Monday, October 27, 2014

Studio Star Award Announcement

I hope everyone is having a wonderful October!

This year, the Studio Star award goes to Evan, who has shown a lot of enthusiasm and dedication at the piano.  He is mastering the art of note taking and taking responsibility for his progress.  He has learned how to break things down into small steps and apply that to new challenges.  He has worked hard over the past several months to master new techniques and to get himself ready for his Suzuki Book 2 graduation recital, which should be sometime this spring!

To recognize this achievement, Evan is being awarded 5% off tuition for the remainder of the academic year as well as his choice for where he plays in the order of this year's studio recitals.  Congratulations, Evan!!

All of my students are eligible for this award, which is given out yearly.  Evan takes lessons in my home studio, so if you see him in the hall, be sure to give him a high five!  Everyone can hear him play at the Winter Studio Recital this December.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Autumn Piano Events

Upcoming Events for Pianists
If you’re interested in participating in any of the below-mentioned events, see your teacher right away!


Sonata-Sonatina Festival

Pianists prepare two contrasting movements from a Sonatina or one movement from a Sonata
December 7, 2014 at Sherwood!
Registration due by November 2.  $25 per student
Gold medalist recital Sunday, December 14 at PianoForte Foundation

Music Development Program Winter Assessments

Pianists prepare a selection of repertoire and etudes along with scales and ear training exercises.  Preparation to be closely supervised by student’s teacher.
Assessments occur November 29 - December 11
Registration due by October 14.  It’s coming up soon!


Summer Creativity and Autumn Goals

It is finally October!  Everyone is solidly in the swing of things and it is time to start making some musical goals.  Some ideas:  Suzuki Book Graduations, Music Development Program Assessments, Chicago Festivals (Sonatina Festival perhaps?).  Let's discuss this in lessons!

Here are a couple of videos of creativity in recent lessons:

Katie and Mary, performing one of Bach's Minuet on two ukuleles, August, 2014.

Fish-Eye-Evan, playing a very solid Happy Farmer, August 2014.

Technology allows me to play both parts of a bit of Rachmaninoff for Two Pianos.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Summer Contest Winners - 2014

Congratulations to this year's contest winners!  Pauline teamed up with her brother to use technology in her performance, and Declan was inspired by the music of Adele to play something that I didn't help him with at all!  The winning videos are posted below.  Both students will receive an award of fun new sheet music to work on in lessons or on their own!  If you see any of these students in the halls, give them a nice high five!

Technology Winner:

Performance Winner:

Declan playing Adele from Christine on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How Playing Music Affects the Developing Brain

NPR Classical featured this story that I thought I'd share.
Remember “Mozart Makes You Smarter”?
A 1993 study of college students showed them performing better on spatial reasoning tests after listening to a Mozart sonata. That led to claims that listening to Mozart temporarily increases IQs — and to a raft of products purporting to provide all sorts of benefits to the brain.
In 1998, Zell Miller, then the governor of Georgia, even proposed providing every newborn in his state with a CD of classical music.
But subsequent research has cast doubt on the claims. 
Ani Patel, an associate professor of psychology at Tufts University and the author of “Music, Language, and the Brain,” says that while listening to music can be relaxing and contemplative, the idea that simply plugging in your iPod is going to make you more intelligent doesn’t quite hold up to scientific scrutiny.
“On the other hand,” Patel says, “there’s now a growing body of work that suggests that actually learning to play a musical instrument does have impacts on other abilities.” These include speech perception, the ability to understand emotions in the voice and the ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously.
Patel says this is a relatively new field of scientific study.
Link to the full article: HERE.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Which Musical Era Best Suits You?

Congratulations to the Advanced Suzuki Group Class at Sherwood for creating a Musical Era Personality Quiz to demonstrate their knowledge of music history!  You can take the quiz here: 

Summer Contest 2014

All students of mine at Sherwood or FaithSlaker Music:

I hope you're all having a great summer so far!  Though I hear it is raining in Chicago....  Since you're not having summer weather though, you can spend a little more time at the piano!  Care to show us all what you can accomplish on your own?  

