June is African American Music Appreciation Month, and so I sat down and made a list of some of my favorite songs written by Black artists from various decades and in various musical genres. My list ended up including favorites from jazz, classical, R&B, pop, and more. This month’s challenge is in hopes your student will get to listen to some of these songs, ones you probably love as well, by artists like Stevie Wonder, Etta James, ragtime-extraordinaire Scott Joplin, and I even threw in a classic by Destiny’s Child. Continue reading “Dance & Draw Party Packet”
Have you ever performed at a recital, whether in school or for some private lessons you were taking? I have spent countless hours at recitals, both as a student, and as a piano teacher. Some kids are really nervous when it comes to performing. Others shine in the spotlight. I remember feeling my fingers tremble a few times as I picked out which notes to play while my friends, family, and teacher silently watched. I made mistakes. I played beautiful pieces from memory. And I’ve been the silent onlooker, watching kids perform at every level. Continue reading “Host A Spring Piano Recital”
Do you have memories from childhood of hearing a song that made you feel happy, sad, or excited? At what point did you begin to associate music with different feelings? Many of us probably found some of this awareness around middle school or high school, when we began to experience more of the ups and downs of life. Most of us found songs to accompany us through those times. Music can be nostalgic and emotional. It can be a strong influence and a significant part of our stories. Continue reading “Spring Activity Pack”
In my early years of learning piano and music theory, never once was I taught about a female composer. We’ve all heard about the greats – all male composers – but this month, for Music Challenge Monthly, I wanted to get students thinking about why there simply aren’t many notable female composers in history. Since March is Women’s History Month, I thought it was a great opportunity to explore this gender inequity and bring into focus the handful of women who did manage to make their mark in music, though the odds were certainly against them.
Continue reading “Interview A Female Composer”
When I was a kid, one of my favorite traditions was exchanging Valentines with friends. Sometimes my teacher allowed us to exchange in class, and sometimes I just handed some out to friends on my own. But choosing which kind I would pass out was a big deal. I really wanted them to reflect something about me. This is partly why, this month, I’ve created a set of music-themed Valentines in case your student loves this tradition as much as I did. Your student can color them in with markers or crayons, personalizing them to their heart’s content. If your student is not yet gifted in the cutting department, be sure they are using safety scissors or getting help in cutting them apart. You’ll see 12 different designs, but you may print as many additional pages as needed to cover all your student’s pals. Continue reading “Valentine Printables – February’s Music Challenge Monthly”
I remember when my son was learning to read. It was a pretty painful process of going over the two- and three-letter words on his reading list very, very slowly. If you’ve ever witnessed a child learning to read, then you know what I’m saying here. For a countless number of times, you listen to them sound out each letter in c-a-t, and suddenly, one day, they read, “cat.”
The same is true for reading music. It feels like your student may never reach the point of music-reading fluency, until one day it starts to click. This month, I’ve created the first in a new series of activities we’re calling Music Challenge Monthly. The January challenge addresses this very thing: the skills involved in music literacy. ￼ Continue reading “Identifying Intervals – January’s Music Challenge Monthly”
Whether I’m having my first in-person piano lesson with a new student or a student is logging in to view their first piano lesson in my online program, that student will be learning the same concept: rhythm.
Teaching rhythm is SUCH an important part of being a piano teacher. There’s an underlying theoretical — really, mathematical — understanding that needs to happen. But, I also have to help my students “feel” rhythm. Continue reading “Teaching Rhythm to Piano Students”
Learning to play an instrument is not unlike learning to speak a new language. It’s important to listen, follow the rhythm, understand new vocabulary and structure. Repetition and practice are not just helpful but necessary. Continue reading “Musical Symbols”
My 9-year-old daughter and piano student is working her way through Level 4 of my Busy Kids program and transitioning to independent practice. As we were skimming a new piece of music and she noticed many notes were written on ledger lines, she got a little panicky. She grabbed a pencil, figured out what the ledger line notes were and wrote in the names. Continue reading “Reinforcing Ledger Lines”
When a child learns to read there are many important components to becoming a fluent reader. A child must be able to identify letters and letter sounds, but if he is going to read fluently, he has to move past thinking of each individual letter and letter sound.
The same goes for becoming a fluent note-reader and music player. A proficient pianist isn’t thinking of all the individual notes when she plays a complicated piece of music (can you imagine having all those individual note names flying through your head as you played?!). Continue reading “Identifying Intervals: Why It Matters”