What an exciting spring recital with twenty performers, a juggling act, numerous solos and piano ensembles, a flower sticks act, and the premiere of several original compositions!
Check out some of our memorable performances!
For each piano party, I make sure to have at least one new game. This year, for our 4th Annual Summer Piano Party, I tried a new icebreaker game and a built a musical bean bag toss game with my dad.
Rhythm Toss (aka Musical Bean Bag Toss)
I love bean bag toss, so I was excited to discover Sheryl Welles' idea for a rhythm toss on Pinterest. My boards look similar to Sheryl's example, but I made the boards equal in rhythm value (ex: whole note on one board vs. whole rest on the other board, and so on). The rhythm values represented the points for each hole: an eighth note was 50 points, a quarter note was 100 points, a dotted half note was 300 points, and so forth. For the piano party, I simply divided the students into two teams and the team with the highest points won. For more information on the boards and how to use them to reinforce rhythm recognition, visit SherylWelles.blogspot.com.
Check out my Music Games board on Pinterest where I save ideas I find:
This piano solo is dedicated to Kenneth, my online piano student, who encourages me to keep creating new hymn arrangements. I'm so thankful for him!
This hymn arrangement of "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" is quite expressive, and it is 7 pages (approx. 3:48 minutes in length). The various sections are woven together with a gentle, flowing melodic pattern. This piece was written for early advanced pianists, and it is perfect for church performances throughout the year.
Want to play this piano solo? The sheet music is available on Sheet Music Plus.
Our 3rd annual spring piano recital showcased the dedication of each student. The program comprised of nine piano solos and seven ensembles; four of these pieces were original compositions: Shooting Star (composed by a piano student), Spring Storm, Landing Point, and Faithful Sunset. Each student did a fabulous job, and I was so excited to see how far they had come in their music studies!
My brother and I have performed a piano/juggling entr'acte in the middle of the recital program for the last couple years, and it has become a spring recital tradition. Typically, my brother juggles while I play a ragtime piece on the piano; however, this year I knew we needed to change things up. So, we decided to switch...I would learn to juggle and my brother would learn a piece on the piano. This twist completely surprised my students and made for a memorable evening!
This piano solo is dedicated to Ruth Kester, Ryan Pipes, and all the brave men and women who serve in our United States Navy. Thank you for your service!
This patriotic hymn arrangement beautifully weaves together the hymn, My Anchor Holds, and the US Navy anthem, Anchors Aweigh. It is a full 6 pages in length (approx. 3:24 duration), and it is perfect for recitals and church performances around patriotic holidays. Throughout the piece, the tunes of My Anchor Holds and Anchors Aweigh are often both audible at the same time. Later, the refrain from the hymn, Will Your Anchor Hold?, is triumphantly proclaimed during the climax.
Want to play this piano solo? The sheet music is available on Sheet Music Plus.
I have recently set a goal to deliver viewers one new YouTube video per month. These videos will feature my sheet music, recital performances, and original Bible verse songs.
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One of most important elements to any party is the food. Whether you provide a meal or a light snack, detailed planning helps everything come together smoothly. Below are some tips from my experience hosting piano parties.
Tips for Hosting a Piano Party Part 2: The Food
1. Do NOT try to make all the food yourself; let others get involved. Try to find out what your guests prefer to bring; some enjoy making creative desserts while others like the simplicity of bringing bags of chips. Personally, I provide the main dish and one side dish when hosting a piano party. This way, if someone isn't able to attend the party at the last minute, you have the necessary food for a meal.
2. Have plenty of drinks (i.e. water, lemonade, soda, and fruit juice). This is especially important if you are hosting your party outside. During our summer piano party, there is drink table outside with a 5 gallon water cooler and a cooler underneath the table with fruit drinks and small water bottles. Later, I'll usually bring out a couple 2-liters (root beer, lemonade, etc.) for the meal.
3. Choose easy recipes you can make ahead of time. By choosing easy recipes, the food prep on the day of the party should be minimal. As an example, I make macaroni salad the night before, and right before the guests arrive, I place hotdogs in the crockpot.
