Sightreading for fun

I love teaching piano during the month of December. We put away the pieces we’re working on, skip the scales and exercises, and spend the lesson time sight reading Christmas music…traditional carols, popular Christmas standards like Mel Tormé’s Christmas Song and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, music from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, piano arrangements from The Grinch, Polar Express, and even arrangements of Transiberian Orchestra pieces. The students choose pieces to learn quickly for the annual Christmas recital/party.  One of my students, who happens to have a lovely voice, chose Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles’ “Winter Song” to perform this year.

Why is this so important to me? Well, as I told another one of my students this week…learning how to play the piano without sitting down and playing through the music you like, is like learning how to read and never picking out a book from the library.

Holiday Recital at The Music Studio

To follow up on my post about the informal holiday recital at the studio, here is a link to a video of Sara Bareilles and Indrid Michaelson recording Winter Song. One of my 8th graders performed this piece and sang it beautifully…no easy task to carry the melody over the rhythmically complicated accompaniment in the middle section.

The short program included Charlie Brown’s Christmas, a Chopin Nocturne, White Christmas, Winter Wonderland, Have Yourself A Merry Little Chritmas, and more favorites. The students (ages 8 to 15) all did well… and the parents loved hearing the music they recognized. And just about all of the pieces were learned and in less than two weeks!

Cookies and candy canes topped off the evening!