This is a just a quick post to let you know that I will be back to regularly posting next week. This weekend, my daughter and I are performing in a dance production called Dancing The Word: A Reflection of Mirrors. The show is about a girl finding out where true beauty comes from. What an important lesson for young people to learn! My daughter is dancing and I am singing and acting. Such a joy to be able to do this with her!
See you next week!
This is a just a quick post to share something one of my 3 year old piano students said this week while we were learning about Quarter Notes. We were playing the Valentine Card Hunt game designed by Susan Paradis where she had to find notes scattered around the room and tell me the name of them. She brilliantly breezed through all of them – whole note, half note, etc. and when she got to the Quarter Note she said, “That one’s a Quarterback!”
As piano teachers, we are always looking for ways to get students to “Play It Again” or “Play It Till You Get It”. Unfortunately, this usually equates to being locked up in a prison in a child’s mind. So, like me you are probably always on the lookout for a practice game. Here is a video of the latest practice game from my studio presented by one of my students. Enjoy!
I have to thank my daughter for making me aware of a wonderful app called KidsDoodle. (I got it through itunes). It’s a high tech etch a sketch of sorts. I used it to make videos that show how to draw music symbols. My students have really enjoyed learning how to draw those fancy treble clefs! The great thing about KidsDoodle is that it’s FREE! If you want to save videos, it only costs $0.99 to upgrade!
“Crocky Loves Music”
Besides the piano, this is probably the most used thing in my studio. Years ago when my children were preschool age someone gave them this toy crocodile game. To play, you push down his teeth one at a time. Apparently one of his teeth is bad and it hurts him when you push that tooth. So, he slams his mouth shut. The cool thing is that the bad tooth changes every time you play! All the kids in my studio love the shock of finding the bad tooth!
So, how does Crocky help us play piano? Well whenever we run into a tricky passage or something that needs to be played several times, we ask Crocky for help. The student plays the part we are working on and gets to push a tooth each time they play it. Once Crocky closes his mouth we know we’re finished working on that part for now.
The anticipated shock of Crocky closing his mouth and of guessing which one is the bad tooth keep the kids wanting to play their tricky piano parts over and over again! Sometimes they even ask “Where is Crocky” as soon as they enter the studio!
As I said, I’ve had Crocky for a long time, but you can probably find one at a toy store or maybe even online.
Do you have any especially fun props or characters that you use with your students to get them to do repetitions? I’d love to hear about them!
Making A Staff
Sometimes it escapes me how much difficulty piano students have learning to read notes on the staff. You see, the more than 30 years that I’ve spent playing the piano have fooled me into thinking that reading notes on a music staff is EASY-PEASY. Not to worry – reality quickly sets in once my students sit at the piano and I put a sheet of music in front of them. The cheerful, excited faces they had during the pre-staff notation days of their lessons are suddenly absent – replaced by blank stares and a series of failed attempts at finding the right note. So, what to do?
Enter… Play Doh!
Step 1: Have the student make a staff. Some surprising revelations can occur at this time. Here’s one from a student: “There are only 5 lines?”
Step 2: Now the student can add space notes or line notes. Another revelation: “You mean the space notes have to fit BETWEEN the lines?”
Happy FACE notes
Step 3: The teacher can add a Treble Clef OR Bass Clef. Then give the student the appropriate phrase to remember the note names. Now have them make up a phrase of their own.
Step 4: Take a picture of that beautiful smile your student is flashing!
3-D Bass Clef Staff