It's a fresh new school year! This year my studio has experienced a lot of little updates and upgrades, and it only gets better every year. I'm also so grateful to my students and families for sticking with me while we made the transition to a new location in town!
Over the summer, my students took their composing game to a whole new level by each writing their very own compositions, designing their covers, and titling each piece. This year, (for those students like me who have zero interest in drawing or painting) we also had the option of choosing a free-domain photo or artwork to place on the front. Each composition is on their way into the printer and will be out and ready for pictures shortly! In addition to spending more time on music composition this summer, everyone will also have the chance to perform their piece this fall for a recital! I can't wait to see them show off their stuff! Since composing was such an incredible experience this year, I'll be making it a tradition in my studio that students will compose every summer with me. It was an incredible way to limit their needed practice time at home, keep them all brushed up on their music theory, AND have a little more room for creativity during lessons.
Last year we also introduced a new program in my studio called Piano Maestro by JoyTunes. Within the program, students can learn songs by following digital sheet music with technology that can give them real-time feedback with what notes or rhythms they missed, etc. It's truly an incredible program, and quite a few of my students are absolutely hooked. We've used it as a supplemental learning system in my studio so far, and it's been a phenomenal addition.
One of my favorite things about starting a new season are incentive programs! This quarter I'll be separating into three month-long separate incentive programs in order to theme them to each holiday. For the month of September, we're using Teach Piano Today's Western-Themed incentive program where each student has a wanted poster up in my studio, specified tasks to do during practice time at home each week, and if they make it through each task before the end of September then I owe them their favorite candy bar! It's simple, but a lot of fun so far. The kids seem really motivated to earn those candy bars, and having a short-term practice goal seems to have put it into a bite-sized piece for them to handle more successfully. I'm excited to see how they do with it in the coming weeks.
The last thing incorporated in my private piano studio this year has been our Colourful Keys Piano Practice Kits. Each piano family receives one bag with all of the materials for six different practice-time games for them to keep and use at home. After listening to her podcast, Nicola Cantan really sold me on her ideas to gamify practice time, and I can't wait to hear back from each family on this idea. I hope that it both takes the "bore" out of practice, and maybe even makes it a little less of a struggle at home when parents try to get their kids to sit at the piano.
Last but not least - I got to start group preschool piano lessons! A big shout-out to Evanston Alliance Church for allowing me to use a room for classes, and to the wonderful Music for Little Mozarts and The Playful Piano's Vivaldi Music Camp curriculum. There's still a lot of room for more enrollment in these classes, but this summer we got a great start and the ball is rolling!
Stay tuned for more fun posts about this year's goings-on in my studio, and be sure to check out the recital post after October.