Group Dynamics

In my piano studio, group lesson weeks are scheduled every 2 or 3 months within the school year (August-May). These lessons are an integral part of my teaching style and students (and I ) look forward to a new format.

A crucial part of being a musician is the ability to perform so, the first objective of the group lesson is performance experience. Time is spent coaching the performer on the etiquette and preparation in making a successful performance. Time is also spent training each group participant to practice active listening.

In a past group lesson, a sheet was distributed that prompted listening to specific elements of each performer’s piece. However, it seemed the audience members were more interested in playing the “critical” teacher role–finding fault with the details of the performance. I noticed the mood slid into the side of negativity and defensiveness–nothing to promote a safe environment for performers.

So in a recent group lesson highlighting the importance of dynamics, students were asked to listen to each performance (with no book or prompt sheet for reference) and determine if a change in dynamics occurred in each performance. If so, all listeners and the performer were given $50! That is $50 in Music Money–one of my favorite motivational tools. Performers and listeners were all on the SAME team. Each performer was extremely sensitive to projecting all dynamics and listeners were very motivated to listen for ANY variance in dynamics. Ahhh…everyone happy AND rich!

Can You Stay Creative at Any Age?

Another  example of why “It’s not all “Black and White”

As a teacher, pianist, mom, wife and now blogger, I thoroughly enjoy finding ways to keep things fresh. Perhaps this personal tendency is out of reaction to those in “my circle” who have reached their creative peak and choose to “plateau”?

This blog written by Dorie Clark, claims that creativity can last for a life time!

How to Stay Creative at Any Age – Forbes.

Get the “Inside” Scoop on the Piano

Today I had little time but wanted to find a lab activity to explain how the piano “works”. Wow, did I strike gold! Not only did I find work sheets, concise historical facts and fun online games, but I also found a helpful video showing the intricate action of the piano. Today’s students all commented on how they enjoyed the video hosted by Clarence Zeches and recorded by Allan Roth.

All pianists should be well informed of their instrument and I am always so thankful to those who help to explain the complicated but wonderful “insides” of the piano!

Get the full scoop at Piano Learning Center.

ADDITION! Check out my growing Youtube playlist featuring videos about the piano–its history, how it works and more.

I need to make these as I have seen them now a couple of times. They are SO cute!

A Good Melody: Motives

I look forward to summer because it provides time for a change and just more time. Especially more time to be creative.

My students are offered a number of options during the summer months, one of them being “Composition”. As many will be signing up for it again this summer, I want to be well equipped with ideas and explanations on what makes a good composition. Wendy Stevens ALWAYS has wonderful tips but also helpful detailed  instructions. See the link below…

A Good Melody: Motives [Composition Corner].