In my years of teaching piano, one thing I consistently encounter is a student who is more confident reading notes in the treble clef (right hand) than the bass clef (left hand). And since many of us are right-hand dominant, it makes sense that playing with the right hand would feel easier and therefore more comfortable. Many students end up with weaker bass clef familiarity and improving this is the goal of the November Music Challenge Monthly. Continue reading “Name the Notes: Bass Clef Edition”
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”
The classic game BINGO is a classic for a reason. From kids’ birthday parties to Tuesday nights at the senior center, the game appeals to all ages, in all seasons. I simply had to incorporate it into our Music Challenge Monthly series — a Back-To-School version for September — where I try to offer fun ways to teach supplemental piano theory to your students. Continue reading “Back-to-School Bingo”
There’s always something nostalgic and appealing about play-money, isn’t there? I grew up playing Monopoly and LIFE, and I remember loving a nice stack of pastel-colored cash. It felt so empowering to earn and spend my money, making grown-up types of deals with high dollar values. I bet you could tell me the color of the $500 bill in Monopoly, right? That’s how impactful these kinds of games are to us as kids!
This month, I wanted to create that feeling for my students. The download contains printable Composer Cash, featuring a different composer on the various bills, as well as a reward chart. But the rest of the challenge is up to you, and provides a great opportunity for you to connect with your student in a meaningful way to discuss not only their piano goals, but also what kinds of incentives mean the most to them. Continue reading “Composer Cash Incentive”
Well, we are already well into the summer, and if your students are like mine, the heat, the ice cream cones, and the screen time are beginning to pull them well out of routine. It’s great to enjoy that much-needed break from the school year, but I don’t love it when my students take too much of a break from piano. Sometimes, I struggle to “inspire” them to keep practicing piano throughout the summer, and I don’t want them to lose precious ground over the break, forgetting what they’ve most recently learned. I think continually changing up the practice routine and keeping it fun can help. Continue reading “Summer Practice Challenge”
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.
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”