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!

Master Classes and Merry Christmas

Christmas break is here! We’ve had so much fun this week in our master classes and are now officially finished until January 6th!

We started each master class with a short Christmas carol sing (this was the students’ idea!)

Then we spent part of our class composing. The older students were able to review what a motive was (a musical idea) while the new students got their first taste of composing…a great jump-start to our January composition spree!

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The students were also given a Christmas fun handout I received as a gift from Teach Piano Today, designed to keep them playing the piano over the break–not practicing–just playing! 😉 If you missed the master class due to illness or otherwise but would still like the handouts to try out over the break, please let me know! You are welcome to come by and pick them up.

We had solo time, of course, and then played a rousing game of Stinky Stocking with a musical theme that involved sight reading, ear training and musical charades! The students just loved this game and I was so glad I purchased it from composecreate.com. We also chose gifts from the Food for the Hungry catalogue. Thanks to 10,000 minutes of practice and extra pledges, the students raised $295 in just three weeks!

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stocking

The students practiced over 10,000 minutes during the three weeks prior to recital. They were practicing for pennies in order to raise funds for Food for the Hungry. I sponsored each child at one penny per minute but thanks to extra pledges from Brennan, Rowan, Hope, Patience and Caleb, we raised $295!!! So, each master class got to spend a few minutes choosing and voting on gifts to send from the Food for the Hungry gift magazine. What fun we had choosing chickens, fruit trees, school supplies, sports equipment, art supplies and clothing to send!

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We also had a peek at the final installments of the December Videos of the Month! And we took our practice snowflakes off the tree to take home…hopefully they will be a reminder of all the hard work that has been accomplished over the last several weeks!
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I was overwhelmed with love and gifts and thank you all for the beautiful treasures and delicious treats! I hope you all enjoy a well-deserved Christmas break filled with love and family! I am looking forward to it myself but I also look forward to seeing you all back here again in 2014!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Elf on the Shelf, Meet the Piano Practice Elf!

What an absolutely terrific week we have had! The days and weeks are flying by and I cannot believe this is the last week of November already! Not to mention we have just under three weeks left to our annual Christmas recital…or about 20 days left to practice!

I think our students have been doing a pretty outstanding job of practicing this year so far and I am so proud of the enthusiasm they shared over the Pennies for Practice idea that was presented last week! HOWEVER, I thought it might be nice to add a little something silly and fun, too! And so, we are going to incorporate the “Elf on the Shelf” idea at our studio and introduce a little Christmas magic into our daily piano practice. For those of you unfamiliar with the “Elf on the Shelf” idea, here it is in a nutshell: “The Elf on the Shelf is a special scout elf sent from the North Pole to help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists. When a family adopts an elf and gives it a name, the elf receives its Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole each night to tell Santa Claus about all of the day’s adventures. Each morning, the elf returns to its family and perches in a different place to watch the fun. Children love to wake up and race around the house looking for their elf each morning.” For more info:http://www.elfontheshelf.com/content/about-us

So here’s how we are going to take this idea and work it in to our piano practice, I have printed off and laminated little elves to send home with each student this week–one per student. PARENTS, here is what you need to do: Each night after your child has gone to bed, the Piano Practice Elf will need your help choosing a new page in their piano book on which to hide. The next day, your child will need to hunt for the elf in their book and then begin their practice with the piece or concept where the Elf was hiding. You can be as creative as you want and have the elf leave little messages of encouragement, special instructions (play this piece over the phone for Nana) or tell a silly piano or Christmas joke OR as simple as you want. PARENTS: This is an absolutely OPTIONAL practice idea, but in order for it to work and to be a success, it will require your help and participation. All I hope for is that this will simply be a way of incorporating some extra Christmas fun into our practicing and be a way for our students to look forward to each day of practice! I will be sending the elves home with the students this week. Feel free to name your elf together and incorporate him/her into your practice immediately OR coordinate his/her appearance with your own elf on the shelf OR wait until December 1st to begin….it really is up to you!! Remember, once you have decided on a name together, his magic begins!! 😉 If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to email me! I would LOVE to hear what you name your Elf and about any of his antics, crazy or otherwise….you can even post pictures of his activities to our studio facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/mmmusicstudio

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Practicing for Pennies!

Tis the season for giving … and spreading kindness, love and cheer. And we hope to do a lot of that at our studio here through the music we are learning and preparing to share with you for the upcoming Christmas recital as well as throughout the holidays. But that’s not the only way we hope to share kindness and cheer this holiday season.

Last week, on November 13th, was World Kindness Day and my daughter remarked, “What? There’s actually a day designated to be kind to each other?” Yes, there actually is! And it got me to thinking that maybe it is meant to remind us that we should be spreading kindness each and every day…and why not start now! So, I am putting a challenge out to all my students to practice for pennies….and share with those less fortunate this Christmas.

I am going to pledge ONE PENNY PER PRACTICE MINUTE to each and every one of my students. All they need to do is track and log their practice minutes between now and their last lesson prior to the Christmas Recital. I would encourage my students to ask their parents or relatives to match my pledge of one penny per practice minute and see just how much money we can raise between now and our Christmas recital. Then during the week of the December master classes (the week after the recital) we will choose gifts and countries to give to from the Food for the Hungry gift catalogue.

So, what do you need to do? Practice! …of course… but also tally your practice minutes each day and then again at the end of the week. Bring me your final total to your lesson during the week of December 9-13th along with a record of any other people who have pledged as well and how much you’ve raised on your own. That way I can add up the total number of practice minutes and share that at the Christmas recital. If you let me know of other pledges you have then I can add that to the total raised. Then collect those funds (if applicable) and bring them in to the master classes during the week of December 16-18. I will be able to total it all and we can choose our gifts and countries.

So, let’s get practicing….after all, you only have until your last lesson before the Christmas recital to log those minutes! My challenge to you is to see if we can reach 10,000 minutes of practice as a student body between now and our Christmas Recital!

Remember: participation in this challenge is completely optional and it is up to you whether or not you want to keep track of practice minutes. It does NOT require extra practice time or extra pledges unless that is something you feel you want to do. I just thought it would be a nice way to use our time and our talents to help someone in need. 🙂
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