Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

I love the peaceful music in this video and hope all of you enjoy a peaceful Easter today. I have enjoyed singing in our church choir the past few months with my husband. It brightens my day to have the words and music we sing flow through my thoughts at random times (like while doing dishes). I feel so happy to get to share new music with my piano students each week and add the the repertoire of music in their minds which will hopefully bring them joyful moments for years to come.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Piano Theory Posters

To help my students review have a little fun reviewing for their theory exams, I had them create a poster to present various musical concepts during their "lab time" and then they each had the opportunity to teach about their poster at group lessons. I love the different variations they came up with just a little clipart and markers.
(Jewel Notes worksheet from Susan Paradis - just a little "fancied up")

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rhythm Blocks Giveaway

I just added another fun piano teaching blog to my list - For Love of Piano. Leah is hosting a giveaway of some fun rhythm block manipulatives that would be very helpful for introducing compound meters. And while your visiting there... check out the inspiring quote on the top of her blog by William Ward - I love it!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Egg Rhythm Hunt Hop

I find that "off the bench activities" are an essential ingredient for success in lessons for some of my younger students. To help some of my beginning students review basic note names and rhythms, I pulled out these cute "Easter Egg Find the Note Cards" available on Susan Paradis's website and added a new twist to the game.
1. Hide the rhythm cards in visible spots throughout the studio before the lesson.
2. Turn on your metronome to a walking speed.
2. Have the student glance around and call out a type of note to collect (quarter, half, whole, etc.).
3.Teacher and student hop (or step) around the studio to the rhythm of the note they are searching for.
4. When you spot a correct notecard, "race" back to set it on the bench - "hopping" the rhythm of the note to the beat of the metronome. The first one to the bench gets a point.
5. Have student choose a new type of note and repeat.
My students quickly learned that having the job of choosing the type of note is a definite advantage for them - they always picked the ones closest to them in the studio.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Let's Play Music

Doesn't that title just sound fun???
I was introduced to the "Let's Play Music" program by another teacher at one of our local music club meetings and I recently attended one of their "Connections" seminars to learn a little bit more about the program.

Theory Songs

The element that piqued my interest the most was the frequent use of songs as teaching tools for basic elements of music theory. I liked the catchy melody of "Every chord has got to have a root..." on their online video. Listening to it makes the words "The Note above the Gap's the Root, it just has rearranged" start jiving around in my brain. The program includes several other clever songs for teaching the concepts of intervals, inversions, scales and rhythm patterns.

Bubblehand Technique

I've been introducing my younger students to finger numbers with a variation of "Where is Thumbkin" for a while, but I really like this additional verse they add in "Let's Play Music" because it adds one more reminder of correct hand position - a concept that seems to need constant reinforcement with young beginners.

"Where is Bubblehand... Here I am... Fingers Flat are Trouble, Try to Use a Bubble..."

Musical Form Puppetshows
Another aspect of "Let's Play Music" that I am impressed with is that the students experience most musical concepts through movement, auditory or physical motions before learning the "labels." I think this approach especially helps young learns to internalize concepts better. The video on their site demonstrates how this is done with the use of puppets to help students learn about form while listening to classical music.

I am always eager to pick up new tidbits of piano teaching tips and was happy to walk away with several after attending this seminar.

Kit Kat Black Key Groups

The chocoholic in me was tempted with the idea to use Kit Kat's broken in groups of 2's and 3's as an introduction to black keys on the piano with this fun little rhyme-
"Find a group of 2, Down 1 is C
Find a group of 3, it's F yippee!".
Maybe I'll incorporate that idea in making my piano-loving-daughter's next birthday cake, because a stash of Kit Kat's in my piano things wouldn't last very long at our house :)

"Paint Ball" Staccatos and Slurs
When teaching staccato vs. legato I like the analogy they used of a ball dipped in paint. When you roll it smoothly across a blank page it leaves a line (slur), but when you bounce it, it leaves a dot (staccato mark). I don't think I'll be teaching this "experientially" - although I'm sure children would love it if I did!

If any of you have had experiences with "Let's Play Music" either as a teacher or teacher of former students, feel free to share a comment, or to learn more straight from the source visit the Let's Play Music Site.