Category Archives: Uncategorized

October Freebie and Other Details

This week I thought I would offer a freebie for the game I mentioned in Teach Piano Today’s Podcast interview. If you didn’t get to hear the interview you can go here. I discuss how I use games to teach theory in my piano studio.

So if your just starting out and want to add games to your piano studio you can check out this week’s freebie, Caterpillar Scales, in the store (It’s at the very bottom of the list) . Just enter code FREE101105. Enjoy!

caterpillar scales game

 

On another note, a kind reader today informed me that my subscribe widget was not working properly. If you have tried to subscribe before and it was not successful, it should be fixed now. Also if you were previously subscribed you may want to subscribe again as I am now using a different plugin for this and the emails don’t look like they transferred.

 

 

Making Piano Technique Fun-Ideas for Fixing the Problematic low wrist

Looking for a fun way to make piano technique relatable for little ones? I have found that very young students don’t completely grasp why they need use proper playing technique when learning the piano. They just want to learn new songs. I am always thrilled when students are excited about playing pieces but I have yet to find students excited about technique. So over the next few weeks I will be covering some of the tricks I have learned that help students understand and get more excited about playing technique.

Ideas For Fixing Low WristsTeaching Piano Technique Part one: Ideas For Fixing Low Wrists

When students first start playing piano they often play with a low wrist.  A first, there may be no direct effect on their playing. They’re just playing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. But what happens when these students grow up? Can they play as well with a low wrist? Not really! And not only will their skills be in danger but they could experience a playing injury and have to quite all together. So how can we as piano teachers put an early stop to these low wrists? Here are some tips I have found very helpful for young students.

 

  1. Using Stuffed Animals in Piano LessonsGet a stuffed animal. I like using an alligator but there are many options. Have the student pretend the area blow their wrist is a swamp. Then say something like, “Whenever your wrist gets low Mr. Swampy the friendly alligator is going to come give you a friendly nudge. Can you play your piece without Mr. Swampy giving you a nudge?”  Whenever their wrist gets to low give a gentle nudge with the stuffed animal.
  2. Have the students pretend there is a helium balloon attached to each wrist. This balloon is then “pulling” their wrist up. This is a good one for kids who aren’t comfortable having their wrists adjusted while playing.
  3. Finally get a highlighter (make sure it is washable). Hold it below the student’s wrist. The highlighter should only be close enough to touch their wrist if it is too low. The student’s goal is to play their piece without getting any colored marks. This is a great game to use with the slightly older student who is past stuffed animals.

Method to My Madness- How to Effectively Teach Music Theory

How to effectively teach music theory. As I have taught piano lessons over the years I have found that young students need their theory broken down into baby steps. If theory is not broken down into manageable pieces they either become overwhelmed and frustrated or don’t learn the material well. In order to try and solve this problem, I  introduce a basic theory concept in steps. This helps me see if a student is understanding the new material and also helps make sure they learn it well.

For example, when I teach the notes on the staff I start with middle C and treble G. Then I add bass clef F. From there I go on to add treble D through E. Once a students has learned these treble notes well, I will add the remaining bass clef notes between F and C. I then do lots of practice with these 9 notes before expanding to more notes on the staff.  Usually each of these levels is spread over several weeks. I give  myself freedom for plenty of review if a student needs help.

With each of these steps I use a theory game I created to make learning these notes fun and interactive for each student. For example check out the free bug catchers game I use to introduce C and G.

 

Need more games to add to your studio? Check out the new products in the store.

5 Key Signature Games to Keep your Students excited about music lessons

Keep your students looking forward to their lessons each week with a new game. Need something to get you started? Here are 5 key signature games. Look for more games on other topics coming soon!5 Key Signature Games to play with your students

In my studio I like to gradually introduce key signatures in correlation to their scale. For example I start with the Keys of C G and F. I gradually add a new key signature each week usually through a game. Below are the five games I most commonly use with my students. They have all been a huge hit with the kids!  Get these games today and help complete your lesson plans for this fall!

 

Pizza Keys Key Signature Game

 

 

 

 

Pizza Keys covers C,G,D,A,E,F, and B flat. It is played in the style of bingo/tic tac toe.

 

 

 

 

Cupcake Key Signature Game

 

 

 

Cupcake Keys covers the Keys of C,G,D,A,F and B flat, Players draw the cupcake chords until the winning player covers all keys in the cupcake tin.

 

 

 

 

 

Cherry Keys Key Signature game

 

 

Cherry keys is a step up from pizza keys and cupcake keys. It adds the key signatures of E flat and E. The first student to draw and correctly identify all the keys wins.

 

 

 

 

Ladybug Key Signature Game

 

 

 

Ladybug Keys Covers the Keys of C,G,A,F,B flat and E flat. It is a great game to add to your stash if you have a student who is needs more practice with keys but is ready for a fresh new game.

 

 

 

 

 

S'more Key Signature Game

 

 

S’more Keys is the most advanced of all the key signature games. It covers all key signature and not only asks for key signature identification but also to name what key signature has a certain number of sharps/flats. Children love collecting the items to build s’more and seeing who has the most s’mores at the end of the game.

Ferris Wheel Match Up-Treble Clef notes

This is an excellent game to practice a student’s treble clef notes. One of my students last spring needed to review her treble clef notes so I created this game with this goal in mind. I love how simple and short this game is, but how useful it is in reviewing or solidifying music notes. It is an easy game to add in just a few quick minuets at the end of a lesson.  (For directions please download the file)

 

Reviewing Treble Clef NotesDownload Now!