2016-2017: “A Musical Year”

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 by Lisa Barwell | Memorization

Week Twenty-Three


For the last several weeks, 15 students and I have been focusing on Federation Festival which is coming up next weekend. Students have been finalizing memorization and doing some last minute polishing of their pieces. We’ve reviewed what they’ll do when they walk into the room with the judge and talked about what to do if they have a memory slip (forgetting a few measures of their music). Duets have been rehearsed, counting has been practiced, and everything is coming together. Now it’s time to send them out to do their best!


This year, to assist with memorization, students assembled a puzzle of their pieces. I cut up copies of their music, sent them home with a zipper bag filled with the pieces, and they returned it glued together on construction paper. Many of the students told me it helped them keep the sections of their music organized in their mind. Awesome!



Here are some students’ reflections that they posted on our “What’s New In Your Musical Mind” poster this week:



Participating in a big event like Federation Festival helps us grow in many different ways, including giving us the opportunity to learn about more aspects of music!

2016-2017: “A Musical Year”

Saturday, February 11, 2017 by Lisa Barwell | Improvisation

Week Twenty-Two

It has been a fun week full of Valentine festivity here in the studio!
Students and I enjoyed playing this Valentine’s Day Improvisation activity together. It’s so freeing to improvise (making up music as you go) and we created some lovely melodies!

Musical minds are continuing to grow! This student learned more about ensemble playing (with three students at the piano).

This young student started playing a piece with sharps. She is enjoying the piece, “Tea at Five, Sharp” from “My Piano Trip to London.”

As a special treat for Valentine's Day, all students received a sweet, musical valentine. Happy Valentine's Day!

2016-2017: “A Musical Year”

Saturday, February 4, 2017 by Lisa Barwell | Games

Weeks Twenty & Twenty-One

Things are busy, busy, busy here in the studio. Federation students are working hard to polish their solos and duets for Festival coming up on February 24 and 25. Preparation has also begun for the March recital. Recital pieces were chosen by the participants and it’s looking like it will be a fun recital, full of interesting pieces!
In between all the serious work, we managed to squeeze in a few games, of course! After all, life can’t be all work and no play, right?
“Puddle Jumper” (reviewing note values) and “Root Canal” (practice with quickly creating root, 1 st inversion, and 2 nd inversion chords on the piano) made appearances again this week. These games are turning out to be studio favorites!


A new activity for the week was “Football Flashcards.” These flashcards really make the learning full-circle because students can fit the card into the piano key to show where it is played, instead of just naming it. Awesome! This led to some students having “breakthrough moments” in their understanding of the keyboard layout.


I love seeing my students enjoying themselves and making music!