You’ll get my once-a-month “Secret Letter” which includes what’s been going on in my studio that month, books I’m reading, and more. You will also have the option to have new posts delivered to your inbox weekly.
Recital season is here which means it’s time to start talking to students about good performance practices.
It’s easy to get tied up working on student’s skills with their repertoire and forget that there’s much more to it when it comes time for them to actually perform their music!
I sometimes find myself forgetting that students don’t just automatically KNOW these things, we have to take time to talk to them about (and practice) things like…
If you make a mistake, do your best to continue in an inconspicuous manner without pauses, facial expressions, physical reactions (such as flinching), or sounds.
If the performance situation has them announcing themself and/or their piece), speak slowly, and clearly, with well-articulated words and confidence.
The Day of the Performance…At least once during the day (and preferably about an hour prior to the performance), take a moment to close your eyes and visualize your performance including walking in, talking to the judges (if applicable), adjusting the bench, and warming up.
The Day of the Performance…Make sure you have practiced what you will use to warm up when you first sit down at the piano. Every piano feels different so don’t be afraid to ask if you can try it out before you begin your piece. A brief scale/warm-up or opening 4 measures of your piece will suffice.
The Day of the Performance…Take a celebratory photo after the performance somewhere that is memorable of what the event was and send it to your teacher!
Today’s free download includes TWO CHECKLISTS:
The first is a “Piano Performance Checklist”. This page is great to use with students either individually or during a group performance class. It’s not an adjudication sheet, just a nice list of things that make up a solid performance.
The second is a list of helpful points for students to remember “The Day-of Your Piano Performance.”
I’m sure there are a whole plethora of other items that could be added to each but the goal was to keep it fairly concise and keep it to one page each. You don’t want to overwhelm students with TOO many do’s and don’ts.
Consider subscribing to the Piano Pantry email list. You’ll get my once-a-month “Secret Letter” which includes what’s been going on in my studio that month, new posts on the blog, books I’m reading, favorite Instagram posts, and other fun things like that.
There is space for the teacher to fill in the student name, years of music study, and for the teacher’s signature and date given.
This form is usually fillable but for some reason this year it is not.
I have terrible handwriting and while it’s one thing to sign my name and write the date, it’s another to write out the student’s name and years of study and make it look nice.
So, I created a printable template I’m sharing with you today for free.
4/27/2021 Update: Thanks to fellow colleague/reader Jan Fulford for pointing out to me that her fillable form WAS working. We contacted MTNA and found out it was flux and it was supposed to be fillable. It has been fixed now so YEA!
I’m going to leave this template available anyway just in case since I’ve already put the work into it.
AValentine’s Playlist on Spotify full of all kinds of good love songs for you to enjoy for the next few weeks.
I just purchased some fun little Valentine Fortune Tellers from Lauren Lewandowski to give to my students the week of Valentine’s along with their Valentine card/treat. (She has two sets: Set 1 & Set 2).
My husband made this photo for me when we were first married (some 18 years ago!) when he was big into photography. He’s still a bit of a pyro but always with safety first.
Although I love to cook, Valentine’s Day is a holiday I declare a break and a night out at a delicious restaurant. If I WERE to cook for that night though, here are some things I might put on my menu (notice the heavyweight on desserts! Ha!):
It’s a simple idea really, but a great visual for how to teach students to build their practice.
1) Rhythm and notes/fingering
3) Dynamics and tempo
The image is flip-flopped, however, like a layer cake! The foundation is the rhythm/notes/fingering the top of the cake is the pedal. You can’t get to the top unless you have the foundation!
One of the assignment sheets I created in my early “assignment-sheet-creating” days included a small image as such.
However, after a reader asked if I could tweak it because it looked like *that* emoji, yeah, you know, the poop emoji, I decided to simply switch the analogy to a stairstep. (I was working from Microsoft Word, and didn’t know about things like Canva at the time, OK? 🙂 LOL)
It doesn’t really matter the graphic, right? The idea is the same.
