How To Get More Piano Students


Sometimes the best way to get kids interested in piano lessons – or anything else for that matter – is to have their friends tell them how much fun it is! If you take special care to keep fun at the center of your piano lessons, your students will reward you for it by telling their friends about it. And remember – kids tell it exactly the way they see it, so make sure to keep it fun because if it’s not they will tell that too!

One thing that keeps lessons fun is special projects. The sound file above is from the CD project we do in my studio. Each kid gets to record his or her own CD. Find out more about this project and how you can incorporate it into your teaching in Recording Season is Here!

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!

Stay Calm!

Recitals, performances, and anxiety – Oh My! Yes, it’s that time of year when limited time and looming performances can send piano students (and teachers) over the edge. So, I thought I’d share with you my new find that can lighten up the situation and make it more fun! Recently I got a new addition to go with the EASY button that sits on my teaching piano. It’s called the Panic Button. It features the familiar Hoops and YoYo characters from Hallmark and in true Hoops and YoYo style is HILARIOUS.
Whenever I see a kid approaching that point – you know the one where their eyes freeze up and frustration takes over – I say, “Quick Hit The Panic Button!” We both end up rolling with laughter as soon as they hit that button. I think this item is only available in stores but it is so worth a trip to the store!

One More For Little Mozarts!

This is a great FREE app for all ages, but especially for the youngest piano players. Using the Piano Tab on the app kids can learn to play 5 familiar tunes  –  Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Old Mac Donald, and others. The game works somewhat like Piano Wizard where the note to be played floats down to the key on the piano. I like the fact that it moves slowly enough for the kids to find the notes and it even waits while the kid does so. An added bonus is that kids using the Music For Little Mozarts method books will recognize a couple of friends on the screen – Mozart Mouse and Beethoven Bear! The graphics here are awesome and the colors are bright and fun. I can’t wait to introduce this one to my students! This app can be purchased for FREE in the apple itunes store. Did I mention that it’s FREE? What are your favorite music apps for younger piano students?

Play-Doh Re-Mi, Anyone?

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