My apologies for the almost four-month hiatus in posts. I will try to "catch up" and post programs and comments from events since March 2013.
On St. Patrick's Day I split my studio into two groups and each student performed an etude plus a piece with another musician. Some of the beginners did not play an etude, but most students did.
This recital serves several functions: I am a strong advocate of the study of standard etudes, but most of my students are not convinced of the value. With the recital I know that they will learn at least one etude thoroughly!
The ensembles are important and I believe reinforce the primary objective of music study: to be able to share beauty through sound with other people. The middle and high school students often want to perform with their friends and I encourage that. Several of the groups also performed at other studio recitals or in retirement or nursing homes.
Another value of this recital is that I don't require memory. My students perform solos in studio recitals in November and in June, as well as for many competitions and festivals in the community, and I expect solo performances to be thoroughly memorized. But this recital does not require memory and so the atmosphere is a little more relaxed, and those students who don't have strong memorization skills have a chance to shine.
Here are the programs from March 17, 2013: