Performances, Printables

DIY Project: Recital Countdown!

Do you have any 4×6 photo frames lying around?  It’s time to put one to good use!

recital countdown background

This do-it-yourself project will help remind your students about upcoming studio events each time they come for their piano lesson.  :)

Materials:

  1. 4×6 photo frame
  2. Printed background (download the free JPG file on the Printables > Other Resources page — scroll down to “Recital Countdown”).  When you print, be sure that the image is printing at the actual 100% size.
  3. Dry erase marker

  Recital Countdown (1.3 MiB, 3,485 hits)

Directions: Design a background (or print the one I’ve created), insert it into a 4×6 photo frame, write the event & countdown number on the glass with a dry erase marker, and place your new Recital Countdown on/near your piano!

Enjoy!  :)

Music Theory, Printables, Sheet Music

Learning Triads & The Happy Birthday Song

major-snowman-triads-thumbnail1To follow up on my post from last week about my last group class (we call them “Piano Parties”), I wanted to share about the other two activities we did.

We started with this fun triad worksheet from Pianimation.com.  This worksheet was a good reinforcement about what they learned from playing their major five-finger patterns, and was a good preparation for playing the 12-Bar Blues as a duet (as described in the previously-mentioned post).

Before playing the 12-Bar Blues, though, I had them playing the Happy Birthday song as a duet.  I created a simple arrangement of the melody in Finale, with the chord symbols included above the staff.

I assigned the younger student to play the melody as written in the treble range of the keyboard, and instructed the other student to create a simple accompaniment by reading the chord symbols.

Happy Birthday song preview
This was an excellent exercise in learning how to listen to each other!  :)

I found out later that two of my students played the Happy Birthday duet for an older sibling’s birthday, a couple days later.  What good timing!  I think it is great for students to be able to play basic tunes like the Happy Birthday song for their families.

I also wrote an easy arrangement of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” but we didn’t have time to use it that day.  You can download both arrangements as free pdfs on the Printables > Sheet Music page.

Games, Music Theory, Printables

Easy DIY Music Whiteboard

This has got to be one of the most-used DIY projects I’ve ever made!

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Music whiteboards cost a pretty penny in music catalogues, so I decided to make my own.  I bought this 8.5×11” frame from IKEA for under $3.  I chose one that had plexiglass instead of glass, so that I won’t have to worry about it breaking if it gets dropped.  The frame is a sturdy plastic.

On my computer, I designed the staff and keyboard pictures on a horizontal piece of paper, printed it, and inserted it into the frame.  Easy!  Continue reading “Easy DIY Music Whiteboard”

Printables, seasonal / holiday

Piano Valentine Printable #2

Remember the piano valentines I made last year?

I was wasn’t planning to design a new music-themed valentine this year — but when inspiration struck, I just had to design it!

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Is it a heart, or is it a piano?!  Well, it’s both!  :)

This design is simpler and easier to assemble than last year’s design.  Just cut out the heart shapes!  If desired, you can attach a piece of candy to each valentine using a circle of tape.  I made a bunch of these to give to my piano students next week.

The free pdf printable can be downloaded by visiting the Printables > Other Resources page, and scrolling down to the P’s for “Piano Valentine Printable 2.”  Enjoy!

Games, Group Classes, Printables, seasonal / holiday

January 2013 Piano Party!

Last Saturday, I held another Piano Party for my students.  I had record attendance: 14 students!  Here’s a run-down of what we did:

We introduced ourselves, and shared our favorite Christmas present this year.

Christmas Recital and Name-That Tune game.  Yes, I know Christmas is over!  Because of how busy December often can be, I decided to try scheduling our students-only Christmas recital in early January instead.  Besides, students always play their Christmas pieces through the break anyway, so they might as well do the recital after that!

