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:
No regular lessons this week! Instead we look forward to a master class week featuring the debut of our original compositions, a new composer study and trading card, keyboard creativity and preparation of a new practice challenge!
This past Friday was the annual year end recital for all my students and what a great night it was! My students really out-did themselves this time! We had a bit of a “Bach to Broadway” theme. I supplied the Bach by playing CPE Bach’s Solfeggio in C minor, and the students really enjoyed the piece.
This year as we prepared for recital, I tried something I haven’t done in a very long time to help give them a new perspective on their recital piece. I asked each student or parent to bring their iPod to lesson (if they had one) so that I could record their performance. For those that didn’t have iPods or recording devices, I used my own. Then I had them listen to their performance while watching their music for different aspects: tempo, dynamics, melody. Rather than me telling them what was great about the piece and what could use a little more work, I let them discover that for themselves.
Many of the students found it very eye-opening, some of them had never seen or heard themselves perform before. It was a great opportunity for them to try on some new roles:
Listener– they had a chance to look at their music from my perspective or as an audience member and listen to dynamics or tempo. As they listened and followed along in their music they were clearly able to see if they were incorporating the indicated dynamics or bringing out the melody line
Teacher–I let them evaluate their own piece, telling me what they liked and what they thought needed improving, and look at some strategies for improving the parts that needed it.
It also gave them a little extra performance experience as many of them felt just as nervous about playing for the recording device as they would playing for an audience.
I encouraged them to work through the things they felt needed improving over the week and record themselves again at home later in the week and what a difference I heard at the next week’s lesson! I will definitely do this again before our December recital, it was well worth the extra time.