Archive for the 'Charlotte Piano Students' Category

May 28th 2014 Summer Lessons

This just a reminder that summer lessons begin next week. If you are a new student looking to start lessons you might select our 6 week lesson plan. Pick 6 weeks out of June and July for a 30 minute lesson each week. You will receive 2 books appropriate for your musical level. The cost is only $175. You will then be eligible to be among the first to pick a fall lesson time. Summer lessons are not just for a child interested in piano lessons. Summer piano lessons are for teens and adults as well.
Brunner Studios is also offering tutoring for students wishing to get a head start on their AP classes and exams.
We are happy to welcome students in the area for the summer. College students who wish to maintain their skills in a less formal environment and have coaching on pieces that you are carrying over for next semester are very welcome.
Contact Brunner Studios in the Charlotte area to fulfill your piano lesson needs for the summer of 2014. Scheduling for fall lesson times will begin in August.

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May 14th 2014 Play Something Fun

As we move into summer here in Charlotte, NC. My piano student’s lessons become a little less structured. Students are in and out during summer vacation. For that matter, I’m out of town some as well. It is a great chance to play something fun. I’ve been asking my students what they want to play. Music from a movie, a tv show, a difficult classical piece they’ve heard. It’s a nice opportunity to let the student have a little more say in the repertoire choices.
Summer piano lessons can be exciting even if the student is not in lessons every week. Ask your students or ask your teacher, what should we play this summer?

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Feb 20th 2014 Mental Preparedness

Students from all over Charlotte, NC will be participating in the National Federation of Music Clubs festival on Feb. 22. We pick pieces we can learn successfully. We memorize. We polish. What is left? The students need to mentally prepare for the event.
I had a student in a lesson tonight who just hasn’t mentally prepared very much. Her pieces are fairly well prepared and she’s participated in this event before. In the lesson she just unravelled from the start. It was totally a mental game. She came in saying she was nervous and it showed. What are we doing to remedy this situation?
In lessons this week, we are having mock festival. The kids come in and play one scale. Then they pick which piece they want to begin with and play their first festival piece cold. I score them as if I were their judge that day. They then move straight into the second piece with no comments from me in between. After finishing their performance, we go over my written comment. Then we keep the comments sheet to compare to what their judges will say this weekend. Our goal is to try and not have any of the same negative feedback. If I said work on dynamics, then hopefully they will work extra hard on that between now and Saturday and upgrade their level of playing.
I’m having students have their parents record their performances and practice at home. Due to the snow last week, students were even sending me video for some long distance help. The added pressure of having it ‘on tape’ can help bring the flaws to the surface and simulate the environment of the event.
Then there’s the ever not popular stern lecture. You know the one. Buckle down and do your best. Don’t just throw away months worth of work. Fight for a good performance. Don’t let mistakes snowball. Once a mistake has been made it’s done. You can’t undo it, but don’t let it rattle you.
Being mentally prepared is just as important as having learned the music. So put those game faces on and go own your performances. Good luck!

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Oct 14th 2013 Upcoming November Performances

Brunner Studios students will be performing twice in the month of November. 

On November 2, they will be presenting a studio class performance at the Little Flower Retirement Village in Mint Hill.  Play for the elderly and infirm is a great opportunity for the students to serve the community.  We will be playing Halloween music, Patriotic music, classical, pop, and show tunes. 

On November 23, students will be performing at Miller Piano.  This will be our winter recital.  Christmas music, classical music, and everything in between. 

The November 23 performance is open to all who wish to attend.  There are plenty of seats.  The Nov. 2 performance, students will be limited to 2 guests as there is very limited room at the facility.

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Sep 13th 2013 A Little Inspiration

IMG_0401A thermal pool in Yellowstone National Park.  What music would you pair with this picture?

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Sep 4th 2013 A Return to Lessons

Brunner Studios in Mint Hill, NC, will begin the fall semester on September 10.  Hopefully everyone has had time to get those school schedules settled and is now ready to either resume or begin music lessons.  Brunner Studios offers piano, voice, oboe, theory, and music history lessons.  Tutoring for AP Music History is also available.  We will be having recitals and performance opportunities throughout the year. 

Please call  or email and ask about scheduling a trial lesson to decide if Brunner Studios is the right musical home for you or your student.

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Aug 22nd 2013 Curriculum Questions

As students are heading back to school here in Charlotte, NC, and all over the country, we should ask ourselves; are we teaching the way students learn in today’s environment.  Honestly with the competition between extra curricular activities we as teachers need to be up to date on the latest methods and learning styles.  Are we incorporating the newest technology in our lessons?  Are we excited about teaching?

What are questions that we should ask ourselves as teachers and what same questions should parents be asking?

