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Friday, September 12, 2014

A Quest for Virtues - Theme for the New Piano Year

Earlier this week when I attended a classroom event in my child's school, I was impressed with their classroom focus on 5 character traits.  The week's theme was on Perserverance so they copied the poem Try Try Again to start out the day. I appreciate her teacher's efforts to utilize classic character concepts while teaching the basics of writing, reading, science and history.  Although I was an "A" student, now that I'm approaching my 40s I realize that although I can no longer regurgitate my geometry theorems, fluently conjugate my Spanish verbs, or label all of the county's and county seats of state where I no longer live.  But the process of learning these bits of information instructed me in the more lasting virtues of being conscientious and persistent even when some school subjects weren't interesting to me.

So when I brainstormed my entry for the Most Creative Piano Quest at Teach Piano Today
I chose the theme “A Quest for Virtues.” Next year I want to issue specific challenges each month tied to virtues.  Following are the themes I came up with but plan to fine tune over the next few months.
Creative – Compose and Share an Original Composition at a Recital or Group Performance.
Honest – Accurately report your practice minutes/efforts consistently.
Optimistic – Be positive about your own accomplishments or attitude at lessons.
Precise – Pay attention to the details (dynamics, artistry, fingering, etc.).

Thoughtful – Analyze, think through ways to portray a piece artistically before diving in to something new.
Knowledgeable – Older Students Read “Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers” (Highlights specific virtues in lives of composers), Younger listen to ClassicsforKids podcasts about Composers and elements of music history/form.
Persistent – Focussed practice on tough spots in music or a focus on technique.
Giving – Compose a “thank-you piece” with lyrics for someone who has helped you (parent, teacher, mentor, grandparent, etc.) or perform at a nursing home, veteran’s home, benefit concert, etc.
Cooperative – Learn a duet or collaborative piece.
Perceptive  - Listen more closely to your own music (rhythm, artistry, dynamics, ear training, articulation) and the music of others.
Courageous - Challenge yourself by improving yours skills in an area that is difficult for you (Perform for a group from memory, Accompany at church, Compose and transcribe a song, Teach a concept at group lessons
Conscientious – Take ownership of your piano progress by practicing regularly and recording practice steps completed above each section.  Level up in scales/technique/theory.

What other virtues do you think apply to piano study?..............
.. How could I forget patience?

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