Ear Training, Early Childhood Music, Performances, Printables

Listening Sheet for Young Students

As I mentioned last week, during my recent Piano Party/recital rehearsal I gave a listening sheet to my young beginners to complete as they listened to their fellow students perform.  Here’s what it looked like:

I put each sheet in a plastic sheet protector and gave them a dry erase marker with a piece of felt so they could re-use the sheet for each piece they heard.  It worked pretty well — my students were very attentive and really liked telling me about what they circled between pieces!

This worksheet would also work well for private lessons or group classes with beginner students to use while listening to recordings — like Carnival of the Animals, or whatever.

I do wish the sheet protector cleaned off a little better.  The ones I used have kind of a matte surface…maybe I need to get some of the thicker, shiny ones?  Or try laminating?

Anyway, my students really enjoyed this listening sheet!  I found the clip art on some various public domain clip art sites.  You could easily design your own the same way.  Or if you’d like to download mine, visit the Printables > Worksheets page and scroll down to the L’s for “Listening Sheet for Young Students.”

P.S.:  As requested, I added a page to the Rhythm Value Cards pdf: three beamed eighth note cards for use in compound time signatures.  (Thanks for catching that, Bee!)

improving as a teacher, Performances, Practice, Reading Notation, Teaching Piano

Teaching Tip: Achieving Fluency

Have you ever have a student play a piece with frequent hesitations throughout, even though you know they can play much better than that?  This phenomenon can occur with all ages/levels of students.  Why does this happen?  What is going on when this happens?  This article will examine possible causes of and solutions for a lack of fluency.

A lack of fluency could be caused by a number of things:

  1. A lack of the proper technique required for the executing the piece;
  2. A lack of familiarity of the notes of the piece;
  3. A tempo that is too fast for the student’s ability at that moment; or,
  4. A lack of mentally “chunking” the information on the page properly.  The analogy I use to refer to Number 4 is that the students feels like they are wearing horse blinders, or are mentally experiencing tunnel vision.

Continue reading “Teaching Tip: Achieving Fluency”

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.

 

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!”

Performances, seasonal / holiday

Christmas Events

I finally started my Christmas shopping this past weekend, and this morning I sightread some Christmas duets with a piano teacher friend of mine. :) Now I’m really starting to feel in the Christmas spirit!

This December, I’m planning a studio Christmas Party for my students. I’ve never done anything like this before, but I am excited about it. My goal is to plan some music games, make some desserts with cheese and crackers, and hold an informal recital portion too. Each student will play one or two Christmas pieces for each other. I’m hoping to include some piano duets too, and I will probably play a Christmas arrangement myself at the end. Another idea I had was to have each student research the history of their carol and verbally introduce their piece.

I’m so excited for the Christmas season!

Photo Credit: allison.hare | CC 2.0

Interviews, Performances

Teacher Feature | Shauna Leavitt

October is here, and so is another Teacher Feature!  Meet Shauna from the Leavitt Piano Studio in Viginia!

Please tell us about your piano and/or teaching background:

Background:  I started teaching when I was 16 with the assistance of my mother who runs a successful piano studio in Utah.  I taught upstairs while she taught downstairs and whenever I needed help, she was always there to mentor me along.  I was fortunate to grow up near Brigham Young University where I studied with wonderful Professors there (Dr. Douglas Humpherys and Dr. Robert Smith).  When I started attending Dr. Humpherys’ weekly college master-classes, I knew that I wanted to be a piano major when I went to college.  Continue reading “Teacher Feature | Shauna Leavitt”

Games, Interviews, Performances

Teacher Feature | Diane Heath

The new month brings us a new teacher feature!  Say hello to Diane, everyone!

Please tell us about your piano and/or teaching background.

I teach part-time, with a studio of 20 – 25 students, and am also a church musician in Washington, DC.  For over twenty years I’ve taught piano and organ, as well as K – 12 class-room music, and worked extensively with children and adults in church choirs.   Additionally, there was a stretch as a creative home-schooling mom, but now I’m the parent of a college student.   My education was at  Hartt School of Music,  Indiana University, and The Levine School where I earned a certificate in Piano Pedagogy.  I’ve been privileged to study with wonderful piano teachers, including Jeffrey Chappell and Alexander Farkas. Continue reading “Teacher Feature | Diane Heath”

improving as a teacher, Performances, Professional Development

Tips for a Successful First Studio Recital

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from a reader asking advice regarding planning a studio recital for the first time.  For the sake of others who might be in the same situation, I decided to create a whole post about this topic — read on.

Q: How do I decide what kind of music to have students play? 

I would suggest buying separate sheet music rather than the usual pieces in their method books.  There’s something special about having a separate sheet music for the recital.  I even like to write on the sheet music something like: “Johnny’s 1st Recital – May 1, 2011.”  It is an extra expense for students which I personally feel is worth it.  Continue reading “Tips for a Successful First Studio Recital”

Conferences, Performances, Technology

NCKP 2011 | (9) Your Student Recitals, Live on the Internet!

Your Student Recitals, Live on the Internet!  by Mario Ajero, Shana Kirk, George Litterst, and Stella Sick.  Th @ 2:15pm.

During this session, the presenters told us all about the benefits, feasibility, and equipment needed to broadcast your student recitals live on the internet.

Streaming your student recitals online can allow you to reach distant friends and relatives, publicize your studio, and help find an audience for your niche.

Streaming means you are broadcasting a live video feed online for people to view.  Streaming = one way (but you can reach unlimited amounts of people), while video conferencing = two way conversation (can reach a limited amount of people).  Continue reading “NCKP 2011 | (9) Your Student Recitals, Live on the Internet!”

Announcements, Performances

Recital Roses and an Update on Life

Today I wanted to share a photo from my university’s Community Music School recital a few weeks ago!  This is one of my wonderful students who I unfortunately must leave behind now that we are moving.  :(  I will miss all my students!

My fellow teachers and I bought roses to give out to all the students who performed that evening.  It was so fun to watch the students faces as they each received their rose and gave it a big sniff.  They felt like real performers!

In other news, my husband and I finally have living arrangements in Ohio!  We will be renting a cute little three-bedroom house.  It will be so exciting to set up my piano studio……but first we have to deal with the great fun of packing and moving.  We will be staying with family for a few weeks until the landlords finish a few last-minute projects inside the house.  By the middle of June, we hope to be totally moved into the new place.

Meanwhile, I have a feeling that my blog posts may become few and far between over the next few weeks.  Bear with me!  I’ll be back eventually with plenty to share, I’m sure.  :)

Stay tuned — I’ll be announcing the winner of the Fearless Fortissimo giveaway momentarily…

 

Performances, Printables

Just Added: Recital Program Template #3

It’s recital season!

Have you held your spring recital yet?  If you haven’t, here’s a new recital program template you are free to use if you like!

I currently have two recital templates on my Printables page and they are very popular downloads.  This one is in color, although it still looks pretty good in black and white if you plan to print it that way.

To download: Visit the Printables > Other Resources page and scroll down to “Piano Recital Program Template #3.”  I saved it as a “docx” this time, and I hope you all are still able to open it even if you don’t have the latest version of Microsoft Word.  Please let me know if you run into problems.

If your spring recital has already occurred, how did it go?  I’d love to hear all about it!