Thursday, April 30, 2020

Tonic Tutor Melody Game Tips

The studio contest for for May is Melody.  Here are some quick game instructions with a few hints.


Stick People- Choose the picture that matches the shape of the melody you heard. Hint: Steps look like a staircase.
Mystery Note-Click the 2 notes at the top and listen for the note in the pattern that is the same pitch as the single note played.
Mushrooms-As you listen to the melody choose the last note your hear.  Hint: Follow along with by pointing to the first note played and moving your finger in the direction you hear the notes played.
Robot- Challenge! Listen to the melody and play the key that you hear last. The first note is colored on the keyboard.  Hint: Hover your finger or mouse over the first note as you hear the melody and then move in the direction you hear it move (left lower, right higher).

Aural-Melodic Dictation

Eggs - Listen to the melody and choose the egg that is not in the write place on the staff. Hint: It helps to follow along with your cursor or finger as the notes are being played.
Magnets - Move the notes up or down with the magnets above or below the staff to match the melody you hear. Hint: Check to make sure notes on the staff that repeat later sound the same before clicking "Done." Remember to check the direction (up and down) and distance (how far up or down) of the notes that change.

Related Posts:
Tonic Tutor Rhythm Game Tips
Tonic Tutor Review and Discount Code

Unforgettable Tempo Term Songs

Singing is a fabulous mnemonic device.  After discovering these helpful Tempo Term Posters from the Colourful Keys blog that I display on my music bulletin board I added these new lyrics to familiar folk songs to make the tempo terms stick even more.

A Pecking Fun Rote Piece for Teaching Staccato

You've probably heard this famous piece before... but not quite in this way!
1. Watch Beethoven's Wig My Little Chicken as you tap your hand to the beat on a closed piano fallboard with a hen pecking motion.

2. Watch as teacher demonstrates on the keyboard  What are the first 2 repeating intervals played?
(As I demonstrate this song I sing memory cues to help students remember the patterns)
Start play- ing sec-onds then
Step to the thirds then you
Leap peck peck peck, to the C's
Back to the
2nds then
3rds then
Leap  peck peck peck to the C's
Step down down down then
Leap up then Leap up then Leap up, etc.

Free Sheet Music for Chopsticks

Monday, April 27, 2020

An Engaging Way to Start Online Music Lessons for Kids

This week I'm trying something different to start out online piano lessons.  While I typically start out with a game from my piano game resource list or a quick duet improvisation, those activities don't work as well for virtual lessons.  So instead I'm screen sharing some of these music concept videos from Plank Road Publishings Music Theory Concept Video Playlist.
Zoom Instructions
1. Before lessons begin, navigate to Youtube Plank Road Publishing Music Theory Concept Video Playlist.
2. Open Zoom, click share screen and be sure to select share computer audio at the bottom.

Do you have any other favorite music teaching video clips that would make great lesson starters? 

Friday, April 24, 2020

Piano Adventures Lesson Book Level 1 Unit 1 Assignments and Supplementary Activities

Lesson Plans for Teaching Staccato and Legato Articulation

Now that I am teaching piano online, I've been streamlining my lesson plans by sending customized lesson assignment instructions via google docs to my students.  I like how this new format allows me to embed links with videos and supplementary activities for flipped learning at home that were previously done during lab time.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Creating Customized Piano Lesson Assignments

Adapting to Online Lesson Assignments

One thing I love about teaching private piano lessons vs. group teaching is the way I can customize the experience based on each students individual needs and progress.  For this reason I've hesitated to shift to a set rigid curriculum with preset assignments, even though that might make lesson planning easier. But the temporary social distancing measures have required me to switch from my handwritten, fluid lesson assignments to something a bit more structured.  The notes and ideas I've jotted down through the years in my copy of piano books for planning are now being compiled into Google Docs for each method/technique book including supplementary links to activities. 
UPDATE: The Piano Lesson Plans are now available for free for students or teachers.
Free Piano Lesson Plans, Piano Adventures, Piano Pronto,

Quick Music Games for Online Piano Lesson Teaching Starters

Has switching to online piano lessons due to social distancing gotten you scrambling for games and activities that will work with virtual lessons?  In the past I've used off bench games and activities for nearly every lesson from my Piano Game Resource List.  Here are just a few that could be adapted to  work well to keep your online music students engaged in a fun way.

