It’s always exciting to begin a new school year with my young piano students. Every week I get to spend 30- 45 minutes with each child, precious one-on-one time when we explore music together, playing a wide variety of songs, learning to read the notes on the page, improvising in different styles, building a solid knowledge of music theory, and most importantly, allowing them to grow with music…a treasure to last a lifetime! The children rarely have a chance to see each other, hear what others are working on, or build friendships with their fellow piano students.
Last week I invited all my piano students to an October piano party. Not a recital with a formal program, this was a time to share their favorite songs, do some activities we don’t have time for during regular private lessons, and a chance for the children to have some fun with each other.
Each child chose three pieces they love to play that have been included in their assignments during the last month. Small groups of students of similar ages and playing levels visited activity stations I had set up around the room.
As each student played their pieces, the other students worked on short, fall-themed music activities. We had a note-reading game, a rhythm matching activity, a paper craft, a composing activity and an easy Halloween sight-reading experience using spooky sounds on the electronic piano.
The younger children wrote letter names under a set rhythm pattern to create an October song, and the more advanced students wrote notes on lines and spaces to create their songs.
Each child decided which notes to write on their papers, choosing steps, skips, and repeated notes. Then they played their own song. This young composer wanted to hear each pitch before he decided what to write down on his paper.
At the end of the party, each chose their best song to present in a final performance for all the students and parents. Everyone had two opportunities to play: once without any pressure as the others worked on activities, as well as their selected “best piece” when everyone gave them undivided attention. Some even played duets with me or with their mom.
Parents contributed homemade healthy treats like pumpkin bread and oatmeal cookies for the refreshment table. One of the moms took photos of the festivities and shared with the other parents, including this beautiful collage card for me. Our piano party lasted just over an hour…but we packed the time with music fun!
“Mrs. Holtz, can we have another piano party soon?”