Kelly, West Dallas

Kelly is majoring in piano performance and pedagogy at Meadows School of the Arts. For summer 2011, she was named a Maguire & Irby Family Foundation Public Service Summer Intern by the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility at SMU. Kelly is interning at West Dallas Community School, where she is teaching piano to students in first through fourth grades.

A recital and a new idea

I finished my final week at West Dallas and could not be more proud of my students. From the moment that they walked onto the stage to their final bow, each student exhibited confidence, dignity and a healthy sense of pride in the work that they accomplished over the summer. I was pleased with the thought and care that they put into the performance despite some nerves and recital jitters. Each student maintained a steady tempo, most of them were able to project beautiful dynamic contrasts, and when a few of them had memory slips, they were able to skip to the end of their pieces and finish with poise. I found this especially commendable as they played for an [...]

2011-09-01T20:25:42+00:00 August 12th, 2011|Kelly, West Dallas|

Countdown to the big recital

The last 2 weeks have continued to help mold me into a better musician and teacher. During the week of the 11th, I was prvileged to be on faculty at SMU's National Piano Institute for Young Artists in the mornings and to continue my internship at West Dallas Community School in the afternoons. I spent my entire day teaching and got very little practicing of my own in that week (I had also come off the long Independence Day holiday weekend with less practice than normal, so I was a little nervous about how my own piano skills were holding up!). I was surprised to get back to the practice room the following week and find myself more alert and [...]

2011-08-01T17:36:43+00:00 August 1st, 2011|Kelly, West Dallas|

Practice, practice – and some fun

The last two weeks at West Dallas have been another two weeks of both trials and successes. It is becoming more and more clear how much students benefit from precision and consistency. Most all of my students are getting their practice time in every week, but these past two weeks they have started to learn the difference between just playing through their pieces and following consistenly the practice steps that I assign to them. It's easy for me to get a little bit frustrated, but then I realize how long it has taken me and how many times I've had to be reminded to actually follow directions completely and consistently. That is helping me to be patient and is challenging [...]

2011-07-13T16:29:50+00:00 July 13th, 2011|Kelly, West Dallas|

Learning from my students

My second week at WDCS seemed smoother than my first week. I think that just knowing what to expect helped me to anticipate my students' needs more accurately and to pace myself better. On Friday I led the first set of group classes, in which I used games and drills to reinforce and build on concepts that the students learned in their lessons. Each of the five groups of four students had its own unique dynamic. One of the challenges of these groups is the different ages of the students participating. Some of the classes have 1st and 3rd graders; others have 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders; and one of my groups has a set of 4th graders and 1 [...]

2011-06-27T15:13:54+00:00 June 27th, 2011|Kelly, West Dallas|

My first piano students

I just finished my first week at West Dallas Community School as a summer intern through the Maguire & Irby Family Foundation. It has been an exciting week! I met 18 of the 20 students whom I will be teaching, and I am slightly overwhelmed at the challenge of getting all of their names and faces straight. The thing that has impacted me the most this week is how eager each of these students is to learn and how willing they are to try something new. One student in particular, Angell, brought a smile to my face. She was having difficulty understanding a concept that I was trying to teach her; we repeated (and repeated and repeated!) an exercise to help [...]

2011-06-22T20:44:13+00:00 June 22nd, 2011|Kelly, West Dallas|