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Online Holiday Piano Workshop Week, December 2021

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Wow! We had an unexpected start to our New Year with an enormous snow storm! I am just getting a chance to say Happy New Year and update you on how we spent our Holiday Workshop last December. Spoiler Alert: We had more fun than should be allowed. Better late than never!

I was SO pleased with how our December Holiday Workshop Week turned out!

Our Holiday Workshop included group coachings and special themed lectures. We had two VERY special guest artists give sessions as well. Everyone received Zoom links to attend live workshops of their choice (there were three every day, whew!). All studio members received recordings of workshops to watch at their convenience.

We wrapped up the week with our Zoom Holiday Studio Social. We enjoyed catching up and chatting about our plans for the holidays. Our Wednesday morning group class presented a “Silent Night Ensemble Project.” Susan Bell’s Ensemble Project inspired us, and we had so much fun putting it together!

Here are the Workshop Classes from our Online Holiday Workshop:

Open Group Coaching 

  • Students had a chance to select a piece on which they were working to play for a small group. We worked in a masterclass style. Students received feedback on how they can improve with strategies and specialized techniques.

Goal-Oriented Practice: How to Get Where You Are Not

  • We discussed the four laws of creating positive practice habits. These came from the book, Atomic Habits by James Clear.
  • We also went deeper into how we can shift from mindless practice to intentional practice, such as:
    • Define goals or what you want to achieve. When you know exactly what you want to achieve, you can create a timeline for when you want to achieve those goals. Your mind is clear on your weekly, daily, hourly, and “to the minute” practice routine.
    • Reflect, adjust, and repeat your goals. By taking the time to assess your practice, you can pinpoint what you need to change. Then you can adjust your goal for the next time around. Repeat!

The Most Versatile Instrument: Options and Opportunities at the Piano

  • We discussed the different skills you can learn at the piano. These include reading music, sight-reading, ear training, playing by ear, improvisation, and more!
  • We also studied the basic composition types. These include original compositions and arrangements, lead sheets, and chord charts. We discussed the different ways you can play with and without music. And we studied dozens of musical styles you can choose from.

Sight Reading: Who, Why, What, How, When and Where it Can Take You

  • We discussed the basics of sight-reading. What it is, why you might want to learn this skill, when’s the best time to start, and what you can sight-read.
  • I also shared several recommended apps. These include Supersonics (a membership available in our studio), PianoMaestro, Note Rush, and more. I also recommended sight reading books that can guide you through the process.

I also invited two guest artists to work with students — Bradley Sowash and Susan Bell!

If you have been following my blog you are familiar with Bradley. He is my mentor and advanced jazz teacher who’s always willing to go the extra mile teaching my students! In this session, he worked with us on how to play “Joy to the World” using chords and a lead sheet. So. Much. Fun.

We also had a wonderful NEW guest, Susan Bell! She graced us with her arrangement of “We Three Kings.” Susan is a composer and arranger. She taught us more about theory and arranging popular songs at the piano. She also played some PHENOMENAL new arrangements which were not yet on the market. We are so fortunate to know her!

Everyone enjoyed the week! And we especially loved the holiday-themed music taught by our guest artists. Many thanks to Bradley and Susan!

We are looking forward to another workshop (our Spring Workshop is in June!) as we embark on another piano playing adventure.

May music bring you joy and wellness this year and always!

Interested in learning piano online? Contact us today!