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”

Children’s Books for African-American Music Appreciation Month

One of my favorite ways to explore music with my kids is by combining music samples and children’s books. My children love learning more about their favorite musical artists through a colorful book about them. Sometimes reading a book has piqued their curiosity, and gets us checking out new artists on Spotify. Continue reading “Children’s Books for African-American Music Appreciation 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”

African American Music Appreciation Month: Nina Simone

Since 1979, the month of June is recognized as African-American Music Appreciation Month. It’s a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the music of black musicians, singers and songwriters. Continue reading “African American Music Appreciation Month: Nina Simone”

June Members of the Month

Meet Greg and Robyn Byus from northern Virginia! They have four lovely children Zach 25 who is an audio/video tech, Jon 20 who is a graphic design student at Liberty University and quad drummer for Jersey Surf drum corp, Ben 17  who is a high school junior, all-state clarinet player, and Emily 9 who is a home school student.

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What’s your musical background?

I [Robyn] took  5 years of piano lessons in elementary school, then played flute and oboe in band through junior high and high school.  I continued to play flute in church and community bands and still do.  My husband Greg took guitar lessons for a year or two in late elementary. Continue reading “June Members of the Month”

Preparing for A Piano Recital

Your student is preparing for a piano recital. You’re probably thinking, “Well, she’ll have to practice a lot!”

That’s sort of true. However, getting ready for a piano recital involves a bit more of a strategy than just additional practice. Continue reading “Preparing for A Piano Recital”

March Members of the Month

Meet Yenson, Fabienne, and their daughters Eva age 7 and Matilda age 3. They are from a lovely village in Cheshire not too far from Manchester in England. Eva is student in the Busy Kids Program while her mom, Fabienne is part of the Busy Moms program and just recently Matilda has tried out the preschooler program! Continue reading “March Members of the Month”

Reducing Performance Anxiety

As a piano teacher, I make sure my students have many opportunities to share their musical gifts through piano recitals, playing for church or school talent shows. Even with my online students, I provide an online recital hall and suggestions for holding recitals at home. But what if your student suffers from performance anxiety? Continue reading “Reducing Performance Anxiety”

When a Student Can Play By Ear…

Sometimes students will come to me for piano lessons with a strong ability to play by ear in place already. It could be that the student has spent time listening to favorite songs on iTunes and picking out those melodies on the piano. Alternatively, a student might hear me play a piece of music she is working on in a lesson and, rather than reading the music, rely on her memory of what the piece sounds like in order to learn it.

It can be difficult to figure out how to approach teaching a student like this piano.

Do we completely ignore theory and technique and musical scores in favor of just learning pop hits by ear?

Do we start from the very beginning and scrap all the pop music in favor of meticulous theory and music-reading? Continue reading “When a Student Can Play By Ear…”

Taking Kids to the Symphony

Taking kids to the symphony is a really awesome opportunity to help them understand how relevant learning an instrument is while also gain appreciation for musicians, musical instruments and different musical styles.

I often share in my livecasts and on my blog posts how important it is to nurture love and appreciation for music in your child. What better way to do this than through a live musical performance by excellent musicians? Continue reading “Taking Kids to the Symphony”