We are trying something new for the summer recital. Students will be playing 4-5 pieces that they have learned throughout the year. I thought it would be interesting for the audience to see how the students have progressed this year in terms of level of difficulty. It is also taking pressure off the students during the last few weeks of school and the start of summer vacation. I can’t wait to see how the audience responds.
We finally have a recital date. June 27 at 6:30 pm at Miller Piano on Independence Blvd. Students will be performing up to 5 pieces that they have learned throughout the school year.
Scheduling recitals is a pain the neck. There I said it. Don’t get me wrong I love recitals. Students showing off what they’ve learned. Parents and grandparents sitting with their fingers crossed. The fact that the teachers get way more butterflies than the students do. It’s all part of music lessons.
However, trying to find an appropriate time for a recital is awful. For a small studio having just a few students unable to attend puts a serious hurt on the event. Trying to find a location that is affordable and convenient can also be a challenge. Finding the balance between scheduling too far in advance and giving the students adequate time to prepare can be difficult.
There are a few things that I try to work with when looking at the calendar. We don’t do December or May recitals unless the world is coming to an end. It’s just not fair to anyone. The students are stressed and distracted by school and the approaching holidays. Parents are busy running kids here, there and yon. I try to ask for dance and sports schedules. If everyone has Nutcracker rehearsals then there is no sense in adding anything else to those Saturdays. My objective is for a recital to be an important event. Not just another event to cram into the day.
I am still trying to figure out a date for a spring recital. It looks like it will be more of an early summer event. It also helps if the teacher is in town to attend!
Bad Bowing is Contagious
There are still a few things that make me want to roll my eyes and giggle as a teacher. Simply because I’ve been guilty of doing the same things. Bowing well it’s a wasteland of poor etiquette. I remember my teachers telling me over and over that I needed to give a good bow. That I was telling the audience thank you for listening to me play the piano.
Last Saturday I took my students to a local assisted living facility. This was a very informal event but a chance to hone our skills before the big winter recital in a few week. Before we began, I reminded the students to bow after each piece. Then one of my more bowing conscientious students gave us a demonstration of what a proper bow looks like. Off we went to the performance.
The first round of pieces was somewhat dubiously played but perfectly bowed. The second round started and the playing was better but the bowing was headed down hill rapidly. After about 4 half-hearted bows, a student made a break for it with only a head nod. I had to interrupt between students and remind them that I expected correct and polite bows. Then we were back on track.
It seems like if just one student slacks off in the bowing department it sets off a chain reaction. We will be practicing a little bit more before the winter recital.
New Christmas Books
As a piano teacher, I spend a lot of time playing music that isn’t mine. It’s rare that I get to play the piano for pure enjoyment of the music and it not be a project of some variety. Well, it’s that time of year again. It’s time for Christmas music! I love piano Christmas music. If you saw my music library you would probably think I’m a little crazy. So when I was at Music and Arts 2 weeks ago and saw new Christmas piano books, that was it. I had to have some new books.
First up is Simply Christmas by Jerry Ray. Now you have to understand. Christmas with Style by Jerry Ray is just about my favorite Christmas book to play from. The arrangements are great and not overly difficult. So when I was Simply Christmas it was meant to be. I was not disappointed. This is a great book.
The second book I picked up was O Come, Let Us Adore Him by the publisher Lillenas. Lillenas published my favorite hymn arrange book so I thought this was a pretty sure bet. This book was obviously made for church pianists. It includes transitions between every song. The arrangements are pretty and very playable.
So there you go, I am already playing and teaching Christmas piano music. The recital is only a month away. I should go practice.