Name the Notes: Bass Clef Edition

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”

Summer Practice Challenge

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 Members of the Month

Meet Ryan and Jennie, and their two children, Abigail 13 and soon to be 11 Aidan. They are a homeschooling family in Tennessee! However, they have lived in Kentucky, Texas, and Minnesota.

family pic for piano Continue reading “June Members of the Month”

Host A Spring Piano Recital

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”

February Members of the Month

Meet the Nesbitt Family from California! They live in the beautiful San Fransisco Bay area. They are a busy family with two kids in the Busy Kids Do Piano program. Jonah is in 2nd grade and Kyle is in kindergarten. At the start of the pandemic the Nesbitt family started their own YouTube channel called This Japanese American Life.
image0
Q: What’s your musical background?

Continue reading “February Members of the Month”

January Members of the Month

Meet the Chan family, who live in California, around the San Francisco Bay Area.They are a family of four, Diana, her husband, Amelia Busy Kids piano student, age 7, and her younger brother age 3.  They adventured as a family to see snow for the first time this winter season.momjan
Q: What’s your musical background?
I can play some piano, but it’s always been off and on. I took a piano class in my elementary school for a few years. Then I took some lessons in high school and college. My husband played the trumpet and baritone horn in high school.

Continue reading “January Members of the Month”

November Members of the Month

Meet the Cook family from Fort Campbell, KY. Mom, Amy and Dad, Andrew have 4 children: Hannah is 14 years old, Katelyn is 13 years old, Sarah is 13 years old and Audrey is 10 years old. 

 What’s your musical background?

 I (Amy) took piano lessons for about 10 years as a kid. 

Anything fun or unique you’d like to share about your family?

I homeschool and we’re a military family. We’re originally from Pennsylvania. We’ve lived in Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, New York, and now here. Our 4 children were born in 3 different states. 

How do you structure piano lessons/practice for your family? Any tips to share?

 I have the girls each take their piano lesson a different day of the week. Then, I help them if they need help and listen to them play it every evening after dinner. 

How did you learn about Busy Moms/Kids Do Piano?

 I heard about Busy Kids from a Facebook friend. 
What is your goal with having your child learn to play the piano?

I would love to see the girls play in church once in a while and also just enjoy playing!

 

    image1

October Members of the Month

Meet the Johnson family from the hills of Perth, Western Australia. Clara is 11, Caleb is 9, Camden is 4, and Piper is one.

Image

What’s your musical background?

Mum (Jill) is a dancer and Uncle Glenn is the keyboardist/guitarist of a popular band in Australia.

 

Anything fun or unique you’d like to share about your family?

We live in the hills of Perth, Western Australia

It’s beautiful because we enjoy the native animals sharing the space around us.

 

How do you structure piano lessons/practice for your family? Any tips to share?

The children play the piano daily and record/tick off our family diary. We use the word ‘play’ rather than practice because…playing the piano is fun❣️

 

How did you learn about Busy Moms/Kids Do Piano?

Finding out about Busy Kids/Moms do Piano was the best thing ever🤗🤗🤗

I can never thank Social Media enough for giving us this opportunity to discover this wonderful family – BUSY KIDS/MOMS DO PIANO❣️

 

Do you have any stories you’d like to share about your musical journey with piano lessons?

We feel an attachment to Carly that is unexplainable. She is so amazing💞

Her program has given the children more than knowledge of playing an instrument. They have grown in confidence. Carly is such a multitalented person who has made a tremendous difference in the children’s lives. They never show any disinterest or dislike when it’s time to play the piano.

 

What is your goal with having your child learn to play the piano? 

We are constantly surrounded by music. Learning the piano, in my opinion, is the best foundation to learning all other instruments…like learning ballet is the best foundation for learning all other dance genres. This is my personal opinion.

Finally, being part of the Busy Kids/Moms do Piano family has been the best decision our family has made.

Thank you Carly❣️❣️❣️

June Member of the Month

Meet LaNise and her 11 year old daughter Erelyn-Marie from Columbus, Ohio. They are a thrill seeking  mother-daughter duo who spend their summers riding rollercoasters at  Cedar Point the roller coaster capital of the world!

20210404_200054

Q: What’s your musical background?

I [LaNise] don’t have any musical background but Erelyn has been playing piano since she was 4 years old. I’ve learned music along with her but do not play.

Q: Anything fun or unique you’d like to share about your family?

We love riding roller coasters together. Every Summer we take multiple trips to Cedar Point [the roller coaster capital of the world] and ride as many as possible in a day or two.

Q: How do you structure piano lessons/practice for your family? Any tips to share?

Erelyn practices almost every day usually after dinner time. She doesn’t always do a lesson though. Sometimes it’s just a song she’s learning for church.

The only tip I can offer: To keep her motivated, I let her pick a gift she wants at the end of each week if she has practiced a certain number of days. Nothing big, maybe a fast food run or something from the dollar store. 

