Showing posts from January, 2021

2021 Word of the Year

Just a heads up readers that this blog post is going to feel a little different from the usual fare here. This is mostly some personal musings on the year that's past, the one that's coming, and the role that music plays in my internal process. So, if you're just here for the practice ideas, piano studio news, or musical projects from wonderful young musicians, feel free to skip this one. But if you are someone who is also interested in musings, and choosing a word of the year, read on.  Choosing a word of the year is something I've started doing the past few years as a way to help frame the mindset I want to have as I head into a new year. I've found it more effective than resolutions for getting me closer to who I want to be. Looking back at the beginning of 2020, I chose Ease.  Little did I know how important that word would become as we had to collectively navigate our way through an entirely unprecedented year. And in the chaos, I did find myself coming back to

'Get Smart' Practice Challenge

Our practice challenge for January is going to be based off an improvisational teaching acrostic, Get SMART, introduced to me by Shelly Davis of the piano parent podcast several years back.  You can listen to that podcast episode below to hear examples of students Getting Smart with their music.  The word SMART stands for  Style, Melody, Articulation, Rhythm  and  Tempo . And our challenge for this January will be for students to put their own spin on each of these elements into music of their choosing. Once they've given their own creative interpretation to a piece on each of the 5 musical elements, they'll have completed the challenge!  This is going to be very open-ended and student led because: Students can use the same music for all 5, so they end up with 5 different versions of the same piece, or choose different music for different elements along the way. Students can work through SMART in any order, they don't have to start with Style if they'd rather start wi