Great start to Summer!

Hi everyone!  Now that our Summer semester is underway, we thought we’d share some thoughts and photos from our Piano Parties – a fun ending to the Spring Semester!  This time we had all-new activities that proved to be both challenging and entertaining!

Many of us can credit Looney Tunes with introducing us to classical music in our early childhood.   We loved those stories and jokes, and the music that went with them, long before we had any idea that it was “classical music” we were hearing!  So we turned one of these classics, “Rhapsody Rabbit”, featuring Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody #2, into an awesome music-appreciation learning experience.  The kids got to watch it once the whole way through just to enjoy, and then we went back and discussed certain key points in the cartoon that showcased both good and bad piano technique (usually in hilarious ways!)  All students got a worksheet that listed some facts about Liszt and the Hungarian Rhapsody, and then there were questions to answer.  We discussed them all one by one, and students wrote down their answers.  Now these worksheets will be the beginning of our students’ Music Appreciation library.  Each time we do one of these at a Piano Party, they’ll have another worksheet with fun facts and trivia about a famous piece of music to add to their repertoire!  Here’s one of our groups watching Bugs Bunny’s piano antics:

The next  activity that’s new to our studio is called “Rhythm Cups”.  We gave our students a couple pages of rhythms to learn ahead of the actual Piano Parties, with cup-tapping and other motions to do in those rhythms.  Even though they were learned individually before the class, it was an added challenge at the class to coordinate all these motions including passing cups to each other, and staying right with the music!  It requires everyone to concentrate fully on their rhythm and coordination, which is essential for all musicians.  And it’s nice to work on such an important skill in such a fun way!

Here are 3 short videos – one from each level of Rhythm Cups that we did this year!

And now here are some photos of everyone enjoying their Piano Parties!

We even had a “BUSINESS MEETING” before Rhythm Cups in this group!

And it wouldn’t be a Piano Party without the Party time!

Right after our Piano Parties were over, we were on our way to Lebanon Valley College, for the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association annual conference.  As always, we learned so much at this wonderful conference.  For 3 days, we attended full days of workshops on many exciting topics, and 2 of those days ended with amazing recitals by the faculty of LVC and a guest artist.  We learned techniques for teaching students on the autism spectrum and those with ADHD. We were especially excited to learn about 2 amazing American women composers:  Amy Beach, and Ann Wyeth McCoy (sister of painter Andrew Wyeth), and the beautiful Chinese piano music of the last half-century or so.  Here are a few photos of the beautiful campus we enjoyed for this inspiring weekend of learning!  It was an excellent start for our summer!

And their beautiful, restful “Peace Garden”  – just a very short walk from the music building!

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