What are your students doing for christmas?

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Postby pianoannie » Tue Nov 29, 2005 10:33 pm

Anyone have unique ideas for holiday recitals or student parties?

I'm having a party for all of my students. They will each play Christmas songs for each other, I'm ordering pizza for everyone, we'll play some music games (not sure what yet), and they will be getting a Christmas ornament with a photo of them at my piano. (I took a picture of each student last week on my digital camera, and when asked why, I just said it was for "a special project") :)

Then at the end of the party, the parents will join us, and each student will play 1 Christmas song, then we'll do an old-fashioned Christmas carol sing-along. (I found out at last year's party that some of these parents sing beautifully, so I'm looking forward to the sing-along!!!)
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Postby Stretto » Thu Dec 01, 2005 8:04 pm

Pianoannie,

That sounds really great !!!!! I love old-fashioned Christmas sing-a-longs and caroling but I don't hear of it done much. One year I had a Christmas recital and one student offered to accompany the sing-a-longs on her own initiative. I was pleased about a student wanting to do something on their own accord and it was a great idea (got me out of it too !!!). Another student wanted to do the same thing and they took turns accompanying.

I used to do a Christmas recital in my home my first few years teaching. It was one of my students who suggested we do it actually. I quit doing one though after that because I was trying to look out for the parents schedules by adding "one more thing" they have to attend in an already hectic month. I decided not much is going on for people in Jan. - April, so I try to have one then. I think everyone really enjoyed the Christmas recital though. No one ever complained about having one, maybe I should get a consensus. But it also is extra stress for me as a teacher on top of all the other Christmas "goings on" unless I could find a location outside of my home for it.

This year I am having a student Christmas Piano Party but it wasn't originally planned as such. I had intended on a fall Piano Party but scheduling, etc. kept pushing it forward so that it landed this month. So . . . I made it a Christmas Party while I was at it. I'm really excited because it is my first student party ever and I think it is going to be a lot of fun! I can't wait! I like the idea of the party as opposed to a recital sometimes because it is less formal, but kid's are still motivated to practice harder since they will have to play for each other. We're going to have pizza here - (I can get the pizza's for $5.00 each at a national chain so it's a lot cheaper than a bunch of snacks or other food). I think parents deserve a break not having to bring something to events all the time either. The students are going to play for each other of course (I might have them comment on each other's playing but require the comments only be good and not negative), have some musical-related games, maybe get a consensus on different things that there's no time to ask them opinions on at lessons. I've asked if anyone wants to play another instrument, make up one of the games, write a short paper on a musical-related topic and read it, or sing, etc.

Pianoannie, I love your picture idea, and having the parents stay afterwards for a mini-performance and sing-along! When are you having it? How long do your parties usually take?
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Postby pianoannie » Thu Dec 01, 2005 9:00 pm

Stretto, this party will be longer than usual. The kids' portion will be an hour and a half, then the parents will come for about 30 minutes (so a couple hours total). But this party will be for all of my students (I usually split them into 2 or 3 smaller groups), so the performances and games will take longer.

What pizza place are you getting $5 pizzas from? I haven't decided which place to order from yet.
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Postby Stretto » Fri Dec 02, 2005 7:26 am

Dominoes has a deal, 3 mediums for $15.00. I think they changed it now to $5.00 per medium. It's just one topping. I don't have very many students right now so won't need to order a whole bunch. Our area "restaurant" prices seem a little lower than other parts of the country and food establishments are a dime a dozen so the competition is possibly more fierce. There's another place, "Papa Murphy's" that has lower prices too, you have to "take and bake" the pizzas. My luck I'd burn one. Fill us in on how your party goes and I'll try to do the same. Mine's on Dec. 11.
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Fri Dec 02, 2005 10:34 am

From Holiday to Pizz.. Remember you live in different parts of the country. In MASS it is more!
Anyway, I have having a student party on Tuesday ( early realease day from school) December 22nd. I had a get together in the fall before lessons began. I prefer having just the students for most of the year so they get used to playing for each other first. The groups usually last one and a half hours, but this one will be two as they really enjoy singing and playing the instruments (lots of boys this year). We do some "work" on rhythm with them and play name that tune and other games. Parents join in the singing as they arrive as they really enjoy it too. We need more singing! I only provide a snack (not as brave as the pizza people). In the old days it was alot of sweets and candy, and now it is grapes and carrot sticks and some cookies. You know, the children still love it!

