Sunday, March 19, 2017

Why Are Recitals Important?


A pipe organ that I played in 2015

You should play with real musicians; the best music comes from real people interacting with each other.
– John Fogerty

Learning to play a musical instrument is traditionally a solitary pursuit. Students attend weekly one-on-one lessons with their teacher, and then return home to practice alone or with a limited audience of family and close friends. Public recitals are a great way to expand the musical vision of students and can greatly benefit both the student and the teacher.

Recitals are a vital part of authentic training towards musicianship. Any type of performance, no matter how large or small, and no matter how advanced or new the performer, is an emotional and raw experience for everyone involved. Professional musicians share their art; they play with others and for others, and there is no better training for this than live performance.

Playing in front of others takes great courage. A student participating in such an event has a chance to shine and may experience a boost of confidence when they perform a piece in front of their peers, friends, and family. They learn how to successfully set and achieve tangible performance goals. They develop important aspects of their character—discipline, commitment, and kindness as they support one another.

As students become adept performers, they also grow to appreciate and recognize this skill in others. This is a very important (and often overlooked) element to the continued support of music education and professional musicians.

By now, the benefits of recitals for students have been established; what are the benefits for teachers? Private music teachers that offer recitals build their studio community; students are given the opportunity to support and motivate one another. This facet of cooperative learning leads to increased studio retention, motivation, and growth. It has also been proven that students tend to retain more information in group settings. In Tools forTeaching, Barbara Gross Davis writes, “Researchers report that, regardless of the subject matter, students working in small groups tend to learn more of what is taught and retain it longer than when the same content is presented in other instructional formats.”

Recitals are also great for business. When recitals become a regular part of a studio’s curriculum, it becomes a place where music happens, and students and their families will be so excited to spread the word about it.

These are big events, and can be a bit daunting at first. In the upcoming posts, I’ll provide some how-to tips to help you plan and host a successful recital that your students will talk about for years to come!



Monday, March 13, 2017

5 Free Activities and Games for St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day is a huge celebration of Irish culture here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In a brief travel article, Chloe Pantazi wrote, 
With 13.5% of the population identifying as Irish, bars everywhere, and a parade that dates back to 1869, the Steel City is as close to Dublin anyone's gonna get in the US.
I kept this in mind as I searched for some activities/games to use with my younger students in my studio this week. After we've completed theory assignments, learning and reviewing pieces, and technical exercises in the lesson, only a few minutes are left for a game. 

Every teacher has their own philosophy on the use of games during a piano lesson. I personally believe that young children learn best through play and that finishing each lesson with a lighthearted and fun activity makes all the difference in how they feel about their piano lessons each week. 

http://www.susanparadis.com


Have your students complete this at home, perhaps using their assigned scale to establish a key, and be prepared to play it for you at their next lesson.

https://sarasmusicstudio.com

Do your students need to review keyboard topography, scales, intervals, and chord progressions? You're in luck! This game is an excellent, hands-on resource to help you review important concepts with your students this week and end the lesson in a positive way.

http://www.greensidemusic.co.uk



This coloring page subtlety encourages your students to practice their note reading skills. Hand this out to siblings to work on while they wait for their lesson!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/St-Patricks-Day-Music-Math-FREE-download-2425636



This music math page ties in nicely with Piano Pronto method books. Use it this week in lieu of or in conjunction with your students' regular theory assignments.

http://www.teachpianotoday.com

Improvising is the ultimate way to help students feel a steady beat, expand their imagination and individual style, and utilize the concepts that they have learned over time. A Foot-Tappin’ St. Patrick’s Day Improv Activity For Your Piano Students makes it easy to improvise with your students!