1.  What curriculum do you use?  And part two of this question.  Why do you use this curriculum?

As as teacher, do you use the same material because it is always what you’ve used, or because you believe it is the most relevant to today’s students?  Do you use the best correlation with local festivals?  Do you try to expose students to a wide variety of music and print styles? 

2.  Are your students active in the community?  Festivals, talent shows, recitals, playing at nursing homes. 

3.  Do the students use technology to help keep them interested during the challenging parts of the curriculum?  Online apps or flashcards?  Notation software?  Youtube performances?  Are you utilizing these resources?

4.  Are you following a curriculum of any kind that can aid a parent in understanding the rate of progress for the student?

5.  Are the students learning about areas outside of music that relate to music?  Roman numerals, world history, different cultures that have influenced nationalistic music?

Many times I think as teachers we can get in a rut.  Even with a tried and true curriculum, there are opportunities for evaluation and introspection.  As parents are calling and emailing, do you seem excited about the coming year or are you feeling the grind of hearing those same pieces again?  It is up to us as educators to try to instill excitement for music and knowledge in our new and returning students.

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Aug 13th 2013 A Break, A Sabbatical, A Vacation, A Return

I’ve been either in school or teaching full time since the fall of 2000.  That is a long time!  The month of August is a notoriously slow month on the lesson front.  This year, I decided to do something different.  The studio is closed for the entire month of August and the first week of September.  What about the students?  Most were vacationing at least part of the month, and all were glad not to have to negotiate the first few weeks of school with an after school activity. 

 

I’m using this time to think about my methodology and where I want the studio to go in the next year.  What’s been working and what needs a revamp? 

 

The most useful thing that I’ve done this year is to have started using either a candle or incense on lesson days in the room off the studio.  This combined with a quite minute.  The quality of lessons has improved dramatically.  So many of my students come directly from school or other activities.  The students just aren’t as focused on that 30 or 45 minutes as they should be.  As the student enters the studio we talk briefly about how the day went and get the books arranged at the piano.  Then I ask the student to close their eyes and think about “how you practiced, what did you improve upon, and what you want to show me in your lesson.”  Just a minute of silence for most of the students allows them to reset and leave the rest of the day at the door.  I feel as a teacher that I’m getting a more accurate read on what the students are accomplishing during the week.

 

As we come back in the fall, I hope to have more students signing up for The Music Development Program exams.  Previously known as RACE and the Carnegie Hall Achievement Program.  This is a program that I believe in strongly.  Whether the student takes the exams or just uses the principles laid out in the curriculum, my students are on a stronger and more through track than ever.  Having an internationally recognized standard makes it so easy to know how a student is truly progressing in the literature.  If you would like to find out more about this program, please let me know.

 

As always, Brunner Studio is scheduling lessons.  Just because the studio is on break doesn’t mean that my email and phone don’t work!  Please call or email if you would like to know more about piano, voice or oboe lessons for this fall.  I can’t wait to hear from you.

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Apr 30th 2013 My Baby…Grand That Is…Was Sick

Nothing like a sick piano to make a piano teacher break out into a sweat.  Last Monday one of my students was playing a Chopin Nocturne.  Since this student can a time be little gung ho with the arm weight, I recommended trying the Una Corda.  It was a good effort, but didn’t produce the desired results so we moved on to other ideas.  The next thing I knew the piano was sounding a bit odd and the student said that the und corda pedal was not working correctly.  Oh boy.  Sure enough it was stuck in the ‘on’ position. 

Tuesday morning I called my wonderful tech to set an appointment.  The soonest he could come out was next Tuesday.  That was a week of odd sounding lessons.  I thought it was interesting that some students noticed the strange sound and others didn’t.  I many have to explore that issue.  So the tech finally made it out today.  Turns out that it really was a case of being stuck.  A little Teflon power later and we were back in business.  The tuning was in pretty good shape so other than some minor adjustments it was a quick fix.

Come back later this week to find out which group of my students has had the best long term success based on what time of year they started lessons.  The answer might surprise you 

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Feb 22nd 2013 Reminders for NFMC Festival in Charlotte, NC

Tomorrow is the big day for a whole lot of students in the Charlotte area.  They’ve spent months preparing to play for the National Federation of Music Clubs Festival.  What do they need to remember for the big day?

1.  Take your music!  Yes, it is memorized.  However, the judges need it.  You cannot play if your music is not there.

2.  Dress nicely.  You are representing yourself and your teacher. 

3.  Give yourself plenty of time to find parking and the correct building.  Arrive and be ready to play 15 minutes early.  This will give you time to take a few deep breaths, go to the bathroom, and get some water.

4.  Learn something.  Whether you have a good performance, a bad performance, or something in between.  Pay attention and learn something from the experience. 

Good luck! 

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