In her recent website newsletter, Wendy Stevens described a holiday project she designed. She asked her piano students to learn the theme of the “Jingle Bell” chorus and create a variation. Each arranger was filmed debuting his/her arrangement and made into a lovely video.
Fortunately, Wendy shares her marvelous teaching ideas and inspirations on her unique website www.composecreate.com. Subscribing to her free newsletter provides me with numerous ideas and resources. I must give full credit to her for the subject of this blog and am so thankful to find her as a continual resource of inspiration.
When preparing for the upcoming holiday recital, lesson time can be zapped by ironing out wrinkles in performance pieces or drilling the performance etiquette routine. Little time is left for covering new concepts or new pieces. This calls for an assignment that captures the students’ attention, challenges their creativity and that can be accomplished in a short amount of time.
The following steps were taken to prepare students:
1) A lead sheet featuring the melody and chord symbols was reviewed. Early level students were provided with a simple LH version.
2) For inspiration, students were asked to listen to Mozart’s Twelve Variations on “Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman” and follow along with the score. Next they watched the youtube video of Wendy’s students. (As I offer 30-minute lessons with a 30-minute lab time, this was assigned during the lab time and did not take away from lesson time.) [···]