On Mondays I have several new students going through Mrs. Stewart's Piano Lessons and those are a lot of fun! Two of them are preschool agers and take the lessons pretty steadily at one per week. They love playing the songs they have already learned in only two lessons; tried and true ones like Merrily We Roll Along and Where is Thumbkin. One of them started in a traditional piano primer and she was extremely bored. I mean, you could see the glaze everytime our lessons got started. It's no wonder, the book had exercises instead of songs! Now, it's really quite amazing and gratifying to see how much fun she can't help but have as she plays and sings popular childrens' songs sometimes on the first try! Quite a change, for sure.
One of the Mrs. Stewarts students is a pre-teen who practices up to 5 lessons each week. She's learning 3 or more scales each lesson and is transposing all of those tried and true songs into every new key she learns--with root triad accompaniment! Within a month she will be learning the written notation for all of her playing. She wants to eventually play with her church's worship band so this training is spot-on for her. Soon I hope to be able to take some of her church's songs and write them out Mrs. Stewart style for her to play.
My first Monday student just started playing from Edna-Mae Burnam's Dozen-A-Day exercises. She is making her way from the primer into the first book of the Music Tree series and I'm trying to find ways to fill in the gaps in the method book for her. It's tempting just to assign Dozen-A-day for sentimental reasons since I played from the book when I was a kid!! But I have solid reasons and I expect this to revolutionize her piano education.
Lastly, my flutist! Though she is always on time we find the time slips away sooo quickly at the beginning of the lesson and today we figured out why: we have to put our instruments together! Pianists come into their lesson and sit down and the first thing I do is have them play a scale or something. My flutist and I have to put our flutes together so we take that opportunity to chat about school and band and things. As you can imagine, the chatter doesn't end just as soon as our instruments are ready!! Anyway, I recently invested in 40 Little Pieces in Progressive Order for beginning flutist, a collection of well known melodies by famous composers adapted for flute and piano by Marcel Moyse, and I assigned her the Menuet in G by Bach. I was taken by that piece from the time I played it as a child on the piano and I felt it would be an appropriate challenge for her right now. Playing pieces on the flute that were originally written for other instruments can offer opportunities to develop into a more rounded player. Large leaps on the piano are easy to smooth out while those same wide intervals are more challenging to pull off on the flute. You have to imagine the bow moving accross the strings of a cello or think of the notes as being step-wise instead of many steps apart so that you can achieve seamless transitions.
Our studio recital is set for December 17th and this is a huge motivator. More than that, it's adding that sparkle of excitement to planning the lessons and I love to see my students get that look about them that says, I'm not sure I can pull it off but if you think I can, then I will! I'm getting all kinds of ideas for the recital and it's shaping up to be a warm and enjoyable time set so close to Christmas! Until then, we press on!