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.

Representation in Music

A few weeks ago,  a parent reached out to me to let me know that she was struggling to find piano and music resources that represented her Black son. She wondered if I might have any resources where he could see himself represented.

It’s beneficial for children to see racial mirrors. They need role models, inspiration and validation. It’s also important that children who are white or from homogenous populations see others who don’t look like them represented. Not only does it reduce stereotypes and biases but it also give a more accurate window into the real world.

The music education world — myself included — has a long way to go when it comes to racial representation. I am committed to doing better (and always open to feedback). Within my paid courses — both in the content and the images — I work to include diverse representation.

I also have lots of free materials that are available to music students everywhere. Here is a current round-up of free resources from my own music education materials that represent non-white musicians. Continue reading “Representation in Music”

November Member of the Month

Meet John, Yiching, and Alex, who is six years old. This musical family resides near Salt Lake City, Utah. When this musical family  isn’t busy working hard at their coffee shop/roastery they are having piano raffles to make practice fun! Continue reading “November Member of the Month”

Help Your Piano Student Focus

Have you ever sat down with your child or a piano student for a lesson or practice and he’s had “ants in his pants”?

Sometimes students may have a diagnosed disorder such as ADHD or ASD, and other times — kids just have busy brains and busy bodies and need some guidance focusing.

Here are three ways to help a busy kiddo get focused for piano practice. Continue reading “Help Your Piano Student Focus”

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”

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”

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”