Posted by: Marie | October 18, 2012

(730) Collaborative genius

Post #730
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, November 23, 2011]

Well, we had our fall recitals this past weekend. Thirty-eight students performed, so I divided them up into three recitals – one on Saturday afternoon and two on Sunday afternoon. Including all three recitals, I estimate that we had an aggregate audience of 125 people.

One of my client families has a commercial self-store storage facility and a U-Haul dealership. Therefore, they have commercial-grade moving equipment. And, their family is made up of tall, strong people, including the teenage children who are my students.

When they came for their lesson on Thursday evening, they helped me move the heavy furniture and all three of my pianos (one acoustic and two digital) into place for the recital. There is no way I could have done that by myself, so that was a blessing to have their help. They performed in the second recital on Sunday, so they stuck around afterward and helped me move everything back into place that afternoon. Again . . . such a blessing!

The Mountain View by Martin Chen

And, one of my students planned to sing as she played. I have a microphone, but I don’t have a mic stand nor an amplifier. So, I contacted a local guitar teacher with an 80-student studio and asked if I could borrow those things. We have had contact a few times before – in fact, she has been a role model and mentor for me in matters concerning the format and function of my studio. She gladly loaned me that equipment. That was yet another blessing.

My mentor (on matters of teaching) and piano teacher, Kelly, is the choir and theater teacher at one of the local middle schools. She offered the use of a Roman-esque backdrop that her students had made from refrigerator boxes and acrylic paint. The backdrop had been used in their latest theatrical production. Since it was made from cardboard, it folded up (accordion-style) small enough to fit in my car. So, a couple of days before the recitals, I swung by her school and picked it up.

When I got the backdrop to the studio, I was tickled to see how large it was – it was about 65 inches tall (165cm) and could expand up to 30 feet (9m) wide. It had white/gray roman pillars painted onto a “marbled” hunter green background – very rich colors. I loved it! It sure looks much better than the blank pale yellow walls punctuated with a multitude of cubbyholes and windows!

Kelly also offered to buy bouquets of green and silver balloons to accent the stage area – I took her up on her offer! She is so artistic and visually-oriented! I tend to not be so concerned about stuff like that – I tend to be content with utilitarian surroundings. I’m so glad there are people in my life who enjoy taking care of those “foo-foo” details for me!

I had planned to play my composition, “Pieces of Me” – with me playing the acoustic piano, accompanied by a group of string instrument (played by the synthesizer software on my computer, which produces quite realistic soundtracks). I didn’t get enough practice time before the weekend and didn’t feel ready to attempt it on Saturday, so I didn’t play anything on Saturday. But then, I had time to practice on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. So, I felt somewhat ready to perform it on Sunday.

I did perform it in the first Sunday performance, but I totally blew the most difficult part . . . I tried to fake it through that part, but that didn’t work so well . . . and I blew it even worse on the second Sunday performance. Oh, well . . . I guess I can use it as a teachable moment on how to handle a flop performance, LOL.

Kelly’s two boys played in the Saturday recital, and she performed a piano piece as our guest artist on Saturday. On Sunday (both recitals), our guest artist was a guy I met at the pipe organ master class I attended recently. He is trying to get started as a piano teacher and as a pianist-for-hire, so I figured it would be good to give him some exposure by having him play at my recitals. He played Chopin’s Etude Op. 25, No. 12. It is a piece that mimics ocean waves . . . the notes run from one end of the piano to the other and back again . . . over and over . . . an incredible piece . . .

And . . . wow! The guy can play! He has a masters degree in piano performance . . . he made my little acoustic piano rock! The plant sitting on top of the piano was literally rocking during the first Sunday recital (I moved it for the second one, LOL). I looked around the room as he started playing . . . every single student in the room – and a few of the parents – were staring at him with their eyes popped open and their jaws hanging slack. I’m sure most of them had never seen a live performance like that! What a treat!

And, yes . . . I cried during a couple of the performances, especially at the end when I was thanking everyone for their part in the production. I handled it by saying that I believe we should encourage the expression of emotion . . . I want my students to see how their music affects me . . . I said that, in this studio, tears are welcome, including mine.

As I spoke, I looked around the room . . . many of the parents were wiping tears from their eyes. I’m glad. That’s a good thing.

So . . . that was a really neat weekend!


And, today, I met with the president of another of the music teachers association’s local chapter. We chatted over coffee – she is finishing up her doctorate degree in music conducting, and has lived and taught in China for a number of years. She is a very interesting soul!

Her local chapter is pretty small, but they seem to be a tight and supportive group – warm and inclusive . . . I’m thinking I might join both of the two “other” local chapters . . . it will give me more options for student activities. I think I would fit in well with both.

And, my original group can kiss my ass. I don’t need their nonsense in my life!


  1. What a wonderful weekend. Well done that girl.

    • Thank you, Evan!

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