7 Hidden Lessons from a Museum Masterpieces Recital

A local teacher friend and colleague recently hosted a fun and unique recital using Catherine Rollin’s Museum Masterpieces series.

In this post, you’ll hear directly from her about how she executed this recital. I’ll follow up her recap with seven hidden lessons we can learn from her description and plan.

If you’re unfamiliar with the series, here is a YouTube playlist that features the whole series! You can also download free samples from the Alfred site.

(To see photos from my friend’s Museum Masterpiece Recital, click here.)




From MaryLee

I am featuring the four books of Catherine Rollin – Museum Masterpieces.  I heard about them when she conducted a workshop at Taylor University last September.  I knew then, and there I was going to do this for the Spring recital.  The kids all chose their pieces from the insert of the paintings she included in each book.  I asked them what painting caught their attention and then I played the piece.  They have been loving it!  Some asked to play two, so a few are doing that.

I am having my nephew, who is an artist here in Ft. Wayne, talk a little about each painting.  He will have some of his works on display and my students are submitting some artwork, which we will also display.  I have four boys that are serving hors d’oeuvres as we check this all out at the close of the recital.  It should be a lot of fun.

I was just looking up on Pinterest for my instructions on a “shaving cream” painting.  I think I can pull this one off and display it Sunday without knowing it is awful.  I am not talented in drawing, painting, etc.!!

Each painting will be projected on the screen at the front while the student plays.  And my “waiters” will be dressed in suits and bow ties, offering hors d’ (am tired of spelling that word) on silver trays.  A former student who had just finished her first year at IU asked if she could come and take photos of the recital, as she has gotten interested in photography.  Then the pictures will be posted for others to see.

At the workshop, Catherine talked about her parents taking her, as a child, to many museums to see original paintings.  So that had an impact on her.  And the pieces are wonderful, as you might imagine, and they are not all in the key of C or G and are very expressive.

I like making recitals as interesting and as possible fun, as I hated recitals growing up!


Hidden Lessons

Not only have we gotten a great idea from Marylee, but there are a lot of “hidden” lessons we can learn from her description and plan.

  1. Even though there’s a focus book, the series has several levels which allow all students to participate.
  2. Students were encouraged to choose their pieces, giving them ownership.
  3. Having all students perform from the same series and assigning roles beyond performing inspires a sense of teamwork –  belonging to something bigger than themselves.
  4. A professional in the artistic field is featured; there is an application beyond just the music.
  5. Technology/visual stimuli are incorporated.
  6. Direct teacher participation.
  7. After-recital activities foster a sense of community within the studio (gives parents time to talk about how great the recital was!)



MaryLee has always been a creative and highly dedicated teacher. In 2018, she was named Teacher of the Year by Indiana Music Teacher’s Association!