Monthly Archives: April 2015

You are browsing the site archives by month.

9 Tips for a Successful Studio Recital

Is your recital coming up? Have you ever had recitals go smoothly only to be followed by the next semester’s recital that didn’t go quite the way you thought it would? I know I have.
Up until last fall all my recitals had always gone smoother than I could have asked, but this last December things didn’t go quite as planned. In fact, I barely got the programs printed because my printer broke, I got locked out of the church where the recital was to be held, and we almost completely ran out of punch and the first reception. Thankfully I got the programs printed at the last second, finally got into the church, and managed to secure more punch for the second recital and reception.

This experience got me thinking about what I already do to keep recitals flowing smoothly and if there was anything else I could do to keep recitals successful.

9 tips to help your studio recital be a huge success.

Here are a few things I have always done and a few I will add to this year’s recitals to do list (Like asking for a parent volunteer).

Confirm the church key or door code 24-48 hours in advance to make sure you have the proper code or key.

Print the programs more than a day in advance. Nothing is worse than running around the day of trying to print programs.

Ask for parent volunteers at the reception to serve punch and take wrappings off the finger foods so that you can visit with students and their parents.

Remind parents to bring a finger food items to share for the reception.

Have a recital run through of student’s pieces at the lesson(s) before the recital. Have young students practice walking up to the piano, playing their pieces, and bowing.(Group class is also another great place to practice this.)

Ask new students to arrive early at the recital so they can familiarize themselves with the location and piano.

Avoid starting late by requiring those playing to arrive by a specific time before the recital starts.

Have particularly young students or those who get nervous easily play early in the program so their nerves don’t “get a hold” of them.

Try to spend time after each recital speaking to each student and telling them specifically what they did well.

Make a point to speak to any parents you have not met yet or don’t see regularly.

What do you do to keep recitals successful? I would love to hear in the comments below. Or do you have a funny story of a recital flop? Locked out of the church, double booked location, or other flop? I would love to know I’m not the only one who worries the church will forget I booked the sanctuary for the entire afternoon.

Give your Studio the Extra Energy it Needs this Spring.

The semester is drawing to a close soon. Spring break and Easter are past and it is almost time for students to disperse for the summer. But there is still at least a month and a half left of lessons before summer!

About this time in the spring, piano teachers often start to wonder what their retention rate for the coming fall will be. We ask ourselves questions such as will my studio continue to grow or just be a constantly revolving door? Will I have open lessons slots that I need to fill in the fall? Do parents see the value in how and what I am teaching their children?

And to add to all this we often look forward to summer and a much needed break or lighter teaching schedule ourselves. Often after spring break, teaching can get just a little too predictable. There are no more exciting holidays or events around the corner. In the fall, there is the excitement of Halloween and right on its heels follows Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Valentines. Once spring rolls around things can start to become a little too predictable. Not only that, but the weather is finally warm enough and student’s practice quantity and quality starts to drop as spring sports become a serious contender for kid’s attention.

But overly predictable lessons are the last thing teachers need in May when parents start to evaluate what activities their children will be participating in next fall. Instead, parents need to see us energetic and excited to work with their children and how much their children are learning and having fun taking piano!

Give your studio that extra something special it needs this spring

So what can you add to your lessons that is easy, already planned, and won’t add to your steady growing list of things to be done before June?

Adding some new games to your studio is a great way to mix up lessons and keep kids excited about piano. Even if you use games already in your studio give a few new games a try this spring. Most likely you’ll find a few new games over the next few weeks keeps kids thrilled to attend their lessons this spring even though they could be out playing soccer.

And if you are a little worn out from a long school year here are a few games to freshen up lessons all planned and ready to use just click print!

Free Games

Princess Match Up

Catching Bugs

Carnival Ferris Wheel

 

More advanced games available for purchase

Key Signature Games

Caterpillar Scales

Note Value Pack

Leaping Lady Bug 

Submarine Hunt

Seven Reasons to Start Holding Group Lessons in your Studio

This past year I started holding group lessons once a semester for all my students. Though I have always known the advantages of scheduling studio wide group lessons, I wasn’t sure how my students would respond.

