Recital Preparation

Recital season is upon us! I don’t know about you but right now I have so much going on that I feel like I’m swimming in deep waters. Spring is such a crazy time. I have so much going on in May that I have officially named it MAY MADNESS!

My recital is on Saturday, May 12th. In order to make my recital a fairly non-stressful event, I have the same “plan” in force each year.  As long as I stick with my plan, I know everything will go well despite hiccups that might come along the way.

Plan 1: Communicate with parent’s- My recital date is published in my yearly calendar, on my website, in my newsletters starting in January or February, in my emails starting about a month before the recital, writing in the assignment sheets and sometimes even a note or two sent home. Even though I might have parents that don’t look at half of this, they really can’t miss everything! (I tend to “over” remind)

Plan 2: Order awards. I always order awards about a month before my recital date so if there are any problems, I have time to “deal” with them. My awards arrived this last Friday and all look good! That is one thing I no longer need to worry about.

Plan 3: Print certificates and type up the program. I try to get started on the program a couple of weeks before the recital but I don’t print them until the day before just in case there are any changes that need to be made.

Plan 4: Hold a recital rehearsal. I started doing this many years ago and will always do this. It is totally worth your time and effort so the students feel more comfortable come recital day. My recital rehearsals are held on the same day students normally come to their lesson but instead they all come at the same time. 4:30-5:30pm on their regular lesson day. If for some reason that particular time conflicts with another activity on their lesson day, they can come on another day, same time. The rehearsal is held in my home. At the rehearsal, we perform for each other as if it was the recital and go through recital etiquette, bowing, what to wear, how to go on stage etc. Then our recital is that Saturday morning.

Plan 5: Celebration! The week following our spring recital, I always hold a group- recital party. It is the perfect way to conclude the year and celebrate their hard work.

Plan 6: Summer workshops begin. After all the recital festivities our summer workshop schedule begins. I start this the end of May to give students that like to take off for the entire summer an option that won’t conflict with their summer schedule. Most are still in school, so there is no excuse. (My workshops are not optional if they are continuing in the Fall.)

Proud Mama…

This isn’t music related at all, but I just wanted to share that my son was interviewed by our local newspaper. I posted about my son a few weeks ago here.

I just thought you might enjoy reading the article from the West Valley View:

Boy Scout makes video to encourage others with disabilities

If you haven’t had a chance to watch Skyler’s video, I would encourage you to take a look:  I can accomplish Great Things 

Tech Tuesdays- Musicians with Apps

I’m so excited to share a new website that you will absolutely love!  Rebecca- an active music teacher, professional performing musician, and a mom of young musicians is the face and voice behind MusiciansWithApps.

Rebecca has music apps organized in categories such as Rhythm, Note Reading, Composition, Gadget, Explore Music and has a section where she gives apps a “Favorite Award”.  Each app is carefully reviewed. When you see an app review you will see kid ratings and parent/teacher ratings for the app, “Good Stuff” about the app, “Our Wish List” (things she would like to see updated in the app), “My Love” (things she loves about the app), and an overall summary.  Rebecca shares, “I aim to only feature the best of the best here!”

When exploring MusiciansWithApps, I found a bunch of music apps that I didn’t know about until I came across her site.  Inversion Invasion and Mozart Interactive are just a couple that I’m looking forward to trying. I even found a brand new (fun for kids!) ear dictation app called Hear It, Note It, The Aural IQ Game (only $1.99) after exploring My Note Names (This app is free for download until you want to purchase the rest. Rebecca suggests you purchase the full package. It’s really good!)

In addition to the written app reviews, Rebecca has a few YouTube reviews that she has created. I would recommend subscribing to her YouTube Channel. It wasn’t until after I watched her video review of the Recorder Master that I wanted to download it. Even though I teach piano, this app looked to fun to pass by. Now to swing by the Dollar Store to pick up a recorder! I look forward to seeing more of YouTube reviews.

Now you would think that all this would be enough to get you excited, but Rebecca has really gone the extra mile in making this the “go to” place for music apps and has even created some podcast interviews with some of the app creators!

On the right side of the screen you can sign up to receive new app reviews and articles in your email inbox as they first become available. Don’t miss out on the latest and greatest!

I give MusiciansWithApps 5 Stars!

Tech Tuesdays- The Projector

Last summer I invested in a projector.  I kept borrowing one from a friend at church and realized that it has proven it’s usefulness for me to invest.  I thought I would share what I have used my projector for.

