Simply stated, I’m obsessed with fall. Around this time every year, I pull out my favorite coat and boots, and start wanting pumpkin-flavored treats and warm cider. For our download this month, I wanted to give your student an opportunity to relish the delights of fall as well. As we near November, the days are shorter, the rain clouds linger, and the leaves turn golden. It’s a very special, beautiful time of year and it tends to bring a certain vibe, a feeling quite different from the excitement of summer. Continue reading “Be a Kid Composer”
Have you ever sat down with your child or a piano student for a lesson or practice and he’s had “ants in his pants”?
Sometimes students may have a diagnosed disorder such as ADHD or ASD, and other times — kids just have busy brains and busy bodies and need some guidance focusing.
Here are three ways to help a busy kiddo get focused for piano practice. Continue reading “Help Your Piano Student Focus”
This blog is typically a place where I share musical resources and piano practice tips. I thought I would do something a little bit different in this post, and share with you a peek into our homeschool world.
This coming fall, I will be homeschooling my oldest daughter again for her 6th grade year. We take what is called an eclectic approach to homeschooling. This means we don’t follow one set philosophy such as Classical or Charlotte Mason. It also means we don’t use one boxed curriculum that overs every subject. Instead, I have picked out parts from different homeschooling resources that I believe best fit my daughter’s personality and interests. Continue reading “A Peek At Our Homeschool”
This lesson is part 1 of 4 that I’ve released on the Baroque period of music. These lessons are a part of my online course, Busy Kids Do Music History.
Lesson 1: What was happening during the Baroque period?
- Watch the video.
Let’s take a quick peek at some things that were happening in the Western world at the same time as the Baroque Period.
I’ve been creating video piano lesson tutorials for my online piano lessons for almost 5 years. In that time, we’ve created hundreds and hundreds of videos. Some tutorials teach the very basics of playing piano. Others are for more advanced pieces. Some are show tunes or the latest Disney song that your child is singing on repeat.
While these lessons are set up in my online memberships in a very structured way — with printable materials and theory worksheets — I also share a lot of them at no cost. If you’re following me on Facebook (or YouTube) chances are you’ve watched a few of these free piano lesson tutorials.
Because I have SO MANY piano lesson tutorials available to you, I thought I’d make them easier to find. In this post, you’ll find them categorized — with the link to view them on my Facebook page — below. Continue reading “Favorite Piano Lesson Tutorials”
Maybe you’ve heard the expression, “Repetition is the mother of all learning.”
There’s a reason for this. Repetition improves speed, increases confidence and creates neural pathways in the brain that commit that skill into memory. Once we’ve been down a pathway before, it’s easier to find the second and third and fourth time around!
Obviously, repetition is an important tool in musical learning. When my piano students are working on a piece of music, I might ask them to play a section “one more time” to help them become more fluent in a skill.
But sometimes, I can tell a student is getting frustrated or even bored if I ask him to repeat a passage of his piano piece again and again. Continue reading “Repetition in Musical Learning”
On the 28th of July, it will have been 269 years since the death of one of music’s greatest composers: Johann Sebastian Bach.
When it comes to teaching my own students and my children about composers (and the way in which I set up my online music appreciation course), I prefer to do it in a certain order. I start by sharing information about a composer’s life, either through a book or video. Then we take the chance to listen and discuss some of the composer’s music (thank you, YouTube!). Finally, we’ll engage in some hands-on activities inspired by the composer.
Here’s some ways you can teach your children about the life and musical contributions of Bach. I’ve presented it in the order that our family explores composers, but adjust it in whatever way will engage your own children!
Continue reading “Learn About Bach: Activities for Kids”
One of my favorite ways to explore music with my kids is by combining music samples and children’s books. My children love learning more about their favorite musical artists through a colorful book about them. Sometimes reading a book has piqued their curiosity, and gets us checking out new artists on Spotify. Continue reading “Children’s Books for African-American Music Appreciation Month”
If you’ve ever watched an accomplished pianist play, you may have been amazed at the way her fingers moved quickly across the keys — even when playing a complicated piece of music. It looks so easy, doesn’t it?
If you are working with a younger beginner, however, chances are you’ve realized that there’s a lot of work that goes into building that kind of strength and dexterity in a person’s fingers! Your student may become easily frustrated when trying to play each note one-at-a-time, with a different finger. It might seem impossible for a 5-year-old to keep his fingers round and firm while striking a piano key. Continue reading “Building Strength and Finger Independence”