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”

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?”

The Baroque Period: Lesson 3

This lesson is part 3 of 4 that I’ve released on the Baroque period of music. These lessons are a part of my online course, Busy Kids Do Music History.

Find Lesson 1 of the Baroque Period series here

Find Lesson 2 of the Baroque Period series here

Find Lesson 4 of the Baroque Period series here

In the last lesson, we learned about how Baroque style influenced the way instruments were used and music sounded during the Baroque years.

In this lesson, we’ll take a look at 3 of the most famous Baroque composers. We’ll learn about who their patrons were, what kind of music they wrote, and even some fun or quirky things you may not have known about them.

Continue reading “The Baroque Period: Lesson 3”

The Baroque Period: Lesson 2

This lesson is part 2 of 4 that I’ve released on the Baroque period of music. These lessons are a part of my online course, Busy Kids Do Music History.

Find Lesson 1 of the Baroque Period series here

Find Lesson 3 of the Baroque Period series here

Find Lesson 4 of the Baroque Period series here

In the last lesson, we learned about how the Baroque period was all about fancy, decorative and lavish things!

In this lesson we’ll learn how that style influenced the way instruments were used and music sounded during the Baroque years. Continue reading “The Baroque Period: Lesson 2”

THE BAROQUE PERIOD: LESSON 1

This lesson is part 1 of 4 that I’ve released on the Baroque period of music. These lessons are a part of my online course, Busy Kids Do Music History.

Lesson 1: What was happening during the Baroque period?

  1. Watch the video. 

Let’s take a quick peek at some things that were happening in the Western world at the same time as the Baroque Period.

Continue reading “THE BAROQUE PERIOD: LESSON 1”

Favorite Piano Lesson Tutorials

I’ve been creating video piano lesson tutorials  for my online piano lessons for almost 5 years. In that time, we’ve created hundreds and hundreds of videos. Some tutorials teach the very basics of playing piano. Others are for more advanced pieces. Some are show tunes or the latest Disney song that your child is singing on repeat.

While these lessons are set up in my online memberships in a very structured way — with printable materials and theory worksheets — I also share a lot of them at no cost. If you’re following me on Facebook (or YouTube) chances are you’ve watched a few of these free piano lesson tutorials.

Because I have SO MANY piano lesson tutorials available to you, I thought I’d make them easier to find. In this post, you’ll find them categorized — with the link to view them on my Facebook page — below. Continue reading “Favorite Piano Lesson Tutorials”

Repetition in Musical Learning

Maybe you’ve heard the expression, “Repetition is the mother of all learning.”

There’s a reason for this. Repetition improves speed, increases confidence and creates neural pathways in the brain that commit that skill into memory. Once we’ve been down a pathway before, it’s easier to find the second and third and fourth time around!

Obviously, repetition is an important tool in musical learning. When my piano students are working on a piece of music, I might ask them to play a section “one more time” to help them become more fluent in a skill.

But sometimes, I can tell a student is getting frustrated or even bored if I ask him to repeat a passage of his piano piece again and again. Continue reading “Repetition in Musical Learning”