Last night my studio had our final Summer performance for the first time at a coffeehouse!
(My summer session only ran from the last week of May through July 18 this year because the last two weeks of July I’m away at NCKP and Joy Morin’s Piano Teacher Retreat.)
Summer lessons are optional in my studio and while most years I have around 70% of my students still take summer lessons, this year was a lot less.
(That was OK with me though, because I was planning on taking a Sabbatical Summer but since our house was not finished, I decided to continue to teach but really needed a lighter load – both for a little breather, and to have time to work on the house.)
I had fourteen students taking lessons but four of them were siblings that I did as a group class. Six students played in our summer recital.
Most years, when I have a lot more students, I’ve done an outdoor picnic which has always been great. With a lot fewer students performing, I wanted a small but still unique setting.
I was able to rent out a local coffee shop for $30 for the evening and we did a dessert and coffee carry-in.
Food and Fun
Each family brought a dessert to share and I purchased air pots of coffee from the bakery.
In the beginning, I introduced each of the families – especially because we had a couple of families who were new – and encouraged everyone that this was a relaxed performance environment and they could get up and get refills throughout.
Inspired by a recital idea post from Leila Viss, I set up jars filled with pens, pencils, and colored pencils on the tables and we had a little drawing contest.
The owner of the coffeehouse chose the winner – the donut!
I’ve always wanted to do this
Something I’ve read about in the past and have always wanted to do was to include an audience sing. Even though I don’t have a voice studio, singing is a beautiful way, as humans for us to come together and have a joint musical experience.
I chose three songs that I thought most everyone would know and would enjoy singing:
After each student had gotten up once to play (I had them get up multiple times rather than play all their pieces at once), we sang one song. About halfway through the program, we sang a second, and while the artwork winner was being determined at the close of the program, we sang our final one.
I felt like this was the perfect venue and everyone really enjoyed it! (Although the video may not give you the complete vibe… 🙂
At the end of the night, I heard lots of feedback from both parents and family members attending that they really enjoyed the venue and the whole setup.
One mom, who has two students that just started lessons this summer, said she especially appreciated the relaxed environment for their first performance as it really helped them with their nerves.
I will definitely be doing something like this again!