Our studio theme this fall is "Focus on Fluency". Children and Adults spend a lot of effort learning the basics, but satisfaction comes when the music flows. We'll discovered our individual obstacles, and explore new habits that enhance the musicality of our playing at whatever level we've achieved.
Currently accepting students ages 6-100.
Check out the new group for adults who want to learn recreational piano, starting October 15th. Registration is through Portland Adult Education at www.portlandadulted.org.
Summer 2016: Piano Prelude is a 5 week intro to piano for students age 6-9. Six students participated in this beginning piano adventure, a great way to prepare for fall lessons. In the private studio, 20 students engaged with piano games and repertoire to strengthen their piano skills. And on to fall!
Winter/Spring 2016 This winter our theme was GOING BAROQUE. We explored the instruments, musical forms, and composers who lived from 1600-1750, with a strong focus on Bach, Handel, Scarlatti and Pachelbel. In the internet age, we can experience/observe/listen to instruments from the smallest clavichord to a variety of harpsichords to impressive organs of all sized, and come to understand why music from the time period is written as it is. Most interesting was our exploration of music form. Have you ever danced a sarabande? Or a courante or minuet? Our online search for authentic demonstrations, authentic instruments, authentic costuming could have consumed many hours. As it was, what we did find enhanced our understanding of the small musical pieces that comprise the Baroque suite.
Even more intriguing was our study of counterpoint. Monophony, homophony, polyphony--we especially enjoyed the youtube portrayals of fugues, which helped us see the intricacy of the intertwining voices in a way that just listening to the music does not do. Beyond that, a youtube search reveals fugues based on Happy Birthday, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVuO2MbER-w&list=RDtVuO2MbER-w, the Angry Birds theme, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRcKTSXWV1M, and a double fugue improvisation using the Pink Panther theme and the James Bond theme https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upFQcITxX9A.
Two of our students participated in a Piano Monster concert held at Snow Pond Music Camp in March. Their several months of preparation work paid off as they joined another 30 or so students in an all day practice which culminated in a late afternoon concert.
Fall term was Spanish Music time! Student learned Spanish music, improvised with Spanish rhythms, and several shared their music at the Winter 2016 Piano Celebration. Our Practice Smart theme reminded students to 1)SLOW DOWN 2) Break it down 3) play 3 times with accuracy 4)Ask: Where's the problem? What's the plan?
Adult groups explored chords and keys, and a new beginner's group began in October.
A mixed group of all ages played at Portland Center for Assisted Living in early November, and another group played for residents of Scarborough Terrace in December.
Adult recreational students enjoyed playing folk tunes this summer, finding that "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts" when it comes to playing as an ensemble! Groups are a great way to make progress while working at your own level, because when you narrow your focus to work on one part, someone else is always playing the other part, so you have the effect of the whole piece. it's been great fun! New sessions of adult groups start in September and October.
Teens and preteen private students experienced "The Guardians of Arranmore" this summer. It could be described as Celtic flavored superhero music--interesting chord progressions combined with accessible patterns made this music both attainable and enjoyable. Teachers/composers Andrea and Trevor Dow once again hit the jackpot with this music, which some of our adult private students also enjoyed. Our second summer emphasis was composition. Older students used chord progressions and/or patterns from Arranmore to create their own music; younger students started with Composition Prompts created by Joy Morin and created music portraying everything from medieval castles to sailing to monkeys climbing in trees.
SPRING 2015 EVENTS: The "50 Days of Practice" incentive is drawing to an end. Many students were motivated to increase their practice through this program this spring. Medals will be awarded at the Piano Celebration on June 7th.
The studio mentors met recently to practice a couple of surprises which they will present at the June Piano Celebration. Our three mentors have helped plan and/or lead two special studio events this year.
Adult recreational piano groups took a break during May and June, and will resume with summer piano labs in July. Our summer theme is "Folk for Folk: Classic Folk Tunes for Piano". These multi-level groups will meet on Friday mornings during the summer.
Several adult student and studio friends played at Portland Center for Assisted Living on April 11th. The enthusiastic audience enjoyed singing along with several popular tunes.
Our Duet Workshop and Holiday Party held on December 7th was a great success! Our teen music mentors helped the other students create some awesome music, and creative games and activities held the interest of students ages 6 to 16 for an hour and a half.
Scarborough Terrace Assisted Living Center was the site of our most recent music sharing activity. About a dozen students gathered on Saturday November 8th to entertain the residents on the facility's baby grand. This included a couple of students from Andrea Rosenberg's studio. Parent's transported and stayed to watch the show. Music Mentors Alanna, Sophia and Stephanie demonstrated a new piece which will be part of students' lessons over the next few weeks.
Several adult piano students played a variety of music for residents of Portland Center for Assisted Living on Saturday November 1st. Two residents played also, bringing the total of performers to six. This second visit to PCAL was a success; we plan to return for more!
May 2015: Creative Health Conference at USM.
Certified art, dance, and music therapists share their work,
research, and philosophies about the creative arts therapies in a
variety of populations: trauma, dementia, brain injury, oncology, and
depression, among others.
August 2014: Practical Piano Pedagogy, a three day seminar sponsored by the Frances Clark Center for Piano Pedagogy, was held at the New School for Music Study in Princeton, NJ. Twenty teachers from as close as Newark and as far as Korea gathered to interact with each other and the highly qualified teachers at the New School through private lessons and pedagogy critiques, presentations and discussions, curricular planning sessions and recitals. Highlights of the conference included a recital of favorite teaching pieces by the New School staff and a masterclass of several seminar attendees taught by Marvin Blickenstaff.
Fall 2013: "Music and the Brain" was the topic of the QuadState Music Teachers' Conference held at USM in October 2013. Speakers included Dr. Robert Duke, Professor of Music and Learning at University of Texas at Austin, Alan Wittenberg, Certified Music Therapist, of Surry, Maine, as well as a local neurologist and an area musician who has experienced a brain injury.