One of the things I love about teaching voice and piano is the wide variety of music I get to enjoy with the students! From musicals like Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen, to movie music from The Greatest Showman or Disney's Descendants, to pop music from Imagine Dragons or Taylor Swift, and of course, Beethoven, Mozart and Bach! Each student is unique, and together we explore what works best for them.
I know, I know....it's not even Thanksgiving yet! But with a special December 23rd show to prepare for, many of my students have begun practicing their holiday music. About 9 of my students will be headed to The Greens at Cannondale on Sat, Dec. 23 for a special program to celebrate Christmas and the holidays. It's not only a great opportunity for the students to perform in public, but it will bring much joy to the elderly residents who live at The Greens. We'll also be handing out cookies and other special treats, and may even throw in a raffle for this fun holiday party. Family and friends of students are invited to join us.
We are a few weeks into the 2017-2018 season, and I'm very excited about the possibilities! With a full roster of talented and eager-to-learn musicians, I know it will be a great year of making music.
I plan to offer more performance opportunities, including some that may double as community service, as well! The more students perform in front of others, the more confident they become. This confidence will serve them well in many aspects of life, not just when they're performing music! I'm also incorporating the use of more technology during lessons: interactive music apps which teach theory and improve skills, as well as utilizing the endless supply of music available online, allowing vocalists to expand their repertoire beyond their books. A few students are interested in composing their own music, which I heavily encourage!
I strive to customize each lesson to the needs and interests of the student; therefore, I encourage all students to share their likes, dislikes, and desires with me. I believe in the importance of students setting goals for themselves - whether it's to perform their favorite song at the next recital, try out for a musical, perform in the school talent show, or be able to perform an original song of their very own. Working towards a goal gives purpose and meaning to the hard work of practicing, and achieving that goal brings endless rewards!
I'm a couple of weeks late in saying this, but Recital Day was awesome! I am SO very proud of all those who performed! I applaud their hours of practicing, memorizing, and overcoming fears and nerves in order to share their music with family and friends. They showed commitment, perseverance and bravery. Most of all, they brought smiles to our faces with their musical talents! With a variety of Classical, Pop, Broadway and American Folk music, the kids really entertained. Congrats to you all! ❤️
Happy 2017! I'm so excited to begin fresh new music and activities with the students in January. After all the excitement of the holiday season, it's more important than ever to keep up the energy and enthusiasm for learning music during the winter months. All students will begin the new year with brand new pieces, and I'll be introducing some new winter-themed theory games and activities to enhance the students' learning experience and keep them engaged. I'm planning for a spring recital this year (date TBD), so we'll begin working towards that performance goal. Best wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous new year!
Here they come...the holidays!! Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah are special occasions that deserve special music! Right now, students are working on creepy-sounding Halloween music, which will soon turn to songs of thanks. I'll be introducing a special composition exercise in which students will write a song about what they're thankful for. And, of course, the sounds of Jingle Bells, Silent Night and the Dreidel song will soon be filling the air, as well! Wishing all my student families much happiness this holiday season. Be sure to take time out of the hectic schedule to enjoy the musical sounds of the season, especially if they're coming from your little ones!
In just about 3 weeks, I'll be welcoming back students for a new school year of lessons! Some students chose to keep things up on a casual basis this summer, while others gave music lessons a break. Either way, getting back into the swing of things can be exciting, but challenging!
My goal is always to keep the students engaged and interested in learning and playing music. I remember well the lessons of my childhood, when even the slightest change in our normal routine would peak my interest. I'll never forget the time my teacher put on an album of Rachmaninoff, and we simply listened. And I was inspired! I believe that going beyond the basic flash cards and incorporating games that teach theory can make a tremendous difference in developing the students' knowledge and keeping them interested in working toward their goals.
I also believe in teaching a variety of music. Whether learning piano, voice or violin, exposure to a variety of genres makes for a well-rounded and well-informed musician...not to mention a happy one! From Bach to Beatles to Broadway, I will happily work with students to find what works best for them.
With the student recital behind us, we can all let out a collective sigh of relief!
The students worked hard preparing their pieces, and even harder preparing their performance of those pieces. Performing in front of others is a skill that extends far beyond the boundaries of the recital hall. It's a skill that will prove useful throughout the students' lives. As they grow, they'll be facing more performances, public speaking, oral presentations, board meetings, and a myriad of other occasions that require self-confidence. As a shy person myself, I can appreciate the nerves that surround recital time! My hope is that, by providing performance opportunities for the students, they will gain the tools and coping skills to deal with nervousness and shyness in whatever situation may arise! So, here's to sharing our music with others, as often as possible! And congrats to all the vocalists and pianists who overcame their fears and impressed the audience. I'm proud of you all.
Only a few more days until the students get to show off their progress and talents at the January 23rd recital!
I'd like to make a correction to the previous entry that says everyone will be performing 2 songs: Some students have chosen to share one piece, and that is more than okay! All songs are not created equal - some are longer and more difficult than others. So, I just wanted to clarify in case anyone was concerned. : )
Also, I want to address the issue of nervousness about performing. Being nervous is completely normal, and to be expected! In most cases, a small amount of nervousness is what provides the energy and focus to a performance. One of the best ways to alleviate feeling too nervous is to prepare, prepare, and then prepare some more! Here are some suggestions:
1) A student will be much less nervous about his/her performance if they know the piece inside and out. Recital pieces should be played or sung a minimum of twice a day.
2) I encourage singers to practice in front of a mirror in order to check their expression and body language.
3) I advise all students to make simple recordings of their practice sessions at home, and then learn from their recordings. "Is my performance too fast, too slow? What sections need more work? Does it sound energized or tired? How are dynamics?"
4) Also, I encourage students to perform at home for anyone who will listen!
5) Students should plan ahead what they're going to wear, and make sure they set their music in a place where it won't be forgotten!
6) Vocalists may want to bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated before their turn to sing.
After this type of thorough preparation and practice, any student will feel more comfortable and less fearful about performing. The goal is to have fun and enrich other's lives with the gift of music!
I'm so proud of all my students, and the hard work they've put forth!
Our Winter Recital is set for Saturday, January 23, 2016 at 3:00 pm! The recital will again be held in the beautiful Brubeck Room at the Wilton Library.
Students will take to the stage with at least 2 performance pieces each. All family and friends are welcome! In the coming weeks, I'll be working closely with students on a short list of possible recital pieces. Then, in mid-December, final selections will be made. While memorization is wonderful, it is not required. The goal of the recital is not only to share the students' musical progress, but to help build their personal confidence and presence in front of others - skills that are essential to their success in many areas of life.