Every spring, my life becomes a flurry of activity.
My piano students participate in several events between the months of February and June: NFMC Federated Festival, GMTA local auditions, the GCMTA Ensemble Concert, and the Asberry School of Music Spring Recital, to name a few. It's not just the events themselves; it's also the preparation that goes into them.
Take NFMC Federated Festival, for example. This year, I personally registered 37 students; that was 37 comment sheets that had to be filled out and 74 piano solos that had to be selected/music that had to be ordered. (I also had three students play piano concerti and two students play piano duets). In addition, I do the scheduling for my local chapter, which involves over 200 students and six judges. This task consumes the better part of a weekend. On Festival Day, I am required to work from about 8:30 in the morning until five o'clock or later at night. And afterwards, there are trophy plaques to order and certificates to complete and distribute.
These are hours spent working on behalf of students that I am not always sure parents consider when they are calculating my worth as a piano teacher.
Regardless, this past Saturday was the GCMTA Ensemble Concert. This is a grand gala event involving five pianos onstage with duet partners at each piano playing under the direction of a conductor. It's like being in a piano orchestra.
I am a co-chair of the ensemble concert committee; preparation for the following year's event begins about two weeks post-concert with a organizational meeting and continues with a music selection meeting in August, a presentation of the music to colleagues at our October meeting, three all-day Saturday rehearsals, a final rehearsals the morning of the concert and the performance itself. My responsibilities include helping choose music for all levels, managing the registrations for 170-plus students, ordering their music, determining rehearsal schedules, and making sure all the teachers have everything they need to help their students begin preparation by the end of January. Traditionally, a colleague and I prepare the advanced level pieces and the teacher piece for performance at the October meeting.
It is a lot of work. But it is also a lot of fun.
Saturday was bittersweet because I had five graduating seniors performing. FIVE seniors! I have been working with most of these kids since they were knee high to grasshoppers and am not quite sure how they got to be young adults, or why they feel they have the right to leave me and go away to college next year. But there they were, being recognized onstage along with five other graduating seniors.
It was all I could do not to dissolve into tears. I am so proud of my seniors.
I am so proud of ALL my piano students. And I am blessed to have a job in which people drive to my house and pay me to make music with their children.
There are just a few weeks left in this academic year, but they will go by in a blur. This weekend I am accompanying a group of students at a senior celebration; next weekend I am performing a duet with another student at his senior graduation. And in my studio we are selecting and preparing repertoire for the spring recital on June 19th.