JammingDo your students look like this when they listen to Mozart or Beethoven? Probably not… unless you are very lucky to have a student who just loves classical music. Today, I just had to mention an idea that’s got me excited for my studio – inspired by what I read here at Project Inspirare.

All too often, fellow piano colleagues and I lament  the fact that classical music is fading from our students’ interests. And while I love teaching popular music, I miss teaching the music that inspired me to begin playing in the first place. The sonatinas and waltzes that I grew up on are not very interesting to many of my teen students. Sure I can coax them to try a few each year, but really they hold out for the next contemporary flashy piece or pop song from the radio.

As I was searching for ideas, I stumbled upon a short video done by Keane Southard, a composer who’s on a Fulbright fellowship researching El Sistema-type projects in Brazil. If you don’t believe that classical music can appeal to any child, you may change your mind after this short video.

After watching this video, I am convinced that I need to help my children and my students find the joys of Classical music. So I looked up all of the orchestras in the area (lucky to live in the DFW metroplex since there are so many to choose from!) and found out there’s a Gershwin Piano Concerto night coming up that my piano studio will be attending!

My goals for student concert experiences are as follows:

  • An exciting, engaging concert must be selected.
  • Students and parents are invited to attend the concert with myself, their piano instructor.
  • Before the concert, I will present a short lesson to the students, giving interesting background and introductions to each piece. For the concert, I will give them ideas of what to listen for from certain instruments to the use of a musical motive within the piece.
  • Students experience the concert – and hopefully love it.
  • Afterwards the students, parents and I will discuss the concert in a fun social setting. Ice cream any one?

Looking forward to this experience with my students so much! I know many teachers do regular field trips so if you have any advice for me I’d love to hear it. For you teachers who want to try it, here is a copy of the sheet of ideas I sent out to parents as we delve into more classical music this semester!

Download: Developing a Love for Classical Music

Author: Whitney

Whitney Hawker, NCTM, teaches group and private piano at Weber State University, Utah. She loves surprising students with the perfect piece or a new exciting game! After graduate school, she missed sharing ideas and resources daily with colleagues so she and her friend, Spring, began blogging together at 4DPianoTeaching.com