Roadtrip Themed Lessons and a FREE game for the car!

Last week we had our third and final installment of summer lessons!  Our theme for the week was Roadtrip!  We had Tim Horton’s (because no roadtrip is complete without a stop at Tim’s!) and each student’s assignment was written on a roadtrip themed sheet.  I also sent each student home with a roadtrip themed game intended to be played in the car!  So for those of you still heading out on a summer roadtrip, you will have a way to keep that piano learning going strong even while on holidays…but in a totally fun way.  All you have to do is find the link to the roadtrip printable here,  then print and either laminate or place in a page protector (if you want to be able to use it over and over again and add a fine tip dry erase marker.  Alternatively, you could not laminate and just use pencil and eraser or print off a few copies to have in the car. And if you have no more roadtrips on the horizon, you can still play this game while driving to and from activities right here in the city.

Enjoy the rest of the summer, wherever your adventures may take you.  I will be using the remaining weeks to do a little refresh of the studio including some painting, rearranging and game making!  Looking forward to having it all ready for our September 11th start date!  Happy Trails, Roadtrippers! 😉

roadtrip

 

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!

Piano Pajama Day Master Classes

Happy Family Day!! I hope you have some time today to spend with your family!  Just a quick reminder that this week we will be having Piano Pajama Day Master Classes in lieu of regular lessons!  If you haven’t yet signed up, there is still lots of room on Thursday at 4:30pm as well as some room on Wednesday at 5pm!

Pajama’s are absolutely OPTIONAL but we have a lot of fun PJ party themed activities (including performances, improvising lullabies, ear training, sight reading and theory games!) as we kick off a fun morning practice challenge.  With Spring approaching and the days getting longer, I will be challenging students to do more of their piano practicing in the morning.  They will be challenged to collect 7 morning practices (a full week’s worth!) OR MORE over the next few weeks. Once they reach the 7 morning mark (not necessarily in a row!! Each week they come to lesson they can put a sticker on for each MORNING practice they did!), they will receive a LEVEL ONE morning practice super star certificate! 🙂  Let’s see who can get to level 3 by Spring Break!  Of course, they may continue to do after school or evening practices too, we still want those 5 practices a week….this is just a fun challenge that shows them the benefits of morning practice and how it frees up the  rest of the day!  And may develop a great habit for when soccer season arrives or warmer weather and more after school and evening activities begin!  Teaching colleague from BC, Andrea Dow, shares why she believes in morning piano practice!

“I was in Grade 11 (at exactly the same time I met my most massive time-stealer… Trevor) when I realized there was no way I was going to accomplish anything with my piano if I didn’t practice. And with homework, singing lessons, musical theatre, sports and… Trevor… it truly was impossible to get anything done after school or in the evenings.

So I did the one thing I absolutely hated to do; I got up earlier to practice piano. And it did wonders for my progress.

Why does morning practice work?

  • Studies have shown that sleep directly (and positively) affects the learning of a fine motor skill. We actually did an interview with Dr. Karen Debas on this topic.
  • No matter how many activities your students have scheduled after school, morning practice ensures their piano is never forgotten, crammed in or done haphazardly. Frenzied or rushed practice results in negativity towards the piano, practice fights with parents and other things we piano teachers would rather avoid.
  • The excuse of “no time” is completely eliminated. With a simple adjustment to the morning alarm, your piano students can have all the time they need.
  • The discipline of getting up early and practicing every day establishes habits that are pro-active and that will carry over into other areas of your students’ lives as well.
  • The likelihood of parental involvement in practice increases, as your students no longer practice alone while parents are at work, driving siblings to other activities etc.
  • As your students become teenagers, homework, jobs, friends and other extracurricular activities no longer pose a threat to their piano progress (none of those things happen in the morning!)
  •  The parental “guilt” from daily practice being repeatedly forgotten is eliminated, taking one more stressor away from busy families.
  • Starting a day off with music starts your students’ days with all of the wonderful benefits that music has been proven to provide such as mood improvement, stress-reduction, and mental alertness.

All of these factors combined means morning piano practice is one of the most powerful ways you can ensure that your piano students are practicing and progressing.”

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!

September Piano Newsletter 2015

Here we are into our second week of lessons and what a fantastic and energizing couple of weeks it has been!  It’s been wonderful to catch up with all the returning students and parents as well as meet and get to know our new ones!  I can tell already we are going to have a FANTASTIC year!  Just a few quick things to go over with you and keep you posted as to what’s coming and where to find things!  Please read this newsletter THOROUGHLY as it contains a lot of info for this upcoming semester.  Each monthly newsletter will have important dates/events.

MYC FAMILIES (Sunbeams/Moonbeams):
For those of you just starting the Sunbeams 1 piano class this year, we welcome you!  As well as a big welcome to the new students who have transferred in.  With our MYC classes the first 4 weeks are truly crucial to attend as they are when our class learns (and/or reviews for levels 2/3s) SO much and builds our new routine.  Things also progress VERY quickly in those first few weeks so I encourage you to do anything you can to make sure you attend those classes…even if it seems like you might be late, come anyway!!  Better to get in on 30-45 minutes of the class, then nothing at all.  I always have spare books on hand if those were left at home.  (If you are very sick or just unable to attend, let me know in advance and we can see about Skyping of Facetiming in to the class or the possibility of a recorded class…this takes advance notice though.) Parents who are “trading off” on weeks or sending a “sub” in their place….be sure to fill in that poor parent or grandparent as to what their role will be when they arrive…many poor visiting helpers have no idea they are supposed to sit in and participate and copy down the homework sheet!

