Summer Sizzle, 10 years old in 2010, is a growing piano pedagogy symposium for teachers and students sponsored by CNCM (www.cncm.ca). Held in the peaceful country setting of Mount Forest, ON, Summer Sizzle helps bring music and culture to rural educators and musicians while offering urban professionals a chance to further learning in a relaxed environment. Over 200 participants attend this annual event, which offers several specialized workshops led by international experts, launches new Canadian pieces with composers in attendance, hosts public concerts showcasing visiting composers, guest experts, teachers and students and boasts a full music trade show.
Summer Sizzle includes a complete three-day Keyboard Kamp for students aged 8 to 21.Keyboard Kamp offers students master classes taught by experts ranging in subject matter from composition to overcoming stage fright.
This was my third year at Summer Sizzle and I had a very full programme – master-classes with many students, group improvisation classes and a Gala Concert, as well as two presentations to teachers.
I felt the students had really come on – there was lots of expressive playing and the understanding of contemporary popular styles seemed to have come on by leaps and bounds.Here’s a group of my students after a master class:
The improvisation groups went very well – the students enjoyed playing in ensemble, liked trying to create their own melodies and were ready to try ideas out. Here’s a group at work:
And the concert was, as they often are, a moving and sometimes startling affair – children played with great conviction and with real feeling. The audience could tell something special was happening. There were standout performances – Jingo from the Rock Preludes done as a tight two piano piece (the student and me) a beautiful rendition of Beguine from Latin Preludes and a sleek version of Positively swinging from Connections being particular highlights. Here’s a student at the concert:
What a look of relaxed concentration! (The student, the student..)
I really enjoyed meeting other Canadian composers at this event – the three women representing Red Leaf Pianoworks(www.redleafpianoworks.ca), Clifford Crawley, Remi Bouchard and Tyler Sydenberg. I feel like an honorary Canadian – and how often do you hear anyone say that?