It’s Sunday, June 6, and I’m still busy putting the finishing touches on this week’s Spring Workshop! June is one of my favorite months of the year in our studio. It’s fun for both me and my students since we get to do something a little different this month.
In June, we put aside our regular “once a week” lessons. In lieu of the regular schedule, I prepare a week-long workshop so we can dive deeper into topics my students want to learn more about. Classes are offered all day this week, Monday through Thursday. My students choose sessions they’d like to attend that work in their schedule.
Everyone receives Zoom meeting links for the classes they’ve chosen. They also get the recordings for each of their classes. We wrap up the week with a Zoom Studio Social, where we break into small groups and get to know each other a little more. It’s the perfect way to end the week.
So what are we doing this week? Here’s what’s coming up:
- The Intro to Noteflight & Musescore: Notate Your Own Arrangements, Lead Sheets, Prep Sheets, and more!
- Layered Learning: How to Avoid Most Common Practice Mistakes
- Summer Lead Sheet Challenge by Bradley Sowash
- Open Group Class Coaching
We do something extra special during our workshop weeks: I invite special guests to work with my students. Unfortunately, this isn’t a very common practice in private studios, but it happens all the time in academia. In College and University Music Schools, it’s common for an outside guest to be invited to work with students. They tend to be formal and (sometimes) quite intimidating.
I wanted my students to have the same valuable experience without the formality. I wanted our special guests to have FUN with my students! And of course, to grace my students with their expertise and unique approach to learning.
This workshop we are inviting Bradley Sowash and Leila Viss. Bradley is my mentor and advanced jazz teacher, while Leila is a friend and professional colleague of mine! Bradley visited us a little early last Tuesday evening. He taught us how to play and bring “Let it Be” to the next level! My students were thrilled with what they learned and got a chance to hear Bradley play a bit for us as well!
This coming Wednesday, Leila will show us how to play “Piano Man” at different levels, from beginners to intermediate players. We’re so excited to have her enthusiasm and expertise!
Read a little about Bradley and Leila below!
Bradley Sowash is a jazz pianist, composer, and educator specializing in improvisation. After many years as a touring performer and recording artist, he turned his attention to introducing “recovering classical pianists” to the joys of musical creativity in online jazz piano classes, at teacher conferences, and through his widely-acclaimed publications.
As an educator, he pioneered live online group jazz piano lessons, co-founded 88 Creative Keys with Leila Viss, and is a frequent presenter at national music conferences and webinars.
After graduating with a Master of Arts Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Denver, she opened an independent piano studio in Colorado. She also started a blog including music app suggestions, dynamic teaching tips, off-bench activities, etc..
With her fascination with the iPad, Leila also published a book called The iPad Piano Studio: Key to Unlocking the Power of Apps that was first released in 2013.
In 2013 and 2014, she helped plan the MTNA Jazz/ Pop Tracks and served as chair of the Creative Pianist. Trach for the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy 2015.
Currently, she teaches around 25 students ranging in age from 7 to 77. Between lessons, she also develops new posts and products for LeilaViss.com.
This is one of the busiest weeks of the year for me. I spend late nights preparing, making sure that everything is complete, confirming students’ attendance and ensuring all the details are in place. Thank goodness I have my wonderful assistant Joana, because I get to focus on what I love the most – my students and their joy of playing. If you are interested in learning how to play or have questions, I hope you will reach out soon!