Achievement Day, 2017

May is busy, busy! Our local chapter of Music Teachers National Association, the Boulder Area Music Teachers Association held their annual Achievement Day festival this past weekend. This year there were sixteen teachers and 108 students participating in the event.

I am a big fan of having some sort of outside evaluation for students at the end of the school year. While there are many festivals and competitions in which to participate, I tend to choose evaluations which are nurturing and instructional in nature. Of my 35 students, I entered eight in the Achievement Day evaluations this year.

Each student played two pieces, one of which was memorized. They all also entered to play scales and arpeggios, and took a Terms and Signs test at their individual level. Six of the students entered art projects:

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Aren’t they lovely?

One student played a second instrument, the banjo – which was adorable, by the way. And another student improvised for a minute in the style of a nocturne.

I spent the day in the testing room.

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All eight students passed with flying colors and earned the Super Achiever status. They earned medals and certificates for their achievements. It was a fun day to visit with other teachers and “talk shop”.

 

Spring Piano Recital 2017

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Our annual spring recital was a success! This year I divided the students into two recitals, with sixteen students performing in each recital. The recital had that fun, nervous and exciting feel at the beginning, then transitioned to jubilant relief at the end! We celebrated with ice cream for everyone in the lobby. 🙂

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I must say, the students played really well! Sometimes you don’t know how the nerves will hit. There was only one student who was visibly sick to her stomach because of nerves, but she mustered the courage to go on stage, and she played perfectly! What a little sweetheart.

We heard works from Bach, Rachmaninoff, Haydn, Imagine Dragons, Grieg, Henry Mancini, Martha Mier, Robert Vandall, Jennifer Eklund, Scott Joplin, Christos Tsitsaros, and Emily Elizabeth Black, to name a few. 🙂

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This year we started something new called the Recital Compliment Exchange. I found this idea on the ComposeCreate website (where I also purchased the beautiful recital template!)

The audience was given the compliment page with spaces to compliment nine students. Parent and grandparents did an excellent job of encouraging the students! Each student received from 4-8 compliments each, which I distributed at the next week’s lesson. The students were very happy to read their compliments. I think it really meant a lot to them.20170507_165718

This is the stack of compliments ready to be distributed to students.

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A sweet family wrote a compliment to me as well!

Another recital in the books.

And one step closer to summer!!!

Christmas Piano Party 2015

Our annual Christmas Piano Party was a great success this year! I was able to host the event in our neighborhood’s beautiful new clubhouse. The idea behind the piano party is to give the students a chance to play their pieces in a casual environment. Each family brings food to share, I set up a craft table, and the students play while people mingle, eat and make a little craft.

I love this event because it is a very low-stress way to introduce new students to playing in front of people. The audience is listening in a subtle way because they are also doing something else, so all the attention is not directed on the performer. It also is a wonderful opportunity to promote community within the piano studio. Families get to know each other, students get to support each other, and I have the opportunity to interact in a casual, fun way with both students and parents.

The students played beautifully!

Multiple Piano Festival 2015

It was another great evening at the annual Multiple Piano Festival! The event celebrated its 30th year with a concert of unique and beautiful duet, trio and quartet music. This year I had eleven students playing such pieces as Spring, Ship Ahoy, Scottish Dance, Spring Jazz, Jingle Bells and Dance With Me. 

As always, the auditions, rehearsals and concert were well organized and enjoyable. I’m so grateful to be able to offer this event to my students!

 

 

Multiple Piano Festival 2014

 

The Boulder Area Music Teachers Association did not disappoint with this year’s Multiple Piano Festival. As before, the pieces were well-chosen, musically-varied and audience-pleasing. It was an upbeat, fun concert. You can read my observations on last year’s concert here.

I entered fourteen students in the auditions, and happily, fourteen were accepted. Here are a few highlights of the event:

My daughter Chloe and her best friend Rebecca had a blast. Those little cuties had to stand to see the director give the downbeat to begin their piece.20141122_192034
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20141122_192936 20141122_192940The teacher piece was fantastic – Overture to “Candide” by Leonard Bernstein. Lots of changing meters and beautiful interplay between the secondo and primo parts. 
20141122_204043 20141122_204537 My students, minus a few who had to leave early. Such a sweet and happy group.20141122_205414My beautiful daughters. I love being able to play on the same concerts with my own children!
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Town Fair

20140517_105303A month or so ago I received a kind email from the chamber of commerce of a neighboring town asking for some of my students to perform on stage at the annual town fair. Of course I agreed! I am always excited for my students to have opportunities to perform in the community. It’s a great way to serve others and spread joy.

I asked my tech guy (my husband 🙂 ) to help coordinate the equipment we would need. We had to transport my digital keyboard and keyboard amplifier and all the necessary cords. It was definitely a workout loading all of the equipment into the back of our minivan, carrying it from our parking spot to the stage, and vice versa at the end of the performance!

Photo May 17, 10 21 56 AMThe performance was fun. We had a 30 minute time slot, so I couldn’t ask all of my students to participate. I chose students who were confident and who also had a catchy piece to play. This was the line up (more information on these pieces can be found on this previous blog post):

Prelude #1 in C Major by Robert Vandall
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Mystical Tarantella by Robert Vandall

20140517_100258Monkey Blues by Ruth Perdew
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Viva La Vida by Coldplay20140517_100528Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin
20140517_100734 Celebration by Anne Crosby Gaudet20140517_100935 Arabesque by Burgmuller20140517_101020Let It Go from Frozen
20140517_101201 The Aerialists from The Circus by Turina

C.S.Theme and Variations by Randall Compton20140517_10173320140517_095419It was lots of fun! Pianists don’t often get the chance to perform outside, so it was a neat experience. I hope we get the chance to play again next year.

Christmas Piano Party

IMG_20131213_110412_511Merry Christmas!

We had a super fun Christmas piano party for the students in my home studio. My goal was to bring together our little community of piano students and their families to celebrate Christmas, Christmas music and our piano community.

Thankfully, I think this piano party accomplished all of these goals. DSC_0221The party took place in my home, which included the studio space as well. The students were background music for the party. Everyone was encouraged to talk, eat, and have fun while the students played. In a way, it was the opposite of a recital! It was great for the brand-new students who were performing for the first time.DSC_0222 We played Bingo with the Christmas songs the students played. The prize was a pencil that said “Music Makes Me Smile”. You would have thought they were playing for a million dollars! Those kids really took that Bingo game seriously! DSC_0232DSC_0223 The families brought in the desserts and snacks. I made hot chocolate and the marshmallow/candy cane hot chocolate dippers that were pictured at the top of the post.DSC_0224 My husband, who is very resourceful, ran a cord from the iPad, which was directed at the piano, to the television in the other room. This was very handy as people could watch the student playing but not have to be in the same room. (Please ignore my misshapen wreath. Haha!)DSC_0226 The table with the striped tablecloth had a little Christmas craft for the students to make. They made the Christmas ornament which is described in this post.DSC_0227 DSC_0228 It was a great night for making deeper connections with these great families. DSC_0229 DSC_0230Unfortunately, I didn’t get as many pictures as I would have liked. I guess that just means I was having too much fun to stop to take pictures!