General, Music Camps, Music History

2013 Music History Camp

As I mentioned in a post last week, I held a Music History Camp last week with five of my private students.  Each day, we studied an era of music history (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern) and also focused on a composer from that period.

To study the eras, I decided to write a printable booklet for each era.  Below is a sneak peek at how they turned out.  I think they could be very useful both for music camps as well as for private students.   These booklets are going to make their way to the Shop very soon, accompanied by a set of corresponding worksheets and a timeline showing other events occurring in history during these eras. Photo - collage

Continue reading “2013 Music History Camp”

General

More Music Apps for iPad/iPhone

Over the past week, I’ve been gradually reviewing more music apps!  It’s nice to be able to recommend these to students and their parents.  I am surprised at how many of my students own either an iPad or an iPhone.

Below, I’ve copy and pasted my latest additions to the Music Apps page.  You can view the complete list here.

I apologize to those who do not own an iPad or iPhone — I know a lot of my posts recently have been about that!  Next week is my Music History camp, so I’ll be blogging about non-tech things soon.  :)

THE LATEST MUSIC APPS I HAVE REVIEWED: 

Screen shot 2013-07-07 at 4.52.53 PMTenuto ($3.99)

Tenuto is made by the developers behind the fantastic musictheory.net website and is also one of the best music apps you can buy for your iPhone/iPad.  The app contains a variety of modules for practicing identification of notes, key signatures, intervals, chords, piano keys — both by sight as well as by ear.  The graphics are attractive and the app is easy-to-use.  The modules can be adjusted to adjust the difficulty of the activity.  Tenuto is an excellent tool for beginner students through advanced students.  Continue reading “More Music Apps for iPad/iPhone”

General

Free Printable: 12-Bar Blues in C

3major0My blogging has been rather sporadic so far this month — this is a busy time of year for piano teachers, isn’t it!  I’m so glad my Spring Recital is over, but this month is still somehow very booked.  :)

On Saturday, I had another Piano Party with my students.  It was a small group of students this time because it was the tail-end of Spring Break when many students were out-of-town.  However, I took advantage of the fact that I was working with just four students and planned to do something a little bit different this time!  Our theme-of-the-day was chords.  Students play duets with each other, one student playing a melody and the other accompanying with chords.  Two students played on my Kawai, and the other two played on my keyboard which I set up in the guest bedroom.

One of the things we did was a duet improvisation with the 12-bar blues.  Tim Topham has made a video that breaks down the 12-bar blues into manageable steps for teachers to use with
their students:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTaH24aqz6I

To help my students learn how to improvise the 12-bar blues, I created this printable:

DSC_20130409_072558

On page 1, the notes of the C blues scale are shown both on the keyboard and on the staff.  I put the student sitting on the treble side of the keyboard in charge of playing a melody using these notes.  If you are not doing a duet, this is simply the RH part.  I helped the student work out a good fingering to use.

Then, I showed page 2 of the printable to the other student.  I chose the “Blocked 5ths & 6ths” pattern and made sure the student understood how to play the pattern for each chord change.

Finally, I showed students the 12-bar blues progression on Page 1 and set them loose to work it out!  The most important part, of course, was helping them learn to listen to each other to stay on beat.  I went back-and-forth between the duet pairs and coached them throughout the process.

I plan to follow-up with these students during their next lesson, to further experiment with the 12-bar blues.  It was a fun part of our Piano Party this month!

You can download the “12-Bar Blues in C” printable (it’s free!) on the Downloads > Sheet Music page.

General

Celebrating 4 Years!

Debussy lapbookToday marks the four-year anniversary of Color In My Piano!  HOORAY!  It’s been such an exciting year.  THANK YOU all for your support and for making this blog such a fun place to share resources and ideas with each other.  I can hardly believe Color In My Piano has been online for four years.

The four randomly-chosen winners of last week’s lapbook giveaway are below:

  1. Renee Witte
  2. Jenny Boster
  3. Leia
  4. Erica Picciano

Congrats, winners!  Check your inbox for an email from me.

If you didn’t win the giveaway, now is a great time to purchase what you need from the Color In My Piano shop.  As promised, I am holding a first-ever sale: 20% off everything in the store.  If you plan to hold any summer camps this year, now is a great time to get your music history lapbooks, or the composition camp “So, You Want To Be A Composer?”  To receive 20% off, use the coupon code YAY4YEARS good through Thursday, March 14, 2013.

In case you are interested, below is a run-down of the history of the Color In My Piano blog over the past four years.   Continue reading “Celebrating 4 Years!”

General

Student Humor

Just a quick story to share today…

I was teaching my homeschool music class this morning, and we started learning about Franz Liszt today.  After talking about his life, I played this YouTube video of Evgeny Kissin playing a Liszt etude to listen to as they colored a picture of Liszt.  As usual, I had to explain that the performer they saw in the video was not Liszt because they did not have video cameras back then.

Then the oldest boy (8) asked, “What are those fancy letters at the beginning of the video?”  I quickly answered, “I think those are Chinese letters, because this recital probably took place in China.”  My student thought about that for a moment, and then said, “That makes sense, because most things are made in China.”  :)

Afterwards, I realized that the letters are probably actually Japanese since under the YouTube video it states that the recital took place in Toyko.  Regardless, I thought this was a cute story to share.

