Last Updated on 2022-11-27 | Originally Posted on 2021-01-29
As a piano teacher, I find myself doing lots of things besides teaching lessons. For instance, I’ve added sanitizing skills to my arsenal! That includes supplying hydrogen peroxide and clean clothes to make sure the piano keys stay Covid-free! One of the more normal side activities is to speak to parents about teaching their kids. This happens a lot at the beginning of each semester. Turnover is part of the business due to the number of families that move into and out of our area each year.
Last Updated on 2022-11-28 | Originally Posted on 2020-09-04
It began as a teenager…
The four Chopin Scherzi have always had a special place in my heart. I was looking for a flashy piece to play for a local scholarship competition when I was a senior in high school. My teacher Susan Starr suggested that I learn the first scherzo, though it would be a tough go to learn in just three weeks, with at most two lessons beforehand. It was tough to learn, and I didn’t learn it well enough to place in the competition. I did end up playing for one of the winners, though, as a collaborative pianist!
Last Updated on 2020-12-30 | Originally Posted on 2019-11-15
Six of my students from Shepherd Music School and one of my private students participated in the annual Sonatina Celebration held at NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) on November 9, 2019. I didn’t post on last year’s festival, but you can read my first go-round at the Sonatina Celebration in 2017. The group sponsoring this, the NW Arkansas Music Teachers Association, is a local affiliate of the National Music Teachers Association (MTNA). This particular festival was started by the group in 1995 to give students an additional chance to perform with no other testing included.
Last Updated on 2022-10-30 | Originally Posted on 2019-11-01
It’s said that you can’t officially call something an annual event until you do it at least twice. With that, let me present a summary of our Second Annual Halloween Piano Party. We always seem to have some type of drama before starting. Last year, we couldn’t get into the building because the door code didn’t work. This year, the code worked perfectly!
However, I left my footprints behind – literally – in the floor wax as a contractor was working off hours. I didn’t have another way to get in the building, but that didn’t make the contractor any happier with me. Oh well!
Four of my students from the Shepherd Music School participated in the semester-end recitals, Spring 2019 Finale. Their pictures are below. A couple of brand new students who are very young did not participate, and my two adult students also chose to sit this one out.
New Wrinkle: House Recitals!
I also tried something new this time: house recitals. Since I teach several in-home students who aren’t affiliated with Shepherd, I have to find opportunities for them to play. I often just do in-home recitals just for them, in lieu of a lesson. However, I also like for all of my students to get to know each other, regardless of where they are enrolled.
Figuring out how to do this seemed pretty obvious. Most of my students live in one of three areas. And there are about an equal number of students in each geography. I already had an invitation to check out the spinet piano one of my families had just gotten their daughter, so some of the planning already took care of itself.
At a Church
The first house recital was held not at someone’s home but at a house of God. It was at the church where Shepherd is based since none of the piano parents volunteered their home for the event. The three participants played the beautiful Baldwin grand piano in the sanctuary that is typically off-limits. My most advanced student got the chance to make a mini-recital debut playing much of the repertoire he learned over the semester. One of my adult students also participated, since she felt more comfortable in this small group setting versus the very busy Shepherd recitals.
At a Home
The second group was the one where I was invited to visit the newly-acquired spinet. There were extra adults and kids there in addition to the piano parents and student participating. I played to conclude the recital, as I did in the first event. When it was all over, the kids went into the backyard to bounce on the trampoline, and the adults enjoyed conversation in the living room. Although the goal to play was met in both cases, I much preferred the fun atmosphere of the second recital. This type of recital really benefits from being held in a home environment.
At the Emergency Room
The third group was for a single family with three students that lives a distance from the other two groups. Unfortunately, it was canceled due to a medical emergency that occurred just before I arrived. One learns to roll with the punches!
Last Updated 2019-09-25 | Originally Posted 2018-06-14
Last Updated on 2022-11-27 | Originally Posted on 2019-05-05
Great success and utter disappointment might be a slight exaggeration. However, it shows the range of emotions I felt after giving what I consider to be my best organ recital to date on Sunday, April 28, 2019, at First Methodist in Bella Vista. My playing was really pretty decent, really good at times. More, it was about the best I could have expected.
I participated in the Arkansas State Music Teachers Association (ASMTA) regional festival again this spring. I had four students enrolled, the same as last year. Two of those were continuing students; two were new students. This event was held on Saturday, April 6th, in the music building at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. I didn’t sleep well and woke up before 6 a.m. since I was petrified by the possibility that I could oversleep. I was scheduled to do musicianship testing, which took the entire morning after my 8 a.m. arrival.
I was able to get pictures of 3 out of my 4 students. That’s because I insisted they stop by my testing room before they left. All of them received a Superior rating of 1, but one did better than that by securing a 1+ as the first alternate to the winner for her level. My studio did a lot better this year in supplemental testing as well, with several certificates awarded for scores of 90 or better in musicianship and written theory.
It is always interesting to compare notes with teachers in the break room during lunch. We discussed the surprises and disappointments of the day, and traded stories about what else is going on in our lives, musical or otherwise. As you can imagine, this event only happens due to the hard work of several volunteers over weeks and months before the event; my helping out on the day of the event doesn’t compare to that! My thanks to them!
Four of my students from the Shepherd Music School participated in the year-end recitals. Two made their recital debut; the other two are becoming old pros performing in public.
Since all of the parents have given me consent to post their children’s photos, I have included them in the photo carousel below. I’m really proud of them all, and am excited to hear how they grow over the coming semester.
All of my students have plenty of chances to perform publicly. In this past semester, we had a Halloween performance party and played for the residents at a local retirement community. For those participating in the Sonatina Festival, there was a warm-up recital in Springdale prior to the event itself.
My private students do miss out on the school recitals, but we often have in-home recitals instead. It’s a more intimate chance to perform for their family and friends.
Last Updated on 2022-11-27 | Originally Posted on 2018-11-25
I was really nervous but excited about my upcoming organ recital, when I was in full swing of practice at the beginning of December 2018. I had 29 guests for my last short organ recital. I was really pleased to have a mix of people attend from all three morning services, as well as guests who heard about the program via a listing in the local newspaper.