First, the move! Amy Sidari of Gotta Dance in Albion approached me this summer with an offer to take over a vacant piano studio within her building. Several aspects of this situation were attractive and lead to my accepting the offer:
1. A bigger overall atmosphere of arts and education at the new location with both the dance studio and Bindings Bookstore nearby.
2. An opportunity for expanded connection and integration within the arts and education community of our area. As one example of this integration, the Dance Studio runs fundraisers throughout the year that are now open to Katherine's School students. All your profits go towards you and can be used for buying new materials, any competition fees or regular tuition payments as you see fit.
3. Studio B is available to us as a recital facility as needed.
4. The new location has a cleaner, more climate-controlled environment for the comfort of students, families and my piano. One bonus is that Amy's Studio A waiting area is just outside of the piano studio door, so there will now be comfortable seating for parents and students of Katherine's School while they wait.
I am still in the process of settling into the new place, having the piano tweaked after its move, and painting. It will be ready to go by the first lesson on September 10th so don't forget to go to Gotta Dance! this year for your lessons! I can't wait to get started!
Next, the Royal Conservatory Achievement Program. The Royal Conservatory, Carnegie Hall Achievement Program is a standardized, music assessment program that is run nationally. Students who participate in the program are placed at a level between Preparatory and 10 (beginner to master-level). Each level has a certain set of scales, musicianship, and approved music from which to choose. Those who officially enroll in the program will sign up for an assessment date in either Buffalo or Rochester and prepare all scales, musicianship and a certain number of pieces from the list provided as well as a piece they choose. On the day of the assessment, they will play all of their prepared music and scales for an official adjudicator from the program. Later, the students who participated will receive the comments and marks from the adjudicator and, if applicable, an official certificate of completion for the level in which they performed. I feel so strongly about the power of this type of a program in generating momentum for musicians that I am going to implement an assessment schedule within my own studio. Twice per year, students will complete a one-on-one assessment of the required skills for their level. This will provide a goal-point for completing music study and also an opportunity to communicate between the parent, teacher and student about where they are now and where they are going. It is not meant to be a stressful experience for anyone, just a tool to assist us in reaching our goals. I anticipate good things from this.
And last, I am changing the hours I teach and adding some monthly unit studies. My availiable openings will now be from 2:30-5:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays with the possibility of Wednesday opening up for more students. And, starting in September with "Back to Good Practice Habits!" we'll be spending some time each month addressing various aspects of musicianship such as dynamics and expression, counting, good practice habits, Jazz appreciation, and more. Within these units students may be asked to do light research on composers, work through a prepared packet or implement new things into their practice routine. All of this is for the purpose of providing extra experience with known or new concepts and consequently developing more well-rounded musicians.
I am getting excited about the year to come and I hope I'll get to meet some new people as I expand my studio! See you in a few weeks!