Life-after-music for teachers might be full of family, work, caregiving, education, etc. For stressful times I recommend a bare-to-the-bones group (master) class rather than anything prep-intensive. I couldn’t have been more pleased with my latest. I use these classes partly to prepare students for a recital, partly to take advantage of teaching in a different setting, and partly to allow them to spend time with others in private instruction (let them know they’re not alone J).
Ahead of Time:
I searched for possible games and found or invented four.
Printed out or gathered materials for games.
Purchased ingredients for snacks and put them together (cookie frosted snowmen and crackers & cream cheese snowmen).
Wrote a list of my goals for the class.
Entered the group/master class into the MTH calendar.
What I Brought:
Four games contained in Ziplock bags (we had time for only two of them, but it’s best to be prepared).
Snack bags for each student (again, I made four extra just in case).
What We Did:
1. Brief discussion of recital etiquette.
I asked for an example of bad etiquette, and my cell phone rang.
Unplanned. Sure, it was funny. But as it turns out, my mother had fallen and
broken a vertebra. My husband was calling from ER. A neighbor had shown up
as my students were arriving, to tell me about her fall. That’s when I turned on
the phone. It turned out to be a great teaching moment—when is it acceptable to
have a cell phone on?
2. How to bow.
A couple of students demonstrated a simple bow. Then we had a few examples of outrageously bad bows.
Each student played a piece for the others, and they made positive, specific comments about each performance. One student faltered pretty badly, and someone highlighted what a great bow he’d done!
**Did you notice that up to this time there were no props? Only the piano, which was already in the room.
4. Two group games.
One game to practice reading rhythms, the other to practice naming keys (Most
of those who came were young beginners). They had a blast!
How it Ended:
I handed out the snack bags. The students not only thanked me for them and for the class, but most told me they’d pray for my mom. How sweet.
How Long the Class Took:
1 hour, 5 minutes.
This is when I became really grateful for the simplicity of the event…
I put game materials back in baggies, grabbed my purse and coat.
Closed the piano lid, turned off the piano light.
Turned down the thermostat.
Turned off lights and locked up.
Drove to the hospital.
Mom had an MRI. We’ll see the surgeon later, so all I can report now is that we are thankful for the care she’s receiving at the hospital.
I’m grateful that I didn’t serve snacks and beverages in the fellowship hall afterward. No vacuuming, no washing floor, dishes and tables, no dozen trips back and forth to load up the car.
Keep It Simple, Sweetie! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.