March Piano News
Sunrise Classes 2017
The natural energy and music children ages 2-3 years old have within them is amazing. You will often find them singing, moving to a rhythm or beat or dancing. Sunrise is an exciting and innovative pre-school music & movement program with a flexible format that fits the level of development of these children perfectly. Teddy Bears help teach the children rhythms and puppet friends Buzz, Buddy and Mellow guide children on their music journey and instruction with singing, and ear training. This child-centred curriculum includes stories, songs, and games to ensure that all children feel and achieve a high level of engagement and success.
The Sunrise preschool class is a fun introduction to the foundations of music and makes for a smooth transition to the Sunshine piano program at age 4. Registration is now open for a new session starting February 15, 2017! Classes will run weekly for 45 minutes from 11-11:45am on Wednesday mornings. Registration includes a workbook, CD, finger puppet, rhythm instrument and backpack as well as the 10 lessons. Register now or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details!
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 email@example.com and join the excitement! Space is limited and classes fill quickly.
“In Summer”…what this piano teacher does with her summer off!
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!
Week 30, Registration and Recital!
Happy Monday, Everyone! Today we begin Week 30 of our 34 weeks of lessons. For those of you re-registering for the fall, just a quick reminder that this week marks the deadline. Please have your registration forms and fees in by THURSDAY, MAY 1st, if you are intending to return next year. 🙂 If I do not receive your re-registration by this date, I will assume you are not returning next year and begin to contact those on the waiting list regarding availability for next year.
Also, a quick reminder that our Spring Recital is less than two weeks away! Friday, May 9th, 2014 at 6:30pm in the main auditorium of First Church of the Nazarene, 14320 94 street. Just 12 more practice days to squeeze in before it’s here! 😉
April News and Registration
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! 😉
March News and 2014/15 Registration
March certainly did come in like a lion with icy, cold temperatures and a wind chill that made me want to hide in my house! What a relief to be looking at double digit temperatures on the plus side of 0 for the upcoming days!
It’s hard to believe we are already almost halfway through March. Actually, this is Week 24 of our lesson year which means we only have 10 more lessons to go before summer break is here! And as one year closes, I am always thinking about the one upcoming. So here is a quick look ahead for the next several weeks.
There will be no lessons during Spring Break, March 31-April 6. Lessons will resume on April 7th and I’ll have a brand new practice incentive cooked up for you by then! 😉 I think we will have a bit of fun with it as it brings our focus towards the upcoming Spring Recital. Let’s just say it’s going to “rock”!
Our Spring Recital is scheduled for Friday, May 9th, at 6:30pm in the main auditorium of First Church of the Nazarene. First Church is planning some big renovations, so there is a small possibility that they could begin around this time. We may have to be flexible in the when and where of our recital, but I will keep you posted! In the meantime, we will plan on this and mark our calendars! 😉 UPDATE: the church renovations have been officially scheduled for late May through end of June so our May 9th recital is a GO!
2014/15 SCHEDULE AND REGISTRATION
I am currently working on the schedule for next year and hope to have it up by Spring Break so that we can begin re-registration and new registration for the fall when we return from Spring Break. Next year my daughter enters grade 10 and over the last couple of week’s she had an interview and acceptance at Strathcona Christian Academy in Sherwood Park. She is very excited, but it does mean that I will likely be driving her both to and from school as there is no bus from Edmonton to transport her there. This will certainly impact what I can or cannot add to my schedule for next year and will limit the number of new classes or private lessons that I can add into the schedule for next year.
APRIL MASTER CLASS
There will be another master class in April, during the week immediately following Easter Monday. More information will come out after Spring Break.
I will be away during the last week of May. I actually have a conference in Las Vegas! We will still get all 34 weeks in the schedule, though, and are set to finish up by or slightly before June 12.
Spring Break, Registration for 2013/14 and a SURPRISE!
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.
Wacky Wednesdays and a little March News
What a terrific showcase of compositions and contemporary pieces we heard during our Contemporary Showcase this month! Congratulations to all the students and their hard work. I was both humbled by and proud of their creativity and accomplishments in both writing their compositions and performing pieces. And the titles!!! Some of my favorite titles were: Teddy Bear Comes Alive!, Prancing Poodles, Crocodile Creek, Rush Hour, Wave of Emotions….the list goes on!
This week were back to our regular routine…..well sort of! We had a power outage here on Wednesday! It lasted almost 90 minutes and so we had to “evacuate” to my upstairs living room where we could see our books. I scrambled quickly to hide a few messes and close a few doors and then we were back to work again in minutes. The Sunbeams 3 group enjoyed sitting on sofas instead of circle mats and doing theory pages and rhythm stories on a coffee table instead of the floor. “Couldn’t we do this every week?” they asked. It was fun and took me back to 10 years ago when I was teaching out of my living room all the time….but as soon as the power came back on my family was looking at me as if to say, “Um, what are you still doing up here?”
Well, March is here and with it the downhill slope to the end of the year…it’s true! This month comes with some very important dates to take note of. Please mark your calendars where appropriate to you:
RCM AND CONSERVATORY CANADA EXAM REGISTRATION DEADLINE MARCH 4th and 7th:
For those of you in Moonbeams 3 or private lessons who have spoken to me about doing a national exam this is just a reminder that the deadlines to register for the June exam are ALMOST here! To take a Royal Conservatory exam in June you must register by MARCH 4th. To take a Conservatory Canada Contemporary Idioms exam in June you must register by MARCH 7th. Please contact me if you intend to do so. If your students does not feel ready yet that is just fine, there is another opportunity in August or even next January. It is still possible to register after these deadlines but there will be an extra charge for a “late fee”.
SPRING BREAK–March 23rd to April 1st
We will continue with our regular schedule over the next few weeks until March 23rd when we will break along with school for Spring Break. There will be NO LESSONS during that week. This is for ALL STUDENTS from Sunrise to Private Lessons. Enjoy your well-deserved break…..but don’t forget to keep practicing!
SUNRISE PRESCHOOL CLASSES
Sunrise 2 will wrap up on March 18th with a Teddy Bear Pajama Party. Sunrise 3, our final block of the program, will begin on April 8th and run until June 3rd.