The end of the school year is in sight. Recital season is upon us. I hold my recital in April, actually. Spring sports, ballet recitals, school concerts, warm weather all tend to keep my students from regular practice, so the April recital. I then hold an end-of-the-year soiree where the kids play whatever they want, and we celebrate with cookies and drink. The kids love the atmosphere of the soiree; the parents appreciate the early spring recital.
Starting in January, if not before, we choose recital repertoire. This year, all my students are in elementary school, a first for me, actually. For the older students, I pushed a Mostly Mozart theme. We worked diligently on their Mozart compositions, most of them adapted for younger fingers. By early April, the kids were tired of Mozart; they knew all the notes, the rhythm, the tempo; they wanted to play something else. I too was ready to move on, but they had yet to perform! So, instead, we worked on subtle nuances in the score, and you know, they caught on! They got into it, the crescendi, the diminuendi, and they played music, not just notes. Come recital time, the young pianists are well-prepared for performance. I too know every piece inside and out. I play along (on my imaginary keyboard) as each student performs. I hold my breath at each difficult phrase.
This year I was so proud of one boy in particular who has a penchant for playing loud, always loud. He was the most vocal about moving on. Until that little spark, that little something in the music that grabbed him. He noticed the dynamic markings, the quiet first theme, the louder repeat, the build to the climax and the release. For the first time, I think he heard the music. He knew what he wanted to produce, he listened and worked until he got it. And he got it!
They all did well. The soiree is in 2 weeks, and everyone is getting excited about performing again, and then to summer break. I am also looking forward to a week or 2 off. Ah, summer. But I want everyone back on the piano bench before too long. I love teaching!
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