At our October group classes, students performed Halloween music in addition to their regular repertoire. There were music composed by students, improvised from a lead sheet and learned from scores. Despite having the group class over Zoom, students really prepared themselves and continued to make progress. We also did ear training on discerning major and minor mode, and reviewed the primary triads for a minor scale. They were given a composition assignment to create a piece with a minor scale for the weekend.
Welcome to the Fall! One of my 9th grader piano students, Tejin, has made a summer project to create a "junior recital" celebrating his piano study finishing middle school. He prepared an excellent and lovely selection of repertoire including well known music, such as Beauty and the Beast, Under the sea and more. Here is Tejin's Junior Album performance on the studio youtube channel. He plans to create a senior album when he graduates from high school. Please stay tuned!
This year we still could not have in-person recital. We did a pre-recorded video recital presented as a slide show. Families were happy with this format more than the youtube playlist. Not only did my students performed their well prepared repertoire, they each performed their own "Days in a Farm" theme compositions. I was amazed at their creative ideas and applications of forms. Some wrote in Bach Invention style, some in classical German dance style and some in pop style as well. Bravo to my students for another year of fruitful learning.
COVID-19 shows now sign of relenting and online lessons continue. During the December 2020 break, I gave an assignment to my students to write a song expressing their feelings about the whole experience of COVID-19. It was amazing to listen to their songs and lyrics. They performed them at our January 2021 group class.
One of my high school seniors Colleen Leacock with all the heavy school work, worked on it bit by bit over several months, and created a wonderful video for her song "Scrambled As an Egg". It is about her trying to process some of the scary, depressing issues facing the world (and also eggs). Both the vocal and piano accompaniment are her own performance. It's a very expressive song. The words are insightful and the music catchy. I was really blown away when I first heard it!
It has been quite a challenge to have our monthly performance group classes online over Zoom. I changed the format to be more like workshops. I found an online spin wheel so we could have quiz shows on Composer of the Month, I also arranged music so all my students have a piece to perform by the Composers. Bach, Clementi, Bartok are among the few. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas we played special music. In January 2021 they performed their compositions expressing feelings toward the COVID-19 experience. In February 2021, they performed love songs from various movies such as Casablanca, Romeo and Juliet , Love Story, Legend of 2000, Les Paraplues de Cherbourg, Hungry eyes and even "Song for my Brother" from a Kdrama. Right now, they are preparing for the Spring recital in May. Life continues, and so does piano playing. I am so proud of my students for facing the odds bravely!
Despite being online, we held our Spring studio recital on Youtube where our students performed the repertoire they have polished and their Arctic/Antarctic Theme compositions pre-recorded. As a bonus feature, I included their premier performance video clips when their first started at my studio from years ago. It was amazing seeing how much they've grown.
~~~~~ also in May 2020 ~~~~~~
Congratulations to Colleen Leacock! Colleen's "Lullaby of the Northern Lights" won the first place winner in the Older Division (11 and up) at the Piano Explorer 2020 composition contest. Her work is published in the July/August 2020 issue of the magazine, and she also receives a cash reward from the magazine publisher.
Here is a video recording of "Lullaby of the Northern Lights" performed by Colleen.
Shelter in place began and all lessons went online! We adapt quickly and held private and performance group classes via Zoom. It was amazing how much our students continue to practice and make progress. We spend more time composing and improvising.
Two of my high school piano students submitted their compositions to 2020 MTAC Composers Today for evaluations. Devin's "Prelude in A" and Colleen's "Lift - Theme and Variations" both received 5- (highest score is 5+) for their works and the great honor of being invited to perform at the MTAC conference in July 2020 which unfortunately was canceled due to shelter-in-place. Congratulations!
It was quite an incredible experience preparing for auditions and sending one of our studio's adult piano students of nearly 6 years, to further his study of piano at a graduate school. Congratulations to Mark Wong for being accepted to the San Jose State University graduate piano program in Fall 2019. Here are some of his concerto performance recorded during lessons and recitals:
Two of my high school piano students composed Sonatina and submitted to 2019 MTAC Composers Today for evaluations. Devin's "Sonatina in G minor" and Colleen's "Sonatina in Bb Major" received 4+ and 5 (highest score is 5+) respectively for their works and the great honor of being invited to perform at the MTAC conference in July 2019. Congratulations!
Student Composition Project 2019
In January 2019, all students in the studio wrote a "pet" themed composition and performed their compositions at the Studio Spring Recital in May, 2019. We kicked off the project at the January group class. Students started out jotting down ideas with drawing pictures, writing descriptions, and moved on to creating a motif. Each week they added some more to their compositions.
Students also learned to use notation software such as Noteflight, Musescore, or Finale to notate their music. The composition was completed by March for those who wished to enter the Piano Explorer composition contest, or completed by our April group performance class. Bravo to all our composers! They amazed the audience during recital, and won great comments and praises.
Colleen's "The Adventures of Fintan the Dog" is the 3rd place winner in the Older Division (11 and up) at this year's (2019) contest. Her work will be published later this year in the magazine, and she will receive a cash reward from the magazine publisher. Congratulations!
Here you can see a copy of the some of the compositions that I was granted permission to publicize. The composers featured in this collect range from age 7 to 15. View the Pet Theme compositions!