About the Spring Festival 2018

This year the studio hosted a Spring Festival.  Students were invited to attend as many of the five events as they wished.

Our first two events featured special guests.  Melissa Goodchild was invited to give a workshop on improvisation.  She brought over a whole bunch of percussion instruments for students to try out as a part of her workshop.Melissa's Percussion instruments
Tuesday, Janna Willard discussed composition with students.  Prior to the festival students have worked on composing by ear as well as experimenting with aleatory (chance music – some students wrote pieces with the help of dice).  Thus, it was really interesting to meet a local composer and learn about a different method of composing.  We got to learn a little about how theory and composing can work together.

Wednesday, we made composer collages.  This year’s composer of choice was J. S. Bach.  Whilst the collage was put together we listened to music by this composer, looked at instruments from Bach’s time, and discussed fun history facts.

Inside of composer lapbook

Thursday was the music games night – students were invited to come over and play some of the studio’s musical games.  These focus on a variety of areas of theory ranging from beginner to advanced levels, so  there were games for students of all ages and years of study.  Having the chance to try out some new games is a fun way to learn!

The week ended with a mini-recital.  This was very well attended – many students came, as well as some family members.  Students had a chance to play multiple pieces for each other, and had time for a few group activities at the end as well.

 

Thanks to everyone who came out to these events.  It was wonderful to have some guests in the studio and for students to have a chance to try out some new and interesting musical activities.  I’m looking forward to planning next year’s spring festival!

In the studio: 2017 news

It has been a busy fall in the studio!  Students have been collecting music badges for their practicing, participated in recitals, worked on a musical time line, and have learned a lot of great music.  Students worked on Compositions for November, and we will continue to be working on finishing these compositions and typing them into Musscore (a music notation program) as we proceed into the new year.  The Brainy practicing challenge has just wrapped up, also – updates about this will be posted soon!

Origami Music star decoration

In performance news, I took part in the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra’s November Master Series concert and their Nutcracker meets Duke Ellington concerts.  I’m looking forward to the Night In Vienna concert, which takes place December 30th.  The October Classical Variety Night concert I organize was lovely, and I’m already planning the next one, which is scheduled for February the 4th.

It’s been a fun year in the studio, and I’m looking forward to continuing to make some great music with students in 2018!

November Composition Project 2017

For November, students are working on compositions!  This is a great month to work on this as it’s also National Novel Writing Month – a nice time of year to create new things!  We’re composing using a variety of methods.  Some students are writing their songs out by hand and others are beginning by putting songs they’ve already finished into Musscore, a notation program.  Students who are writing them out by hand will get help from me to input them into the computer, so at the end of this process, all will have a typewritten copy of the music they have made.

A handwritten composition

We’re writing compositions using a variety of methods.  Some students are using dice and the composition wheel on my “Decide Now” app to help them write.  (Composers of modern music call this ‘aleatoric’ music – there’s a cool word you can use in conversation!)  We’ve also composed by selecting a rhythm and inventing a melody to suit it.  A few students are composing songs by ear at home, so they are at the stage of typing them up.  We do this in lesson – it’s a great way for students to see how notation works and to learn more about notes and rhythms.

It’s been fun to hear all the interesting compositions students come up with – we’ll continue to work on these throughout the month of November and into December.

Winter Recital 2016

This afternoon the studio had it’s winter recital for 2016.  Students  worked hard and did a lot of practicing – thanks to everyone for sharing their music!

A lot of preparation is involved in learning recital music.  Practicing pieces to learn notes, rhythm, and dynamics (and all the rest) is the first step, but as recitals get closer, students start getting used to performing.  Playing for family, recording themselves, and doing a practice run through are some ways.  In the studio, students rehearsed their pieces for Rudolph, who was an enthusiastic audience member.  He did a great job helping students remember to bow.

Rudolph the Reindeer

 

At today’s recital, students performed a number of solo pieces and some ensemble pieces.  There were a few piano duets, a piano and clarinet piece, a piano and clarinet quartet, and a piano and violin duo.  One student played a piece she composed herself, which was really fun to hear.  We finished up the concert with everyone playing ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ together – some on piano, and many on various percussion instruments.

Thanks everyone for taking part – the residents at Stensrud Lodge undoubtedly enjoyed the music, and it’s a fun way to celebrate all the pieces students have learned so far this term!

Brainy, Puffy, and Concert Programs

Composing for NaNoWriMo

This year in the studio we worked on composing music during the month of November.  November seemed a great time to do this as it’s also National Novel Writing Month.  Thus, it seemed like a good time of year to be working on a musical kind of composing!  All students worked on writing pieces, and after November finished, I typed them up in a music notation program.  Since then, we’ve been adding and editing what we’d written so far.  it was a lot of fun, and was a great opportunity for students to try their hand at creating their own music!

Staff paper and Pen