|Posted on May 20, 2019 at 12:15 AM|
It's the first ever Hannah Mayo Music Blog post! I'm excited to share with you that the first ever blog post is about the first ever (but certainly not last) Piano Party.
So, what's a piano party? A piano party can be anything you make it, but here's how a Hannah Mayo Music Piano Party looks...and sounds.
Before the playing started, I explained to everyone that chatting and moving around the room were to be expected and not to get bent out of shape if it wasn't completely quiet while they played.
I held this party in the fellowship hall of a local church with a nice grand piano on a small stage. The church provided 8 foot tables (with chairs). I covered each table with a long sheet of butcher paper, purchased at Hobby Lobby for $14.99/roll. I brought packs of markers, crayons, and colored pencils and put one of each on every table for party goers to draw on the butcher paper. I knew the kids would love it, but I was delighted to see that the parents were into it as well!
As people were arriving, each student drew a number to determine the order of performances. These numbers also served as door prize drawing numbers. I had a table full of prizes (comprised of random things from around my studio and house). Each student could choose one prize when their number was called. Every 15-20 minutes, I would call 5 or 6 numbers.
The week leading up to the party, each family signed up to bring a party snack (or ice or drinks, etc.) They fixed their plates and drinks as a fellow pianist and friend of mine performed Mozart's Sonata in D Major for 4 Hands. Once we finished playing, the students began performing. Some played one piece, some played two. Some played high classcial, some played and sang a pop song, some played duets...lots of variety. I announced each student and the title of their piece.
If a student received any award from a festival or competition, I presented it to him/her after their performance. When all had played, I made some closing remarks (where I cried tears of joy and pride *facepalm*) and folks took pictures at the piano. A few families stayed to help clean up...I love my piano people! The whole thing went 2:00-4:00 PM, which might seem long for a piano recital...but remember...it's not a recital...
It's a party!
Snacks and drawing on the tables really helps keep everyone from getting antsy, so two hours didn't feel that long. Also, keep in mind that I had just over 30 students playing! I'm already thinking about ways to improve the next piano party.
Sidenote: I love recitals and more formal concerts! We have formal recital opportunites throughout the year and I encourage students to participate in those as well. For the spring performance, I wanted to try something casual and fun. The piano party may not be for everyone, but my piano posse really enjoyed themsleves and the students were so relaxed. Families were getting to know each other. One of my favorite moments was when a student from the preschool institute where I do early choldhood music and piano (she was attending with her older sister) decided midway through the party that she wanted to play her favorite piece from Keyboard Games Book A, whcih I absoluely let her! I don't think she would have felt comfortable enough to get up in front of a bunch of spectators and do that in a formal recital setting. This performance format allowed her the positive vibes she needed to be mighty and share a song with the audience.
Are you looking for a fresh new way to liven up your performances and have some fun with your student recitals? Try a party!