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.

Foundations of Piano Curriculum

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

Intermediate Arrangements of Gethsemane

There are many vocal and choral arrangements available for purchase on her site, as well as an illustrated Gethsemane story book including sheet music.  Another favorite early intermediate arrangement of Gethsemane that I love to play is in Marshall McDonald's book Simply Sacred 2.

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

Teaching Chords with Hymns

 I created a chord-based activity for some of my students using the song

Free Printable Piano Festival Prep Checklist

Piano Festival Preparation Checklist

Before relocating to Rexburg, I prepared my students for an "Advancement in Music" festival each year where they prepared 2 songs to play and also