In the past whenever I thought about group class I remembered being a young piano student. For me group classes were boring and were always scheduled on a weekend which I didn’t like much. I had a wonderful loving teacher who tried to plan great group classes but for some reason they didn’t click with me. We didn’t play very many games, instead it was mostly a performance class and back when I was 6 and 7 I found this boring. I have no doubt that the group classes were beneficial for me, but I didn’t find them fun and exciting.

But last summer a colleague convinced me to try hosting a few group classes. She told me all her students loved group class and they were not boring classes at all!  After asking her tons of questions on how she structured her group classes I decided to give it a try. And after hosting two weeks of group lessons this past school year (one last fall and one this spring), I have found that students do love coming to group class you just have to plan the right kinds of activities. In fact, when I recently reminded one of my students that group class was the following week she responded by announcing “I love group lessons, they are so much fun!”

I highly encourage every teacher to consider the benefits of occasional group lessons in their studio. Over the month of April and May I will be discussing the essential steps of hosting successful and exciting group lessons.

If you are wondering what is so wonderful about group lessons and if you should really give them a try, here are five benefits of including group lessons in one’s studio and why you should mix things up a bit.

Seven compelling reasons to include group class in you piano studio.

Builds Camaraderie

Providing group lessons allows students to meet others around their age and ability level who are also learning piano. Learning an instrument can be challenging. Music is an additional language children must learn to read and learning the technique required for playing an instrument takes hard work and persistence for even the most talented students. Meeting others around one’s age can encourage and inspire students to persevere. Group lessons provide a great way for students to meet others in the studio and get to know each other in a fun learning environment. This also keeps recitals fun because you’re just performing for a group of friends!

Prepares Students for Playing in Public

At group lessons in my studio each student plays a song they are currently working on, oftentimes what they plan to play for the recital. This mini performance opportunity for one’s peers provides an opportunity for students to sort out the initial ‘bugs’ in their piano piece such as checking memory and phrasing. Playing in a small group class also allows new students and those hesitant to play in a recital, a way to experience some of what recitals are like while building confidence.

Helps Teach Students to Listen to their Playing and Others Objectively.

As students become more advanced, part of group class not only involves playing for each other but also giving each other encouragement and constructive feedback. After each student has played I ask them to share one thing they liked about their performance and one thing they would like to improve. Each student then shares one thing they liked about each other student’s performance and a kind suggestion or encouragement.

Gives You the Opportunity to Provide an Intensive Theory Session

Group lessons are all about having fun in a group learning environment. For group class I like to pick a theme such as rhythm or sight reading and structure the majority of the classes’ games around this skill. The possibilities for this are endless. I have reviewed scales, note identification, chords, time signatures, complex rhythms, and even composition. By having an intensive one hour session focused on a specific skill or two I find students learn and solidify information better and faster.

It’s Just Way More Fun Learning in Groups than alone!

Piano can be a solitary instrument to learn at times and it is important for students to have a social aspect to learning an instrument. Students who are able to socialize while learning are more likely to maintain interest in piano for a longer period of time and it is far more motivating to learn if you have a friend learning alongside you!

Mixes the Regular Schedule Up a Bit

After spring break, do you find teaching gets just a little too predictable? There are no exciting holidays or events around the corner. In the fall, there is the excitement of Halloween and right on its heels follows Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Valentines. Once spring rolls around things can start to become a little too predictable. But by scheduling a group class in the spring it helps change things up. In fact, you may find your students enjoy the change so much they talk about group class for months afterwards, mine do!

Encourages Students to Participate in a Summer Camp.

If you are planning to offer any summer camps in your studio, group class can expose students and parents to how fun and beneficial it can be to learn musical skills in a group environment. In my studio, students who have not participated in a camp before often sign up for camp simply because they enjoyed participating in group class.