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  • MusicNotes: From the desk of Jennifer Henning

    Hurray for Summer! Swimming and hiking and baseball and tennis, art classes and camping and fireworks and piano lessons! Our Summer piano teaching schedule started Monday June 13th and will come to an end on Wednesday August 31st. Summer is a great time to continue lessons because, even though there are exciting distractions (which enrich everyone's life!) there is more time available during the day for that all-important thing - practice. With no upcoming recitals or festivals, Summer is a good time for students to expand their repertoire, increase their memorizing skills and progress more rapidly through their method books.

    The ever-popular "1000 Minute Club" contest is on again. Students will keep track of their practicing and try to achieve a goal of 1000 minutes during Summer lessons. I wonder how many members the club will welcome this year? There will be prizes for all members!

    Another contest (mostly for beginning and intermediate students) is the Memorizing Contest. Students are encouraged to memorize one or two (or more!) pieces of music for each of their Summer lessons, and at the end of the Summer, the students who memorized the most pieces earn prizes.

    Backing up a bit, six students qualified for the Wisconsin School Music Association State Festival this year. In order to qualify, students must play Class A music and receive a Starred First rating at their District Festival. At State, three students received Division One ratings, and three students received Division Two ratings. Congratulations are in order for all six students!

    We held our Spring Recital on Sunday May 22nd at Grace Lutheran Church in Thiensville. 25 students performed piano solos. In addition, one student played a saxophone solo, another student accompanied herself on piano as she sang, still another student played a piano/violin duet with her Mom, yet another student played a piano duet with her Mom, and there were four more student duets and one student trio. It was quite an interesting musical event!

    We also said Farewell to four graduating high school seniors this year. Two of them are continuing their music education as they move on to college, one in vocal/choral music education and the other in general music.

    Looking forward, our School Year teaching schedule will start the week of September 5th, with lessons again scheduled for Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. It's Christmas Piano Party year, and this year's party will be at my house on Sunday December 11th. The Wisconsin Federation of Music Clubs Northshore Junior Music Festival will again take place at Concordia University in Mequon on a February Saturday (date still to be decided). About a week before the Federation auditions, we will have a recital enabling students to perform their Federation and Solo-Ensemble pieces for an audience before performing them for adjudication. Wisconsin School Music Association District Festivals take place from late February to mid-March.

    A few words of advice before I close: in order to be successful learning to play piano, it's very important to try to find the best time of day to practice, and then stick to it. Regular practice is what separates the good from the best students. Parents can be helpful in choosing that "best time" and then offering reminders and maybe rewards as needed.

    As always, if you have friends, neighbors, classmates or other family members who are interested in piano lessons, please send them to my website, ask me for a business card, or give them my phone number for more information. Thank You!

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