July Members of the Month

 

Meet Chai and Lei-Ann from Michigan! They have four daughters Nicolette who is 26, Tiffany who is 16,  Annaliese  who is 13, and Loralei who turned 7 June 30th. Happy Birthday Loralei!

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Q: What’s your musical background?

I [Lei-Ann] have no musical background, but have always wanted to learn when I was growing up.  My daughter Tiffany is the only one in our family with musical knowledge.  She plays the alto saxophone for her high school band.

Q: Anything fun or unique you’d like to share about your family?

Growing up, both of our parents did not speak English and did not have the means to travel.  So we grew up not knowing much about the various beautiful places we have in this country and world.  We only saw these places in pictures and read about it in books.  Working hard to achieve our career goals, we finally reached the point where we could explore our surroundings and I wanted our children to grow up experiencing these things with us.  Since I teach, we had this big window of time to travel.  We were also fortunate that my husband’s job was extremely flexible with his schedule as well.  We began planning and going on these long summer road trips around the U.S. and Canada when our oldest daughter was seven.  Our longest trip was the summer we took Route 66 to San Diego, drove up highway 1 along the California coast, drove back on highway 80 and decided to take a detour to Minnesota to visit family, and then headed back to Michigan. The stops and experiences along the way were so memorable and educational.  Our most recent summer trip (last summer) was flying to Vancouver, Canada.  Then driving to explore Seattle, down the Oregon coast (stopping in Portland and visiting Crater Lake), and heading back to Michigan (stopping to see Mt. Rushmore, Yellow Stone, and the Badlands). We are truly blessed and grateful that we can do these things with our girls and hope that they will continue to share their experiences with their own families in the future.

Q: How do you structure piano lessons/practice for your family? Any tips to share?

Loralei is the only one learning piano at this time.  Due to Covid-19, there is a lot of flexibility. I’m not sure what it’s going to look like when school begins in the Fall.  Because she is so young, her practice times are based on her mood and the length of her practice time is based on her ability to focus.  She is aware that she will have piano lessons everyday, I’m just extremely flexible with when it will take place.  There are days where I will find her going to the piano on her own and she’ll be playing some of her favorite songs from level 1 that we have bookmarked with sticky notes.

Q: How did you learn about Busy Moms/Kids Do Piano?

    Busy Kids Do Piano was a website shared on a long list of on-line resources given to parents by her school at the beginning of the quarantine. Loralei had been asking me for a while now about piano lessons because she kept seeing ads from another source called Simply Piano. When I saw the free trial period offered by Busy Kids Do Piano, I decided to give it a try to see how Loralei would respond to learning because I didn’t want to invest unless she was serious about it.  We are now two months into piano lessons and beginning level 2.  

Q: Do you have any stories you’d like to share about your musical journey with piano lessons?

Loralei was very self-motivated from the beginning. Each time she completed lessons for each module and learned a piece of music, her confidence would just increase dramatically. I began sharing her progress with family and friends on Facebook and their praises has motivated her even more. As the lessons become more challenging, I see her becoming more resistant to our daily piano lessons. However, she will often self-talk herself to continue learning because she wants to make her teacher (Carly) proud of her. When she is bored, I will often see her at her piano playing an old piece we’ve sticky note as one of her favorites or just playing random notes for fun. Sometimes her random pieces sound quite nice.  Who knows, maybe one day she’ll compose her own music. 

Q: What is your goal with having your child learn to play the piano?

Music has so many benefits for brain development and is the main reason I have for motivating my daughter to learn piano (or any instrument).  My goal for Loralei is to continually learn piano and for her to take it as far as she wants to take it; using her knowledge to play for enjoyment, teach others, or maybe one day playing professionally.

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?”

June Member of the Month

Meet the Daniel family Philemon and Betty and their daughters Aviya, who is seven years old and Micah, who is two years old. They live on the beautiful foothills of the great Himalayas in a small town called Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh, India.

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Philemon teaches Electronics Engineering at National Institute of Technology Hamirpur. They live within the university campus, the campus that received the most beautiful campus in India award in 2016. Betty is a homemaker and an excellent baker. She specializes in eggless recipes to serve our neighbours. Continue reading “June Member of the Month”

April Members of the Month

Meet the Baltzersen family from Atlanta, Georgia. Mom Allison, dad Jasper and their daughters Annika who is eight and Ava who is six. Allison is a working and homeschooling mom who is now working her way through the BusyMoms program.
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Continue reading “April Members of the Month”

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”

Why Music History Matters.

Does your child ever ask you, “Why do I need to know this?”

Sometimes it can be a difficult question to answer. I remember asking my trigonometry teacher that question in high school. Every now and then, a piano student will ask me such a question when we’re going over a challenging concept. I might be explaining the theory behind diminished 7ths and a student will politely ask, “Ms. Carly? Why do I need to know this?” Continue reading “Why Music History Matters.”

Teaching Rhythm to Piano Students

Whether I’m having my first in-person piano lesson with a new student or a student is logging in to view their first piano lesson in my online program, that student will be learning the same concept: rhythm.

Teaching rhythm is SUCH an important part of being a piano teacher. There’s an underlying theoretical — really, mathematical — understanding that needs to happen. But, I also have to help my students “feel” rhythm. Continue reading “Teaching Rhythm to Piano Students”

July Members of the Month

 

Meet Andrew and Amy Cook family from Fort Campbell, KY. They have four wonderful children: Hannah, who is 12 years old, Katelyn, who is 11 years old, Sara, who is 9 years olds and Audrey, who is 7 years old. Like many of our Busy Families they are a military and homeschooling family.

Continue reading “July Members of the Month”

Musical Symbols

Learning to play an instrument is not unlike learning to speak a new language. It’s important to listen, follow the rhythm, understand new vocabulary and structure. Repetition and practice are not just helpful but necessary. Continue reading “Musical Symbols”