Believe it or not, summer vacation is not far off. Students are undoubtedly excited about that, and for piano teachers and the parents of young piano players, summer provides hidden opportunities for growth. Learning the piano is a fun experience for everyone involved, but it also takes a real commitment. For those unable to continue lessons during the summer, it can be a challenge to keep up.
It never failed. Late November into December, when my performing groups were approaching the final stages of concert preparation, one or more students would ask me, “Can you help me prepare a piece for my audition?” Most of the time it was for an early college audition, or an audition for a musical. “When is your audition, and what are you planning to sing?” were my first questions. The answer was predictable: “I’m not sure when it is, and I was hoping you could help me choose a song!”
Summer can be a welcome break from the usual school-year routine and offers some unique opportunities for your private piano students. No school (or homework!) allows more time to experiment on the piano. Flexibility during the day also means you can alter scheduling and plan duet lessons or have a daytime piano camp. Of course, teachers always consider how to make piano lessons fun, and to help with that, we explore some summer ideas and resources.
There’s an old joke that just about every musician has heard that starts, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The punch line, of course, is simply, “practice.” You are probably rolling your eyes at the moment, having known that joke for decades, but you also know that the truth is often said in jest – even if it’s not a particularly good jest.
If you have not yet had the pleasure to hear Julia Kamanda speak about classroom music, composition, and education, you are missing out on hearing one of the most genuinely passionate voices in the industry. The songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist uses her experience in composition and education to create music activities for preschoolers that teach them how to make music all their own.
Wynn-Anne Rossi is known to the music world as a talented pianist, dynamic composer, and dedicated music educator. Throughout her life, she has combined her inquisitive nature with a strong work ethic to build an impressive musical career and body of work. Sharing her talents with the world is very important to Ms. Rossi, and we in the music world are very happy she has.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
— Abraham Lincoln
“Now, go home and practice!” How many times have we as music teachers voiced those words to our students?
2,000 music teachers, students, and music industry personnel will meet in Chicago from March 22-26, 2014 for the Music Teachers National Association’s annual conference. Prominent on the schedule is the premiere of two trios by American composers Wynn-Anne Rossi and Phillip Keveren.
Crystal Desch and I had the honor of interviewing Wynn-Anne Rossi, and we think you’ll find her as we did, an inspirational composer, pianist and teacher. Among her many musical roles, Wynn-Anne is a highly creative composer of student-level piano music and instructional books on composing. We hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as we did.
Last month, we presented Part 1 of our interview with Robert D. Vandall. This is Part 2. Robert Vandall is one of this country’s most prolific and popular composers of educational piano music. He and his wife, Karen, operate a thriving independent piano studio in New Philadelphia, Ohio.