November Newsletter

A belated Happy Halloween to all of you piano families!

It’s hard to believe we are already halfway through fall term of piano! Lessons are going well. Students are preparing solos and duets for the Barnes & Noble recital on Dec. 15th and the OMTA Ensemble Festival on Nov. 11th. We are also focusing on Sight-Reading at every lesson. I have asked students to read new music for 5 minutes a day (old lessons books, easy pop pieces) at home and have loaned them books for this purpose.

Helpful Technology

Since students love interacting with devices (other than their acoustic piano), I have found the following apps to be helpful. You might consider purchasing them for home use.
Note Rush is great for drilling note names and is lots of fun. Super useful!
Piano Adventures Player has all the Faber & Faber books on it. Students can play their pieces along with a backing track, or use it for hand separate practice. They can adjust the tempo to their desired speed. The app is useful for sight-reading too, because the music scrolls as they play.
Flow Key has an impressive catalogue of piano pieces in popular and classical genres and teaches kids how to play them according to their level. (uh-oh, I might be out of a job…) Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Leonard Cohen, and Beethoven, all at your fingertips—imagine that!

Family listening assignments!

I am excited to start this project with you all! I want to give students a broad experience of classical music (also other genres) and find it difficult to do in the short lesson time. So, with your help I would like to begin a Family Listening Project, which I think will be fun for everyone.

I will send home a link each week via email for families to listen to together.  Ideally you would all sit down and listen together. I know it might be hard to find a time to do this, so consider putting the music on when you are at the dinner table, preparing dinner, or eating breakfast on the weekend. Or even better, you could sit down on the couch together before bedtime and listen. It will take a little organization on your part to find a time to sit down and listen – but it will be well worth your while!  It will help students immensely to listen regularly to music with you.  

In the spirit of Halloween, here is the first one:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBsFYKzhk5E  It is Edvard Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King from the Peer Gynt Suite.  The original work is for orchestra – but it is fun to play on the piano too!  Here is an amazing piano version:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nZhw3wifeY
Watch both and enjoy the facial expressions and energy of the performers and well as the incredible music. Please ask students to tell me about their listening experience at their lesson.

Holiday music: 

If you have a student who would like to play a holiday song on our December recital, please email me ASAP and we’ll get started!  Feel free to bring in music that you have at home.

Dates to remember: 

No lessons the week of Thanksgiving – 11/19-11/23
Studio recital at Barnes & Noble:  Saturday, December 15th 1:00 pm

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions, suggestions or concerns. Your feedback and input is always appreciated!

Musically yours,

Ellen