Pinterest Idea Of The Week: Twitter Board

Source: mesmrswhitesclass.blogspot.com via Dana on Pinterest

While browsing  Pinterest this morning, I found an amazing idea that I can’t wait to use in my studio this week!  The Twitter Board is a place where students can write “tweets” about something they learned during their lesson or something that inspired them during the lesson. This reinforces the learning and when other students read it, they learn as well. How cool is that?

Quaver’s Marvelous World

I am so excited about this music teaching resource! If you are looking for a fun, fresh, new way to introduce music theory concepts to kids this is it! Although it is designed for classroom use, I am finding it very useful in private piano lessons. My students love the entertaining and engaging videos. There is also a companion website where kids can explore the music concepts in-depth, and it is so much fun!!! I cannot say that enough because with kids, it’s all about fun.

If you order the DVDs, you will get awesome teaching guides, worksheets,  and access to online helps as well. A word of warning, though – the DVDs are expensive. Each DVD contains 2 episodes for about $69. I was so impressed with the youtube previews and their website that I felt it was worth the investment – especially since I can use it with all my students  – and I am not disappointed!  You can get more information on their website at www.quavermusic.com

Have you tried Quaver’s Marvelous World in your studio? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it and how you use it.

The Music Store Field Trip

A Music Store Field Trip can be very exciting for a child who is learning to play the piano. The Music Store Field Trip is a lot different from a visit to the Piano Store because at the Music Store Field Trip you will get to experience other instruments in addition to the piano. If you live nearby a large music store then this is the field trip for you! It’s FREE, FUN, and Entertaining.

First you and your child/student will enjoy being around so many pianos. It’s a whole new world where playing in public can be a much different experience than the that of a piano recital. Also, the music store employees often gladly give FREE performances! It’s so awesome to see kids’ faces light up when they watch a good piano player play.

Next you can play the synthesizers and turntables and feel like you’re a recording artist! Kids love the fun digital sounds they can make!

At the music store we went to, they had these cool hand chairs –

A wall full of guitars makes you just want to try playing one – or two – or ten!

Getting Dad involved makes this field trip even more fun and cool! If Dad is doing it, it must be cool, right?

Sometimes kids don’t realize that there are more piano books out there besides the ones they use for their lessons. This information often motivates them to learn more songs!

The best part of the Music Store Field Trip? A happy, motivated music student!

So, take your kids or music students on a Music Store Field Trip  – you will be so glad you did and they will too!

Have you ever taken kids on a Music Store Field Trip? If so, what one thing made it so awesome?

Free App For Digital Stationery

 This app is my favorite new find for studio invitations, thank you’s, and announcements. There are a variety of designs available and many that you can use a photo in. Once you personalize your stationery it is saved as a photo on your device for future use! How cool is that? Click here to see an example of a picture I made using Red Stamp. There are several in-app purchases available with Red Stamp, but you can make countless creations without any purchases. What makes takes this app to the next level of COOL is that it is FREE in the apples itunes store.

FREE Concerts!

 With Memorial Day just around the corner here in the United States, it’s a great excuse to have your piano player give some FREE Concerts. If you have guests coming in town or if you will be gathering with friends, why not take advantage of what you’ve invested in music lessons and let your piano player provide some of the entertainment? Music streamed through ipods and speakers is fine, but NOTHING beats a live performance from your kid!

To make it happen, get them involved right now! Suggest it casually and throw out some ideas about costumes. Kids love to dress up and they get caught up into what they are going to wear forgetting to protest about performing. And be sure to get some Funky Cool sunglasses!

Of course you will want to put out a tip jar so that guests can show their appreciation. You will need to put $2-$3 in the tip jar before setting it out so guests know that’s what it is for. Getting paid to play the piano? Now that sounds like something a kid could go for! Let them know that they can buy a new video game or some other thing they’ve been wanting with the tips.

If you really want to go over the top, get some prints of them at the piano and have them autograph the pics for your guests. Be sure to give guests the heads up that they need to ask for an autograph after the performance! For something to add that “extra touch” get invitations here.

What other ideas do you have for getting kids to play at family gatherings?

