It’s been two weeks since our Spring Recital when 19 students entertained their families and friends with wonderful music. Afterward, the moment they’ve been waiting for finally arrived-they received their Piano Olympics medals for our year-long project of the 2013-14 school year. Gold, silver, and bronze medals were awarded based upon completion of up to 12 music “events”, ranging from memorizing music, composing, organizing their own recitals at home and many others! In case you weren’t able to be there, the students each recorded one of their pieces for a slide show recital that will be making it’s debut to our YouTube channel soon. The Summer session begins this week, and we’ve got a great new incentive program planned for September!
On Saturday, May 3rd, three of our students participated in the first Great Performers Series (GPS) recital presented by the Pittsburgh Piano Teachers Association for East suburban members. These recitals have been offered in the past in the North and South Hills, but never here out East. Beulah Presbyterian Church in Churchill graciously offered their facilities and had a reception for all participants and guests afterwards in their Fellowship Hall. Eight teachers entered students into this event, ranging from the youngest beginners to graduating seniors. Our representatives were, Tyler, Tim, and Andy. Congratulations!!
May 4-11, 2014 will be celebrated across the country as ” National Music Week”. The National Federation of Music Clubs ( The Pittsburgh Piano Teachers Association is the local chapter), has created the theme “Music… The Dance of Life” for events being held through the nation. Here in our studio we’re asking all of our students to see how many different dances they can name . From the waltz to the Electric Slide , every generation has had it’s favorites. Each student will be bringing home a sheet with 12 spaces to fill out -let’s see how long of a list we can compile. Dance is universal – feel free to add the national dances from your family’s homeland, as well the popular dances from your, or your parents, high school days. We’ll be adding them all to a wall chart in the studio next week-how long do you think our list will be?
If the Flowers in your yard aren’t brave enough yet to poke their heads out of the ground, head on over to Phipps Conservatory and see the Spring Flower Show, ” Rhythm and Bulbs”- you won’t be disappointed! Music and the smell of spring bulbs fill the air.
Music has been filling the air in our studio, as well. We’ve just completed our major project of the year, “Piano Olympics”. The bronze, silver, and gold medals that the students have earned by completing various music events will be awarded at our spring recital in June- so mark your calendars for Sunday, June 8th at 1:00. We will again be enjoying the hospitality of Monroeville Community Church on Tillbrook Road in Monroeville for this event.
Andy is a fourth grade student who is active in music and sports. He plays basketball on his school’s basketball team and is on a swim team in the summer. Along with being an enthusiastic piano student, Andy joined the school band this year where he plays saxophone. Andy is playing a piece called “Ragtime” by Margaret Goldston on this recording, and used a ragtime piano voice on our digital piano for an authentic ragtime sound.
Kindergarten student Elena decided this year that she wanted to learn to play piano just like her big sister, Anna. Her she is placing small flash cards and alphabet blocks on a large floor chart of the piano keyboard. Little ones need to spend time “off the bench”, and our floor activities give them lots of opportunities to move around while learning about music.
There area few slots available for the Winter term, but they generally fill up quickly-Santa often brings pianos and keyboards for Christmas! If you’re interested, please drop us a line.
Aubrey is a fourth grade student who started playing violin at school last year, and decided to learn to play piano this year, too! Here is Aubrey demonstrating how we use midi accompaniments that we load into the digital pianos on-board computer. All first year students play along with these recordings while learning to play with a steady, even beat. These background recordings make entry level recordings exciting to play!
Tim is a seventh grade student who plays violin in his school orchestra as well as studying piano. Classical music, jazz, rock and roll- Tim enjoys them all! The piece that Tim has recorded for us is “The Chinese Doll” by Vladimir Ribikov.
When he isn’t at the piano, practicing violin, working on his school work, or enjoying a good book, Tim often has a classic motor cycle magazine in his hand. One of these days he’ll be using his fine musician’s ear to keep those cycle engines humming!
The piano studio has been a busy place in October!! Some of the students worked on composing pieces based upon a theme and text called “It’s October!” We printed their finished projects using Final notation software and our young composers are exchanging their creations with each other . Of course, it wouldn’t be October without some Halloween music! Even our youngest beginners were able to tell a Halloween story with music.
This month, our Featured Performer is Maddie. Maddie is a sophomore in high school and an avid runner. She just completed cross country season and is looking forward to beginning training for track in the spring. Maddie also plays piano with he high school jazz band. She’s going to scare us all with a piece called Midnight in the Museum.
Tyler is in fourth grade and likes to play jazzy tunes and classic rock and roll- he loves the Beatles! He likes to “jam” with his Dad, Tom, and his older brother, Tim on their guitars. Tyler’s beginning to play some classical etudes-he seems to be enjoying this genre of music, as well!
But don’t feel sorry for them- they’re writing silly words to a blues tune for a lyric writing contest being held by our friends at Ear Training and Improvisation.
Our entries run the gamut from black cat blues and sleepy puppy blues, to hungry king cobra blues (I sure hope they don’t all run into each other!) The folks at Ear Training and Improvisation are awarding the winner an Amazon gift card- that should chase the blues away!
We’ve been back to piano lessons for a week or so and are happy to see so many returning students and new ones, as well.
Our first project of the year-and it’s a big one!-is “Piano Olympics”. The project begins now and lasts through the winter , and, like the real Winter Olympics, our students are aiming for bronze, silver and gold medals!! No, they won’t be skating across the keys, or bench-pressing pianos, but they will have a dozen music events to choose from as they “go for the gold.” The events range from easy ones for the beginners to more challenging ones for the older students. If you want to know which events your child has picked, the Piano Olympics check sheet has been taped in the front cover of their lessons books- check it out!
No, not a real Grumpy Grandpa! Right Brain Music. Com has generously given us a set of their new music note flash cards. Visual learners (and the rest of us) will enjoy the wacky cartoon characters assigned to each line and space. Who needs that old “every good boy does fine”, when you can have Dopey Dogs, Fat Fish and Grumpy Grandpa’s to jog your memory? To see more of their learning aids, visit Right Brain Music at: www.rightbrainmusic.com
Fall piano lessons begin in less than a month! It’s that time of year when we arm ourselves with school supply lists, inventory last years wardrobe (how could they grow that much over the summer?!) and set out to give our children the best possible start for the new school year. Here’s a check list to help insure a great piano school year, as well.
I’ve been enjoying our Fall shipment of new sheet music from some of our favorite composers, and I know the students will when the come back in September, too. There’s something for everybody (is that a piece about cats in the left corner?!)
Does your child need a gentle reminder to practice during these lazy summer days? Andrea and Trevor Dow, creators of ” The Curious Case of Muttzart and Ratnaninoff” have designed a great little reminder to nudge your little one back to the piano bench-” Boxthoven”! The Dows suggest you go to their website: http://www.teachpianotoday.com/2013/04/24/leave-the-piano-practice-reminders-to-boxthoveen-a-fun-new-printable/ and down load a sheet of these little reminders. Cut them up and hide them in unexpected places-under the TV remote, in the fridge- you get the idea!!
This is the second week of summer piano classes, and we’ve been having a lot of fun learning to compose music with a new publication for students called “The Curious Case of Muttzart and Ratmaninoff”. Written in a comic book style, students help a dog (Muttzart) fill in the missing measures of a compositionthatIsabella, his owner, has written for her piano recital. Of course, it wasn’t his fault that he chewed up her composition book- the family cat, Ratmaninoff, spread tuna juice on the pages, and, well, Muttzart just couldn’t help but chomp away on it!
The secondsession of summer classes begins July 30th, so there’s still time to sign up and help Muttzart get “out of the dog house”!