Sunday, December 3, 2023

Simply Sacred Christmas by Marshall McDonald

I love the calm simplicity of the Christmas music in Simply Sacred arranged by Marshall McDonald!

Here are a couple of videos of me sightreading the music so students can choose from their favorites. Planning to add more soon!

Infant Holy aka Stars Were Gleaming


Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Christmas Piano Group Lesson Plans 2023

I was reminded last week at an interesting webinar by Paul Harris about Sight Reading Skills that audiation, pattern recognition, improvisation and key signature awareness are some of the fundamental building blocks that sharpen sight reading skills. 

This month at Christmas group lessons we'll be reviewing arpeggios and practicing ear-training skills with some Christmas carol activities that require audiation (hearing music in your head).

Christmas Rhythm Dictation

I like to pair the Do You Hear What I Hear?  activity with some mini m&ms and beat boards so students can use tactile objects to represent subdivisions of the rhythm patterns. 

Elementary: Quarter Half and Whole Notes

Late Elementary: Quarter Half, Whole and Eighth Notes

Early Intermediate: Quarter, Half, Whole, dotted Quarter and Eighth Notes

Intermediate: 6/8 Time Signature: Eighths, Dotted Eighths, Quarters, Dotted Quarters

Carol of the Bells Improv

This classic Christmas piece is a student favorite! The repetitive rhythm can stick in your mind for hours but also makes a great springboard of ideas for improvising.

Elementary: Follow Directions on Carol of the Bells Improv Sheet by Chrissy Ricker

Late Elementary: Guess the Theme and Variation Card used as you listen to musical excerpts played by the teacher

Intermediate: Create Your Own Variation Using at least 3 Theme and Variation Cards. You can learn more details about some possibilities like Carol of the Scales, Lullaby of the Bells or Carol of the Pirates on my earlier post about Composing and Improvising: Free Resources for December.

Name That Tune Christmas Edition

The free printable Christmas Jumbles and  Christmas Name that Tune Sightreading pages by Chrissy Ricker also make great audiation practice as well. Can you name or unscramble the tune measures by looking at the notes and hear the music in your head without playing it?

Split Second is a fun game I picked up from the thrift store and repurposed for music lessons. Students race to write their answers on their paddles and earn points for correct answers and speed using samples from this YouTube Name that Christmas Tune collection of carols.

Take Home Transposing
At group we will try a short sample of the Jingle Bells(Elementary) and Deck the Halls(Intermediate) Transposing Challenges to apply prior knowledge of 5-finger patterns and intervals.

Monthly Challenge
For this month's bonus challenges students can complete the Arpeggio Challenge, Chrissy Ricker Transposing Challenge or Create their own Improv/Arrangement of a Christmas song to earn a bonus prize at lessons.

Related Posts

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

How to Sight-read by Paul Harris - Helpful Tips, New Book and App

Sight-reading has never been something I feel is my musical superpower so I am always eager to find more tips on developing this skill.

Today I was so excited to watch a piano webinar hosted by the Curious Piano Teachers featuring Paul Harris to learn some new ideas regarding this topic. I also hoped to pick up some practical tips to help my piano students sight-read with fluency and confidence too. 

9 Tips from How to Sight-Read by Paul Harris,

Monday, November 20, 2023

Composing and Improvising: Free Resources for December

December is such a perfect month to inspire imaginative creating and composing!

Free Piano Composing and Improvising Ideas for December, heidispianonotes, piano teaching

Piano students are eager to play their favorite Christmas songs and this provides a perfect springboard for ideas as they arrange, improvise or even compose music that creates the magical feelings of snowfall or Christmas wishes and giving. Which one will be your favorite?

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Intermediate Piano Music Video Rastall Level 5

Intermediate Piano Music Videos: Rastall Level 5,

Selecting Intermediate Piano Repertoire

Selecting the right level of intermediate piano music for students that they are excited to play can be challenging. Jane Magrath's  Pianist's Guide to Standard Teaching and Performance Literature is a great resource, but I like having a list of repertoire that is more student-friendly for browsing.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Thanksgiving Piano Group Lesson Plans 2023

Fall Piano Teaching Games

Scarecrow Stomp by Susan Paradis

Elementary: Identify Note Names on the Staff and Piano Keys
Intermediate: Name the Sharps or Flats in the Major Scale of the Staff Note, Identify Interval # and Quality (Major, Minor or Perfect?), Identify Key Signatures

Tips for Tricky Rhythms - Disciple of Christ

I was delighted to discover the new 2024 Youth theme song for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is now on the Sacred Music app. The vocal solo/piano sheet music is in a different key than the music on the app, but I love how it includes chord symbols so my piano students can play the melody over varying levels of left-hand accompaniments.  

Disciple of Christ