August Member of the Month

Meet Aradonis and her family from South Carolina! She is a veteran and currently a stay at home mom to Jax (3) and Em (1). She is a new member to the Busy Kids (and Moms!) Do Piano community. She has recently returned to piano lessons after taking a ten year break.

Q: What’s your musical background?

I started taking piano lessons when I was in 2nd grade. Continue reading “August Member of the Month”

Slow Practice: Why It’s Important

When a student is working on a piece of music that is getting a bit sloppy – perhaps the tempo is uneven, the touch isn’t articulated or the notes aren’t clear – I often task him with SLOW PRACTICE. (Meaning that I am asking him to practice the piece veeerrry slowly.)

The student usually groans.

(Often times when the student returns to me the following week, I can tell that he didn’t actually practice the music slowly.)

But if the student DOES spend a week practicing the piece slowly then ohmygoodness, what a difference it makes. He returns to his lesson, plays the piece again at regular tempo, and we marvel at how much more polished, clear and beautiful the music sounds. He often observes how much easier it is to play and how he feels less frustrated! Continue reading “Slow Practice: Why It’s Important”

Making A Practice Plan.

At my high school, piano was a required “class”, and therefore, piano practices were something scheduled during the regular school day. I believed this to be a serious advantage because I no longer had to figure out a time to schedule practice between all the homework and extra-curricular activities that were beginning to fill my after-school hours.

The piano practices were held in the basement of our school building. Six to seven rooms were in the area with a piano in each, and a monitor would sit in the main area, strolling around and peering through the window into each practice room at regular intervals to make sure that students were, indeed, playing the piano and not reading books or doing other homework during this 40 minute period. (This was before cell phones, so you can only imagine the distractions that must take place now!) Continue reading “Making A Practice Plan.”

Summertime Music Opportunities

Since my kids were babies we’ve made a habit of attending outdoor concerts, classical music festivals and library “concerts on the lawn” during the warm summer months. As it finally starts to warm up in our area, my almost-5 year old asked, “Now that it’s summer, when can we go to a concert?” Continue reading “Summertime Music Opportunities”

Summer Time Piano Practice.

Many students have a much-needed and well-deserved break from school during the summer months.

With summer on the horizon, perhaps you’ve also noticed that there are many “SUMMER READING CHALLENGES” around. I’ve seen them at our local bookstores, library and even McDonald’s. My own kids love these summer reading challenges and are super motivated to plow through books and keep track of their reading in order to earn free books, movie tickets or Happy Meals. Continue reading “Summer Time Piano Practice.”

How to Participate in Your Child’s Music-Making.

So often, parents of students come to me with practicing struggles. They are exhausted from having to nag their child to practice, are running out of incentive ideas or perhaps have let practicing slide for awhile and aren’t really sure how to get back into healthy practice habits. Continue reading “How to Participate in Your Child’s Music-Making.”

Music Your Child (or YOU!) Will Love to Learn

As students become more proficient musicians, a key way to motivate them to continue learning and to encourage their independence is to find music they enjoy learning and performing. This continues to build their confidence and skills — and it’s fun! Continue reading “Music Your Child (or YOU!) Will Love to Learn”

Note-Naming Apps: My Favorite Four

When it comes to reading music, knowing the note names is kind of a big deal.

Because I work with a lot of beginners, I’ve also realized how quickly students can regress in their note recognition abilities. If a 1st-year-student takes the entire month of July off from lessons and practicing, or fails to practice in between weekly lessons for a stretch, their frustration at not recognizing notes they once were able to read easily is palpable. Continue reading “Note-Naming Apps: My Favorite Four”

8 Reasons to Learn Piano Composition.

Anyone can learn piano composition.

Perhaps the idea of composing a song might seem really intimidating or mind-boggling to you. Would it surprise you to know that I’ve had students as young as 4-years-old compose their own original (and delightful!) pieces?

If the idea of composing a piano piece seems impossible, think of the pride that comes whenever you create something unique. Maybe you had this feeling when you painted your kitchen cabinets or wrote an article that was published. Perhaps you were super proud of  the beautiful birthday party you hosted or the delicious dinner you made. Continue reading “8 Reasons to Learn Piano Composition.”

Why Start With Piano Lessons?

So you’re thinking about starting your child with music lessons. If you’ve started to ask around about which instrument to start with, you’ve likely heard the piano recommended pretty strongly. Why start with piano lessons?

I’m a piano teacher so I realize I might be a little biased. However, in my own studies and in talking to the pediatricians, psychiatrists and school teachers in my children’s lives, I have learned that piano is often what they recommend as well. Continue reading “Why Start With Piano Lessons?”