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”

Help Your Piano Student Focus

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”

A Piano Recital During a Pandemic

Covid 19 has been a major bummer. There’s no way around it. Our family loves attending outdoor concerts and performances during the summer months. As we head into the July, we are missing it very much.

I have, however, loved seeing how musicians are coming together to share performances using digital platforms. Lockdown concerts from the talented Kanneh-Mason family have been a wonderful treat. A friend of mine who used to work for the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra put together an evening of music on Zoom, with musicians and vocalists from all over the country participating in sharing music. Yo-Yo Ma’s collaborations that he shares on his Facebook page always bring my family joy.

Continue reading “A Piano Recital During a Pandemic”

What Should Piano Practice Include?

In the past, I’ve written about how piano practice shouldn’t be structured by requiring a specific length of practice time. A student who is required to practice for 30 minutes a day, for example, won’t necessarily make steady progress in his piano abilities.

So how, then, should a piano practice be structured? How can you ensure that piano practice will mark forward progress? Continue reading “What Should Piano Practice Include?”