Masquerade Musicale

Just a quick note about how proud I am of my students. Saturday night was the Masquerade Musicale. There were 4 seatings and I had students playing in all of them.

Everyone did an excellent job. Their costumes were adorable and their behavior during the concerts was excellent.

Congrats and I can’t wait to see what the Winter Recitals will bring.

Those first graders know how to practice!

I would just like to congratulate my student Savannah.  She is in first grade and this is her third year of lessons with me.  Savannah is the final student to still have a perfect practice record for this semester.  That is all gold stars for 9 weeks!  She has met her practice goals and had her practice chart filled in every week.

Savannah will be receiving a book of her choice as a reward.  I am very proud of her hard work and dedication.

Top 5 Book Picks for Christmas Lists

As a musician a well stocked library is a must.  Music literature and reference books are  vauable resources for the aspiring pianist and teacher.  So here are my top 5 picks that should be on your shopping list. 

*Make a note that I never said these are cheap or easy to find.

1.  The New Harvard Dictionary of Music

2.  The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music

3.  Guide to the Pianists Repertoire by Maurice Hinson

4.  Famous Pianists and Their Technique by Reginald Gerig

5.  With Your Own Two Hands by Seymour Bernstein

Nobuyuki Tsujii

Nobuyuki Tsujii will be performing at the Halton Theater in uptown Charlotte, NC, on Oct. 15 at 8:00 pm.  Tsujii was born blind but at the age of two began exhibiting a talent for the piano.  In 2009, he tied for the gold-medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. 

Check back later this weekend for a recap of the concert.  I look forward to blogging about my student’s reactions to what they will hear at this event.

Lesson Assignment Sheets

The assignment sheets for piano lessons plays a vital role in helping the student stay on top of their practice.  Well, that is if the student looks at the assignment sheet.  First as a student and now as a teacher, I  have seen many different methods used successfully.

The most basic method is to write the date at the top of the pages that are assigned.  Now this works well if the student is completing their pieces every week and if they remember what the date of their lesson was.  Overall, I find that this method leaves alot to be desired.

A slightly more advanced way is to use a small notebook and just to write Lesson, Theory, Performance, Practice and notate the page numbers out to the side.  This gives the student a check list to work off of.  There also isn’t very much room for additional notes and writing.

The past few years, I have been giving my students spiral notebooks with college rule paper.  Now this method definately worked well for me.  There was lots of room to write extra notes and to keep a practice record.  I did find that one of the drawbacks was that I didn’t always write the assignments in the same order.  If the theory somehow got added at the end of the page instead of after technique, it almost always was forgotten.  This was a good method and didn’t create any extra work for me as a teacher, but I felt that I could be more organized.

This year all of my students have been given a 3-ring binder.  When the student opens the binder the first thing they see is that week’s assignment sheet.  Every week I print out each day’s sheets with the correct date and the updated music history and listening assignments.  Below you can look at an example of this sheet:

Assignment Sheet- word version

This form seems to be working really well.  All the assignments are in the same place and there is plenty of room left for extra notes and reminders.  Also, I love to give handouts that are helpful to the students.  Some weeks it is supplemental theory sheets and others it can be music history information. By having a 3-ring binder handy, those papers don’t end up crumpled in the bottom of the student’s music bag.  It is also a nice place to keep sheet music so that it doesn’t get wrinkled. 

Over all I am very happy with the new assignment sheets and the 3 ring binder method.

Bartolomeo Cristofori

So if you have looked at the listening assignment for this week, you will notice that there isn’t a link.  This week’s composer invented something very important.  The assignment is to listen to any music that uses this invention.  Just have the student make a note of what music they listened to. 

I don’t want to give away the answer.  Enjoy the search!