Friday, October 22, 2010

Learning Skips with "Skip Frog"

While teaching my daughter this fun song from Susan Paradis's site I came up with a creative way of reviewing the concept of skips on the keys. We played "skip-frog" (a spin-off of leap frog) with our fingers on the keys. I had her place her finger on any key on the piano. Then I put my finger a step up or down from hers and she practiced "skipping" her frog (finger) over my frog (finger). Maybe I will add a little felt frog finger puppet to my bag of piano things for her to slip over her finger the next time we encounter skips.
Then she identified the skips in her song and colored a little "skip-frog" above them.
Isn't piano fun!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Clever Piano Music Storage Idea

I stumbled upon this totally creative idea for piano music storage while perusing my sister's craft and cooking blog.
April at Home Hinges transformed an old TV into a functional and beautiful piano music storage shelf.
I love how it is both functional and beautiful- and best of all... it was free!
Click on her blog link above to see the step by step transformation. Isn't it amazing to see how some people have a knack at visualizing the potential in things that others may view as junk.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Don't Miss out on this Suzuki CD Giveaway

Natalie at Music Matters Blog is hosting another great giveaway this week. By commenting on this link on her blog you can be entered into the drawing to receive a series of Suzuki violin CDs.
I enjoyed playing many of these tasteful pieces on my violin as a youth even though I didn't learn the "Suzuki way." They would make a great addition to any listening library!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Piano Lessons from a Pilot

As I listened to this inspirational message this weekend by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a former pilot and current apostle in the church I belong to, I found some interesting analogies that related perfectly to piano practice.
Elder Uchtdorf explained that when inexperienced airplane pilots encounter turbulence, they often think that the best solution would be to increase their speed to quickly get past the storm. Sometimes I think my students are thinking the same thing when they run into a trouble spot in their pieces- despite my best efforts to explain the benefits of slow practice :)
Instead, experienced pilots understand that in order to make it through the turbulence with little problems, the pilot will, "Slow down a little, steady the course and focus on the essentials when facing adverse conditions."
I plan to explain this analogy to all of my students to help remind them of the benefits of SLOW Practice!
A few more quotes from his talk that I found very applicable to my life at this time...
"When stress levels rise... [we often think] the more rushed our pace, the better off we'll be."
"Focus on the things that matter most."
"We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best."
"You only become great by mastering the fundamentals."
"Diligently doing the things that matter most will lead us to the Savior of the world."
Sometimes I need little reminders like this to help me remember to take time to rejuvenate, ponder and relax so I can be the happy and encouraging piano teacher, mother and wife I want to be.
To hear this message in full, click on the link above.