Monday Mailbag – More About Piano Camp

One of my readers asked a handful of great questions as a follow-up to last week’s Carnival of the Animals Summer Piano Camp post. I think I’ll just do a question and answer format for the whole post to make it easy to read!

Q. What was the schedule? 5 days per week?
Yes, we met 5 days of the week for 2 hours each day.

Q. How many students ? Did you divide them into age appropriate groups? How old were your students that participated?
I had between 15-20 students total that I divided into three groups based on age, level, and availability as indicated in the Summer Survey that I had parents complete mid-spring for planning purposes. I ended up with one high school group, and two younger elementary-aged groups.

Q. I am wondering if 5th and 6th graders are too old to be interested in coloring?
For the high school students, I didn’t do the Carnival of the Animals theme. We did an Isaac Watts film project as our main focus in addition to working on an ensemble piece. 5th and 6th grade is a hard call…the creative types would probably do okay, but it would depend a lot on the individual students, I think.

Q. You mentioned the music, which is early intermediate+, so I am wondering if you had students that were advanced enough to play the music in the Schott book and also enjoyed the coloring?
Most of the students in the Carnival of the Animals groups were not advanced enough to actually play these pieces fluently. That’s why I either had them read just the melody line, or even taught it to them by rote. We focused more on capturing the overall mood of the piece than on the details of the printed music.

Q. You mentioned that you had them play the music as best they could…did they take home pieces to practice for the next day? If not, what parameters did you set as you introduced the music to the group? Did a small group play the same piece together? Or did different students play different pieces?
I did not send this music home with the students. They were expected to practice their parts for their other ensemble pieces, though. When I introduced the music to the group, I usually let the students determine who would play the melody and who would play the various instruments. Other than the one playing the melody, the others pretty much improvised based on the overall effect we wanted to create. They loved using the xylophone, various rhythm instruments, and different settings on the little keyboards I have. All the students played the same piece at the same time. I let them each spend a few minutes working on their own, developing the sounds and ideas they liked, and then we tried putting it all together. Some definitely turned out better than others, but the process and experience were so much fun!

Hopefully this additional info is helpful!

Remember, if you have a question you’d like to contribute to next week’s Monday Mailbag, leave it in the comments below or send me an e-mail sometime this week with Monday Mailbag in the subject line!

Share and enjoy!

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