Studio Open House Recap

Last Saturday we had our very first Studio Open House. The concept came around last spring when a college friend of mine mentioned that she wanted to bring Draven the Therapy Cat to visit my students. Being the cat-lady that I am, I instantly loved the idea, but at the time our studio space just wasn’t big enough. After our big renovations this summer, I figured that a Studio Open House would be the perfect opportunity for a visit from everyone’s favorite therapy kitty.

Here are a few pictures from our event, and links to some of the activities that we did! I hope you enjoy! (Parents — I will upload the rest of the pictures to the Students Only section of the website so that you can download what you wish!)

The Set Up

Thirteen students and about ten parents and siblings were in attendance. Draven and Jessica Hagan had a beautiful setup with all sorts of information about therapy animals and the humane society. In order to fit as many people as possible into the studio, I did some rearranging and managed to find a bit more floor space. I was extra lucky to have lots of help getting ready for this day. (Thank you Jessica, Jess, and Brad!)

**Click on photos to enlarge**

Visiting with Draven

We met for two hours that afternoon. During the first hour, students colored pictures, learned about how Draven became a therapy cat, and then we had a small performance. Students played some of the pieces they were working on for this year’s fall recital, and Draven even performed a little piece for them as well! I’m not sure how he felt about the book on the piano though…

Music Craft: Practice Abacus

After our visit with Draven, we took a break for snack-time, and then worked on making Practice Abacuses, a cute craft that Wendy Stevens blogged about last week at ComposeCreate.com. This was the perfect craft for a fall open house. It gave us time to be a little creative, and it also gave me the opportunity to talk about how students can practice effectively.

How It Works: The Practice Abacus has 5 strings with beads, and each set of beads reminds students to practice a certain area of a song a certain number of times. For instance, the first line can be used for playing the song once through before you start really “practicing.” The center three lines reinforce the concept of “Spot Practice,” where students isolate problem areas and work on correcting notes and rhythms. Of course, you end with another completely run-through!

Students did a great job making their practice abacuses, and we’ve started using them during lessons this week. I even had a student tell me that she’s been using the abacus to keep track of practicing her dance steps at home too. Thanks, Wendy, for sharing your great idea with us at Compose Create!

Ice Bucket Challenge!

Finally, at the end of the open house, we all gathered outside for a little Ice Bucket Challenge. (Or so I thought… apparently my husband thought it was an ice “buckets” challenge, and took it upon himself to fill two buckets.)

This started back in August, when my student Abbey posted a video challenging her piano teacher to the Ice Bucket Challenge. Rather than doing the typical 24-hour response, I decided to make this a fun part of the open house.

Yeah… fun... fun for the students! Thankfully it was a VERY warm day, especially since I forgot to bring a second set of clothes. Here are a few pictures from the madness!

Thanks for Reading!

… and so to recap: To have a super fun Studio Open House, all you need is an awesome therapy cat or dog, plans for a cool (and educational) music craft… and then you can finish it off by getting a couple buckets of ice dumped over your head.

It’s simple, really.

As always, stay tuned for some great giveaways and free downloads in the near future. I have several reviews in the works, and I will be posting some new assignment sheets and scale charts as well!

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4 Comments

  • by Valerie Posted September 25, 2014 12:57 pm

    Hooray! Looks like a great time!

  • by Robbin Posted September 25, 2014 4:47 pm

    Did you use craft foam for those cute abacuses the kids made? What about the directions for each line? I do hope you’ll share. I’d like to try these.

    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted September 25, 2014 5:00 pm

      Hi Robbin – Actually I used 5×7 mat board, but you can use anything that’s sturdy enough to put the string around. Just go to Wendy Steven’s website to check out the directions:

      http://www.composecreate.com/get-rid-of-mindless-practice/

      I added directions to each line to further explain the practice to my younger kids. They play the song through once at the beginning, then they pick out three “trouble spots” to practice with lines 2 – 4. They can only move a bead over when they play that line *perfectly* – so they actually might end up playing it 10 or 12 times to move all the beads.

      I hope that answers your questions, thanks for reading!

  • by Robbin Posted September 26, 2014 8:38 am

    Thanks, Sara!

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