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.

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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❣️❣️❣️

A Peek At Our Homeschool (7th Grade Edition)

While this blog is typically a place where I share musical resources and piano practice tips, one of my most popular blog posts to date has been from last year when I shared the curriculum and approach I use to homeschooling our [then] 6th grade daughter. As we head into her 7th grade year, I thought I would do a similar post where I give you a peek into our homeschooling set-up for the year.

Continue reading “A Peek At Our Homeschool (7th Grade Edition)”

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!

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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 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.

 

April Member of the Month

Meet the Kaur family originally from Punjab, India and currently living in Seattle, WA.  Dad, Aman and Mom, Simmi have two princesses Avneet and Emleen.  Avneet turned 8 years old on Valentine’s day. She is a Valentine’s day baby. Emleen is turning 4 yr old next month. Aman and Simmi both work  full time. He is a software developer and she is a pharmacist. Aman’s parents also live with them, making a wonderful multigenerational home.
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Q: What’s your musical background?
 
We don’t have any musical background. I [Simmi] have always wanted to learn musical instruments but never got a chance. However, I want my both daughters to learn music.
Avneet has been learning another instrument Harmonium (like Piano but you have to sing, you use one hand to press notes and other hand to pump the fan in front of the instrument) since she is 5 years old. She started learning Piano last summer in August with Carly. Emleen wanted to learn Piano after watching her sister. First I thought she is still pretty young for Piano but found out about preschool program that Carly offers. I purchased it and can’t thank Carly enough it was so engaging and wonderful that she is in love with piano lessons.
Q: Anything fun or unique you’d like to share about your family?
We all work together as a team to get any activity or learning done in a fun way. Her dad is learning piano with her. They both work as a team to motivate each other and learn at the same time. Avneet enjoys her piano lesson with her dad.
Q: How do you structure piano lessons/practice for your family? Any tips to share?
 
We try to choose at least 2 days per week for lesson/practice. There is no fix day or time we do it. Usually, we put in in the schedule depending on our work schedule and other classes for kids. We keep one day for learning new piano lesson and second day of the week for practicing the lesson we learned or any previous ones.
The tip I would like to share is that don’t force your kids to keep going for lesson if they are not interested at that moment. Choose the time when they are mentally ready. which will make it very easy for you and for them.
Q: How did you learn about Busy Moms/Kids Do Piano?
 
I found out about Busy Moms/Kids through facebook. I was trying to find some activities or online classes for her when COVID arrived last year. This program offered by Carly seemed like something I was looking for. It has advantage over other program offered including in person Piano lesson which is pricing, flexibility and accessibility.
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Q: Do you have any stories you’d like to share about your musical journey with piano lessons?
We are amazed by how much Avneet and Emleen have learned so far in such a short period of time.
Q: What is your goal with having your child learn to play the piano?

We would like to continue learning piano with Carly even though we have option of going in person classes now just because our daughters are in love with the way how Carly teaches the lessons. We can’t wait for them to move forward with this program.

February Member of the Month

Meet the DiAntonio family from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Marabeth and Bernie have four adult children who have already flown the coop, Meg is married with a daughter of her own, Nicole, Brian and Joe. At home they have have Shane who is 18 and a senior in high school, Michael who is 9, Boriana who is also 9, Maggie  who is 8 and John who is 6.

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What’s your musical background?

I [Marabeth] took piano lessons in early elementary school and also played the clarinet in the school band from 4th to 9th grades. I wasn’t very good but remember how to read music decently and continued to play piano for fun every once in awhile.

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

We are a blended and adoptive family. When Bernie and I were married in 2010 we were both single parents; he had 4 kids and I had 1. In 2011, Mike was born and  Maggie was born in 2012. Both Boriana and John were born in Bulgaria and joined our family in 2018. It sounds like a lot of kids but we have only had 3-5 of them living at home at any one time! Mike and Boriana were both born with Down Syndrome and John has cerebral palsy. After Mike was born, we learned that there are many children around the world with Down Syndrome and other disabilities who need families, which led to Boriana and John becoming part of ours.

How do you structure piano lessons/practice for your family? Any tips to share?
Only Maggie is learning piano right now. She started homeschooling this year which makes finding time for practice and lessons much easier. She usually practices every “school” day for a short time right after breakfast. I let her know when to move on in lessons and weave them into the school day. Right now she is doing 1 lesson every week or so but there has been periods where she moved along slower  because we were busy or she needed a lot of practice before moving ahead.
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How did you learn about Busy Moms/Kids Do Piano?

