The Ultimate Music Theory Worksheet Guide


In the world of apps, apps, and more apps, a lot of teachers have decided to stop using worksheets altogether. If you are one of those teachers or if you are thinking about joining them, WAIT!!! As one of my music mentors always says, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”!  While I love using apps with my students, I find that the act of writing things down often solidifies learning more than interacting with material on a touch screen alone.

Of course, you have to have some VERY GOOD worksheets to even get your students interested. That is where today’s resource tip comes in. Kristin at has done a LOT of work to make our lives as piano teachers easier! Not only has she compiled the ultimate guide to music theory worksheets, she has also posted a video index of the worksheets on her site with links to the FREE PRINTABLES.


I know you will be able to find some worksheets that will fit exactly into what you are teaching. In preparation, here are 3 ideas on how to give worksheets a fighting chance with your app-addicted students:

1. Worksheet Relay Race for group classes:

Have students work in groups of where students complete a series of worksheets as a group. The catch is that each student must complete a worksheet one at a time and the next student cannot begin until the previous student finishes. The group that completes the most worksheets in the designated time wins!

2. End of Lesson Challenge: Have your student complete a worksheet or series of worksheets during the last minute of lessons. Yes, only 60 seconds. If they are able to complete the whole worksheet or series of worksheets before time is up they get extra time with an app during the next lesson. The more worksheets they complete the more time they get to spend on the app.

3.Beginning of Lesson Challenge: Just like the End of Lesson Challenge except it comes in the FIRST minute of the lesson. The student would then get extra time with app during today’s lesson based on how many worksheets they were able to complete. Note: This version will also give you an idea of concepts that may need to be worked on during the lesson.

So, head on over to and get yourself some FREE WORKSHEETS!

My Piano Teacher Introduced Me To A Legend: Joe Sample 1939-2014

We were introduced when I was a teen. My piano teacher at the time gave me a tape of his music. Yes, it was on a tape because I met Joe Sample before the CD was born. At that time I knew little about any music other than Gospel. My teacher often gave me tapes of various artists to listen to, but I usually didn’t listen to them because, well I was a teen. Before he gave me the Joe Sample tape, he played it for me in my lesson. I was hooked. The only problem was that the CD had not been born and with tapes you had to guess where the song you liked was. This usually meant rewinding and fast forwarding for what seemed an eternity until you gave up and decided to listen from beginning to end – which could be up to 120 minutes depending on the length of your tape. Unfortunately my new friend Joe Sample and I lost touch due to the limitations of the tape.


I never forgot how I felt when I heard that first Joe Sample song. It was a feeling of awe and wonder. I wondered who this person was and how his fingers could make music sound like that. Thankfully the CD came on the scene a few years later. One of my first CDs was of course a Joe Sample CD. By this time my piano teacher had passed away but I was so glad that he got the chance to introduce me to Joe Sample. Now, I never met Joe Sample in person, but music is powerful like that. It allows you to feel like you know the artist on a level that is different, deeper even, than how you could know someone in person.

Yesterday when I learned of Joe Sample’s passing, I was saddened. My “friend” was gone and I needed to grieve. I had long forgotten about that CD that I purchased so many years ago until last night when  I was looking through my CD collection in search of music for this year’s Big Dreams concert. Guess what I found? Yep, that Joe Sample CD.

Joe Sample CD


I smiled and said a quick thank you to my piano teacher and Joe Sample.

Now, don’t you want to know more about Joe Sample? Watch this interview with him by Zach Tate.

Cure For Practice Boredom


Are your students bored at the mention of practicing? Or maybe YOU are bored with your practicing? The truth is practice for practice sake is rather boring. BUT just because practice is necessary in order to improve does not mean that students or anyone else who has to practice (which is EVERYBODY who plays music) has to accept being bored. Boredom is simply the result of not having a goal for what you’re practicing. So, the next time you send your students home to practice, send with a goal or 2 or 10! OK, maybe 10 is too much but you get my point.

If you’re looking for ways to “fun up” practice, check out these previous posts:

Don’t Spill The Beans

Mystery Practice Assignments

Silly 6 Pins Can Help You Practice!

