats leftover from our recital!
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
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
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: