>Finishing up mid-year assessments
>Continuing a listening habit
>Next Master class
Finishing up mid-year assessments
Unfortunately, most people were unable to have their mid-year assessments at the time that they were scheduled due to various conflicts, so we are having the rest of them this week during lessons. After tomorrow, I'll put together the results and email them to each parent to look over. Our parent-teacher meetings will be at the next lesson. Moms and or dads, please plan to come to the first or last 10 minutes of your child's next lesson where we'll have a chance to touch base, you can ask any questions or get clarification, and I'll share some end-of-year goals for your child. This is not meant to be a stressful evaluation but just a "here's what we've done, and here's what we should do next" moment. There are no time limits in learning the piano. By the way, if you would like your child to have a lesson the week of Albion School break (next week), I am more than willing to continue through the break since we've had two snow days already. Some have already decided to do this. Just let me know.
Continuing a listening habit
Have you heard of the musical Footloose? This year, Oakfield Alabama school is presenting this musical in early March and I get to play piano with the pit orchestra! It's a really high energy rock score and a ton of fun to play, but it's a pretty thick book of crazy music to learn. I realized when I got the music that if I was going to thoroughly learn the entire musical, I really needed to get a rapid understanding of the music: I had to listen to it; to get it in my ear. So I purchased the Footloose soundtrack and started listening right away. I'm serious when I say I count listening as practice time because I'm learning the style and feel of the musical and I'm teaching my ear what to expect out of the piano.
When we're unfamiliar with a piece of music, we get inaccurate ideas about it as we learn the notes little by little. It's like attempting to assemble a 1,000 piece puzzle without the picture to look at. Knowing how the music sounds in performance is like knowing what the puzzle will look like when it's done: the individual notes and measures make more sense in practice time because you understand where they fit. We need to be listening to every piece of music we perform. Preferably, to several different artists playing the same piece. There is no better way to assimilate the vast possibilities of expression, rhythm, accentuation, dynamics and phrasing. The more we listen, the better we can interpret new pieces down the road. So find your Suzuki cd, find a great pianist, a great vocalist, any great music and listen, listen, listen!
Next Master Class
The next master class will be in March--the date is to be announced, and I will get that out ASAP. I've recently been focused on how singing can help us become more expressive musicians and I am thinking this will heavily influence the content of the next class. There will also be a touch on music theory and I hope to see either duet playing or solo playing as well. I am excited about getting master classes going again!