Note Naming

Grand Staff Battleship - Screen share some short Music Alphabet Words.  Teacher and student draw a treble of bass staff on a piece of paper and then guess specific notes (Treble Line G, Treble Space C, etc.) until they can guess their opponent's word.

Flashcard Bingo -Ask student to draw a 9 square grid on a paper and fill with letters from the music alphabet. Then the teacher displays music staff flashcards and students identify the letter name and cover their board until they get 3 in a row.


Fast Hands (adapted on the keys)- With a little variation the concept from this fast hands game can be played on the piano keys.  Teacher calls out the starting note (Middle C) and then gives a series of directions for the student to move up/down the keys (Step up a 3rd, Down a 4th, Up a 2nd,) What key did you land on?

Crazy Keys Students could print the cards from home or you can place the cards in 2 piles and they select which pile they want to draw from "virtually"and then they place their marker on their piano keys, while you move on yours up towards a designated "end key." 

Terms and Signs

Silly Sentences (In the Manner of the Music Term)- Say a silly sentence "in the manner of the music term" (piano, staccato, accelerando, etc.) and have your student guess the term. Then trade roles.
Musical Twenty Questions - Adapt by just playing with teacher and student.

Group Activities (via Zoom or Marco Polo)

Music Scattergories- Students race for 2 minutes to write one musical term or symbol that fits in each of the designated categories and hope their answers are different from the other players.

Music Cloodle (from Piano Cranium)- Players take turns sculpting music symbols from play dough as the other players race to write or call out the name of the symbol they see.

Call It
Have your student look at a piece of their music or the music dictionary at the beginning or end of their method books and choose a symbol.  Both the teacher and student draw a picture of a symbol and then try to guess what the other person was trying to represent.

Virtual Piano Lesson Game: Music Scattergories

When I was pondering some type of fun to have for date night amid social distancing due to the corona virus, this was one game that came to mind.  This twist on the classic game of Scattergories can be fun at a group piano lesson and could even be played virtually via zoom for an online music gathering.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Simplified "Come Follow Me" Songs April

Easter Hosanna -I Can Play It

Beginner- Following the chord letters written above the music, play the root note in the bass clef as you listen or sing the melody.
Late Beginner- Draw a flat sign in front of all of the Bs in your music. Play just the highest notes (melody line) as you practice following the finger carefully for all of the finger crosses.  Many of them "feel" like the fingering crosses you use to play one octave scales.
Intermediate - Start by learning the right hand, then add the left hand in as you practice one section at at time.

When We're Helping- Layton p. 91

Beginner - Most of this song is just steps and skips.  Can you spot the 4th (leap) and circle it?
Late Beginner - After playing the melody, can you choose I, IV or V chords to accompany the melody line?

Love One Another- Layton p.20

Beginner - Circle all of the commas and periods in the lyrics and draw a "wrist-float off" up arrow above them in your music to mark the end of each phrase (musical sentence). Can you play legato keeping your fingers close to the keys and float your wrist up gently at the end of each phrase? 

Tonic Tutor Rhythm Game Tips

The studio contest for this month in Tonic is Rhythm.
Here are some quick game instructions with a few hints.


Dancing Jelly Bean - Choose the rhythm pattern that does not have a match.
Rhythm Zoo - Choose the card with the rhythm matching the first card.


Blocks- Listen to the rhythm pattern and rotate the colored block to display the correct missing note. Hint: After you listen once, echo tap or clap the rhythm you just heard to help you determine the correct note(s).
Piggybank- Choose the correct name of the symbol from the multiple choice list
Trains- Listen to the rhythm pattern and determine the last note played.  Hint: Track the music with your finger as it plays.
Pizza- Choose the correct duration of notes in different time signatures.  Hint: The bottom number in the time signature tells us what type of note gets one beat (2/4 -quarter note=1, 6/8 - eighth note =1)

Related Posts:
Tonic Tutor Review and Discount Code

Slow Down

I loved the profound calming message from this song that I discovered as I went to my gospel library app to browse some suggested activities to prepare my family for Easter this week. The lyrics are a perfect reminder in this time when troubles seem to be brewing all around.