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Showing posts from January, 2011

Music is Fun!

I found this wonderful video showing an experiment using music as a way to motivate exercise.  I have enjoyed showing this to my students as well.

Tic Tac Toe Game for the Keyboard

Here is a Tic Tac Toe Board using the keyboard names.  Students pick an Alphabet card and place a chip/token on the correct note.  If they get three in a row they win. Tic Tac Toe Google Docs Tic Tac Toe Also try Tic Tac Toe Level One: Middle C Position

New Way to Learn Note Names: Drill Cards

I have a new way of drilling the note names with students with simple spiral bound index cards. Many times students will struggle with certain notes, but those notes are not always in the music they are playing at the time.  Flash cards are great tools, but sorting them out at every lesson can become a hassle.   So index cards that are spiral bound for each student becomes a great solution. First I find out what notes the student is struggling with by asking them to name the note as fast as the can.  I only give them a couple of seconds, because I want them to instantly know the note.   I also ask them to play the note in the correct place on the piano.  The notes they have trouble with go in the Drill Book. Then at every lesson I ask them to name the note and play it.  If they do it correctly, they get to put a sticker on the card.  When they get ten stickers, they have successfully learned the note. I have my students participate in the One Minute Club , so any notes

Finger Independence for Beginners

I recently saw a post on the Piano Club Forum about a student who was having trouble with finger independence.  When she presses the key down she doesn't release it.  She leaves it down and plays the next finger and then the next, until all fingers are pressed down.   This is a habit some students develop that with some work can be corrected. First I would work on with the student on finger number recognition with some finger exercise cards, making sure the student has the proper technique. Finger Exercises Google Doc Finger Exercises Then I might get out some finger puppets and have the student go back and forth between fingers, holding the puppets upright.  We may use some funny voices or animal sounds alternating between the fingers. For example:  I might say "Have the dog talk to the pig. Roof, oink, roof, oink"  The student would bend the 3rd finger and the 2nd finger alternating.  I would have the student do this with the puppet book uprig

FootNotes Staff Rug

Here is a great rug for your studio or classroom: The rug is sold by Wenger  and retails at $399.00 and is 6' x 8'. Though expensive, it could be used for many activities and would be a nice centerpiece for a studio. A girl can dream at least :) I can imagine throwing bean bags on the rug, having children stand on different notes and go up or down different intervals. If the rug is out of your price range, (it's out of mine) then a simple white table cloth could be used as a floor staff.  I have also seen a plain white shower curtain be used as well.  Just get some electric tape and measure out the lines.  Draw on the clef and there you have a inexpensive floor staff.

Versatile Blogger Award

I love blogging about my professional life: piano and preschool music, so I am thrilled to receive the Versatile Blogger Award from Heidi from her blog: Heidi's Piano Studio .   Here is how this award works: Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award. Share 7 things about yourself. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (In no particular order…) Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about the award. Thank you Heidi for recognizing my blog.  I have loved looking through Heidi's Piano Studio .  She has some wonderful ideas and a love for children.  I especially like her focus on the pre-  reading little ones :) 1. I am a mother of three very busy children: Jacob who is 6, Elizabeth who is 11 and soon to be 14 year old Christina.  They all have red hair and are all very different.  The two eldest play piano (YEAH!) and the youngest loves to dance and sing while

Practice Incentive Chart

My old method of rewarding students work was to have their parents sign their practice goal sheet.  I would assign various goals: Say note names 3 times, Count out loud, Sing the words and play.  Students would check off that goal and then get a prize if all the goals were checked off.  Some diligent students would always come in with their goals completed, while others came to their lesson and the practice assignment hadn't been touched.  Sometimes I would write a question on the assignment just to check and see if anyone was reading them.  So after reading many blogs and articles, I came up with a program that will work with my current prize system and practice assignments . The students each have a sticker chart (seen below) and they are awarded a sticker for completing the various activities.  Once they fill up the sticker chart, they are awarded a prize.  The great thing about this incentive program, is it focuses on the display of the practice goal and not how many times th

Mitten Songs

Mittens on My Hands (sung to The Wheels on the Bus).  The mittens on hands cover my fingers The hat on my head covers my ears... The scarf around my neck is oh so long... The boots on my feet jump in the snow... The coat on my body keeps me warm Teaching Ideas: 1. Have the clothing items in the song and dress yourself or a child Mittens Mittens Mittens Mittens for the snow time, when the world is white. Mittens for my two hands, (hold up hands) Mittens left & right (show left & right) Mittens with a thumb place (show thumb) Mittens warm and snug Mittens make me feel like a bug inside a rug (hug self) Three Little Kittens (tune-Three Blind Mice) Three little kittens, Three little kittens. Lost their mittens, Lost their mittens. They all ran around with their tails in the air. Looking for their mittens everywhere. They found them hiding under the chair. Those three little kittens,  Those three little kittens. Teaching Idea

Piano Assignment Sheets

Here are some new piano assignment sheets I created for the new year.  I don't stress the amount of time a student must practice, but rather goals to accomplish for that week.  I inserted a staff and keyboard at the bottom, which will really come in handy. My first assignment sheet has an example of how I use it.  For elementary students, many times the goals are the same for each piece, so to save time I assign the same goal for each piece.  Sometimes that goal will not apply, so I cross it out.  I use a practice incentive and check for different goals to see if the student can accomplish it.  They get a sticker for doing this.  I encourage them to check off the goal when they have done it, but this does not always get done. For older students, their goals become more piece driven, so I have more space to write out details I want them to focus on.  The gray shaded area is for the name of the piece.  I like using post its as well and colored pencils to remind the students of th