Preschoolers Playing The Blues

We just had our last Preschool Music Class for the school year and it made us feel a little sad to see all the fun we had come to an end. These little ones will be heading to big school next year as Kindergarteners! So before they said goodbye to preschool I decided to show them how to make music with glasses in water. To do this, we used:

  • Several small glasses that you can get at any craft store. I got mine at Michael’s.
  • Water
  • Food Coloring
  • Small Mallet
I put different amounts of water in each glass then let the kids gently hit each glass to hear how each glass had a different sound. To make it more fun, I had the kids put a drop of blue food coloring into each glass.
Next I had the kids listen for how the sound changed as the water level changed.
Once the kids figured out that the more water in the glasses the lower the pitch became, we played the glasses from high to low and low to high with the mallet.
To give everyone something to do while they each took turns using the mallet, I had the other kids make airplane arms. When the sounds got higher, they made their airplanes go up high in the sky. When the sounds got lower, they brought their airplanes in for a landing. Everyone liked this a lot – especially the boys!
I’m going to miss this group of kids next year, but I know they will do well in Kindergarten. And maybe, just maybe some of them will decide to learn to play the piano by taking lessons with me and then we can have even more fun together!

A Piano Activity Kids Can’t Resist

Transitioning between piano lessons can be a bit hectic at times, BUT –

A simple activity can make all the difference! With a small refrigerator or magnetic board and a keyboard graphic you can squeeze in that extra precious 5 minutes that sometimes gets lost in the transition between lessons.

One of my favorite transitional activities is the Magnetic Piano Puzzle I made using a 1 octave keyboard printable from Wendy Stevens at ComposeCreate.com.

Print the keyboard, attach  colorful letter stickers for the key names, then laminate.

Next you will cut out each of the white keys. This will leave you with a set of 2 black keys and a set of 3 black keys in addition to the white keys. Put magnetic tape on the back of each and arrange on the refrigerator.

Your student will then put the puzzle together. My refrigerator faces the studio door so it is the first thing kids see when they come in. Usually the younger ones will rush straight to the puzzle to put it together without me even asking. If they don’t and I am transitioning from another lesson, I ask them to see how fast they can put the puzzle together.

For those just learning the keys, I sometimes just put up the 2 black key puzzle or the 3 black key puzzle for them to assemble.

  

Extend the learning by removing certain keys from the completed puzzle so students can practice quickly recognizing which key is missing.

There are tons of ways to use this puzzle. Can you think of any? Share them in a comment below!

Music Alphabet Manipulatives

   Yet another use for Play Doh!

I wrote out all the music alphabet (including sharps and flats) on the tops from empty Play Doh containers. I can think of so many ways to use these in music teaching.

   A colorful representation of keyboard topography

Sometimes it’s hard for students to grasp that there are 12 individual tones in music. This way they can see it in full color!

 

  Younger ones can have races to see how fast they can put the music notes in order

-This can be done starting on ANY note so students get fluent at stepping up and down on the staff.

-Notes can be left out also so that students can name the missing note to complete the pattern.

-Students can stack the notes to build colorful chords

– If you are using a color code for piano notes/keys such as with Yellow Cat Music Education (great for students with dyslexia or who have trouble reading music notation), you can also use it when putting your own letters on the play doh caps. What fun!

Musical Mother’s Day Gifts

Here are some of the gifts my students gave their moms for Mother’s Day:

 Using a composing activity by Susan Paradis, Caroline wrote a song for her mom. I took a picture of her while she was composing. Then I laminated her song and mailed the song and the picture to her mom.

   Jordan made a video of herself playing her mom’s favorite songs. In the video she also tells her mom just how long it took her to get the song right! I’m guessing she wanted to make sure her mom knew just how much of herself she put into this gift!

4 year old Mia wrote a song for her mom using the notes in the 2 black key group. Mia sang and played the song for her mom. I wrote down the notes she played, then printed them along with the words she made up on pretty stationery. We laminated it and gave it to her mom at the end of her piano lesson.  She also recorded the song as part of her CD recording project. 

 Madison wrote a song for her mom using my songwriting game and  composing tools from KinderBach. Again, we laminated it and Madison kept it as a surprise to present to her mom on Mother’s Day.

What’s the best musical Mother’s Day gift you ever received from your kid? Share it in a comment below!

Kudos To School Music Teachers!

Thankfully a lot of my piano students go to schools where they have a music class. I am always so impressed when a student arrives to their piano lesson and tells me about a concept they learned in music class at school. These teachers really make my job a lot easier. So, in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week I’m dedicating this post to my students’ school music teachers. The kids and I spelled out their names rhythmically.  Kudos and thanks for all you do, school music teachers. You’re Awesome!!!