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Outdoor Performance, Points & Practice

With the weather turning cooler, it feels a little odd to promote an outdoor music program, but that's what we're going to do. Saturday afternoon, October 15, 4:00 pm, Forte will gather outside at the Community Center and play away! Please bring your own lawn chairs or blankets to sit on for all who listen. Performers will be playing on the steps that face Railroad Street, the front of the building.

This is casual, informal and optional for students to participate in. I anticipate many will be able to share the great work they've been doing over the summer and already this fall with a piece that they have ready. Refreshments provided! Please let me know if you're able to participate!

Looking ahead at other performance opportunities I anticipate a late February gathering at Poplar Run Stone Ridge which will be all hymns. This doesn't hit everyone but for some it will be delight, especially the Stone Ridge residents. I'll get more information to you as I have it.

Week Away

If you are Donna's student, please remember I will not be here next week, October 3-7 as we will be away with parents & siblings. Derek, Jim & Jolene will continue on as normal.

T-Shirt Winner . . .

. . . will be chosen at the end of Thursday. Many of you are coming wearing your Forte t-shirts. Thanks! You still have this week to get your name in the bucket one more time. Oh, and I'm adding another color. Some are weighing in on what they think it should be.

Lesson Points and Practice

I, Donna, have asked my students to begin tracking practice days once again. Last year I barely asked this and points were basically nonexistent. You already know this about anything we try to

learn in life, that the more time we spend, the more we learn (or the faster we go). So, for those who think that learning to play the piano in 30 -60 minutes at a lesson will suffice, it's just not true. It takes time & work throughout the week.

My heart concerning practice goes something like this: Of course, practicing for 45 minutes a day is wonderful. Some who are older & have been studying for several years have the ability to do that, because of age & level. I have students who put in a lot of time. Hence, reward!! However, for our younger, just beginning students, probably 10 minutes is more perfect for them. There simply isn't enough material to fill up a longer time of practice. Whether we practice for an hour or just a few minutes, I do not believe that setting a timer is the way to go. That's why I don't ask them to meet a time quota before they should give themselves a check for the day. I ask them to put a check if they got to the piano & practiced at all. They have to decide if their 7 minutes was truly of profit or if it was simply a pass-by where they played their favorite song. I can't & won't police that.

It is so helpful to have routine & a set time that piano gets fit in. Almost everyone can make progress in steps towards the larger goal of having the whole piece. Rather than time, I'm asking them to set goals. This discussion is probably for 4th grade & up. What do you want to fix today? Is it this measure that trips them up every time it's played? Are you learning the first section? Does the tempo need to push forward? Is it teaching your fingers the arrangement of that new chord? Getting a specific thing done, or several specific parts, is more helpful than just a run-thru of the song. This is a separate skill that needs honing & development. It's part of our discussion, or will be, as we've taken much of September to take short minutes to talk about points.

Elementary students work towards accumulating 50 points which earns them simple goodies in the "red box". The cycle continues until the close of this school year. Older students will likely choose a small gift card, but they work to 150 points before receiving one of those. Points are also given if they attend musical concerts, switch books, participate in performance . . . I'll show you the paper if you want.


They're coming this week. We appreciate your promptness & attention to these.

You've made it to the end! Thanks!


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