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.
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!
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 , 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!) 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!
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!
While there are a few piano teachers out there who teach all year long (I like to call those people crazy…er…I mean DEDICATED!), I take the summers off. We (my students and I) work pretty hard all year long with many practice challenges, recitals and exams to prepare for and conquer and taking the summer off seems to save both my sanity and that of my students! 🙂 I’ve often been told I am so lucky to have summers off. Well, luck has nothing to do with it. In fact, I make no money during the summer by taking it off. None. Zip. Nada. And yet, because I have my own music business, I am actually never completely not working. It takes some careful budgeting to be able to have this slightly more relaxed schedule, but it’s worth it. Not only do I approach September feeling refreshed and with new ideas, my students do as well! Actually, to be honest, by the middle of August I am dying to get back at it…and that’s a pretty great way to feel about your job!
So, just what do I do with a summer “off”?
1. I read. I absolutely LOVE reading! I could read endlessly….but my schedule during the year doesn’t often allow this extra time and when I do get the chance to read it is often teaching blogs or pedagogy books or researching new practice incentives. So, when holiday time comes along I devour books like chocolate! So far this summer I have read:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn….a twisted psychological thriller having absolutely NOTHING to do with piano teaching. It was a delicious, albeit somewhat trashy, read! A fantastic start to my summer!
Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom…this would be the complete opposite of the above book! Delightful and inspiring. I’ve seen it on bookshelves, known they’d made a movie of it but never, ever got around to reading it until now. Beautiful!
Deeply Odd by Dean Koontz…okay, true confession time: I LOVE Dean Koontz! Seriously, really love him! This book I read aloud to my family in the car while traveling on long stretches of Wyoming highway. Reading Dean Koontz aloud to one’s family might seem odd to you, but my children are a little older and the Odd Series is such a fun series. Not to mention, Koontz is an extremely descriptive writer. I’ve always enjoyed the detailed pictures he paints with words, but appreciated it even more once I started reading his books aloud. They are challenging to read aloud, at times, getting your mouth around words like “jacarandas”, “narcissistic self-righteousness” and “paramecium”. And those are some of the easier ones! Sometimes I felt like I should do vocal warm ups before reading all his descriptive tongue twisters…red leather, yellow leather, red leather, yellow leather…
I have now moved on to book number four: The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Ted Carhart. Another book I’ve been meaning to read for a while. Just like Tuesdays With Morrie, it’s autobiographical and absolutely delightful! It’ll want to make you dust off your piano and play (or buy a piano) eat fresh baguettes, drink French wine….and possibly even move to France! I am about halfway through!
2. I vacation with my family! What would summer be without a little bit of a family vacation! Dexter’s field lacrosse team was one of two Canadian U-11 teams privileged to play at the FIL World Lacrosse Championships in Denver, Colorado. We took this as an opportunity to do a fun, family road trip and make an extended family holiday out of it. On our way to the Championships we made a stop at my parents in BC, then it was on to Lewis and Clark Caverns in Montana and Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming before arriving in Denver. After 6 days in Denver watching his U-11 team play, meeting Team Canada and watching an intense game between the men’s Team Canada and Team USA and making many great memories, we left for South Dakota and Mount Rushmore before slowly making our way home. Two Provinces, Five States, Eleven Days and over 5000km. It was so much fun and the memories will last a lifetime!
3. I answer emails and phone calls and meet and interview new students! During the summer, I receive lots of emails and phone calls about available classes. My more relaxed schedule allows me the chance to not only answer these emails and phone calls but also to have the prospective parents and students come and see the studio and meet with me. Often when a parent comes with a student, I have give them a sticker or tattoo or coloring page, but I took a day this summer to put together a little “Meet and Greet Goodie Bag” and am excited to give them out to the interviewees (is that a word?) that I have scheduled to come for next week. My little goodie bags will include a pencil, a cute little ring puppet I found at Dollarama, some music stickers, my card and a little lollipop treat. Putting a few together ahead of time, so they would be ready to go whenever needed, was yesterday’s task.
4. I order, purchase and shop for books and supplies for my students. Then I sort them and get them ready. My studio and the spare bedroom downstairs will soon look like I have my own music bookstore! As I was unpacking and checking my lists, I thought I’d do a bit of a photo shoot with the books for my website. That way, rather than just describing what comes with registration, parents will also be able to see it too! I love visual aids and pictures so this was a lot of fun for me!
5. I chauffeur! I love doing this “typical parent thing”. Running my kids to daycamps, playdates, water parks and any other fun activity we can come up with in the summer.
6. I learn! I have two teacher conferences lined up for the summer. One this week and one at the end of August and am excited to learn and grow as a teacher even more. And, I have a whole pile of podcasts and blog reading to catch up on from some of my favorite pedagogues. I am looking forward to having oodles of new ideas for the new teaching year.
