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!

 

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Recording as Recital Prep

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.