Announcements, improving as a teacher

Thoughts for the New Year

The new year always brings about a time of reflection for me.  I find myself thinking back over the past year and looking forward to the future, wondering what the new year might bring.

This year was a time of great change for my husband and me.  In May, I graduated with my Master of Music degree.  We also moved to a new state.  It has been an adjustment to be out-of-school.  I still keep myself just as busy as I was during grad school, but it’s a different kind of busy.  Instead of having a schedule where nearly every half-hour of my day was portioned out to a class, rehearsal, or other appointment, my schedule is suddently much more flexible.  Now I have the flexibility to choose when I complete the items on my “to-do” list.  And I have to time to work on various projects that I never would have had time to do during grad school. Continue reading “Thoughts for the New Year”

Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“The most fun happens in music when you’re not doing it, when the music plays itself. Why is this night different than all other nights? Why is music different from anything else in life? When we let things flow, joy happens.”

— Eddie Daniels

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.

seasonal / holiday

Christmas Gift for Piano Students

Here’s what I gave my students for Christmas this year:

A Symphony chocolate bar, and a personalized glass ornament.

 

I found the glass ornaments at a craft store (Hobby Lobby).  On each ornament, I wrote the student’s name and “2011” on the ornament using a paint pen.  I put colorful confetti and pieces of old sheet music inside each ornament.  I thought they turned out cute!

For my adult students, I bought music dictionaries.  The A to Z of Foreign Musical Terms is my favorite music dictionary.  I don’t mind spending a little extra on the adult students to get something they would really use and appreciate.  :)

Games, Performances, seasonal / holiday

Christmas Recital/Party Success! – Games

Well, my students’ Christmas party/recital was a success!   What a great way to finish off the year.

The recital took place in my home.  Whenever my college music history textbooks mentioned Schubertiads, I used to dream about the idea of having informal music performance parties in my home.  Since my studio is still small, I thought having our Christmas recital in my home would be so fun!  About 25 people attended, which is probably close the max that I can fit.  Next year I’ll have to find another location, or hold the party with just the students.  But it was nice and cozy this year!

We kicked off the party with the recital portion, and then we played three music games:

  1. Christmas Carol Rhythm Matchups — This game from Jennifer Fink’s Pianimation blog was a great hit with students!  Students worked together in a huddle on the floor to match the rhythms to the Christmas song lyrics.  They were able to successfully complete all three levels of difficulty!  Even the youngest beginners were able to match a few.  I ended up with three students who played “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas” during the recital because I have so many little beginners right now.  They were definitely able to help match that pair!  :)
  2. Make Me A Rhythm! game — This is a game I found on a forum and shared about a few weeks ago.  This game wasn’t a total success, I’ll admit.  My students were very, very shy about asking other students to be note values as they composed a rhythm.  After all, this is the first time they’ve met each other.  Next time I use this game, I’ll use it with a smaller group (maybe in a setting where students are present without their parents), or with a group of people who know each other better.  It wasn’t a total flop though.  It’s a great game for visual learners.  The “composer” had to think about how many beats they had left in their measure.  Once each rhythm was composed, we clapped it together to see how the composers’ rhythm sounded.  It was fun, it just went slowly since students took a long time to choose.
  3. Music Bingo — I LOVE Susan Paradis’ version of Music Bingo.  You won’t find a nicer version of Music Bingo anywhere!   I’ve used Susan’s version of Music Bingo in previous years for other events (see some photos here).  Both the students and parents really enjoyed playing this game!
I’m putting together a slideshow of some photo highlights from the recital, which I hope to share with you later this week!  Stay tuned.

 

Games, Group Classes, Music Camps, Music Theory, Printables

Just Added: Musical Flashcard Sorting game

This is a simple game to play with groups of students that makes note-naming flashcards a bit more interesting.   It involves sorting the flashcards onto alphabet letter signs on the floor, as pictured on the right (the “A” flashcards would go in the blank space on the right side of the page).

The game is pretty flexible, because beforehand you can sort out exactly which flashcards you want to focus on with your students.  This also allows you to control how long you wish the game to continue.

You can also use different flashcards.  With my Homeschool Music Class this week, we used my Piano Key naming flashcards (they came with the MiniMusic set I purchased earlier this year).  With my Piano Readiness Class, we’ve been doing on-staff work so we used regular staff-note-naming flashcards (I use this set from Faber & Faber, but any flashcards will do).

Another tip with this game: if you are using the note-naming flashcards, arrange the musical alphabet signs on the floor in a column, so that A is at the bottom and G is at the top.  I recommend this because this arrangement resembles the staff, where the musical alphabet progresses vertically.  If you are using piano-key-naming flashcards, I would arrange the signs on the floor horizontally, just like the keyboard.

Download the pdf of the alphabet signs and detailed gameplay instructions by visiting the Printables > Games page.  Scroll down to the M’s for “Musical Flashcard Sorting game.”

Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“Music after all is the background score to our lives, not merely surviving in our memory banks long after so many of our seemingly stronger memories have faultered, but serving to remind us of who we were at a given moment of our lives, where we were, what we dreamed of, what we feared, and of course who we loved.”

— Anonymous

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.

Announcements, Performances, seasonal / holiday

Studio Christmas Party Update – Food!

My apologies for being MIA from the blog the last few weeks!  At the beginning of the semester, I put up posters around the music building of the university in my town for freelancing as a collaborative pianist.  A few music majors contacted me rather last minute to ask if I’d accompany them for their end-of-the-semester juries as well as a concerto competition.  Learning their music and scheduling rehearsals has kept me very busy the last few weeks!  But I’m grateful for the extra money, especially after finishing all my Christmas shopping.  :)  Anyway, I’m back now!  Juries are today, and this week will be much less hectic than the previous few weeks.

Now I’m focusing on the last stages of planning for my Studio Christmas Party on Saturday.  A couple of parents have volunteered to bring goodies, so I just need to make a few things.  I found some great food ideas on Pinterest.  (I love Pinterest! Are any of you on Pinterest?  Feel free to follow me, and I’ll be sure to follow you back!)  Continue reading “Studio Christmas Party Update – Food!”