July Piano Newsletter 2017

School’s out and sun’s out!  Some of you have already hit the road for summer holidays, some of you have been enjoying some exciting day camps and some of you may have just been enjoying some lazy days of summer (my son falls into this latter category!).  A special few of you actually spent some of this week with me doing a summer lesson and what fun we had!!  This year I decided to offer summer lessons in the form of a three lesson package OR a la carte, this week was our first installment and it was a beach theme.  We enjoyed it all, from beach themed games and music to a tasty beach themed treat!

beach day studio

For those of you who weren’t able to sign up for this week I’ll be sharing one of the games we played in case you’d like to print and use it at home over the summer to keep some concepts reviewed. It’s not too late to join the fun over the summer!  Our next summer lesson will be the week of July 18th and the theme for that week will be CAMPING!  There will be one more during the week of August 2nd and that theme will be ROADTRIP.  Email if you are interested in some piano lesson fun for your student and a little help and review/practice motivation over the summer.

No matter where you are or what you are doing, I hope music is a part of it!  Over the past several weeks on our Facebook page I have been sharing some resources and tips to help keep up that practicing over the summer.  Practicing the piano is a little bit like climbing a ladder, every time you practice you go up a rung, but when you don’t practice you end up going down a rung and long extended periods of practice can mean going down several rungs before lessons resume in the fall. Even the use of some great music apps can help the slip and slide!

For those of you who haven’t yet liked the Facebook page or are not on Facebook, here are some of the resources that have been shared over the past few weeks:

  1. A fun beach themed printable game from Teach Piano Today (instructions at the bottom of the post: beachdaycardpacks BeachDayGameBoard
  2. Some great apps to keep up the note naming skills:  Note Rush, Ningenius, Flashnote Derby  (name AND play the key—these can be used with your acoustic OR digital piano at home OR if you are on the road traveling you can use the little attached keyboard setting!)
  3. Creating an awesome practice nest that will help keep up that practice motivation over the summer: https://mmmusicstudio.com/2017/06/26/creating-a-practice-nest/

I can’t possibly share them all so if you like to keep up to date, like the Facebook page!  Enjoy and have a wonderful summer!!

 

Beach Day game instructions:

Single Player: Place your game marker on the “Start” circle and draw a card. Complete the task on the card.  If you complete it correctly, move forward the number of spaces shown on the card. If incorrect, move back two spaces and re-draw a new card. If you draw a “beach gear” card, keep it and put it to the side of the board.  If you land on an “Oops” circle then you lose one piece of your beach gear and the card is returned to the pile.  If you land on the “Shopping Spree” circle, you get to take back one piece of your lost beach gear. If you reach the finish with at least 3 pieces of beach gear you win and head to the beach! If you do not have 3, stay on the last space and continue to flip over and complete cards until you collect the 3 needed pieces of beach gear.  (single player ideas from teach piano today.)

Multi-player (Mrs. Miller’s version): Place game markers on the start circle and roll a dice to see who goes first.  Draw a card and complete the task on the card.  If completed correctly, move forward the number of spaces on the card.  If incorrect, turn goes to next player. If you draw a beach gear card, keep it and draw another card.  If you land on an oops return to the beginning! If you land on a shopping spring you can “shop” from another player.  If you make it to the end with the most beach gear, you win!

 

May News and Year End Dates

Hello, Everyone!

It seems like just yesterday we had our lovely April recital and now we are in the second week of May with only 5 weeks of lessons left!

Our recital went so well and I cannot thank everyone enough for the help you gave and the many ways you all contributed!  It was our earliest ever Spring recital this year (one week earlier than last year) and because I was away for all of Spring Break, it felt like a short time to get organized, but with your help I think it came off better than ever AND I think the early time ended up working out really well as it kind of pumped us all up and has given us extra enthusiasm and a renewed energy for the remaining weeks of lessons! Something that will be especially great for those doing Conservatory exams in June…and for those that aren’t doing exams there is a renewed enthusiasm for getting some extra pieces learned before June! Some students have challenged themselves with learning 30 pieces this year! Phew!

A couple of you have shared a picture of the recital, but I would just love to see more–pictures or video.  I was not able to get pictures or videos taken myself as I have in the past and I missed getting a picture of all the MYC grads.  So please feel free to share!!

YEAR END DATES AND FINAL MASTERCLASS
The kids have all been asking when the next master class is.  Normally I have done a master class as the very last class of the year because I am often away during the May long Weekend week.  However, this year I am not going to be away!  So, I am changing up the schedule just slightly this year.  We will have our last master class of the year during the week of May 24th, immediately following the long weekend.  Then we will have two more regular lessons/classes before finishing up for the year on June 9th.