20210523_143024

Q: How did you learn about Busy Moms/Kids Do Piano?

I saw an ad on Facebook and watched the free lesson. 

Q: Do you have any stories you’d like to share about your musical journey with piano lessons?

When Erelyn first started piano, she was 4 and caught on very easily. She progressed much faster than expected and she loved learning something new each lesson. She’s played in a few recitals and now plays the accompaniment for our kids choir at church. She did have about a year of not playing when her piano teacher moved away so after being out of practice it took some motivating to get her back in the practice mood again but, she’s bounced back tremendously. 

Q: What is your goal with having your child learn to play the piano?

I’d like her to want to play piano for fun but also so she can be a help in our church one day.

May Members of the Month

Meet Ben, Karissa, and their 9 year old daughter Savannah from Coral Springs, Florida. They have a lovable, yet often mischievous, Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix, named Zip that they rescued a few years ago.

20210404 Family Easter Picture

Q: What’s your musical background?

Our family’s musical background is fairly limited.  I [Ben] took piano lessons for several years when I was around Savannah’s age, and then taught myself a little guitar from method books in my early 20’s.  Oh, and my wife can sing pretty good karaoke!  My recent attempts at music have been non-existent until recently when I got Savannah into the BusyKids program, which also motivated me to pick up the piano again, with more focus than ever!

Q: Anything fun or unique you’d like to share about your family?

Savannah is an only child, and sometimes when asked if she has any brothers or sisters, she will respond with an emphatic yes!  Her dog Zip!  Zip is a lovable, yet often mischievous, Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix who we rescued several years ago.

 Q: How do you structure piano lessons/practice for your family? Any tips to share?

We use the monthly challenges to provide motivation for practice.  These work really well for us, providing motivation and goals every month.  When we first started, practice was easy and exciting.  However, like I’m sure happens to many children, as things get more challenging, practice becomes more of a chore.  I think the lessons provide good reasonable progression for someone my daughter’s age.  Most lessons can be completed  in a relatively short amount of time so she doesn’t get frustrated.  It’s always a sense of accomplishment every time she gets to check off that she completed a lesson.  I tried Ms. Carly’s recommendation to not focus on practice time, but instead work on completing specific lines, measures, or hands, etc.  This worked great for a while, but Savannah kept wanting an amount of time she had to practice.  I asked her what amount of time she thought she should do.  She suggested 25 minutes, which was perfectly fine with me, so that has been our daily practice requirement.  Of course, it’s not truly daily, typically, she practices around 4 days a week.  This has worked well, allowing her to progress at a good pace, feeling good about steadily accomplishing new things, and not getting too upset about being pushed to practice too much.  Overall, I think the monthly challenges, and the results she sees in herself when she accomplishes a new piece, are what really help with keeping her motivated.

Savannah-Zip piano

 Q: How did you learn about Busy Moms/Kids Do Piano?

I considered private lessons for my daughter for some time, but given the price, commitment, and not having a huge desire from my daughter at the time I never pulled the trigger.  Then one day my sister told me about this program called BusyKids, that she had started using for her son.  She learned about it on social media.  She told me that she really liked how personal it was and of course the price!  She also told me about the free trial course which was nice to try out before committing.  I mentioned it to my daughter a few times, and a few months later she expressed a desire to start learning!  It just so happened it was during a special open enrollment period due to the unfortunate virus situation, so we were able to start right away.

 Q: Do you have any stories you’d like to share about your musical journey with piano lessons?

I really like the structure of these lessons as compared to many online programs.  Gearing them for kids is great, plus Ms. Carly teaches how to play the piano, not just how to press notes.  When Savannah started, it got me motivated to start learning again also, which I have not done much of since I was a child.  When I started looking for myself, I had no idea the world of stuff that is available online for piano lessons these days.  As I looked around, and did trials of several programs for myself, I learned how many of these are structured.  This made me appreciate the method used by Ms. Carly in her program even more.  I think it’s perfect for children learning.  So Savannah’s musical journey also renewed a journey of mine that I have tremendously enjoyed this past year.  But just as much, it’s been such a pleasure to watch how well Savannah has progressed over the past year.  I often wonder that having the ability to set our own pace at her progression, and being able to move to the next lessons when she’s ready, has advanced her just as quickly if not more so than private lessons would have in her first year.

Q: What is your goal with having your child learn to play the piano?

My goal is for Savannah to develop an appreciation of piano, and get to a level where she feels comfortable playing pieces that challenge her and give her joy, so that she can develop a lifelong interest and hobby.  Of course, to get there, my more immediate goal is to help her maintain interest enough so that she will continue to challenge herself and learn!  Wish me luck!  A more near term goal has also been to give Savannah something productive and educational to focus on, especially as we are home more than ever these days where having additional structure really helps.