Congratulations to all students on their fantastic performances at our 2015 Winter Concert, held at Jazz Music Institute!
I was thrilled to see the growing confidence of all performers, and the increasing musicality shown across the performances. I am especially proud of my youngest students for whom this was their first concert experience – you all did such a wonderful job! I also loved hearing students performing duets together this year, it’s tricky to schedule joint practice time for these to occur, but they help develop great skills in listening and timing, and are so motivating to practice. I look forward to teaching more student-student duets in the future.
Special congratulations to our Excellence Awards winners for the first semester; Lucia, Sienna, Evie and Halle. Your awards are a result of your consistent hard work both in lessons and in practice, your willingness to listen and learn, and your constant enthusiasm. You are all exceptional young musicians and I feel privileged to be your teacher. Keep up the great work!
This term we are introducing Dash, our new studio mascot! Each week one of the students will take Dash home as their practice buddy and look after him for the week. Dash loves all kinds of music and he’s looking forward to hearing some great piano playing! Dash comes with a folder for the students to fill up with information about themselves, what they love about learning piano, the pieces they played for Dash and of course, which ones were his favourites. Dash also likes ginger biscuits and playing in the park, I’m sure he’s going to have lots of adventures with the students this term!
This weekend, a group of advanced students performed at the Fairview Retirement Village, putting on a concert for the residents. The Brisbane Planetarium Rotary Club members provided a delicious afternoon tea, and we provided the music. This is a lovely way for the students to share their music with the local community, and of course it’s excellent performance practice.
We have been sharing our music here for a number of years now, and it’s great to see the warm welcome the students are given, and the kind responses to their performances. We will be back again in September and look forward to another lovely afternoon.
This weekend the senior girls had a PJ party movie night, just as an excuse to catch up and hang out, and to welcome some of the new high school girls to the senior group of students. I love fostering a community of learners, allowing the advanced students to form friendships and move piano practice from an isolated activity into a collaborative effort. The girls welcomed the newest Grade 8s to this senior group, and had a fun night watching movies and chilling out in their PJs catching up on life. I’m taking suggestions for next term already – so far i’ve had requests for a pizza party and a picnic!
This year we had our very first Summer Camp at my new studio location!
This camp was jam-packed camp full of fun activities, of course with a huge focus on musical learning! We kept the January heat at bay with a balance of outdoor water games and indoor activities in the air conditioning. I spent months planning the activities and it was so much fun to get to run them with such wonderful students.
Our Beginner camp went for 2 days, and the Intermediate and Advanced groups had 3 days each. It was great to see students get to know each other and make friends that they can catch up with at concerts, exams and workshops throughout the year. There were so many activities I can’t possibly list them here, but I think the favourites were musical jenga, giant tic tac toe on the wet tarp outside, wet sponge throwing quizzes, and anything that involved jellybeans! We all had a ball and I know there were some exhausted kids going home each night. I have to say I needed a good rest a the end of the fortnight too!
Camps are a great opportunity for students to brush up on their skills before the start of term; working with other music students to improve their musical knowledge, rhythmic skills and listening skills while having a whole lot of fun. It’s a great change of pace from individual piano lessons, a useful refresher at the end of a long holiday, and a motivating kick-start to the year. Our next one will be a ‘Mini Easter Camp’ so look out for details toward the end of term.
We had another fabulous evening of performances at the Jazz Music Institute last night – congratulations to all students involved! It is great to see the ever growing confidence in all of the students as they stand up to introduce themselves, and perform with greater composure each year. Thank you to all of the parents for supporting your children in their musical pursuits and providing delicious food for the post-concert party.
Congratulations to our award winners who have displayed outstanding commitment to their studies and achieved huge successes this year. A special mention to Grace P who received our Oustanding Achievement Award for 2013. Her dedication was reflected in her excellent AMEB exam results and topping her school for Music in Grade 12. I hope everyone enjoys their summer break, and I look forward to more wonderful concerts in 2014.
I had a fantastic week in Toowoomba recently at the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference (APPC). I had the opportunity to work with Randall Faber (pictured), author of the Piano Adventures series that I use with my students, and keynote speaker at the conference. As I will be working with Hal Leonard Australia as a brand ambassador for the Piano Adventures series, I was able to spend some time privately training with Randall Faber while he was in Australia, including a technique masterclass, many fascinating pedagogy discussions, and some great informal chats over meals throughout the week. I am thrilled to be working closely with Carly McDonald, of Novar Music in Adelaide, to represent the Piano Adventures brand and present at future workshops and conference ourselves.
I also discovered a LOT of new music at the conference, and came home with an overflowing suitcase and 2 extra boxes of music! I am excited to start working on this fantastic new repertoire with students this term. I learnt a lot from the sessions I attended, and have some wonderful new technological resources to use in lessons, from iPad games to apps that provide backing tracks for improvisation work, and those that display music digitally and allow you to turn pages by simply tilting your head!
I’m definitely looking forward to attending the 2015 APPC in Melbourne, and hopefully presenting at that one myself. For now I am booked to present at the REEFlections conference for the MTAQ in Cairns in July 2014, which I’m sure will be another excellent professional development weekend.
Our Winter Concert was a huge success, with everyone having prepared their pieces thoroughly, and performing with style and confidence. A big thank you to JMI (Jazz Music Institute) for letting us hold our concert at your fantastic venue. Congratulations to our prize winners for the first half of 2013, pictured here, you have all been working extremely hard and I am very proud of your efforts. Thank you to all of the parents for your support, and the delicious food that you provided. It is lovely to be able to relax together after the performances and wind down with some treats and great conversation. I am already looking forward to our next big Studio Concert which will be towards the end of Term 4.
This Sunday we had a little “Piano Party” for all senior students. We had a lovely group of older kids catching up with each other, eating delicious snacks that everyone brought (we have some very talented bakers in this group!), and jamming on the piano. We had a few solo performances to practice for upcoming exams, and then a lot of messing around with arrangements of pop songs, duets and trios. I think there were up to 4 people on the piano at the same time? It was a fun morning for students to chill out together, have a bit of fun and a break from the busy school term. The morning was so much fun that I’ve decided the parties will become a regular feature in our timetable from now on! Look out for details next term.
Last weekend, a small group of students participated in the Christopher Norton Piano Festival at Masson’s Music. This was a great opportunity to work with this remarkable London-based teacher and composer on improvisation and performance technique. The students were given 2 books at their nominated grade level, and had to prepare 2 pieces from those to use in the improvisation section of the workshop. They also had to prepare a solo piece to perform during the masterclass section, where Christopher worked with each student individually on their pianistic style and performance technique. This was a rare opportunity to work with such a world renowned teacher, and be given tips from the composer himself. There was then a concert in the evening for students from all levels to perform in groups and show their improvisation skills, and for a small group of chosen students to perform their solos. Congratulations to those students that were asked to perform solos in the evening concert and to everyone for your hard work, enthusiasm and respectful behaviour on the day.