Congratulations all students! 2018 piano lessons are complete!
As I reflect on the year that was 2018, I take great pride in the achievements of all students.
I witnessed student fingers stretch across keys, legs grow, the piano bench was pushed back further and further, the sounds get bigger, louder and more complicated. Outside my studio window I also witnessed zucchini leaves fan out wider, lettuces grow stronger, silver beets reach taller and flowers multiply. I have no doubt that the simultaneous growth of each small being compliments one another.
I’ve heard music interpreted again and again as it is picked up in new hands. New musical ideas are created as new terms and concepts are explored. As a teacher I am challenged to go out and find new repertoire and reach through the library to uncover old classics. In creating every student’s repertoire list, I learned even more lists of music. I pushed the envelope of musical experience through diverse performance activities and went out to meet new audiences and venues.
The growth of my students musical ability, of course is not just from lessons and practice, but from the diverse environment they have experienced through out the year. Many thanks must be paid to the families who support them.
Students have not only learned how to play notes on the piano, or read music from the page. They have learned to stand up in front of their peers and show what they have been working on, in the quarterly workshops.
Students have listened to each other play and started to develop their own critical listening ears as they take time to listen, interpret and respond to the sound being presented to them.
They worked towards performance goals and stood up in front of parents and friends at concerts to perform at the best of their ability. My senior students took the extra challenge and commitment of performing for a more critical audience in their exams and one student took the challenge of performing in a masterclass.
All students have explored culturally significant music. They explored some of the great composers who have shaped our current cultural landscape. They created artistic reflections about these composer’s lives and music through pockets letters and stories.
From one day to the next, they have learned how to be organised. How to prepare their books, to get to lessons on time, review ideas at home and discover new tricks in their own practice. They have been challenged, tested and experienced “grit” AKA : “courage, resolve and strength of character”. Through their practice and personal development they have learned new methods of communicating with parents and family members and while developing an awareness of the ever ticking clock which brings each day to a close.
To all my students: Relish and enjoy the success you have achieved this year. Share your success with others, and always be grateful to those who share their diverse talents with you.
I thank you for sharing all your diverse talents with me. I have enjoyed baring witness to your talents in playing, learning, practicing, parenting, nail polishing, dancing, singing, crafting, cat training, cat grooming, laughing, joking, telling stories, clapping, reading, performing and being everything that you are!!
I wish you all the very best for Christmas and the holidays! See you next year!
Group piano lessons are one of my favourite ways to teach beginners. I run group classes for beginner students from ages 5 – 10, with a maximum of 4 students in each class.
Here are some of the benefits of group piano lessons.
• Singing. It’s much easier to sing with kids in a group. Singing is the best way to internalise and understand music. Once a child can sing a song it is much easier to transfer it to any instrument.
• Social. Piano can be an isolating instrument at times. In groups, kids make new friends or explore music with existing friends. Duets are common place in a group music class.
• Group morale. Learning piano with a grown up can get a bit daunting at times, especially for very young learners. In a small group, children support each other’s progress as they watch each other learn. When in a small group of supportive peers, children feel less intimidated by new experiences. They express themselves through speech, physical movement and musical sounds that makes sense to kids. They are ready to tackle new musical challenges.
• Motivation. When kids learn together they motivate each other. Together they learn how to practice during the week at home and recognise the need to keep up with what’s going on in class each week.
• Games. Playing games are fun. They are also a great way to learn the fundamentals of music. Playing games with your peers is sometimes a bit more fun than playing with a grown up.
• Performance. Regularly performing for peers builds a child’s confidence and reaffirms their ability to progress through new repertoire.
• Cost. Group classes are cheaper than individual lessons and can sometimes make learning music affordable for families.
If you are interested to find out more about group learning or to find out if there is a place available in a group class for your child, get in contact.
Katrina Wilson O'Brien teaches piano, plays music and encourages frivolity.