MYC AND PRIVATE PIANO STUDENTS:
Many of you are familiar with parking in the cul de sac, but just a reminder:  There’s room for a couple of vehicles to park directly in front of my house/front yard perpendicular to the sidewalk and another may parking directly behind my blue van as I will not be going anywhere during class Emoji, there is also room for another couple of vehicles to park directly across the cul de sac parallel to the brown fence.  Please do not park on my driveway or block the free space on my driveway or block neighboring driveways.

It is really IMPORTANT to read and review the policies sheet again this year….it covers everything you need to know from tuition to missed lessons.  Please find in the above tabs of this webpage!

CALENDAR:  Click on the Schedule and Claendar tab above for the most recently updated calendar and schedule.
It has been updated to include what’s on the schedule for the first half of the year.  When you look at it you will see we will have regular lessons and classes for the first 4 weeks, then we will have a special week of masterclasses during the week immediately following THANKSGIVING.  During that week there will be no regular classes or lessons instead there will be a special schedule of master classes during that week and you may choose any ONE of the times offered.  These master classes are very fun, UNPARENTED (so all you faithful MYC parents have an hour to relax rather than participate for a change), work on particular skills or a special theme and provide a way for the students to get to know a few more students in the studio and have even more familiar faces at recital time.  It also allows the Monday students to enjoy a long weekend without missing out on a lessons.  More details will come in the October newsletter at the end of next week!  Here is a quick glance of the calendar so far for the fall (note the Christmas Recital date!Emoji) Be sure to mark these dates on your calendar!

2015/2016 Calendar. There will be 34 lessons and 2 recitals that will take place between September 14th, 2015 and June 15th, 2016. Occasionally regular scheduled lessons may be cancelled and special all studio masterclasses offered.
Week 1 September 14-17 Regular lessons and classes begin
Week 2 September 21-24
Week 3 September 28-Oct 1
Week 4 October 5-8
Week 5 October 12-15 ALL STUDIO MASTERCLASSES; no regular lessons and no lessons on Holiday Monday!
Week 6 October 19-22
Week 7 October 26-29
Week 8 November 2-6
Nov 9-15 NO LESSONS; STUDIO CLOSED for fall break and Christmas recital prep
Week 9 November 16-20
Week 10 November 23-26
Week 11 November 30-Dec 4
Week 12 Dec 7-11 regular lessons AND CHRISTMAS CONCERT, Friday December 11th, 6:30pm
Week 13 Dec 14-17 ALL STUDIO MASTERCLASSES; no regular lessons!
December 21-January 3 CHRISTMAS BREAK; STUDIO CLOSED!

FACEBOOK:  for those of you new to the studio this year, I often post updates, blog posts and resources on Facebook as well as upcoming concerts you might be interested in.  It’s another great way to keep in touch, so head on over and “like” the page!

https://www.facebook.com/mmmusicstudio?ref=hl

LESSON FEES:
Thank to all of you who turned in September’s fees (and beyond!)  For those of you who ran out of cheques, please be sure to order and submit October-June cheques by next week.  Thank you!

Have a wonderful week!

Forcing my child to practice…and other true confessions

As I write this post, we are now plummeting through August and back to school/piano lessons is just around the corner. Way back in June, I challenged my students to “practice for their breakfast” this summer to ensure they got a little practice in each day. I’m wondering…how’s it been going?  Did that question just make you spit out your coffee and laugh hysterically?  I can relate.

It’s an age old struggle: Piano Practice.  Believe or not, even I struggle with this with my own children….more so with my son than my daughter now as she has approached the wise old age of 16 and realizes she really actually loves having the ability to play the piano and it has opened so many opportunities she might never have had.  My 12 year old son, on the other hand, has not come to this very wise discovery and so I soldier on nurturing the love of music in him (or as he calls it “forcing him to practice”). So, in full disclosure, it hasn’t gone quite as I had hoped this summer. There has been practice, but not as much as I would’ve liked to have seen…and not always with the most enthusiastic of attitudes.

So, if you’ve been struggling this summer (and possibly this past year) with piano practice and your child has either subtly or outright accused you forcing them to do music…this video is for you.  You are not alone. Hang in there. They really will thank you one day!

Seeking enthusiastic, energetic and adventurous children…do you know one?

Each year, I open up registration for 6 beginner piano students (ages 4-7) and parents looking for piano lessons that are creative, inspiring and fun AND 6 preschoolers (ages 2-4) who want to explore music and rhythm instruments with expression and energy while learning all about the foundations of music.  If you have a child between the ages of 2 and 7, then you will find the perfect fit in one of these programs.  The Sunbeams 1 beginner piano class will take place on Mondays from 4:30-5:30pm and the preschool music class will take place on Thursdays at 12:45pm.  Contact mmmusicstudio@hotmail.com and join the excitement! Space is limited and classes fill quickly.