Following a short lunch break that same day, our staff moved to Stanton Reformed Church in Stanton to host our yearly recitals for advanced lesson students. Since our music lesson program had grown substantially this past year, we offered three two-hour recitals, at 1 PM, 3 PM, and 5 PM. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that so many of our students in the lesson program decided to participate in what used to be the dreaded "scary recital." This year, fear gave way to excitement and anticipation as our young performers were eagerly demonstrating what they had learned. Piano, Guitar, Voice, Drum, Violin, Clarinet, Flute, Saxophone, and Trumpet students, and even a Rock Band presented samples of their skills, pulling in audiences to pack the church for all three performances!
Even though the recitals were a bit long (almost 2 hours each), audiences showed genuine interest in the programs performed by our students, and we received lots of praise in numerous follow-up e-mails and personal conversations with the families in attendance. Clearly, our students made fantastic progress--evidence that we've taken Hunterdon Academy of the Arts to the next level of excellence. This was the result of great team work: students, parents and teachers worked hand in hand to reach some important goals.
Throughout the three recitals, there was a marked improvement in the students' level of playing this year. As mentioned in an earlier blog post, we had taken a number of steps to raise expectations and deliver a better educational value to our students and parents. Additionally, we encouraged students and teachers to follow the Trinity Guildhall graded exams curriculum--a subject we'll talk more about in a future blog post. When following HAA's system of motivational incentives, students are more motivated to practice between lessons and consequently make much more progress.
But education at HAA is not just about music or art per se, much as we rejoice at the great artistic achievements of our students and faculty! Rather, we are strong believers in a holistic educational philosophy that seeks to nurture students' overall cognitive, emotional, and physical development through the arts. Our students not only enjoy music-making, but through their studies and performance, they develop confidence, discipline, and mental focus.
As with our Kindermusik ceremonies in the morning, the highpoint of the recitals, at least for the students, was the awarding of the trophies. Trophies are a symbol of the hard work our students put into their musical development. When leaving the building, each student also picked up a goodie bag with cookies (oh, joy). Of the 1,000 cookies we had ordered for May 15 there were only very few left by the end of the day!
For the coming year, we have big plans. Subscribe to this blog to receive up to date information about upcoming new initiatives!