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  • MusicNotes: From the desk of Jennifer Henning

    Summer/Fall 2023

    I think the expression is "It's been a minute"! While it has been quite a while since I updated my website, Henning Music has been alive and well with students learning more and more about music and playing the piano! The time has come to fill you in on all the details.

    The Wisconsin Federation of Music Clubs held in-person District Festivals again starting in February 2022. They were able to secure Concordia University-Wisconsin as their venue. They were also able to re-start holding a State Festival at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee beginning in May of 2022. Most of my students performed in the District Fesitval and several chose to also perform at the State Festival. My students performed in the Piano Solo, Piano Concerto and Music Theory categories and the majority of them earned the highest rating (Superior) for their efforts.

    The Wisconsin School Music Association was able to hold in-person festivals starting in Spring of 2022. Several of my public Middle and High School students took part in these contests. Qualified Class A contestants were able to go on to perform at the State level festivals. Most of my students earned First Division ratings at both the District and the State level. They played in the Piano Solo and Non-Improvisational Jazz Piano Solo categories.

    During 2021 we were able to have recitals, of a sort. Thanks to the help of one of my tech-savvy older students, we produced two virtual recitals and posted them for students and families to view. It was a great way for students and families to feel connected and share their music with one another.

    I'm happy to say we have since had three in-person recitals. The first of these was in the Spring of 2022. The next was just before the 2023 Federation District Festival, and the third was in June of 2023. There's nothing like performing live for family and friends (and the punch and cookies at the post- recital reception aren't bad either!).

    Perhaps the biggest change for Henning Music has been our new address! Late last Summer, I moved to a new house which lends itself quite well to having an in-house piano studio. There is ample parking, a student entrance, a practice keyboard, family waiting area, even WIFI! A digital piano is available for regular lessons, but the good old Steinway A is just a few rooms away and used for special occasions and in preparation for festivals. An added bonus has been watching the deer and turkeys that wander through the yard!

    Speaking of the Steinway, just before Christmas 2022, we had a Holiday Piano Party. At this informal recital, students played music of their choice for their family and friends during a two hour Open House and then enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies. Amazingly, over 60 people attended this afternoon event!

    Lessons will continue through the Summer, which I have always said is a good time to spend learning more about playing piano. It adds a little structure to students' days and practicing helps fill the extra hours available. Plus, just playing music can help calm and relax the player!

    Looking back at the last few years, yes, there were changes for all of us, some challenging, some empowering, some devastating. I'm not sure how we will view those years through the lens of time, but we made it. Remote piano lessons worked. Students learned to play, and I learned a lot more about my computer! I am glad that things have again become rather normal, and I have really come to appreciate that normalcy.

    All the best to students and families. Looking forward to seeing you at lessons this Summer or hearing about your Summer when I see you again in Fall. I do have openings for new students, and if you know anyone who is interested, please share my information with them. Thank you.

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