Announcements, improving as a teacher, Resources

Michigan Teachers: 2010 State Conference October 17-19

For any fellow teachers in Michigan:

The Michigan Music Teachers Association (MMTA) State Conference is to take place Sunday, October 17 – Tuesday, October 19 at the Detroit Novi Sheraton (21111 Haggerty Rd., Novi).  Click here to for more information (including a link to the conference schedule), and click here to register.

Martha Hilley is this year’s Conference Clinician and Leon Bates is the Conference Artist.  There are many other sessions that look like very promising as well!  I am so excited for the conference to get here!

Not a member of MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) or your state association?

Just a few quick reasons to consider joining a professional organization such as MTNA:

  • Continue your professional development as a teacher by attending national and/or state conferences and local chapter meetings.
  • Network and share ideas with other teachers at conferences and local chapter meetings.
  • Become a certified music teacher (read more here).
  • Enter your students in competitions, SAT testing, and other events.
  • and more!  (Share your reasons in the comments!)

Read more about joining MTNA and your state association here.

Music Theory, Printables, Worksheets

Just Added: Musical Terms Worksheet #1

Just added to the Printables > Worksheets page:

Musical Terms Worksheet #1

This worksheet is intended for beginner/early elementary students who have learned basic note values and musical terms.  The student is instructed to match the musical symbol pictured on the left to each corresponding term on the right.  Terms covered include: treble clef and bass clef, basic rhythms (quarter note through whole note), and  dynamics (piano through forte).

Complete list of covered in this worksheet:

  • treble clef
  • bass clef
  • quarter note
  • half note
  • dotted half note
  • whole note
  • piano
  • mezzo piano
  • mezzo forte
  • forte

Stay tuned – another muscial terms worksheet is to come in the upcoming weeks!

Memorization, Music Theory, Practice, Technique

Top 5 Reasons to Learn Scales

an excerpt from Kuhlau Sonatina Op.20 No.1

Why do we learn and practice scales?  Have you (or your students) ever asked this question?  Is it just for tradition’s sake that piano teachers assign scales to work on?  I think it’s important not only for we teachers to know the WHY behind scales, but also for our students to know!   Continue reading “Top 5 Reasons to Learn Scales”

Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness of pain: of strength and freedom. The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love. The cruel beauty of nature and everlasting beauty of monotony.”

— Benjamin Britten

Every Wednesday brings Words of Wisdom here at the Color in my Piano blog in the form of a musical quote or joke, intended to bring inspiration or humor to the middle of your week. Have suggestions? Send an email off to admin[at]colorinmypiano.com.

Resources, Studio Business

Studio Business: Making a Memorable Impression

Last week, I came across a very interesting article about how your business cards are a representation of your business.  The article features a number of examples of memorable and creative business cards, including the “piano repair” business cards pictured on the right.

Click here to read the article for yourself: 15+ Business Cards Visualizing the Business.

This article got me thinking:

  • How can I make my business cards (and other studio handouts/materials) more memorable?
  • What other ways could I be using my studio “brand name?”
  • How do my studio business cards and other materials represent my business?  What image are they giving to my parents and students?

Food for thought!  =)

Music Theory, Printables, Worksheets

Just Added: Five-Finger Pattern (b’s) Review

Just added to the page of free Printables:

Five-Finger Pattern Review (b’s) worksheet

This worksheet is intended as a review of all the major five-finger patterns (5FPs) with flats; however, using the “WWHW” pattern template, students can easily figure out any 5FPs that they might not already be familiar with.  This worksheet will help students become more familiar with the accidentals needed for each FFP and what each FFP looks like when played on the keyboard.

A worksheet such as this works well in group lessons, or as an extra theory assignment for the private lesson.

To download, visit the Printables > Worksheets page and scroll down the F’s for the “Five-Finger Pattern Review worksheet.”

This worksheet corresponds to previously posted Five-Finger Pattern Review worksheet for FFPs with #’s.

Uncategorized

Advice for Teachers Seeking to Professionalize their Studios

This week, I received an friendly email from a piano teacher in Texas who is looking for ways to professionalize her studio.  I already sent her a reply via email but I was thinking that you readers may have some suggestions and advice for her too — so here are some of her questions!

  • Do I need a business license?
  • Should I maintain a webpage and how do I do that?
  • Is what I have (20 students) enough to call it a studio?
  • How do I know if I am charging enough?
  • How do I find a place for a recital that doesn’t cost much?

So please – share!  What advice do you have for this teacher?

Photo credit: th0mi | CC 2.0

Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents.”

— Ludwig van Beethoven

Every Wednesday brings Words of Wisdom here at the Color in my Piano blog in the form of a musical quote or joke, intended to bring inspiration or humor to the middle of your week. Have suggestions? Send an email off to admin[at]colorinmypiano.com.

Early Childhood Music, Group Classes, improving as a teacher, Rhythm

Developing a Good Sense of Rhythm

Developing a good sense of rhythm is one of the most challenging parts of being a piano teacher.  It’s not something that arrives overnight, and it’s something that must be maintained as the student advances to music with more advanced rhythms and time signatures.  It truly is something that must be developed.

I’d like to suggest that there are three components to having and developing what we so loosely refer to as a “good sense of rhythm”:

  1. A sense of beat. This means the ability to maintain a steady beat/pulse.  This is probably the most common and most basic problem that students encounter when it comes to rhythm issues in their piece.  The inability to maintain a steady beat/pulse is crucial for developing #’s 2 and 3 below.
  2. A sense of rhythm (i.e., note values).  This involves being able to accurately identify and execute the various note values within a variety of tempi.  Beginner students may struggle with placing eighth notes within a quarter note beat, while more advanced students may struggle with syncopated rhythms or playing 2 against 3.  It is nearly impossible to develop a sense of rhythm without first developing a sense of beat (#1 above). Continue reading “Developing a Good Sense of Rhythm”
Music Theory, Printables, Worksheets

Just Added: Five-Finger Pattern Review (#’s)

Just added to the page of free Printables:

Five-Finger Pattern Review (#’s) worksheet

This worksheet is intended as a review of all the major five-finger patterns (5FPs) with sharps; however, using the “WWHW” pattern template, students can easily figure out any 5FPs that they might not already be familiar with.  This worksheet will help students become more familiar with the accidentals needed for each FFP and what each FFP looks like when played on the keyboard.

A worksheet such as this works well in group lessons, or as an extra theory assignment for the private lesson.

Look for corresponding the Five-Finger Pattern Review worksheet for FFPs with b’s coming soon!

Ear Training, Practice, Reading Notation, repertoire / methods, Teaching Piano

Introducing Students to New Pieces

The first look at a new piece is crucial.  As accomplished pianists/teachers, we automatically know to scan the piece to check the time signature, key signature, texture, composer, title, etc. before playing through a piece.  Of course, we were trained to go through those steps before sightreading through a piece.

Before having students sightread, what do you say/do with them to introduce a new piece?  I’d love to hear your ideas.

Here’s some things I’ve tried: Continue reading “Introducing Students to New Pieces”