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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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”

Learn About Bach: Activities for Kids

On the 28th of July, it will have been 269 years since the death of one of music’s greatest composers: Johann Sebastian Bach.

When it comes to teaching my own students and my children about composers (and the way in which I set up my online music appreciation course), I prefer to do it in a certain order. I start by sharing information about a composer’s life, either through a book or video. Then we take the chance to listen and discuss some of the composer’s music (thank you, YouTube!). Finally, we’ll engage in some hands-on activities inspired by the composer.

Here’s some ways you can teach your children about the life and musical contributions of Bach. I’ve presented it in the order that our family explores composers, but adjust it in whatever way will engage your own children!
Continue reading “Learn About Bach: Activities for Kids”