General

Some Page Turning Humor

Whew, the semester is wrapping up!  My husband and I are looking forward to graduation, although it’s certainly bittersweet.  I will really miss being in school!  We’ll be moving sometime over the next few months, although a lot is still up in the air.  For now, I can tell you we are moving to Ohio!  (Any Ohioan readers out there?)

I received this email forward from a friend of mine, and today I thought I’d share it here.  Enjoy!

The following program notes are from an unidentified piano recital.

Tonight’s page turner, Ruth Spelke, studied under Ivan Schmertnick at the Boris Nitsky School of Page
Turning in Philadelphia.  She has been turning pages here and abroad for many years for some of the world’s leading pianists.

In 1988,  Ms. Spelke won the Wilson Page Turning Scholarship, which sent her to Israel to study page turning from left to right.  She is a winner of the 1984 Rimsky Korsakov Flight of the Bumblebee Prestissimo Medal, having turned 47 pages in an unprecendeted 32 seconds.  She was also a 1983 silver medalist at the Klutz Musical Page Pickup Competition:  contestants retrieve and rearrange a musical score dropped from a Yamaha.  Ms. Spelke excelled in “grace, swiftness, and especially poise.”

For techniques,  Ms. Spelke performs both the finger-licking and the bent-page corner methods.  She works from a standard left bench position, and is the originator of the dipped-elbow page snatch,  a style used to avoid obscuring the pianist’s view of the music.

She is page turner in residence in Fairfield Iowa, where she occupies the coveted Alfred Hitchcock Chair at the Fairfield Page Turning Institute.

Ms.  Spelke is married, and has a nice house on a lake.

General

Music-Related Pet Names

My husband and I recently rescued a cat (pictured at right)!  We spent a lot of time thinking up a name for her.  I wanted to give her a music related name, but as it turned out, we ended up agreeing to name her “Kira.”  But for any of you who might wish to give your pet a musical name, I’ve compiled a long list of my favorites!

Pianos

  • Kawai
  • Steinway
  • Story & Clark (cute names for a pair of cats)
  • Mason & Hamlin
  • Schimmel
  • Yamaha
  • Bosendorfer
  • Fazioli

Tempo & Style Markings

General, Printables

Best Piano Jokes

I’ve just compiled list of kid-friendly piano jokes…read on below to check them out!

This compilation of piano jokes is also available as a pdf to give out to your students/parents, available on the Printables > Other Resources page.

* * *

Student to Teacher: “I can’t reach the brakes on this piano!”

Why is an 11-foot concert grand better than a studio upright?  Because it makes a much bigger kaboom when dropped over a cliff.

Why are pianists’ fingers like lightning?  They rarely strike the same place twice.

Why was the piano invented?  So the pianist would have a place to put his coffee.

Did you hear about the stupid pianist who kept banging his head against the keys?  He was playing by ear. Continue reading “Best Piano Jokes”

General

A Brief History of Improvisation | Part 3 of the series

Before we can discuss a practical way to incorporate improvisation, let’s first trace the history of improvisation in Western classical music:

  • Early and Renaissance Music: Improvisation has its roots in early music traditions, before the invention of musical notation — when music was shared and passed on to the next generation by rote.
  • Baroque Period: Notation was introduced and standardized, yet, improvisation was highly valued.  It was routinely taught as a part of learning how to play an instrument. Performers routinely improvised preludes, fugues, and other pieces during performances.  Other improvisatory-like activities: figured bass and the addition of ornaments. Continue reading “A Brief History of Improvisation | Part 3 of the series”
General

Link: Pno-Ped-L Studio Policy Website

Yesterday, I came across this great resource for reading other teachers’ Studio Policies!  It’s called the Pno-Ped-L Studio Policy Website.  The website is not fancy, but there’s a lot of good information there.  

This site has a collection of Studio Policies submitted by teachers all across America and Canada.  (Names, tuition rates, and locations have been omitted for privacy.)  What a great way to see how other teachers handle absences, payment, cancellations, etc!  To see my other posts concerning Studio Policies, see here and here.  

In other areas of the site, they have examples of parents letters, game and camp ideas, and other teaching ideas.  Check it out!

General

…it's been a while.

Hello, again!  It’s been a while.  I took a longer-than-intended break from blogging, unfortunately, because I was dealing with graduation (yes! my hubby and I both graduated with Bachelor’s Degrees) and moving (we moved 2 hours away, where we will be attending grad school in the fall).  We have settled into a little apartment, and things have calmed down a little, I’m happy to say! 

The move, unfortunately, meant that I had to give up all my wonderful students to other teachers.  :(  How sad is that!  I miss teaching something awful.  I won’t be back to teaching piano until the fall, when I’ll begin teaching through the Community Music School at my new college.  Meanwhile, I’ve been reading up on pedagogy techniques and various aspects to maintaining a piano studio.   I’m about halfway through: How To Teach Piano Successfully, by James W. Bastien, and have managed to get quite a few good ideas from him.  I hope to blog about some of my discoveries soon.  :)