My 2016 Summer Camp Offerings

The weather is warming, and summertime is practically here! I don’t know about you, but I’m gearing up to offer a couple of music camps this summer.

summer camp descriptions

 

I first offered a composing camp to my students back in 2012 and have decided it is time to offer something similar this summer. I plan to use my So, You Want To Be A Composer? curriculum while pulling in some newer ideas and resources.

The second camp, Music History Blast From The Past, is one that I have been offering my students for the past four years. We focus on a different historical time period and a specific composer example each day. Students love the hands-on crafting and the discovery of what they can relate to from composers’ lives. I find this camp gives us a great foundation of knowledge for us to refer when learning to play staples of the piano teaching literature. To study each composer, I use the composer lapbooking curriculum that is available in my shop. Check out the general lesson plans here.

Here are the descriptions for the camps I’m offering this year.

So, You Want To Be A Composer?
June 13-16, M-Th from 10am-noon
Throughout this camp, students will experience the joy of creation while composing their own music: from the energy of the initial creative urge, following the path of their personal inspiration, then settling it all into a captured vision. By the end of the week, each student will take home an illustrated copy of their composition, printed using professional music notation software. In addition to individual work, students will get to take part in group-based improvisation and composition throughout the week. For students ages 5-14. No previous musical background necessary.

Music History Blast From The Past
July 11-14, M-Th from 10am-noon
Back by popular demand! This camp gives students a glimpse into the lives of four great classical composers. As we study each composer’s childhood and career, students will learn about the music, fashion, art, and architecture of the time. Every year, students are fascinated to find that they can relate to the life stories of composers who lived hundreds of years ago. In the long run, having this broader context of music history enriches later years of piano study, especially when playing classical piano literature. Each day, students will take home a crafted scrapbook page about that day’s composer. For students ages 5-14. Previous musical background preferable, but not necessary.

What summer camps are you planning this year?

Update: Check out the form I give out to my students in order to present summertime camp/lesson options.

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2016 Studio Recital

My studio recital this year was held in March, but I’m blogging about it today! I have lots of pictures to share.

In this photo, I’m welcoming the audience to our 2016 Studio Recital.

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Our venue this year was the historic Pemberville Opera House. It is so beautiful inside, and they have a wonderful piano.

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My Explorations of Yoga as a Pianist & Teacher

Each year during the cold and snowy winters of the Midwest U.S., I miss being active outdoors. The last couple of years, to scratch that itch, I’ve started getting into yoga.

I chose yoga because it has so many health benefits — both physically and mentally — some of which are particularly useful to musicians. I have already noticed a degree of improvement in mindfulness and bodily awareness — both crucial skills for any musician.

In this post, I’d like to share a bit about my explorations of yoga over the past couple of years and about a few resources that have helped me learn.

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Photo: Me, inspired to invent a new yoga pose during a trip earlier this year to the Joshua Tree National Park in California. 

Let’s start with the practical: How do I fit yoga into my routine?

yoga studio appI like doing yoga in the evening, as a way to wind down before going to bed. Sometimes, I’ll also do a few stretches in the morning or at various points in the day when I feel I need it.

I’ve been using a wonderful app that I highly recommend: Yoga Studio (currently $3.99, and worth every penny!).

The app contains quite a variety of workouts to choose from: beginner, intermediate, advanced; 20 minutes, 40 minutes, 60 minutes.

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Studio Inspiration from Susan Hong

During the 2016 MTNA conference a few weeks ago, I stayed with my dear friend, Susan Hong. During my visit, I took a few photos of her beautiful studio and she has given me permission to share them with you today!

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Here is the entry way.

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Video: Playing the Ice Cream Interval Game

During a recent lesson, I used my Ice Cream Interval Game — one of my favorite games for piano teaching — to reinforce and improve my student’s visual recognition of the intervals unison, second, third, fourth, and fifth in staff notation. Today, I thought I’d share a three-minute video clip of the activity.

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Here is what you’ll see in the video:

  • 0:00 When playing this game with my students, sometimes I like to hand-pick certain cards from the pile for the student to sort next, in order to build success. First, I made sure Emma could easily distinguish 2nds versus 3rds.
  • 0:10 Then, I gave Emma a card showing a 4th on the keyboard, and then a 5th on the keyboard. After that, I start giving her 4ths and 5ths notated on the staff.
  • 0:12 I like to ask the question: “How many notes are being skipped over?” I have found that this is a more effective strategy leading to being able to quickly recognize intervals on the staff upon sight, as opposed to allowing students to count all of the steps within an interval (for example, counting “1-2-3-4-5” for a 5th).
  • 1:00 I point out to Emma that 5ths look like triads except that the middle note has been removed.
  • 1:18 I encourage Emma to try to recognize the intervals on sight, instead of immediately resorting to counting the steps within the interval.
  • 1:44 Emma enjoys taking note of which cone has the most ice cream scoops so far. Students often comment on this during the game, because it’s fun! Emma does it again at the end of the video.
  • 2:08 Emma is beginning to recognize the various intervals upon sight, as evidenced by the increased amount of ease and decreased amount of time she uses while sorting the cards.

The Ice Cream Interval Game is available in my shop as a digital PDF download here. To read more of my thoughts regarding the important role of interval recognition during sight-reading, check out this post. Thanks for watching!

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2016 MTNA (5): Wednesday, April 6

Please enjoy my notes from Day 5 of the 2016 MTNA conference in San Antonio, Texas! Click here to go back to Day 4.