I will try for two more groups before the end of the year and then the parents will be invied in June. Getting everyone here is hard with all the other activities. I offer two times/days and hope to get everyone to participate.

These groups are GREAT motivators.

Joan
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Postby Stretto » Fri Dec 02, 2005 1:20 pm

loveapiano wrote:I will try for two more groups before the end of the year and then the parents will be invited in June. Getting everyone here is hard with all the other activities. I offer two times/days and hope to get everyone to participate.

That's an excellent idea offering two different days so that hopefully everyone can make it to one.

I'm not having parents come, but I might at a future get together have them come at the end. I thought it would be a good chance for kids to get to know each other and "chit chat" with me about school, activities, etc. as there's never enough time at the lesson just to "chat". (It gives the parents a chance to do something "kidless" during that time as well, :) )

The pizza thing was just an idea this time, an easy way out for me. If the price wasn't that good, I would just go with simple snacks.

While we're on the subject, does anyone have any easy snack ideas? Does anyone provide snacks at recitals? Do you have parents pitch in and bring something? I used to have snacks after recitals when they were in my home but had the parents all bring something. The last place didn't really have a place for having food.
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Fri Dec 02, 2005 5:21 pm

I used to have the students bake something but life seems to have gotten so hectic, there does not seem to be time. Some parents ask and I accept if they are not over whelmed. I suggest they just bring a little. (Have you seen how some, boys, mostly, chow down?! This time of year it is too much.
I also stress NO GIFTS and to give to children in need instead. I used to get gifts that were often given away and the student did not even know what it was...I never turned down cookies and candy though!
Joan :laugh:
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Postby Beckywy » Sun Dec 04, 2005 6:40 pm

Just ended my studio get-together for the students. I put up a tree, and we sat around the table making ornaments from beads and wire and pipe-cleaners. A couple of the students made popcorn strings as garlands for the tree. As we finished each ornament, the kids have the option of taking what they made home or just putting it up on my tree. After an hour, I got bored, and took requests at the piano of christmas tunes they wanted to hear, and we sang. As snacks, I just bought the pilsbury cookie dough and had the teenagers put them in the oven, and we also made christmas chocolate lollipops. All the students know eachother, but hardly have time to talk to eachother - it was nice for all of them to catch up and reconnect.
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Sun Dec 04, 2005 7:36 pm

Becky.
Very ambitious and a wonderful exerience for the children. Did the students play any carols or other pieces on the piano? I love to do the carol singing. One year we sang to the people in my condo building - only 5 were home - but we had fun.
My party is not until the 22nd so the kids will have some holiday music ready to play. One girl has some Hannuka music and several have duets.

Did everyone help clean up? Imagine you will be in be early tonight.
Joan
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Postby Beckywy » Sun Dec 04, 2005 9:24 pm

nobody wanted to play. They just wanted to get-together and talk. They did sing the carols though - especially the younger kids. Clean up was a snap. I still taught lessons today. The party was 2 hours long, and 3 students had lessons immediately after the party, so they stayed and cleaned up while I taught each of them. It's okay, we have 2 group classes coming up in January and February, and they will be performing for eachother then.
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:53 pm

Flexible is the key word, Beckywy. How good of your students to clean up while you taught! Are they older or just better "trained" than her?
I don't think I could teach three lessons after a two hour party! (Maybe in my younger days!)
I am glad you run groups - they are so good! Do you have a theme ?
Any other group/parties planned by other teachers?
Joan
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