We actually did Carly’s Nutcracker Camp before we even had a piano (which I saw scrolling through Facebook) and that put me on the email list. When we finally got a piano I started trying to teach Maggie myself from lesson books but that was difficult so we decided to try Busy Kids. I think we are coming up on two years using Busy Kids in May and we are very happy with the program!

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

Maggie is the only one in the family doing piano lessons and also the only one homeschooling so she does her practice and lessons while her siblings are at school. This year, Maggie has been giving “lessons” to her brother and sister when they get home from school. It cracks me up to hear her tell them the same things I tell her when she practices!

What is your goal with having your child learn to play the piano?Just to have fun and learn stuff! I think learning to read music and basic music theory is really helpful to know. Even if piano ends up not being her thing she may want to learn a different instrument or it can help with singing. Or it may be something she can enjoy doing for the rest of her life. 

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January Member of the Month

Meet Josh and Chelsea and their three children Naomi, 9 years old,   Jonah, 7 years old, and Aiden, 5 years old. They are from Indianapolis, Indiana. Not only are the kids part of the Busy Kids program, but Mom is too!

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Q: What’s your musical background?

My husband and I [Chelsea] both played an instrument in junior high and can read music, but neither of us have natural musical talent, nor pursued learning beyond the basics. However, we both have siblings and parents who are talented musicians and want our children to have the opportunity to develop basic music skills to see if they love playing music as much as some of their extended family does!

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

While Josh and I were raised in the midwest, we have lived in LA (where Naomi and Jonah were born) and Colorado (where Aiden was born), and we love to return to those places when able, as well as travel to new places as time, resources and safety allow! We have also been a foster family for the past 5 years, so the number of children in our family fluctuates between three and five as other children join our family for the season that they need to and then often return home to their families.

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

Since we homeschool, piano is part of their daily checklist for school. Once they feel like they are ready for the next lesson we go over the end of lesson checklist and “perform” the songs from that lesson for whoever is around at the moment, and then the next day they’ll go on to a new lesson. Each child definitely works at their own pace based on difficulty of lesson/determination. One of our children easily goes throughs two lessons a week when motivated, and another typically takes two weeks to get comfortable with the new information and songs. By making it a part of their daily checklist for school, we all feel less pressure to be making quick progress through the lessons and staying on a tight schedule of lessons v. practice. 

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

I did some research for online piano lessons and was amazed at the cost of Busy Kids Do Piano! When you considered paying for three individual lessons a week, four times a month, this was such a great deal! I had my older two children (who were 5 & 7 at the time) watch her sample lesson to see how they engaged/followed along and it went well, and then I saw that Carly offered a Busy Moms course as well and I was sold! I am sloooowly making my way through the Back in the Saddle course. 

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

I just love how proud the kids are when they learn a new song, especially one they already knew how to sing. We bought a couple Christmas song books this year and they have each loved learning different Christmas songs and play them for their friends and family over Facetime whenever they get the chance!

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

Our goal is for them to learn basic music skills/theory, as well as hopefully instill a love for playing music. We also love that it teachers perseverance!

December Members of the Month

Meet the Woods Family from the western suburbs of Chicago!  Darla and husband, Darnell have four daughters, Anayah 10, Kenzie 6, Teagan 4, and Tessa 2. Four years ago, they took an epic road trip from Illinois covering Texas, California, Nevada, and Colorado. They have plans to travel as much as possible when it can be done safely again!
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Continue reading “December Members of the Month”

Representation in Music

A few weeks ago,  a parent reached out to me to let me know that she was struggling to find piano and music resources that represented her Black son. She wondered if I might have any resources where he could see himself represented.

It’s beneficial for children to see racial mirrors. They need role models, inspiration and validation. It’s also important that children who are white or from homogenous populations see others who don’t look like them represented. Not only does it reduce stereotypes and biases but it also give a more accurate window into the real world.

The music education world — myself included — has a long way to go when it comes to racial representation. I am committed to doing better (and always open to feedback). Within my paid courses — both in the content and the images — I work to include diverse representation.

I also have lots of free materials that are available to music students everywhere. Here is a current round-up of free resources from my own music education materials that represent non-white musicians. Continue reading “Representation in Music”

November Member of the Month

Meet John, Yiching, and Alex, who is six years old. This musical family resides near Salt Lake City, Utah. When this musical family  isn’t busy working hard at their coffee shop/roastery they are having piano raffles to make practice fun! Continue reading “November Member of the Month”