Christmas Piano Celebration
Friday, January 3, 2020 by Valerie Gathright | Uncategorized
Our Christmas Piano Celebration at the Sunset View Retirement Home was a wonderful experience! It was our first time at this location and we couldn't have had a more appreciative audience!
I was so impressed with how much effort the students put in to be ready especially since this was the first public performance for many of them! They also did so great with the unexpected singing that broke out in the middle of their pieces.
One of my favorite parts of this event is playing duets to Christmas songs with the students. It's so fun to play familiar songs together, especially for beginners who are still trying to learn so many different skills at once!
The residents love it when the students bring them gifts and talk to them.
This can be scary for children, but they were so kind. We always hand out jingle bell necklaces and visit with them at the end.
I'm already looking forward to next year's celebration.
September Piano Party
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 by Valerie Gathright | Uncategorized
The September piano party was a wonderful opportunity for all the students in my studio to get to know each other!
We started with yummy snacks, sang happy birthday (and ate cupcakes) to celebrate September birthdays (we have four in the studio plus our composer of the month, George Gershwin).
Then we played "concentration" to work on steady rhythm skills.
Next, each student played a piece and we were able to practice announcing our songs and bowing at the end.
To learn more about Gershwin, I passed out fact cards about his life and music. Students had to find the person in the room with the matching fact card and then share the fact with the class.
Finally, we opened up the grand piano and explored how the mechanism and pedals worked.
I was amazed at the eagerness in which the students all wanted to play for each other. They haven't yet developed consciousness about playing in public, and hopefully by doing these group classes every month, and creating a supportive peer environment, they will retain their enthusiasm for playing for others as they grow.
Piano Camp Days 1 and 2
Wednesday, July 17, 2019 by Valerie Gathright | Uncategorized
I love piano camp!
Such a great opportunity for group learning, outdoor games and sunshine!
I always like to spend the first hour of summer camp learning about a composer. This year we are studying Camille Saint-Saens. The first two days we spent creating a lapbook and listening to his music. The next two we will listen to all the movements of "Carnival of the Animals," read the poems that have been written and complete a coloring book.
The second hour we divided into three groups. One group worked with me learning a trio at the piano, while the other groups did rhythm cups and theory games with my daughters
The Third hour is spent doing outdoor games. Day 1 we played note reading games with pool noodles, rings, bowling pins and buckets! Day 2 we focused on rhythm. Students would clap a rhythm, run through cones and clap it again. They also used magnetic notes to create their own rhythm combinations.
We also take a break every forty-five minutes for free play outside. Frisbee, jumprope, parachutes and hide and seek are favorites.
Finally, we end the day with Musical Chairs. I play ragtime on the piano and they run around the chairs outside.
Looking forward to the next two days!!