4. Include at least one music-themed food item. This is a nice touch and will reinforce the "music" theme of your party. Check out my Pinterest board Recital Recipes featured below for some fun creative ideas.
Please share your food prep tips in the comments below!
Have you ever thought about hosting a piano party or similar event? Sometimes the task seems a little overwhelming, but detailed planning and preparation can help make the event enjoyable for both you and your students. In fact, I look forward to our piano party with as much anticipation as my students.
This year the studio held its third annual piano party, and over the years I have learned some dos and don'ts. I hope this post will be a help to you as you plan a fun-filled get-together for you students.
Tips for Hosting a Piano Party Part 1: The Games
1. Ask yourself: Who is the piano party going to be geared toward?
Choose one or two of the following age groups: adults, young people, or children. Defining who the party will be geared for helps you determine the kind of games that you will have at your party. Personally, I have found it works well to combine young people (ages 12-17) and children (ages 4-11) at my summer piano party where they enjoy outdoor games, and to host a separate winter/spring piano party for my adult students (ages 18+) where we play musical board games.
2. Plan, organize, and prep age-appropriate games. A successful piano party doesn't just happen, it is planned and organized. Since the games are a very important of the event, be sure to have the games (and the supplies they need like tape, balls, glue, buckets, markers, towels, water balloons, etc.) ready the day before. To accomplish this, I use an old-fashioned pen and paper, write down the title of each game, and list every little thing I need to play the game. As I get the materials, I check them off my list.
3. Alternate the kind of the games throughout the party. At summer piano party, I start with a music game such as What Note Am I? to introduce all the students to each other. Next, is an energetic game such as an obstacle course; I always have it soon after the party starts because it needs to be set up before they arrive and takes up most of the backyard. After the energetic game, switch to a more relaxing game like Musical Chairs, and so forth. By alternating your piano party games in this manner, you will ensure that your guests stay engaged during the party and do not get overheated (if it is hot outside).
4. Use at least one game with water balloons or a sprinkler, if you are having a summer piano party. This lets the guests get cooled off, and helps reduce the chances of guests overheating. However, make sure you do these games in the middle of your event so guests have time to dry off. :)
5. Use Pinterest to help spark your creativity when it comes finding group games. Remember, many group games can be adapted to be "musical".
6. Use a tote bag or small bin to gather all the "little" stuff for the games/crafts. The day before the party, begin placing all the "little" stuff you need (pens, paper, card games, craft supplies, etc.) into a tote bag or small bin. On the piano party day, I place the bin on a card table in a corner of the yard/room for easy access, and store larger items for the games (i.e. balls, pool noodles, hula-hoops, etc.) underneath the table. The more you plan ahead, the smoother the day will go.
7. Be flexible. Even though I spend hours planning everything in great detail, I have learned that some games are more successful than others. For my students, the obstacle course, musical chairs, and water balloon baseball are super fun games that we play every year; however, to keep things fresh, I do change up the obstacles of the course. This year, water balloon baseball lasted so long that we ran out of time for the other game I had planned, but I didn't mind because the students were all enjoying the water balloons (and so was I).
Join me next week as I share "Tips for Hosting a Piano Party Part 2: The Food".
From Ludwig van Beethoven to Leonard Bernstein, Classics for Kids covers a range of composers and continues to add new podcasts each week. Each music podcast is six minutes in length, with an average of four podcasts on each composer. Naomi Lewin does an excellent job writing each podcast and defining musical terms for younger musicians. Also, the podcasts are filled with beautiful samples of each composer's musical masterpieces.
My piano students love Classics for Kids, and one student asked what piece played during the introduction of every podcast. After contacting Classics of Kids, I discovered it was from Amilcare Ponchielli's Dance of the Hours. They sent me a link to this YouTube video, and the Classics for Kids theme song can be found approximately 7:40 into the video.
At last year's piano party, I enjoyed watching my piano students be creative with the pipe cleaners. After making a couple musical notes and instruments, several piano students decided to make friendship bracelets for each other. They had a wonderful time.
I'd love to hear your creative ideas for pipe cleaners!