7. I give lessons to my kids. Have you heard that saying that goes something like, “The shoemaker’s kids go barefoot”? Well, I teach my own children. I always have and, until the day they move out of the house, I always will. Many piano teachers think I am crazy for doing this and I will admit that it isn’t always easy, but teaching my own children has made me a better more understanding teacher with my other students and my kids tell me they wouldn’t have any other teacher….really, I am not making that up…believe me I have offered (threatened?) to send them to another teacher but they refuse. Anyway, because of my hectic schedule, their lessons land on the weekend. I tried Saturdays for a while, but it was so hard to get them up and going on that first sleepy day of the weekend. So, I moved their lesson time to Sunday afternoons as my hubby usually takes supper duty on that day so we can enjoy a full Sunday of church, relaxation and fun and then during the hour he is preparing and making supper, I give them their lessons. In theory, it works fairly well. Especially during the cold winter months when we mostly just want to hibernate at home. But in warmer months, when there is so much fun to be had outside or BBQ’s to attend, or lacrosse season, when we take off for weekend tournaments every other weekend, it does not work so well. So at the end of the year when I opened up their homework books and counted all the attendance sticker MISSING from their treble clef and realized there were TEN out of 34 missing (I hang my head in shame that I cancelled 10 of their lessons when some of you didn’t miss a single, solitary lesson with me this year!), well, I decided that I would have to make up most if not all of these lessons over the summer. And so, once (or sometimes twice) a week, these lucky ducks get to have a lesson with moi! I bet you wish you lived with the piano teacher, too, don’t you! 😉
8. And, of course, I blog, make and prepare videos (in fact, I am working on some technique videos for the youtube channel) and write newsletters and keep in touch with all of you every now and then and put together practice challenges (there’s a SUPER-FUN one coming out for August so keep your eyes on your email!!!)….hoping to keep you inspired and excited for when we meet again in the fall….but for now, it’s time to go enjoy that beautiful Edmonton sunshine!
It looks like we are finally getting some Spring weather….just as our Spring Break comes to a close! I hope you all had a wonderful Spring Break. Mine was very busy…and felt rather short…but I am excited about the coming weeks ahead!
Our year is rapidly coming to a close. We have less than 10 weeks left in our year and many exciting things to fill these last few weeks. The month of April will be busy with recital preparations as we have only 5 weeks until our annual Spring recital is here. This week students will be busy choosing their recital piece and we have a few fun ensembles to rehearse together. Our recital will take place on Friday, May 9th, at 6:30pm at the First Church of the Nazarene. Extended family and friends are most welcome. Due to the busy-ness of the sport season and dance recitals, we will not be having a reception following this recital as we did with our Christmas Recital. Instead students will receive a refreshing treat and be encouraged to go and enjoy what will hopefully be beautiful spring weather! 😉
We are kicking off an exciting new practice incentive this month that is very relevant to our recital preparation as it’s all about performance preparation. Students will have 4 weekly projects to complete and are encouraged to try and complete all BEFORE our Spring recital, however, they will have to the end of May, if needed.
The schedule for next year’s MYC classes is up and ready for registration. Private students, I will need to know ASAP whether or not you wish to register and return for next year in order for me to know whether or not I will be able to accommodate any graduating Moonbeams 3 students who might wish to continue on.
Slight adjustments have been made to both the schedule and the tuition fees so please be sure to go to both the Schedule page and the Piano Lessons page to check it all out.
Now…let’s get ready to ROCK! 😉
The middle of March is here already and Spring Break is just around the corner for our students. It’s exciting to see the days getting longer…now if we could only see some more snow melting!
We will continue to enjoy another week of our regularly scheduled lessons next week and then the students can enjoy a break–Spring Break. There will be NO LESSONS OR CLASSES from March 22-April 1st. I know there are some students, depending on the school they attend, who have two weeks off for Spring Break, but the studio will just be closed for the one week and Easter Monday. The week of Easter Monday there will be lessons but NOT regularly scheduled lessons. Instead we will be having our 3rd special group lesson of the year and it’s going to be a big surprise…well sort of!
SURPRISE ME DAYS–special group lessons ONLY for April 2-4th, no regular private lessons or classes
During the week following spring break we will have another special themed group lesson in lieu of regular lessons and this time the theme is Surprise Me! This is the chance for my students to do a little bit of work on their own over the break and really surprise me when our lessons resume. I will be handing out a little assignment (both in this newsletter and in class) and they will have several guided options with which to surprise me and knock my socks off at the group lessons, in return I will surprise them with a little something for their extra work. We will also be studying a little bit about the composer, Haydn, and his life and music and learning a lot about one of his symphonies known as the “Surprise Symphony”! (are you seeing a theme here). Following is a list of the days as times that you can sign up for and the special SURPRISE assignments:
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Thursday, April 4, 2013
SPECIAL SURPRISE ME ASSIGNMENT:
Hey Kids, You Can Choose To…
1) Flip ahead 3 pages in your book and teach yourself to play the right hand of that entire piece.
2) Memorize a piece from your lesson or repertoire book.
3) Play one of your current pieces with all the dynamics, phrasing, articulation and expression in place… perfectly!
4) Compose an original piece or make an arrangement of a favorite popular and play it for me!
5) Flip ahead 1 page in your lesson book or repertoire book and teach yourself the first two lines hands together with exact rhythm and notes.
Have your student choose one of these 5 options and prepare it for me over the break. This will be such a great assignment for them because they will also be learning to take ownership over their own learning. They will be learning to problem solve using their skill set to teach themselves how to work through an unfamiliar musical task all with the goal of showing off their abilities.
REGISTRATION FOR 2013/2014 is APRIL 2-MAY 1
Once Spring Break is over, we will only have about 10 weeks left of lessons! We will be on the downward slope to the year end recital, and that does mean thinking about the next year already. This month, I have had close to half a dozen calls regarding available classes for next year and so over spring break I will be preparing newly updated registration forms and opening up registration for the fall. If you will be returning next year, you will need to register by MAY 1st to hold your place in the studio. This will allow me to know what it available to offer to transfer students and the MYC graduates who may be looking to continue on next year with private lessons, as well as new students. And MYC head office requires all returning MYC students to register by May 1st in order to get the early bird price, after May 1st there is an extra charge. Registration for brand new students will begin in May.