Friday, December 29, 2017

A Game that Gets Your Piano Students Begging to Review Note Names

I love to "hook" my piano students attention at the beginning of every lesson with a fun off the bench activity that teaches music concepts, so I'm always on the lookout for good games at the thrift store that I can adapt for my musical purposes.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Piano Pivot - What can piano lessons do for you?

Each year I have a tradition of setting social, physical, intellectual and spiritual new year's resolutions based on the scripture (Luke 2:52). This year taking part in the piano pivot webinar by Nicola Cantan and Tim Topham got me thinking about goals a little earlier than normal. After filling out "My Dream Student in 5-10 years" worksheet identified 8 key elements I hope my students will develop and then mapped out how I plan to incorporate these into my lessons this upcoming year. I already do a lot of activities in my studio to incorporate the foundational skills of note reading, rhythm and chords and artistic playing but would like to incorporate more of the fun extras that I didn't get much exposure to in my traditional lessons as a child. Here are some of the key elements I hope my students will acquire in their music study.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Five Fabulous Finds To Tune up Your Piano Teaching and Your Body

When the weather outside gets frightful... and it often does in Rexburg, I love having resources I can easily access at home to improve my piano teaching.
After taking part in Piano Pivot I've been getting a jump start on my piano teaching goals for the new year and have jumped full swing into finding resources that will help me better lead my piano students to become the long-term "dream student" I have envisioned.  This includes both a passion for making music they love and acquiring the foundational skills necessary to achieve that.
In my quest to find more resources to achieve my goals of
Teaching more Improvisation and Chord Understanding and Encouraging Effective Practice next year

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Music to "Light the World"

This Christmas I revisited this Christmas Canon Chords Improv activity with some of my students. I love seeing the beautiful music they can create when they have a solid understanding of the chord framework behind so much of the familiar music. Canon in D just "speaks" the feelings of Christmas to me, even though it is not a traditional Christmas piece.  This Christmas as I listened to this Light the World video I loved the background music and the meaning of the 25-day challenge as well.  When I went to the piano to pick out the melody and chords by ear, I discovered that it begins with the same chords as my favorite soothing "Canon".
Light the World

This video clip for Day 12 featuring Jon Schmidt from the Piano Guys was especially meaningful.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas Piano Group Lesson Plans for Beginners

One of my favorite parts of being a piano teacher is having my students come together for group lessons to play games and have the chance to perform regularly for each other.  Rather than reinventing the wheel each month I have found a galore of fun free activities online and usually add a few of my own to the mix.  This month's main focus was on rhythm and note reading with some key signatures for more advanced students.
Intro Activity: Note naming worksheets & rhythmic dictation

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Delight your Piano Students with a Reindeer Rhythm Track Game Mashup

Piano Teaching Game, Reindeer Rhythm Mashup

I decided to do a mashup of 3 fun free games with my piano students this Christmas season to start out their lessons with a multi-concept review game. This game combines notereading, rhythm and intervals into one quick activity. First I printed Susan Paradis' Reindeer Tracks Gameboard and then grabbed a die and the set of her Pot of Gold Game cards that I had on hand.  These include multiple concepts such as note naming, intervals, key signatures and theory terms/signs.