Committed Students + A Great Method = A Terrific Recital

Potluck Creative Arts Lesson LineSimply Music

We had our annual Spring Recital this past weekend, and it’s really driven home for me how astonishing the Simply Music method is in what it has made possible for my students. At the bottom, I’ll include any videos that are sharable here and/or links to where you may be able to see them elsewhere, and I believe that what I have to say here about my students will add tremendously to your appreciation in watching the performances.

Congratulations to all my students who participated in the recital, for:

  • Their lovely performances.
  • Their willingness to get up in front of an audience to share their music and express themselves.
  • Keeping cool in the face of small mistakes, fixing what they needed to, and going right on.
  • Memorizing their repertoire — something we quickly come to take for granted, since it’s part of the method from the very beginning of lessons, but which still amazes me whenever I stop to think about it.

Special thanks to those students who presented original compositions, improvisations, variations and medleys. I’m so glad to help students learn to create their own music, and even more grateful for those who were willing to share their creations with the audience. These are always some of the highlights of our recitals.

Finally, I am impressed truly to the point of astonishment by the work my most advanced students did with their self-chosen pieces — Tessa with “He’s a Pirate” from the film Pirates of the Caribbean, and Sophie with “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” from the musical Les Miserables. They showed so well what’s possible for every single Simply Music student, genuinely amazing me by:

  • Choosing such sophisticated pieces for themselves, a leap in complexity over probably anything else we’ve ever done together, using the standard sheet music that’s widely available as opposed to simplified versions, and all without thinking twice.
  • Essentially teaching those pieces to themselves, with extraordinarily little need to consult with me, even though I offered extra support many times!
  • Doing such a thorough job in their self-learning that they barely even looked at the page during the recital, using sheet music not as a script to follow but as a tool to help them create something that, once created, allows them to set the tool aside.
  • Accomplishing all of this with their very first self-chosen reading pieces, which is even more impressive when you consider that this was just the 13th piano piece each of them ever learned from sheet music after completing the mere dozen actual pieces in the Simply Music reading program.

It was only a year before that I first had a student, Tessa’s older brother Ethan, reach this point in the program. Everything I just said about Tessa and Sophie also astounded me with Ethan’s recital performance of his first self-chosen reading piece, the Five for Fighting song “100 Years.” Having gotten to this level with only these few students so far, I’m still new to experiencing such results for myself, and they feel rather miraculous. Yet all of this, too, is in the very design of the Simply Music method. I look forward to the day when I start taking these reading results for granted along with what the rest of the method helps students accomplish!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Simply Music is like night and day compared to traditional methods, and I only wish I’d found it sooner. It’s a marvel that this method makes truly independent musicianship attainable for everyone.

The promise of any method, though, can only be made good by the work put in. So congratulations to my students of all ages who practice diligently, and to the parents whose active involvement supports their kids through it all. This is where the rubber meets the road, where students come to own their pieces, letting the music live in their heads and in their hands. This is what it means to have real fluency in the language of music, and it’s what we make real from day one.

I’m proud to be able to support my students in that accomplishment.

Some recital videos appear in this status update on the Potluck Creative Arts Facebook page. I duplicated the status update under my personal Facebook profile as well. Like much else in Facebook, videos are subject to privacy/sharing options set by the poster, so you may not be able to watch the videos. Beyond general reasons people might make more restrictive choices, parents can be extra protective of online references to kids. If you haven’t yet Liked the PCA Page or Friended me personally, doing might change the videos’ visibility for you.

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