I will send out the master class times for May 25, 26, 27 in the very next email…expect that in the next day or so.  And you will be able to indicate the time you wish your student to attend, but putting it in the subject line of your reply to that email.

PRACTICE CHALLENGE
Also starting next week will be our final practice challenge of the year.  It’s going to be a lot of fun and offer some more creative ways to look at your piano practice to keep the energy going right to the end of the year…when I issue this year’s Summer Practice Challenge!  A handout will be coming home with each student next week and the summer practice challenge will go home with them at the last lesson of the year, so be sure to continue checking those music bags regularly over the next few weeks!

In the meantime, have a lovely day!  Looks like we’ve got some sunshine again!

Happy New Year-January Newsletter 2016

Hello Everyone and Happy New Year!

After a wonderfully refreshing, albeit quickly passing, holiday, it is absolutely delightful to look forward to having your children back in my studio again starting this Monday, January 4th!

I wanted to take the time before we launch into the new year to thank each and every one of you for your efforts this past fall, culminating with our fantastic Christmas concert. Being a “piano parent” is a big commitment, and I feel so fortunate to be connected with families who see the immense value of music. Learning to play piano can be a life-changing experience and I’m humbled that you have chosen me to be a part of this exciting gift that you continue to give your children.

I’ve spent some of my holiday time planning an exciting second term of lessons and I thought I’d give you a “sneak peek” of just some of what’s to come! This term your children can look forward to:

  • Exciting and fun practice incentives, including a Caught Practicing Event
  • Fun new piano theory games.
  • A composing unit with a “Mail-A-Motive” composing activity.
  • A field trip to Edmonton Opera to see Carmen (those of you who signed up for this in November: watch for an email regarding ticket payment coming on Monday!)
  • A super-fun master class week coming up in February with a PJ party theme!
  • Our Spring Recital coming up in early May, chock full of solos, ensembles and more fun!

I also wanted to reach out to you to let you know that I very much understand the life of a piano parent. Please know that, while I spend most of my time motivating and assisting your children, I’m also here to support you as well! Working as a parent/child/teacher triangle is the optimal way to ensure your children’s success and enjoyment.

You are always welcome to ask for advice on making home practice work, for updates on your children’s progress or for any other musical assistance you may need.

We’re kicking off the “New Year” with a practice event designed to get your children excited and motivated right off the bat. Please watch for information coming home next week. I’m always so appreciative of your assistance and enthusiastic participation in these fun events!

Seeing your children grow, improve and learn to love music is truly the most rewarding part of my job. This past term I saw confidence, progress, creativity, pride, feelings of success and major accomplishments on a weekly basis. These are powerful memories your children are making, and these are invaluable skills that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. What a gift to your children… what a gift to yourselves to experience … and what a gift for me to be a part of!

See you in the studio!

Hello March ~ Let (the) Spring (Fever) Begin

I don’t know about you but I can NOT wait until Spring!  Sadly, I realize I will have to…and likely several more weeks…yes, that’s probably being optimistic.

While we all wait longingly for Spring (or deal with our offspring experiencing sever Spring Fever), here is a short and sweet March Newsletter for you.  You’ll notice the word Spring is mentioned a few times:

1. We have completed the first week of our 4 week Pirate-y Practice Challenge.  Way to go!  This week’s goal is 5 days of practice!

2. We will be having a two week Spring Break/Easter Break  from March 27-April 11 to accommodate the varying Spring Break schedule that comes with many different students enrolled in many different school boards.  This is the first year I’ve tried a two week Spring Break, but we will give it a try and see how it goes!  I have been noticed a lot of tired students dragging into the studio this week.  I am hoping this extended break will provide some rest and refreshment. But don’t forget to get a little bit of piano practice in.

3. The Spring recital is booked for Friday, May 8th, 2015 at 6:30pm.  We will be getting FANCY! Emoji  At least that will be our theme.  We are going to try and go all out with our fanciest piano pieces, ensembles and wardrobes! Emoji  Mark your calendar for our Fancy and Formal Spring Recital!  We will likely have our recital pieces picked by Spring Break, so take a little time over the holiday to get a head start!

A Quick May Update!

