Every Christmas, I find myself retroactively wishing that my students would have:
- Learned more Christmas pieces
- Played more Christmas pieces for family, friends, and people in general
So this year, I decided I would be pro-active and challenge my students to prepare “Six Seasonal Songs to Share” with at least 6 different people in 6 different settings. I told them that I would give them some kind of small prize at the Christmas group lesson if they accomplished this goal. I think just the thought of having at least 6 polished Christmas pieces is exciting enough for them, so they are eagerly working on their pieces this week!
I created a silly little form called Six Seasonal Songs to Share for them to track their pieces and their people. I say silly because I hate clipart, but had to use it since I was short on time. I’m going to share this with you and hopefully some of you can challenge your students as well. Here are the guidelines that I gave my students:
- Your pieces have to be actual arrangements (or complete pieces if the students are young enough that their pieces are simply tunes). I had to do this because I had a student ask, “Can I just play this?” and then proceeded to pick out Jingle Bells by ear. I’d be very open to them playing pieces by ear, but they need to work on them beforehand so that they are polished and not merely “picking it out.” The idea is that they sit and artistically perform a piece for someone to give them practice in performing. The more students perform in front of others, the more comfortable they are with this.
- As you polish the piece, we will record the name of the piece on the front of your form.
- At any time when you have at least 2 pieces polished, you can take your form with you to any setting and play for any group of people (except your mother who hears you practice all the time). The people must be listening to your pieces (not be in the other room).
- You must find one person in the group to sign the back of your form saying they heard at least 2 of your pieces.
So this year, I will hopefully look back on the Christmas piano season and be excited about how many pieces my students learned and how many people for whom they performed.
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Thumbnail image from Ed Yourdon