January Newsletter

Hello and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are ready to hit the ground running this week. You’ll be hearing a lot of music by Beethoven this year since 2020 marks the 250th year of his birth. How many famous or not so famous pieces by Beethoven can you (and your kids) name? I will hand out the January Piano Explorer magazine which features his life and work and will provide some of the answers.

Upcoming important calendar dates: 

Winter term piano runs from January 6th-March 20th (11 weeks). Tuition for 60 minute lessons is $605. Spring break will be the week of March 23rd. Lessons resume for spring term on Monday, March 30th.

OMTA Baroque Festival will be held on Saturday, February 8th at the Unity of the Valley Church. Several of you have been preparing pieces for this festival and we will decide for sure at your lesson in the next few weeks if you are ready to play. The deadline for entries is Friday, January 24th, cost is $17. This is an adjudicated festival and is open to competitors and non-competitors alike.

OMTA Master Class On Monday, February 10th Eugene District OMTA will host a Master Class at the First Congregational Church at 9:30 am. Our presenter is Dr. Alexander Tutunov of Souther Oregon University. The Master Class is free and open to the public. Congratulations to Keegan Gilds for being chosen to perform his Chopin Nocturne for Dr. Tutunov.

District Recital On Saturday, March 14, OMTA will hold its open repertoire District Recital at Unity of the Valley Church. Many of you will want to perform on this fun recital and we will be busy this term preparing your pieces.

Spring Syllabus & Studio Recital Looking ahead to spring term–our annual studio recital and celebration will be in May this year, please mark your calendars now (if you haven’t already) for Sunday, May 17th!  The recital will be earlier this year than last year–very close to spring syllabus (April 26). It will be held at United Lutheran Church (Washington and 22nd), a new venue for some of you.

Family Listening Assignment Did you know that the Harvard Medical School newsletter reports that listening to classical music can reduce blood pressure, reduce stress, enhance memory, relieve pain, improve quality of sleep, fight symptoms of depression, and spark creativity —all this in addition to being fun and interesting? For music students, daily listening is key to success. In fact, many pedagogues tout the value of students becoming so familiar with the sound of a new piece of music that the aural memory of the piece is complete, even before beginning to play it. Resolve to listen to more classical music this year (especially to pieces that your child is studying) and see if you don’t notice a rise in enthusiasm as well as ease and speed in during the learning process.

I bet you guessed Sonata No. 14 in c# minor or Moonlight Sonata as one of Beethoven’s most famous works. Everyone is familiar with the first movement, but did you know that the sonata has three movements? Or that the order of the movements departs from the traditional fast-slow-fast of other sonatas typical of the era? Beethoven chose to slow-medium-fast as the order for the movements of Moonlight, making the final stormy and tumultuous movement the most important of the three.
Here is a lovely complete performance of the work to enjoy this week at dinner, before bed, or while doing homework. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ey4n8vqlX_o

And we cannot neglect this favorite–also famous mostly for the A section of its Rondo form:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAsDLGjMhFI
More fantastic selections are on the Piano Explorer website: https://pianoexplorer.net/kids/
I’m looking forward to seeing (and hearing!) you all this week!
Musically yours,

Ellen McQuilkin, MA, NCTM
Piano Instructor, OMTA Adjudicator541-556-8285