Well, what a week this has been! We had another terrific spring recital last Friday (it was our 13th annual Spring recital!) and it was so nice to hear all the wonderful, glowing feedback. I was a little worried there was going to be another recital “disaster” as I had been feeling a bit under the weather in the days previous and then woke up that recital morn with joints so stiff and swollen, I could hardly move! I wasn’t able to play the blues piece I had planned for the recital, in fact my poor stiff fingers hardly wanted to play the two little accompaniment pieces for the ensembles and my knees did not enjoy so much getting up and down and bending for that cups song….but we made it through! On Saturday, I was even worse so my poor, worried hubby shipped me off to the medicentre. After 15 different blood tests (each with their own vial of blood!), a heart test and a ultrasound, we discovered it was parvovirus b19! So, much to my hubby’s relief, I won’t die and my joints seems to be slowly returning to normal. However, piano practice will be a little slow for me right now….and sadly, I’m going to have to take a break from all those push-ups and planks I just LOVE doing during bootcamp classes! 😉 Anyway, for those of you who noticed I was going barefoot and moving slowly and thought it unusual…that’s my excuse!

I tried to get pictures and video as much as possible of the recital as they are so nice to share (I will do up a post of this soon!), but I did have some technical difficulties….not enough storage on my silly new iPhone. I did manage to get video of ALMOST everyone by frantically deleting things, but I hardly got any pictures. I would absolutely LOVE if you would email OR share on the Facebook page some of your great pictures! I’d like to do a little recital write up on the blog page and share! So, please send those awesome pictures of yours! ALSO, send me some of the Christmas ones if you have them! I’m really trying to work on a nice studio photo album of memories, but I have so little opportunity to take pictures (or at least very good ones) at our recitals!

Now for a quick and important update regarding our next couple of weeks:

It’s the long weekend! There will be NO lessons on Monday, the 19th….enjoy that day off, Mondays students! We will have regular lessons for the Tues-Thurs students from the 20-22, HOWEVER, the following week only the Monday students will have a lesson (May 26th) and the Tues-Thurs lessons (May 27-29) will be canceled as I will be away….so just a reminder to mark those calendars!

As long as I do not have to cancel any more lessons for illness or unexpected absence, we may even get a BONUS 35th lesson in this year and so this is the tentative schedule for the remainder of the year:

Monday May 19th NO LESSONS
Tues-Thurs May 20-22 Lesson 33
Monday May 26 Lesson 33
Tues-Mon May 27-June2 NO LESSONS
Tues-Thurs June 3-5 Lesson 34
Monday June 9 Lesson 34
Tues-Thurs June 10-12 MASTER CLASSES (Monday students, you will have the opportunity to come for your regular lesson on the Monday AND a master class the Tues, Wed or Thurs so that you get a bonus lesson, too!) 🙂

If, for any reason, I must cancel lessons between now and then the master classes will become our 34th and final lesson of the year. Does that make sense? Clear as mud, right?! 😉 At any rate we will dismiss for the summer by June 12th!

Enjoy a wonderful May long weekend!

March News and 2014/15 Registration

March certainly did come in like a lion with icy, cold temperatures and a wind chill that made me want to hide in my house! What a relief to be looking at double digit temperatures on the plus side of 0 for the upcoming days!

It’s hard to believe we are already almost halfway through March. Actually, this is Week 24 of our lesson year which means we only have 10 more lessons to go before summer break is here! And as one year closes, I am always thinking about the one upcoming. So here is a quick look ahead for the next several weeks.

SPRING BREAK
There will be no lessons during Spring Break, March 31-April 6. Lessons will resume on April 7th and I’ll have a brand new practice incentive cooked up for you by then! 😉 I think we will have a bit of fun with it as it brings our focus towards the upcoming Spring Recital. Let’s just say it’s going to “rock”!

SPRING RECITAL
Our Spring Recital is scheduled for Friday, May 9th, at 6:30pm in the main auditorium of First Church of the Nazarene. First Church is planning some big renovations, so there is a small possibility that they could begin around this time. We may have to be flexible in the when and where of our recital, but I will keep you posted! In the meantime, we will plan on this and mark our calendars! 😉 UPDATE: the church renovations have been officially scheduled for late May through end of June so our May 9th recital is a GO!

2014/15 SCHEDULE AND REGISTRATION
I am currently working on the schedule for next year and hope to have it up by Spring Break so that we can begin re-registration and new registration for the fall when we return from Spring Break. Next year my daughter enters grade 10 and over the last couple of week’s she had an interview and acceptance at Strathcona Christian Academy in Sherwood Park. She is very excited, but it does mean that I will likely be driving her both to and from school as there is no bus from Edmonton to transport her there. This will certainly impact what I can or cannot add to my schedule for next year and will limit the number of new classes or private lessons that I can add into the schedule for next year.

APRIL MASTER CLASS
There will be another master class in April, during the week immediately following Easter Monday. More information will come out after Spring Break.

YEAR END
I will be away during the last week of May. I actually have a conference in Las Vegas! We will still get all 34 weeks in the schedule, though, and are set to finish up by or slightly before June 12.