Cold Weather Voice Care: Apple Tea

This is one of my go-to recipes for managing the stuffy nose and throat discomfort that often comes along during the winter season. It’s a great way to make sure you’re feeling well during recitals, concerts, and performances.

Here is a link to the cinnamon I use. By clicking the link to purchase you will be helping fund the music education of a deserving student through my afiliate fee. How cool is that?!

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Piano Trick or Treat

Piano Trick or Treat by TheFameSchoolBlog.com

When the October rolls around, it means that Halloween is just around the corner. If you’re working with kids this time of the year one thing is certain – even if you’re not into Halloween many of your students (and their parents) are! This is an opportunity for you to create connections between the holiday and the lessons you are teaching. Here are a couple of ideas to use with younger students and teens whose minds are preoccupied with Halloween.

Building on the Trick or Treat theme, I created a special incentive that works well with both younger students and teens. Each week in October the student has the chance to earn a treat by learning a piano trick. The piano trick can be technique related – like using “thumb under” when playing scales or it can be something more advanced like playing contrasting rhythms in each hand (left hand slow, right hand fast or vice versa). Another piano trick could be playing repeated notes with different fingers. The possibilities are endless!

The idea is to choose a skill that the student has been struggling with or one that you wish to introduce that will be used in a piece they will learn next. Your student will work hard and focus to earn the candy treat and you will have accomplished teaching them a new skill.

In addition to teaching students new piano tricks, you can also use this time to introduce them to pianists who do fascinating piano tricks when they perform. Here are a few YouTube links to these types of performances. Both you and your student will surely enjoy watching these. You may even be inspired to try some of them yourself!

Brian Culbertson plays piano backwards:

Tom Hanks plays piano with his feet:

Hazel Scott Plays 2 Grand Pianos At The Same Time:

Jon Schmidt of The Piano Guys Plays Piano Upside Down:

What piano tricks can you come up with?

Share them in a comment so I can have my students try it too!

60 Minutes & My Most Shared Blogpost on Songwriting

This segment from 60 minutes features an 11-yr old child prodigy demonstrating how she creates music and it’s so interesting how closely her demonstration resembles my most shared blogpost The Songwriting Game! Could this be a case of “great minds think alike” OR… does she read Kids & Keys?

Check out the Songwriting Game and try it with your students – they’ll be creating amazing melodies in minutes!

 

Music Video Reveals The Power of The Piano Lesson!

As a music teacher you know the power of lessons to completely change a student’s mood from blah to YAY! How many times has a student showed up to the lesson so stressed out that your original lesson plan didn’t stand a chance? 

 I am so excited to announce that my student Mary Rene Quarles just released her first music video and it addresses this very issue! Mary Rene is 13 years old and has been studying voice with me since she was 9 years old. This year she released her first single, Monday Is Coming, which she co-wrote with myself and Grammy Winning Songwriter Jayne Olderman. Since then Mary Rene has started piano with me because she wants to be able to accompany herself while singing. Her story is a perfect example of how music lessons can benefit a kid! It’s also an example of out of the box ways teachers can deepen their student’s learning.

Monday is Coming is a celebration of the weekend and in this music video it shows us how music can change our whole outlook! You should definitely set your Friday morning alarm to this song. Check out the video AND just to FUN things up a bit, answer this trivia question for a chance to win a FREE DOWNLOAD of Monday Is Coming.

How many times do we see Mary Rene at the Skating Rink in the Monday Is Coming music video?

Comment with your answer and I’ll enter you into a random drawing for the Free Download! 3 Winners will be chosen and announced on Friday October 13th!

Singer’s Tip: Don’t Forget The Lyrics!

One thing every singer needs to be careful of is forgetting the lyrics! I’ve forgotten lyrics a time or two and I know for a fact it’s NOT what you as a singer want to do!

“The lyrics hold the message you’re trying to communicate in the song so it’s crucial to get them right.”

Taking specific steps to learn the lyrics – apart from the melody is very helpful. Most people say they don’t really pay attention to the lyrics, but as a singer this is NOT one of your choices.
Write those lyrics out – don’t just print the lyric sheet and read from there. The physical act of writing the lyrics out is so much more effective – especially if you write them as you hear them on the recording rather than copying them from a googled lyrics sheet.

You may also be interested in Singer Tip: Auditioning

Make Practice Fun: Piano Play Dates

Do you have students or kids of your own who HATE piano practice? There are so many reasons why kids hate practicing piano, but one of the main reasons is that it can be LONELY. With a little imagination and planning, though, piano practice can be a social event! Watch the short video below to see how…

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