On Wednesday, the final day of the conference, Susan Hong and I began our morning at Bakery Lorraine to enjoy coffee and some baked goods. I’m so thankful she invited me to stay with her during the conference!

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We attended two more sessions before MTNA 2016 came to a close.

8:00am Extended Piano Techniques for Children: Reading and Playing the Language of Our Time, by Kevin Richmond

The last day of the conference often offers some of the best sessions. Kevin Richmond gave an engaging and informative session about six types of extended techniques used in music written for children. Accordingly, he also discussed the various forms of non-conventional notation that composers have come up with to indicate each type of extended technique.

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MTNA 2016 (4): Tuesday, April 5

Please enjoy my notes from Day 4 of the 2016 MTNA conference in San Antonio, Texas! Click here to go back to Day 3.

8:00am Exhibitor Showcase – The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program: Digital Resources To Support Teachers And Ensure Student Success, by Marvin Blickenstaff and Elaine Rusk. 

In this session, I was excited to learn a bit about the new online resources that RCM offers to accompany the purchase of the latest revision of the “Four Star Sight-Reading and Ear Training” books.

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MTNA 2016 (3): Monday, April 4

Please enjoy my notes from Day 3 of the 2016 MTNA National Conference in San Antonio, Texas! Click here to go back to Day 2.

8:00am Exhibitor Showcase: Piano Safari

The authors of the Piano Safari  method, Katherine Fisher and Julie Knerr, gave a very enjoyable session. Their method features a combination of an Intervallic Reading Apporach plus rote teaching to develop music literacy in the student.

Rote teaching is the systematic teaching of musical and artistic concepts through modeling rather than through music notation. Music is an aural art and thus transcends notation. Rote teaching is NOT training students to copy the teacher without any thought or understanding. And it can be used to increase reading ability.

Piano Safari offers a combination of pieces intended to be learned by rite and then by reading. There are many exciting benefits to learning rote pieces: Rote pieces allow students to play exciting music. They increase concentration and develop musical memory. More attention is free for technique. It is lends itself to more creativity: improvising and composing. The student also develops a strong confidence in their playing and performing ability. Learn more at PianoSafari.com. Book 3 of the series has just been released.  Read More »

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MTNA 2016 (2): Sunday, April 3

Below are my notes from Day 2 while attending the 2016 MTNA conference in San Antonio! Click here to read Day 1.

8:00am Exhibiter Showcase — The Royal Conservatory: Enriching Every Lesson with Theory And Muscianship by Janet Lopinski.

I was very excited to learn more details about the upcoming Celebrate Theory series that will be available this summer! These will be available at every level (Prep A and B, and then 1-10) and are designed to support the Repertoire and Etudes book.


8:00am Exhibiter Showcase — Faber Piano Adventures: Effective Strategies For Adult Keyboard Learners. Read More »

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MTNA 2016 (1): Pedagogy Saturday

Greetings from San Antonio, Texas! I am so excited to be here for the 2016 MTNA National Conference from April 2-6. I will be sharing a few highlights over the next few days.


I’m staying with a couple of friends: Susan Hong and Amy Chapin (check out her brand new blog, Piano Pantry). Here is a photo of us at Fogo de Chao last night for dinner, enjoying Brazillian buffet. Yum!


Saturday of the MTNA conference is always “Pedagogy Saturday” — an optional day (often my favorite day!) with a variety of tracks to choose from: Advanced Pianism, Musician Wellness, Music Learning Theory, Recreational Music Making, and Young Professionals. Below are notes from the sessions I attended.  Read More »

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My Favorite Sheet Music Solos for Piano Students

For our annual Spring Recital, I maintain a tradition of letting my piano students choose their own special piece to memorize and perform. In December or January, I restock my library of sheet music solos at all the various levels, so that I can demonstrate 3-4 pieces for each student to choose from.

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I’ve started to try to keep track of some of the pieces that I feel were favorites or especially successful in performance over the past few years. I think every teacher should keep track of their favorite teaching pieces! I suggest doing so using a YouTube playlist or a spreadsheet file (Excel or Google Sheets). In fact, I have started a Collaborative Repertoire List project here that you may be interested in viewing.

Today, I’d like to share with you a selection of favorite sheet music solos my students have played over the past few years. In this video, you will hear me talk about and play excerpts from 18 pieces. Below the video, you’ll find written comments for each piece as well as links for purchasing the sheet music. Enjoy!

https://www.facebook.com/ColorInMyPianoblog/videos/vb.112375485449112/1134377759915541/

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EARLY ELEMENTARY

  • 1:20 Dancing Drums, by Joyce Grill —  A lively piece in a minor key that has a catchy and interesting melody. Teacher duet.
  • 2:00 Japanese Garden, by Jennifer Linn — An expressive, pentatonic piece for beginners. Teacher duet.
  • 3:20 In My Dreams, by Jennifer Linn — This piece has an absolutely gorgeous melody. 36 measures in length. Teacher duet.

MID ELEMENTARY Read More »

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Monday: Experiment with Facebook Live Video

Greetings, folks!

Just wanted to let you know that on Monday (March 21, 2016), I plan to create a live video using Facebook Live. You won’t want to miss it — I’m going to share about some of my favorite sheet music solos for piano students.

To watch, login to Facebook and visit the Color In My Piano blog’s Facebook page at noon Eastern time. You will see the notification there when the video stream goes live.

I will also be posting the video replay afterwards.

Hope to see you then!

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