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.
The Fall Session begins the first week of September! I love summer, but am really excited about getting back to work with all my students. Lots of great possibilities are in store for this year, including more performance opportunities! My student roster is longer than ever, and I can't wait to start making music with them, and watch how they progress as musicians this year.
Enrollment is Open
Keep your skills fresh!
Enjoy flexible scheduling!
*Enrollment ends June 1*
This winter has been a tough one, and I'm so proud of the students who forged through it with flying colors!
The Spring Session is just around the corner, and with it comes the desire to be outside! As the weather warms, my plan is to bring the students outdoors for a few minutes each week, where we can do theory lessons, play musical bingo and other fun (but educational) activities! Inside, the studio has a nice set of windows that look out to the backyard and the forest beyond. The students can be inspired as they sing or play to the greening landscape and the cool breezes coming in!
As always, I encourage students to bring in that special song they've always wanted to learn, or try their hand at writing down the melody that keeps running through their mind! The goal is to keep them interested and motivated in their music studies. Happy Spring, everyone!
Happy New Year!! First off, I have to say how very PROUD I am of all the students' performances in the December recital! What a wonderful venue The Brubeck Room was, and I think it was a great opportunity for the kids to experience. I know it was a great experience for me and I'm sure all the parents agree.
I'll confess that winter is my least favorite season! However, I am determined to make our winter session as bright and sunny (indoors) as possible! In addition to working on songs, we will be playing more musical games to enhance the student's learning of music theory and ear training. I'd also like to invite each student to pick that one favorite song they've been wanting to learn (no matter the genre or style), because playing or singing something that gets you excited can certainly help beat the winter doldrums!