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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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.
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?”