If you like the idea of having an image as such on your student’s assignment sheet each week, check out Assignment Sheet #15: Practice Steps 2 on Assignment Sheet Central or just download it right here!
Consider subscribing to the Piano Pantry email list!
You’ll get my once-a-month “Secret Letter” which includes what’s been going on in my studio that month, new posts on the blog, books I’m reading, favorite Instagram posts, and other fun things like that.
Are you looking for ideas on fun “off bench” activities to use in this Christmas season? Look no further! Today I’m going to share some of my favorite games and resources that I return to year after year along with tips for each one.
First, let me briefly share how I store my holiday games. We have to stay organized, right?
(P.S. The A4 size is nice because if you laminate a letter size-sheet, the lamination makes it larger.)
It’s not a cheap way to store games as they’re almost $1 a piece, so I’m currently only storing my holiday-themed games in these. The rest of my games are stored in hanging files in a file drawer. (I’ll write a post on that another day!)
The digital files are stored in my cloud file manager.
From there, I name files for what they are. This allows me to see how many games, for example, I have, how many worksheets, etc.
Organizing a studio recital involves lots of different aspects beyond student repertoire preparation. Many of us, I’m sure, have stories we can tell of the lessons learned in our first few years of recital-planning.
One of my first lessons-learned was to put up some kind of signage, especially when the recital is not in the same location every year.
Is it a necessity? No. Can people generally find their way to the recital hall or auditorium eventually? Yes.
So why use direction signs?
If you’ve ever attended a graduation party, baby shower, or conference, I’m sure you will agree that the minute you see a sign indicating you are in the correct location, you breathe a sigh of relief.
It’s comforting to not have to wonder if you’re in the right location or to have to search for where you’re going. Relieving this small anxiety for your audience will not only make a great first impression but will add a professional touch with little effort. All it takes is a few signs posted around the building where the recital is being held.
The signs are very simple. No-frills. I kept them pretty plain rather than with a design so they can be used at any kind of recital, no matter what your program looks like.
They’re being made available to you in Microsoft Word format so you can download the document and make tweaks to your heart’s content or print only the signs you’ll use.
I like to include my logo at the top of the page. Feel free to import your own!
Arrows pointing to the correct direction to find the recital location/room.
Asking the audience to wait in the foyer until the doors open.
Reminding attendees food and drink should be taken into the recital hall. (Unless you’re having a special recital like a picnic of course! 🙂
Asking the audience to sit toward the front half of the room. (I use these when we’re in a large sanctuary so it doesn’t feel like they’re all spread out. I set them on either end of the row/pew encouraging people to keep moving forward.
Consider taking your signage a step further and purchase a yard sign you can reuse from year to year that has your studio logo and says “Recital Here” or something generic that could be used for any kind of performance(s) you organize in your studio.
What was one of the first things you learned when planning a recital that helped it go smoother the following year and each year since?
Over my years of teaching, I’ve come across several lists of tunes to harmonize using primary chords. Often, however, they’re either not very comprehensive, or they include a lot of tunes that students these days have never heard because they only include folk tunes and a couple of Christmas songs.
Last summer I started a studio-wide harmonization focus that lasted through the summer and fall. After continually having students look at the song list and shake their head that they didn’t know many of the songs, I finally decided it was time to compile my own list.
This comprehensive list includes 147 tunes (traditional, popular, and Christmas). The list progresses from tunes you can harmonize using only the tonic chord, to tunes that use four chords (I, IV, V, vi).
The tunes are, of course, mostly in major (because, well, we live in the Western World), but there are some minor tunes as well.
Keep in mind, these are not tunes tied to any particular chord progression such as I-IV-V-I or I-vi-IV-V. It’s up to the person harmonizing to figure out what chords to use and when.
First, let’s talk a little about what it means to harmonize and how to teach harmonization.