We’re in the midst of Performance Classes this week. I’m having my Christmas Piano Parties over the next 2 weekends, so the primary focus of the classes is to prepare for the recitals. A few students missed last weeks’ lessons, so these classes are turning out to be more like masterclasses with fewer activities than usual.
Each student is supposed to play one piece from memory. A number of students have come to the class saying they couldn’t do this. At that point I laughingly make them prove to themselves that they actually can. I keep it light, but prove the point that they always know more than they think they do. In the end, I’m a softie and I won’t force memory if I think it’s going to be a bad experience.
For the elementary classes, I have the Snowmen Note Names and Snowmen Steps and Skips that Wendy has posted at ComposeCreate.com. As students arrive, they can settle down to pairing up these cute snowmen with their note-name bellies. I printed them all of on cardstock and painstakingly cut them out last year. They are in 3 piles – the steps/skips in one, the notes on the staff on another, and the ledger lines on the third pile. I make no suggestions about how to do it and it’s always interesting to see how they arrange them on the floor. During my Tuesday night classes the snowmen ended up paired mostly correctly but all over the floor in a random fashion. Last night a couple of 8-year-old girls laid them out as in the picture.
Midway through the the elementary classes I pulled out the Christmas tune flashcards from Pianimation for a bit of rhythm work. We all clapped the rhythm and then tried to guess the tune. Last night’s students paired the rhythm to the first two lines of lyrics (as suggested at Pianimation).
Today’s High School class will probably be strictly performing – the class will be a bit bigger than I had planned due to the students’ schedules – and one student is taking her grade 9 exam in January and needs the performance opportunity. Next year I would be better off having these a week earlier. I think almost all schools in town are having their Christmas concerts this week, so it has wreaked havoc with my scheduling.