Interview A Female Composer

In my early years of learning piano and music theory, never once was I taught about a female composer. We’ve all heard about the greats – all male composers – but this month, for Music Challenge Monthly, I wanted to get students thinking about why there simply aren’t many notable female composers in history. Since March is Women’s History Month, I thought it was a great opportunity to explore this gender inequity and bring into focus the handful of women who did manage to make their mark in music, though the odds were certainly against them.  

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Valentine Printables – February’s Music Challenge Monthly

When I was a kid, one of my favorite traditions was exchanging Valentines with friends. Sometimes my teacher allowed us to exchange in class, and sometimes I just handed some out to friends on my own. But choosing which kind I would pass out was a big deal. I really wanted them to reflect something about me. This is partly why, this month, I’ve created a set of music-themed Valentines in case your student loves this tradition as much as I did. Your student can color them in with markers or crayons, personalizing them to their heart’s content. If your student is not yet gifted in the cutting department, be sure they are using safety scissors or getting help in cutting them apart. You’ll see 12 different designs, but you may print as many additional pages as needed to cover all your student’s pals.  Continue reading “Valentine Printables – February’s Music Challenge Monthly”

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.

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Identifying Intervals – January’s Music Challenge Monthly

I remember when my son was learning to read. It was a pretty painful process of going over the two- and three-letter words on his reading list very, very slowly. If you’ve ever witnessed a child learning to read, then you know what I’m saying here. For a countless number of times, you listen to them sound out each letter in c-a-t, and suddenly, one day, they read, “cat.” 

The same is true for reading music. It feels like your student may never reach the point of music-reading fluency, until one day it starts to click. This month, I’ve created the first in a new series of activities we’re calling Music Challenge Monthly. The January challenge addresses this very thing: the skills involved in music literacy.  Continue reading “Identifying Intervals – January’s Music Challenge Monthly”

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!

 

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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.

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.

 

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.