Brag Tags = Motivation = Goals Achieved

Back in September, I decided to do something different with how I motivate my students. I usually do a prize box and have them earn music money, but I was finding that I was spending a lot of money on prizes (and probably being too loose in giving out $). I loved the idea of Brag Tags when I saw another piano  teacher post a few of hers on piano teacher central Facebook page. I have an incredible studio assistant, Tiana Page,  who designed all my tags that I use. I love this idea because I know that in order for a student to earn a tag, they have to accomplish the task.  When students reach 20 tags, then they are awarded a prize (fidget spinners, silly putty, etc.).

At the start of each school year, I have a studio party to light the fire in each student and get them motivated to practice. We talk about goals and how to practice. This year, my students made these fun carabiner clips to attach their tags on. I will say … cutting and laminating the tags took FOREVER. To help in this time consuming task, I asked one of my student laminate and cut while I taught their sibling.  Students love to help! At the studio party the older students made the braids for the younger students because it was a bit difficult for them to figure out. Each student picked out the colors that they wanted.

Here are the tags that my assistant created and you are all welcome to download them. Enjoy!

Brag Tags by Tiana Page

Studio Notes: January 2018

Studio Notes: January 2018
The newsletter of Leavitt Piano Studio

Dear Parents,
Happy New Year! This is a great season to recommit ourselves to routines–especially piano practice! There are many exciting events coming up this spring and now is the time to help your students establish the habits to help them prepare.
Please pay attention to the important event reminders and the forms that need to be submitted by in order to participate in these upcoming events.

Tuition Due by Friday

My apologies for the delay in sending out your invoices. Everyone should have received theirs by now. Send send in payment promptly.

Makeup Lessons

I am offering make up lessons on the following mornings:
Monday,  Jan15
Friday, Jan 26
Monday, Jan 29These are for those whose lessons were cancelled when I was sick. FCPS is closed on all these days. Please email me to arrange a time.


Adjudicated Performance Events

Student registration and tuition covers the cost of participation in one adjudicated performance event, either Spring Festival or Keyboard Gymnastics. Students are more than welcome to participate and receive awards in both, for an additional fee of $18 per event (solo or concerto).  Adjudicated performance events are an excellent way for students to develop important performance experience, as well as see their improvement over time. Please double check your calendar to make sure that your can participate!
1. Spring Festival
DateMarch 9-10, 2018
Time: TBA
Location: Columbia Baptist Church, 103 West Columbia Street, Falls Church, VA 22046.
Sponsored by the Springfield Music Club, part of the National Federation of Music Clubs
In order to participate in Spring Festival, you MUST submit this registration form by Friday,January 12.
Students only have 8 or 9 weeks to prepare for this event, so consistent practice needs to be a priority. If students are not prepared by the Performance Class on March 2, I will kindly ask them to withdraw. Preparing for an event like this cannot be crammed at the last moment. Pieces need time to develop for all aspects of learning to solidify. It also helps their confidence immensely! It also takes time to master the technical aspects of the piece. 
No refunds are available once registration is submitted. The amount of events I submit determines how many sessions I will be judging, so please be sure that you can be there once you commit. I had a few students cancel last year and I still ended up judging for those hours, so please check your schedule and make sure you can attend before you commit. 
2. Keyboard Gymnastics
DateSaturday, April 7, 2018
Time: TBA
This private event will feature both solo and concerto events, and will have a guest judge. As with Spring Festival, consistent practice must be a priority if students are to be prepared. Additionally, no refunds will be available once registration is submitted. Registration will open in March. Students may choose to participate in this event as well as Spring Festival for an additional $18 per event.

Upcoming Studio Events

Performance Class
DateSaturday, March 2, 2018
Address: Leavitt Piano Studio
This event with be offered by invitation for those students participating in an adjudicated performance event. 
Bach-Baroque Festival
DateSaturday, April 7, 2018
Time: TBA
Location: Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 8922 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22003
This is an optional event for selected students, with an additional fee of $20. 
Spring Recital
DateSaturday, 19 May
Time: Two recitals, starting at 2pm
Location: Music Spectrum School, 465 Herndon Parkway, Herndon, VA 20170
Family and friends are invited. This recital is to celebrate accomplished goals and achievements through hard work, dedication and consistent practice. Students are awarded certificates and gold cups for participating in Keyboard Gymnastics, and Bach-Baroque Festival.

Piano Practice Pointers

Piano Practice Pointers 

  1. Be consistent. Practice a little EVERY day. This is far more beneficial than one or two long practice sessions a week.
  2. Schedule/Routine. Have a certain time each day that is set aside specifically for your practice. It will then become part of your daily routine. Split your daily practice into even smaller time chunks, i.e. technical work in the morning and longer pieces in the afternoon/evening.
  3. Small Sections. Learn each piece a phrase at a time. Practice each phrase S-L-O-W-L-Y until you have it, and then go to the next phrase.
  4. Quality vs. Quantity. Starting at the beginning of the piece and playing through to the end each time you practice is not an effective use of your time. You are merely practicing mistakes! If you keep practicing your mistakes you will be very good at playing them.
  5. Mix it up! Sometimes start in the middle of your piece and work to the end, or start with the last phrase and work backwards by section.
  6. Record. Regularly record yourself playing and listen carefully to it.
  7. Slippery Spots. Each piece has a tricky or technical section. Focus on the these phrases rather than just the sections that you like to play.
  8. Listen. Find recordings of your piece being performed by excellent players.