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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Is Your Piano Teaching Curriculum Comprehensive?

Planning a well balanced piano teaching curriculum can be difficult because there are so many elements to consider as students began learning to play the piano. When organizing my curriculum as a new piano teacher, I started making leveled checklists with the basic foundation ingredients that I received in my own piano lessons as a child such as Notereading, Rhythm, Theory, Technique, Ear Training and eventually organized preparatory materials in Piano Teaching Binders
Piano Teaching Organization with Piano Binders: Note Reading Ear Training Rhythm Theory Technique

Friday, April 19, 2019

Colors of the Wind Piano Improvisation for Beginners

One of the easiest ways to get piano students improvising from the very first lesson is to have them focus on playing the notes from the pentatonic scale (only black keys). Improvisation has become some of my student's favorite activities because it allows them to freely express musical ideas all across the keyboard without the restraints and complexities of reading music that can take a while to solidify. Using it as a lesson starter is kind of like eating dessert first before eating your vegetables😋!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Free Printable Piano Improvisation for Beginners: Do-Re-Mi Ice Cream Improv

Beginning piano students can gain experience and confidence with this free printable introducing a simple improvisation activity with an ice cream theme and Do Re Mi Solfa patterns. More experienced students can explore rhythmic dictation, ear training and add more complexity to their composition by extending the range of notes or adding harmony.
Piano Improvisation for Beginners Ice Cream Improv Piano Lesson Activity and Teaching Solfa

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Gethsemane Simplified Piano Music Free Printable

As part of Holy Week leading up to Easter with our family we've been reading scriptures and singing songs about the week leading up to the resurrection resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ (see Easter Come Follow Me and Mercy River Holy Week for Teens). One of my favorite Easter songs is Gethsemane by Melanie Hoffman.
Free Printable Simplified Christian Piano Music Gethsemane Melody or Duet
  There are many vocal and choral arrangements available for purchase on her site, and while this simplified version from The Friend is suitable for some intermediate level students I wanted something accessible for my beginning piano students to play as well.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Piano Lessons: Would you rather exam or excite?

Using a Piano Lesson Game with an egg hunt to assess note reading, rhythm, ear training and other keyboard skills.
I prefer to assess student's progress regularly through games rather than to have formal tests for my music students. Although a "test" is a useful means of gauging the progress, and I use a pre and post theory test for them to earn their spot on the theory leader board, more often I prefer to use games to assess the various skills of my students in a more playful relaxing environment and achieve the same goal of discovering what they know and celebrating their accomplishments in a fun way.  Games take off some of the pressure, and in a gaming environment students are more likely to"consider failure as a tutor, not as a tragedy, and to not fear failure but to learn from it" (Lynn G, Robins, Until Seventy Times Seven)

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Primary Chord Progression Songs with I and V chords

One of the teaching goals I have for my piano students is for them to eventually be able to easily play hymns. The steps in my hymn playing curriculum begins in the early stages of lessons before students can even play hands together. Playing left hand chords early on as they sing familiar melodies allows them to hear the harmonic framework in songs, and it is also motivating as they aren't limited to just thin single note melodies like "Hot Cross Buns" and "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
Teaching Piano Chords I and V Tonic and Dominant Chord Songs Primary Songs

Friday, March 22, 2019

Teaching Familiar Rote Pieces in Piano Lessons + a Free Printable

What do Pete the Cat and Baby Shark Have in Common?
Fast Repeated Notes, Repetition, Familiarity, Just 4 Notes and Kid Appeal!

Monday, March 18, 2019

One Minute Piano Lesson Challenges

For the month of March, I'm kickstarting each piano lesson with a one minute challenge for my students each week when they arrive at lessons and ending with some creative improvisations as they tour the world!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Motivation in the Music Studio by Del Parkinson

Motivation in Music Lessons
It was a privilege to be able to attend a UVMTA music workshop recently presented by Dr. Del Parkinson, professor of Piano Pedagogy at Boise State. His combination of humor, genuineness and helpful tips was refreshing. It is easy to see why his student's mention these elements in his rate the professor remarks! Following are my notes from his presentation

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Music Is Fun Elementary Lesson Plan

I volunteered to teach a music lesson in my son's elementary school classroom for Fun Friday.  With so many games to choose from in my piano game resource list, it was hard to decide which to use but I finally picked Susan Paradis's Music is Fun Bingo game as the basis of the activity and planned the following interactive activities to go along with each of the calling cards after doing a quick introduction of the music alphabet and white keys on the piano.  The activities highlighted in yellow are free activities for children to try out at home if they like.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Strategies for Fostering Musicality by Paula Clark

Teaching Musicality, Piano Practice Tips

Does preparing students for festival cause you stress? At this recent workshop, Paula Clark gave some great tips about helping student prepare for festival performances as well as reviewing some effective practice drills and strategies to remedy common challenge spots in a variety of music samples.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Feeling Musical Pitch through Movement

Music and movement make great pairs!  To prepare students for the complexities of the staff I like to first incorporate some movement to music activities.  This not only matches the natural learning developmental process, but it also provides a meaningful energy outlet for young students who get fidgety being stuck on the bench for an entire lesson.

Friday, February 1, 2019

12+ Months of Free Music Group Lesson Plans

teaching piano free piano group lesson plans heidispianonotes piano group activities

Choosing a monthly focus topic for piano lesson not only simplifies lesson planning, but it also helps me ensure that students are getting a well-rounded exposure to musical concepts that can easily be overlooked like composition and ear training.

Festival Music Samples & Listening Assignment :Jazz Rags and Blues

For each piece write the name of the piece and then click it to hear it and answer the following questions:

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Teaching Basic Accompaniment Skills

What skills are needed to become a proficient accompanist?  While the majority of accompanists are pianists, not all pianists have the ability to jump easily into an accompanist role.