1. Speaking Presentations – I have presented to several music teachers groups. Most of them do not have a projector available, so it comes in handy to own one for power point presentations.  (This is the initial reason I started borrowing one)

2. Workshops/Group Lessons– Last summer I did a Roots of Rhythm workshop for my students. I wanted to show some YouTube examples of different instruments/countries after we learned about them. Having the projector came in really handy because I could project the clips nice and big on the wall.

3. Movies– This year in the studio we worked on Michelle Sisler’s A Walk on the Wild Side program. I like to do something fun for our recital party that goes along with the theme if I could help it.  So this year we will be having a movie party and watching the animal documentary, IMAX: Born to Be Wild

4. Interactive Whiteboard– This summer in my workshops students will be using interactive whiteboard tools. I will be posting how to use interactive whiteboard tools at home without going out and buying an expensive interactive whiteboard real soon.  Keep your eye out!  I’m real excited about this one.

How about you? Do you use a projector as a tool in your studio? If so, what have you done with it?

Steinway Hall Tour and Carnegie Hall

After the Steinway Factory tour, our group went and toured Steinway Hall.  Then we had dinner at the RedEye Grill and completed the evening at Carnegie Hall with Yefim Bronfman performing.

In the slide show you will see the original workbench of Mr. Steinway.  When you come across the piano that has a lot of signatures on it, that is Steinway’s 500,000 piano.  Over 800 names from Steinway artists signed that piano.  (And yes, I went under the piano to get shots of the signatures there as well)  Also included in the pictures are Carnegie Hall, you will see how steep it is.  They pack you in tight in NYC. I kept having visions of tripping and falling and what a nightmare that would be. We were much closer to to the ceiling then the stage.  ha! ha!




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Tech Tuesdays: Classroom Maestro

If you have heard of Zenph, chances are you have heard of Classroom Maestro.

“Classroom Maestro is an interactive electronic blackboard for learning music. It features an onscreen musical staff and keyboard display. It’s great for presenting musical concepts, showing single notes, intervals, chords, scales, keyboard hand positions, and instrumental fingerings.”

Classroom Maestro is a great tool to use when giving online lessons responding to both midi and on screen keyboard.  I haven’t gotten into online lessons yet but am excited about the new Classroom Maestro 3.0 version which improves its support for SMART boards.  Interactive smart boards is something I am exploring as tool in the studio for my classes this summer.  I will be posting more details on that subject later.

You can get Classroom Maestro 3.0 right now for FREE!  ($69 value)  All you need to do is take a 5-minute online survey here and then you will be directed to a download site for your free copy!  This is a great opportunity to give it a try!

Steinway Factory Tour

While in NYC, I had the opportunity to tour the Steinway Factory.  The tour was 2 hours long and what an experience it was!  After seeing how much work, detail and love goes into these piano’s, you walk away wishing you had a Steinway if you hadn’t already.

One thing that really impressed me is that it was very clear that if you worked for Steinway, you were part of the Steinway family.  Many of the employees there had worked their for years, generations of families have worked there.

Quoted from the Steinway website:  “Steinway & Sons was founded in 1853 by German immigrant Henry Engelhard Steinway in a Manhattan loft on Varick Street. Over the next thirty years, Henry and his sons, C. F. Theodore, Charles, Henry Jr., William, and Albert, developed the modern piano. They built their pianos one at a time, applying skills that were handed down from master to apprentice, generation after generation.

Each Steinway grand piano, for example, takes nearly a year to create. Nothing is hurried.

Today, we still build our pianos that way. Each Steinway grand piano, for example, takes nearly a year to create. Nothing is hurried. Even the carefully selected woods employed in the rims, tops, soundboards, and actions cure for months in our yard, kilns and conditioning rooms, until they stabilize at a rigidly specified moisture content.

Steinway is dedicated to the ideal of making the finest pianos in the world. The result is instruments renowned for their unsurpassed quality. Pianos with such superior sound and responsive touch that they enchant the most demanding pianists. And we are preferred overwhelmingly by people who share the joy of playing and owning the finest musical instrument — a joy which can be yours when you bring a Steinway into your life.”

Have you ever wondered how you can become a Steinway artist?  You apply!   Contrary to popular belief, Steinway artists are not paid.  Steinway artist want to become such for the love of their instrument.

I took tons of pictures and wanted to share them with you.  Enjoy!

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