Don’t Practice

3 Non-Piano Teaching Music Blogs To Add To Your BlogRoll Now!

I get inspiration for my piano lessons from a variety of resources on the internet. Of course I read a TON of piano teaching blogs, but I also like to peruse blogs of elementary music classroom teachers. They have a wealth of ideas that are excellent for teaching music theory concepts and for performance. Here are some of my newest favorites:
Mrs. Q's Music Blog








What I LOVE about this blog:

Mrs. Q. shares a lot of great ideas that she uses in her school music classroom. Many of these ideas can also be used in private and group piano lessons. She also has cool color by note pages that can be printed for FREE here.


Technology Rocks Serioussly





What I LOVE about this blog:

This blog is not about music at all, but it is FULL of inspiration for teachers and music bloggers. Check it out to get some astonishing FREE printable posters for decor and inspiration! Did I say FREE? Yep!



Make Moments Matter

What I Love About This Blog:

Finally a male elementary music teacher with a blog! Aside from sharing his great ideas for the classroom (which can sometimes be used for piano lessons as well) David has a MASSIVE resource list sorted by various topics of interest to music teachers. Let me warn you, you will need LOTS of time to go through the whole list!

Supersonics Winner And Special Discount Code!

And The Winner Is...

And The Winner Is…


Thank you to everyone who commented on the post about Daniel McFarlane’s SuperSonics piano series. Michelle has just won an unlimited reprint license for one of the books of her choosing. That is a $29.99 value! Congratulations, Michelle! Please message me your contact info so that I can let you know how to redeem your FREE MUSIC.

But Wait…There’s More

Daniel just informed me that the newsletter signup link on his website has been broken all week. So…  he has decided to give Kids & Keys readers a special 15% discount until August 1, 2014 to make up for any inconvenience this may have caused you. When you get ready to check out on just type in the code “rice” to receive the discount.

Thank you  for reading Kids & Keys! Here are some more posts you may be interested in:

Back To School Piano Parent Social

Fun Back To School Piano Lesson Review and Giveaway!

Supersonics.comLooking for new piano music that is fresh, easy to learn, fun to play and sounds more complicated than it is? Coming Right Up! Please allow me to present to you Daniel McFarlane’s If you are already familiar with his work you will be happy to know that he has done a complete makeover of his website and has made it even easier to access ALL of his music. If this is your first time hearing about this Australian composer, get ready to be INSPIRED and to say goodbye to some of your worries about where to get cool music for your students!

If you have been following for awhile you probably already know that each year I do a special piano project with my students. Well this year we did music videos! One student’s video features a piece from Daniel McFarlane fittingly entitled “Pretty Piece.” Please enjoy the video to experience a sampling of our first music video projects and the music of this awesome composer.

Claudia learned this song at the beginning of her 2nd year of lessons and YOUR students from beginner to advanced can learn interesting pieces like this as well with ease. How is that for putting the fun back into piano for both the teacher and the student?!

Here are a few highlights of the new and improved SuperSonics site:

*Option to buy pieces individually

*All digital music – get your music on-demand without waiting for a hardcopy in the mail!

 *Option to purchase backing tracks

*Carefully graded pieces in Levels A,B, and C

*Backing Tracks (perfect for use in concerts)

*Duets and Trios

*Funky Solos

You will also find posts from Daniel’s twitter feed on the site. While visiting the site I saw in his twitter feed that he has also created FREE WORKSHEETS for his song “Off The Beat” and that more may be coming!

If you are using the Piano Maestro app by JoyTunes, there is an extra reason for you to try out Daniel McFarlane’s music. His pieces will be included in the app from late August to early September!

I bet you can’t wait to finish reading this post so you can hop on over to! But before you do, leave a comment below for a chance to win an UNLIMITED REPRINT LICENSE for one of the books on! One reader will be randomly chosen. The deadline for entering the giveaway is midnight on Friday, July 25th.

Piano Bench Mag Winners!

The Piano Bench Magazine

Subscribe Today!


Thank you to everyone who entered the Piano Bench Mag Subscription Giveaway contest. The winners are:

Rebecca U.



The winners will receive 3 month subscriptions to The Piano Bench Mag.

Looking for more music giveaways? Check out the following blog:

CollaborativePiano is giving away a Free CD of Schubert’s Winterreise – deadline is April 27th

Happy Wednesday and please continue reading Kids & Keys for more piano teaching and creative piano parenting ideas!