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Teaching on the High Seas

Yes, the High Seas, not the High C's! My husband, Dave, and I were once again invited to teach group piano on the Crystal Serenity cruise ship. We met up with the ship in the amazing city of Hong Kong. For the next 6 weeks we traveled north through China, Japan, Korea, Russia, then back across the dateline following the Aleutian Islands to Alaska and down to San Francisco.

It was an wonderful trip full of different cultures and while we were cruising on the high seas we taught piano to 42 adult piano students. Imagine, learning piano on a cruise! Some of cruisers were beginners, many had a few years of classical training as children, and one had a degree in classical music but came to class to expand her musical horizon into the world of chords.

They were all very keen to learn to play lead sheets and get some grounding in piano chords. There were 14 keyboards in a classroom on board the ship. Every ‘sea-day’ we had three 1-hour classes (beginner, intermediate and accelerated). Each student received 16 one-hour lessons on the 6 week cruise. Our music of choice was Broadway tunes from Hal Leonard's, The Best Broadway Songs Ever fake book.

At the end of the cruise we gave a performance in the Stardust Club playing for family and friends. One of their favourites was playing the soundtrack from Downton Abbey while a YouTube trailer was shown behind them on the big screen. The audience loved it!

Most of the class had NEVER played for anyone else but, in the safety of numbers (14 keyboards), were able to experience being in a piano performance. I heard comments like, "I will never look at an orchestra the same way." and " That was the most fun I've had in a long time!". I saw people in their sixties and seventies smiling like they were 6-year-old's.

One final picture... 3 of my grandsons (ages 7, 4 and 1) met us while the ship was docked in Vancouver for the day. They got to experience the classroom too!

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