Teaching Chords with Musical Dice!

musicdicegrabachord

Visit www.ThePracticeShoppe.com to purchase Music Dice for this game!

Speed Up Music Learning By Getting Your Students To Do This!

In a recent post I shared one of my secrets to keeping students motivated AFTER the performance season. Today I’ll give you another way to get students excited about piano learning by making learning faster!

If you haven’t watched the YouTube video above, click on it NOW to be inspired! Daniel Menendez’s unique talent as a piano juggler can help you motivate your piano learners who might be having trouble settling down to do the most necessary task of learning to play music: LISTENING!!!

Too often students just want to get to the playing part and leave out the listening to music part of music learning. Many piano students struggle to learn new tunes simply because they don’t KNOW the tunes. By this I mean they can’t hum or sing the melody and they can’t feel the rhythm. This is because they are attempting to learn to play a song you’ve never heard is like trying to learn how to play the piano in the dark. Why do that when we’ve got lights?!

YouTube is a gold mine of fun listening visuals! The video linked above is a great example of this. If you’re teaching beginning piano, The Can Can is probably one of the songs on your list. Use this video to capture the young student’s attention. Point out things like the differences in tempo, the direction the melody is moving AND get your student to listen to the song over and over again without it being boring! I’m sure you will find that the learning will happen much faster and “funner”!

 

 

Keeping Piano Students Excited: Piano World Records

World

After the excitement of Holiday concerts what can a piano teacher do to keep up the enthusiasm? Well, for the last two weeks I have been presenting the idea of setting world records in piano to my students! Kids LOVE seeing who is the fastest at something or who can do something the longest. And who wouldn’t want the title of World’s Greatest?! Piano offers endless possibilities for this type of goal from scales (ascending and descending) to age (youngest, only 8 year old to ever, etc).

One thing you want to be intentional about is helping students set goals. I explained to students that we have to train like an athlete to break a world record. For younger kids it is also helpful to set a short time frame. For example – the most songs learned in 1 week. You can even expand the contest to have Studio Records. These will be easier for students to conquer and just might spur them on to beating one of the world records like this one:

Fastest descending chromatic world record.

I will confess that when I tried to do the fastest descending chromatic scale it took me twice as long as the world record! So, I will be training right alongside my students this semester. We will be sure to post our results and pics of all the fun we had!

In the meantime, I’d like to extend the invitation for YOU to join us in trying to set or break a piano world record. You can get all the information by visiting Recordsetter.com

Stay tuned tomorrow for more inspiration on how to use Piano World Records to boost learning in your studio.

 

Actors Who Play The Piano

Actors who play pianoWhat kind of people like to play the piano? Superheroes! Really, though, did you know that Superman (Christopher Reeve) played the piano? Actually a LOT of actors like to play the piano. Click here to catch a few your favorite actors in action!

You might also be interested in reading:

Famous Actors Who Play Music

10 Celebs Who Play Music

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.

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

bored

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

Supersonicspiano.com 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 Supersonicspiano.com. 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 http://www.thefameschoolblog.com 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 http://www.supersonicspiano.com! But before you do, leave a comment below for a chance to win an UNLIMITED REPRINT LICENSE for one of the books on http://www.supersonicspiano.com! One reader will be randomly chosen. The deadline for entering the giveaway is midnight on Friday, July 25th.