NOTES FROM MELIA & JUSTIN
Last week, we held our first group lessons of the 2020 spring semester, and we were so impressed by the work of our music makers. Every single student chose to be brave and share a piece they've been working on, even students brand new to piano! We also had the opportunity to play Notespeed, learn about rhythmic dictation using candy hearts (yum!), and discuss the format of master classes.
It is so exciting to see the joy students have in playing for and interacting with other students. At their best, group lessons leave teachers and students excited and energized about making music at the piano!
Melia & Justin
STRENGTHENING YOUR "PERFORMANCE MUSCLES"
As pianists and teachers, we often get asked 1) how we seem so calm when we perform, and 2) whether we require our students to perform. The answers lie in a common refrain of our lessons: practice, practice, and more practice! Yes, to perform well we need to practice our pieces until we know them forwards and backwards. And yes, we do require our students to perform; performing itself is a skill we need need to practice frequently and consistently to feel more comfortable in front of others.
Here are some ways we encourage students to grow their performance muscles in our studio and at home:
Group lessons provide a casual, relaxed environment for students to share pieces even before they are "performance-ready," helping students to see areas for improvement and providing an opportunity to encourage other music makers.
Recitals give students a focused performance goal, surrounded by encouragement and fun. (Yay for compliment cards and dessert receptions!)
Playing for friends, parents, or grandparents or for small groups at church, friends' houses, or school gatherings help build confidence
Practice "performances" at one-on-one lessons simulate the whole performance (walking on stage, introducing yourself, bowing, etc.)
Each performance builds the "performing muscle" until performing becomes second nature!
February's Practice Tip
Find ways to keep your brain busy by switching it up! Use your left hand to play the parts written for the right hand and vice versa; instead of playing legato, play a measure staccato to hear the difference in the sound. The possibilities are endless!
STUDIO EVENT: HOW PIANOS WORK
We're excited to announce that our next studio-wide event will be at West Michigan Piano on Saturday, March 21 from 10 to 11 AM. Piano technician Jeff Hall will share an awesome presentation about how pianos work! The whole family is invited. Feel free to invite friends to join, too. We'll share more information about the event in the coming weeks.
We've lucked out with a mild winter so far, but you never know when snow or ice might hit! Our policy is to continue lessons even if school is cancelled that day since the weather often clears by the afternoon. That said, always choose safety first! If you feel unsafe driving to lessons, contact Justin or Melia as necessary.
*SSMS students: if a snow day occurs on lesson day (Tuesday), plan for the lesson to be made up on Friday of that same week.
PIANO IN THE NEWS
Check out this hedgehog's sense of rhythm and ear for scales!
Cute Animals + Pianos = Irresistible!
One of Melia's new students, Mila, got creative when decorating her new piano bag!
Awesome work, Mila!