The Suzuki Piano Parents of Vanderhoof and Swan’s Piano Studio were very pleased to welcome Naomi Kusano of Washington, D.C. to the North and host a weekend piano workshop for those Suzuki piano students from Smithers, Prince George and Vanderhoof the weekend of July 8 and 9.
A great deal of fund-raising was done, and with the generous donation of the building and the tuning of the piano’s from School District 91 and financial help from several local businesses and the Nechako Valley Society for the Performing Arts, we were able to fly Naomi up and have our very first music workshop of this kind in Vanderhoof.
Naomi worked with the students one-on-one in groups throughout each day, the parents taking careful notes of what was being taught so they could practice with their children at home before the next lesson. When not in a lesson with Naomi, they attended a dance class taught by Maggie Fraser and let off some energy and learned some simple dances which they performed at the final recital on Saturday. They also attended piano group classes with Swan Kiezebrink, learning rhythm, listening skills, sight-singing and stories of the famous composers. At the final recital, the students of this class performed some clapping-and-counting, a solfege scale and four keen students sang “Mary Had A Little Lamb” in solfege.
We had a wonderful treat over the Saturday lunch hour of Erik Leisinger of Prince George, a recent high school graduate who just completed his grade 10 Royal Conservatory exam, playing in recital for us. The students were transfixed; the performance was superb. The workshop ended with a final recital to which the donors were invited, with each child playing a piano piece, as well as Naomi and Swan playing two duets for the students.
The workshop was fun, informative and inspiring, and we hope to hold another in two years’ time and include a vocal workshop.