One of my favorite parts of teaching piano is finding creative opportunities for my school-aged students to perform. I definitely like to prepare them to play in formal recital settings, but I think it’s just as important to get them out in the community to share their music in many different environments.
This past school year we had a really fun mix of performances. I thought I’d share a quick recap of each of them.
October – Cowtown
Cowtown is a great museum in Wichita! It’s a replica of Wichita from the 1870s. When you visit, you get to walk around to all sorts old buildings and houses. There are old-fashioned games in the school yard, carriage rides through the town, and lots of characters in period clothing to show you around. My students played in the Saloon on a Saturday afternoon. Families sat around the tables and my students took turns performing on the big piano on the stage. Many Cowtown visitors popped in to hear some music while we were playing.
November – Concerto Competition
The Wichita Area Piano Teachers League offers an annual Concerto Competition at WSU. I had 3 students work very hard to prepare for it. They started practicing their concerto in the summer. They memorized and performed 1-2 movements for a judge. They weren’t old enough to compete yet, but they did receive comments on their playing and it was a great chance to get used to playing a concerto for when they are old enough.
December – Wichita Art Museum
When I planned this performance, my goal was to find a way for my students to learn to play background music. This was the perfect opportunity to accomplish this goal! The Wichita Art Museum invited us to play Christmas music on a Saturday before Christmas. I asked my students to learn 5, 10 or 15 minutes worth of Christmas music. We ended up having over 4 hours of music and students took turns playing their shift. The music could be heard all over the museum.
March – Music Among Friends
Every year the Wichita Metropolitan Music Teachers Association hosts a music festival for piano students. The theme changes each year and this year’s theme, Music Among Friends, was to encourage students to perform together. Students played with a sibling, parent, friend or teacher. In between performances, there were demonstrations showing students how other musicians work together, including a harp duo, Monday night jammers and an organist.
April – Music Trivia Night
Music Trivia Night has been a huge hit with my students and their families for the past 2 years! It is a combination of an ensemble piano recital and team trivia contest. There are 5 rounds of trivia and prizes for the winning team. We end the evening with snacks and visiting.
May – Music Progressions
Music Progressions is a wonderful program offered by KMTA. It is a 10-level curriculum that evaluates students in performance, theory, listening, technical skills and other areas. It is a good way to for students and teachers to stay on track all year long, plus it shows you exactly what skills students are mastering or need more work on. I prepare all of my students to be ready for Music Progressions, and usually many of them sign up to participate. It has always been a positive experience for us!