Monday, May 30, 2011

BCRMTA's Spring Recital

Last Saturday, I attended the Spring Recital organized by the BCRMTA South Fraser branch and it was so wonderful to watch all the students performing like stars. There was an admirable poise and confidence at the piano which was evident even with the youngest performer and I could tell the audience were mesmerized by the fantastic performance of all the students. We had a very interesting program featuring piano solos, duets and even a violin trio performed by students from all levels, beginners to ARCT.
The event was put together with the collaborative effort of teachers and I'm really glad that there are so many performance opportunities for my students throughout the year. The organizing committee did an amazing job acquiring a beautiful venue for the recital and creating a lovely program printed on colored glossy paper with a special keepsake in mind for parents and students. And what might be better? The event was recorded on DVD!  I can't wait to get my hands on a copy as it will bring back such warm memories when I play this back years from now. Here's a picture of happy smiles to share :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Faure's Dolly Suite with Music Minus One

I was so thrilled to discover "Music Minus One" a month ago while browsing on SheetMusicPlus. Finally I'm able to play a duet with primo/secondo accompaniment or a concerto with full orchestral accompaniment on CD.
One of my favorite duets is definitely Faure's Dolly Suite. I used to play this with my father when I was little and this just brings back sweet memories of good times. So I was very happy to find this available under the Music Minus One series which provides the complete score and an accompanying CD for both primo and secondo parts.

Yesterday, I had fun playing Le Jardin de Dolly (no. 3 from the suite), recording the primo part and then mixing in the secondo part from the CD. Quite pleased with how it turned out :)

This summer, I'm thinking it would be really neat to work on Mozart's Concerto in C+ KV503 with full orchestral accompaniment from the CD:)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Leah's Teaching Blocks

I was so excited when I came to know I had actually won a giveaway:) Probably the first thing I have won ever!
And yesterday, the package containing Leah's compound time teaching blocks finally arrived! The blocks were so well made and I am extremely thankful for the time and effort that Leah had put towards this project for the benefit of moi!
I've reserved a special spot in my studio to display these and I can't begin to tell you what a proud owner I am of this new teaching aid. Thanks Leah :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mini Invitation Cards

Since I'm in recital mode, I thought it would be nice for my students to hand out business-card size invitation cards to their friends and family. I figure it would be a convenient size to keep in wallets so our dear guests will always have the information handy. As such, I've spent some time working on the designs and came up with these:
I'm planning to hand out a few cards for each family and if more are needed, parents are welcomed to print the cards  themselves from the pdf files that I email out. I have a feeling that the students would love handing these out to their friends as a special invitation to their recital.
I am happy to share the word and pdf files and will be posting them under "Printables" if anyone is interested in using for your studio.The Microsoft word files contain text boxes that can be personalized with the recital venue along with the other information and subsequently be saved for studio use. I've also included the pdf files of the blank cards. Would love to hear how these are working for your studio. Enjoy!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Where Critters Come Alive

This felt board has a special place in my studio ever since I started teaching the Music for Young Children program 2 years ago. The children have grown to love these critters from the first day of lessons with songs we sing about them, storytelling with the puppets and little pieces about these critters. The critters each have a special character and it's so much pleasure bringing them to life in our classes as they "meet" with the students and introduce their places on the keyboard.
The children enjoy echoing the cute little chants associated to each critter and I'm just so captivated by their enthusiasm and excitement about wanting to meet "the next one". As soon as they meet all the critters, the 4 year olds are already on their way to playing the C Major scale!
I'm sure my MYC colleagues all share the same sentiments about how much fun it is to teach this program and how strong the curriculum is. It is such a joy to be part of the MYC family and I'm thankful for the opportunity of  collaborating with such wonderful colleagues who share the common goal of fostering the happy habit of making music, not to mention the lovely families I have the privilege of working and sharing my musical journey with...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Clothespins Project

Thanks so much to Anne Crosby's "Fun with Clothespins" and Leah's post on "Fingers Bee Strong". Their ideas really got me excited about another craft project to create cute little clothespins for my students. 
A few months ago, I found some small wooden critter and flower pieces at a local dollar store and purchased them knowing that I will someday be using these for one of my creative projects.
And last week, I found a package of 48 1" wooden clothespins and absolutely thrilled about finally getting to work on the clothespins project. I really wanted something special for these children's toolboxes and something that the kids are excited receiving and using as a fun tool to build strength on the fingers.So I got my glue gun and it took me less than 5 minutes to adhere the pieces on the pleased at how they all turned out. Such is the fun of my work, I get to teach and get crafty! :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Embraceable You by Gershwin, Arrangement by Earl Wild

I've really enjoyed reading Jenny Boster's posts on "motivating ourselves to practice" and the wonderful  weekend repertoire column on her blog, which really inspired me to get practicing. Finally I squeezed in some practice time in the last few days and really enjoyed working on "Embraceable You", a piece I'm looking forward to playing at my studio's year-end recital. One more month to go!
This piece is one of the many beautiful songs composed by Gershwin and Earl Wild did an amazing job with a beautiful arrangement for the piano.

So here I am testing out my first recording. I don't have any videos yet, still learning how to put it together. It's a big learning curve for me but an exciting project for the summer :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Circle of Fifths

By now, you must already figure out that I love polka dots :) I decided to create a Circle of Fifths card that I think would be nice to use as an insert to the amazing Crayola boards. I couldn't find a way to fit more than 4 circles on each side so this one accommodates up to 4 sharps & flats.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Finger Dance Card

In recent years I discovered something else that I am passionate about. This was when a family member (an amazing graphic designer and photographer) first introduced me to Quark Express and magazine layouts. It was such fun playing around with different fonts, graphics and layout to showcase a piece of work and learning how a well designed page could really influence the reader. With tools like Adobe Indesign, Microsoft Publisher and Apple's Pages, I'm amazed by the world of possibilities for creative print and digital publishing projects

I'm quite excited about designing new teaching aids for my studio and look forward to creating materials that appeal to children and at the same time, serve its purpose to reinforce concepts introduced. I started with a simple test project and here's what I came up with...the Finger Dance Card!

I'm planning to use the Finger Dance card as a visual and guide to help students learn the common scale fingering. Students can use the card in the following ways:
  1. Play scale away from piano with the "finger dance" - reinforces thumb tuck and 3rd finger over. (would help to say the finger numbers out loud as children perform the finger dance)
  2. Print the scale letter names in the green boxes with a dry erase marker (on laminated copies) 
  3. Use as reference when practicing scales on the piano
It's been fun working on this project and I'm delighted to share this with anyone who might find it useful. Simply click Finger Dance Card to download

Monday, May 2, 2011

Easter Egg Hunt

I know Easter is way over now but I thought I'd share a little game that I had lots of fun preparing.The students were hard at work egg hunting around the studio. It was definitely one of the games that the kids are most excited about every year.  
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