I have been busy this year undertaking study with a Bachelor of Dementia Care which is proving very interesting and informative for my music therapy work in aged care. I have also engaged in Professional Development for the studio through membership of Tim Topham's Inner Circle which provides a wealth of information for piano teachers who enjoy fostering creativity in learning. There are webinars on many topics, and you can access his interesting podcasts and interviews with special guests. He also has Facebook live feeds on a variety of topics which may be of interest. Tim is the curator of the Series 4 AMEB Piano for Leisure series released earlier this year, spending over a year sourcing and assessing music for its relevance for meeting syllabus requirements whilst motivating students to branch out and try many new pieces, including those by contemporary and Australian composers. I know many students (and myself too) have enjoyed learning these new pieces!
The end of semester 1 concert was a wonderful success, with some students performing for the very first time. It was great to hear the achievements of the young group class students along with students who have been learning for many years now. Well done to all!
A highlight was the group singing item which was the first time students have come together to perform as a choir. An African folk tune in 3-part harmony was chosen, which students learnt their parts for individually in lessons and then sang together on the day. A wonderful presentation, I look forward to planning the next singing item for the end of year concert - please save the date Sunday December 2, at 4pm.
I am pleased to report the following students successfully passed their exams (July 2017-June 2018) with great results!
Alex - Grade 6 Traditional (B)
Vivian - Grade 5 Leisure (A+)
Josephine - Grade 5 Leisure (B+)
Alex - Grade 5 Leisure (B+)
Rachel - Grade 5 Leisure (B)
Jordan - Grade 5 Leisure (C+)
Harriet - Grade 4 Leisure (B+)
Armaan - Grade 3 Leisure (B)
Jack D - Grade 3 Leisure (A)
Kashi - Grade 3 Leisure (A)
Ashleigh - Grade 3 Leisure (A)
Dylan - Grade 3 Leisure (B+)
Daniel - Grade 1 Leisure (B)
As we are over half-way through the year it is time to review if you have achieved the Semester 1 goal to reach 14 pieces and are into your Term 3 set. If not, make a plan today about what easy pieces you would like to learn to boost your numbers! You may choose some favourite pop or movie tunes, start a composition of your own, or ask me about some easy duets.. Remember that working through new pieces on a regular basis across a variety of musical styles is where the enjoyment (and progress) in learning music happens!
If you would like to move on old piano books that you are no longer using, other families may be interested to purchase them second-hand for a discounted price. I am happy to advertise books in the newsletter or put you in touch with a student requiring that book directly.
Composition.. for those who enjoy creating their own sounds at the piano, or using programs such as GarageBand to create their own music.
One of my students, Jordan, had the opportunity to take a lesson in the last term break with Melbourne pianist/composer Nat Bartsch, who recently released her latest album Forever, and No Time At All (available for streaming on Soundcloud and Spotify). It is my new favourite go-to album for relaxation!
In this lesson Jordan took along some of the melodic motifs he had been working on, along with some chord progressions he had created. Nat was able to provide suggestions as to where to go next with these ideas.
Jordan came away with many new ideas to try and when asked what was the highlight of the experience, said that it helped him learn to create new pieces, build on ideas, and made him realise his skills as a composer. My personal highlight was hearing Jordan improvise melodies while Nat accompanied him using the riff of one of her compositions!
I am very keen to offer opportunities like this to students who are interested, and to provide masterclasses with other teachers so that students can experience feedback from other teachers, an important experience in learning. If you are interested in participating in something like this please let me know and I can plan an event.