This summer there are two contests.  The first contest is to play something using technology as an accompaniment and perform it via video.  Have fun with this one.  Surprise me!  The second contest is to learn and perfect a piece entirely on your own.  This may not be a piece we have previewed in lesson and it may not be a part of the Suzuki repertoire if you are a Suzuki student.  The piece needs to be performed with beauty and accuracy, but does not need to be memorized.  As always, winners will be selected based on accomplishment within their playing level, musical expression and daring choice. 

Entries must be received by midnight on August 31st (via youtube, vimeo or mp4) and winners will be announced via blog/twitter/facebook during the first week of classes.  There will be one winner and one runner up for each category (technology or repertoire) and the winners will be awarded fun sheet music to work on in lessons as well as the privilege of having their performance shared and admired.  

Now, head on over to the piano, warm up with your performance pieces, and see what you can do!  I look forward to watching all the entries!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Summer Quarter Begins with APPLAUSE!

Welcome to the Summer Quarter!  Schedules are looking a little bit different, so you might want to download the newest swap list if you need to make a swap (see website).  Office Hours are now offered every Monday from 6:45 to 7:15pm.  I will be available via Skype, Twitter, Facebook and phone for piano help, scheduling discussions, and parent conferences.

Congratulations to Declan, for winning a half-scholarship and an iPad at Sherwood's annual 
Scholarship Competition this past month!

Newest Videos from FaithSlaker Music Studio

Katie, performing with the Sherwood Suzuki orchestra as the winner of the concerto competition, May 2014

Chamber Music Fun!  May, 2014

Newest Pictures from FaithSlaker Music Studio

Twinkle Group Learning Steps and Skips, May 2014

Chamber Music from the Sherwood Faculty Recital, May 2014.
Click HERE to listen to a movement of a Chopin Sonata.
Cellist Amber Walton-Amar
Pianist Aubrey Faith-Slaker

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sherwood Scholarship Competition Finalist

Congratulations to Declan F., a finalist in the elementary division of the Sherwood Scholarship Competition! Awards to be given at the Honors Recital Thursday, May 22nd at 7pm in the Sherwood Recital Hall!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

March Group Class Highlights

Here are some of the highlights from the most recent group classes:

A bit of silly improv by Maxi, Matei and Anjali (check out those dance moves!):

A beautiful performance by Fiona that moved the entire audience:

And check out this outstanding hand position by Chloe!  She didn't even know we were looking!  What a natural!

Winter Performances and Classes

Some of the fun things that went on in lessons over the winter:

 Evan playing Minuet in G Major, February 2014

 Twinkle Cuties reviewing basic musical concepts, January 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Congratulations to Aidan!

Congratulations to Aidan on moving up through his method books!  He's out of the primer and on to level 1 where he starts doing some more impressive music making!

Well done!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Studio Recital, February 2014

Everyone played so beautifully and it is nice to know that while the winter was harsh, everyone made such great progress and getting together for our winter recital was well worth the trek out of doors and the fancy shoes!  Congratulations to all performers!

For performances by Whitney, Valentina, Pauline, Kabir and Declan F., click below:

For performances by Chloe, Diego, Aidan and Mary, click below:

For performances by Leyla, Katie, Declan H., Colin, Evan and the Copycat Duet, click below:

For performances by Anjali, Graham, Jimena, Fiona and the Dragon Dance Trio, click below:

For Debussy's Pagodes, click below:

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Piano Media Music Challenge

Who plays video games?  Watches movies?  TV?  Listens to the radio?  Are there any recognizable tunes from these games/moves/etc. that you think you can play on the piano?

Bring me an idea and we'll figure it out!  All media performances will be posted as a challenge for anyone else to try!  Here is Declan's media performance of some of the music from Minecraft:

He's pretty excited about it.  What can you play??