On Meetings & Creative Practicing Ideas

We had our Annual General Meeting for Calgary ARMTA yesterday morning. It’s official: I am the Second Vice President for the 2006/07 Executive. Barring any unforeseen life changing circumstance, I will become the President in two years. But for now, it simply means that I get to add a few more projects onto my plate, such as the Honours Recital, which showcases students who performed superbly on their music exams and implementing some of the new membership benefits and programs we plan to offer. After I complete my advertising drive for our branch’s newsletter, my next order of business will be to find and train my successor. I’ll still be involved with maintaining our branch’s website.

Kudos to Barbara Robertson, our Past President, who did her best to keep the rest of us on track (somedays that was a challenge!). Beth Olver, this year’s President, brings a lot of board member experience and progressive ideas. I’m looking forward to the upcoming year.

We also had a guest speaker prior to the AGM. Calgary piano teacher/clinician/pianist Colleen Athparia presented a talk on creative ways to practice – to keep things fresh. Some ideas were new, while others were a good reminder of what has worked in the past and should be tried again.

In the spirit of “keeping things fresh”, I deliberately changed the order to today’s lessons. I’ve fallen into the habit of starting with technical exercises, followed by repertoire, then theory and aural/sight reading/rhythm exercises. Some students started with theory and ear training today, while others were asked to play arpeggios instead of scales first. One student took great delight in playing Oh Canada backwards. Another got a kick out of crossing her hands and then playing Aloha Oe, while another thought it strange that I asked her to play the f# melodic minor scale as slowly as she possibly could (I wanted her to listen to the sound decay of each note). All in all, it made for an interesting afternoon and evening. I wonder how I can shake up the rest of the week?

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