I took advantage of the fact that my students would be playing familiar tunes, and held a name-that-tune game.  I gave each student the worksheet below, and they had to write down the titles as they heard them.  If they got it correct, they got to color in the star on the right, in order to keep track of how many they guessed correctly.  This was a huge hit!  Even the students who didn’t know very Christmas tunes were able to learn some new ones by the end.

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You can download the Name-That-Tune worksheet by visiting the Printables > Games page and scrolling down to “Name-That-Tune – Christmas Edition.” Continue reading “January 2013 Piano Party!”

Early Childhood Music, Games, Group Classes, Music Camps, Printables

Grand Staff Pass Game

I’m back!  I took a long blogging break over the holidays, but I’m super excited to be back and I have lots of things to share in the upcoming weeks!  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Years’.

Today, I am excited to share with you about a fun game I came up with for my students’ Piano Party last Saturday:

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“Grand Staff Pass” is a activity for finding and naming notes on the grand staff.  Each student has a printed grand staff in front of them, and must find the notes as indicated on the cards.  The cards are passed to the next student, going counterclockwise around the room.   Continue reading “Grand Staff Pass Game”

Games, Group Classes, Printables, Rhythm

Bang! Rhythm Game

On Pinterest, I saw an idea for a sight-word game called BANG and decided it would make an excellent music game.  Here is my musical version:

I tried it out with my students at our Piano Party last Saturday, and it was a hit.  The BANG! cards add an element of fun to an otherwise ordinary flashcard drill. Continue reading “Bang! Rhythm Game”

Printables, seasonal / holiday

Free Christmas Photo Card Template

I can’t believe it is December already!  This year, I decided to design my own music-themed Christmas photo card to send out to my family and give to my piano students.  My husband and I have started a tradition of taking a photo of ourselves with our cats (donned in their mini Santa hats) each year.  :)

The best part about designing your own photo card template is that they are much cheaper to print.  I paid the normal rate for printing 4×6 photos at my local store (rather than paying extra to use the templates provided in the machines at photo centers).

If you would like to use this template too, you are welcome to it!  Due to the size of this file (15MB), I have added it to DropBox and you can download it here.  You will need access to a program like Photoshop (Photoshop Elements or Lightroom is fine) to edit the text and insert your own photo.  Here are the directions:

  1. Open the file in Photoshop.
  2. Select the text layer, and change the words to your family members’ names.
  3. Select the layer called “Put your photo here!”  Open a photo of your family, and then drag and drop it to replace the current image.
  4. Go to File > Save As.  Change the file format to jpeg, title the file whatever you wish, and save it to your desktop.
  5. Print the photo using your favorite online service, or put the file on a flashdrive to take to your local store.

I hope your holiday plans are going well!

Early Childhood Music, Group Classes, Music Camps, Printables

Instruments of the Orchestra Study – FREE Orchestra Stage Pieces

With my music homeschool class, we have been studying the instruments of the orchestra.  We started this endeaver a long time ago, starting with completing the Musical Instruments Workbook.  We have also used Robert Levine’s book: The Story of the Orchestra, and frequently played this review game for remembering the names/families of the instruments.

When I found this “stand-up symphony” download from the St. Louis Symphony website, I knew this would be another great way to review the instruments — as well to as learn where the members of the orchestra sit onstage.

This was such a fun class project!  Over the course of a couple of months, we cut out the figures, colored them, and then folded/taped them so they could stand.  Continue reading “Instruments of the Orchestra Study – FREE Orchestra Stage Pieces”

Early Childhood Music, Group Classes, Printables

Freebie: Signs for Beginner Piano

Over the last few months, I’ve created a collection of signs to use with my Piano Readiness and Homeschool Music classes:

I use them during class when I am teaching or reviewing concepts.  They can be useful for games too.  For example, I like to have students hold up or point to the correct symbol while I improvise high/low or loud/soft music on the piano.  I printed them on cardstock and laminated them to make them more durable.

There are other ways to use these signs:  They can be printed for beginner private students to keep as a reference.  Or, they can be hung up in on the wall in your studio.

You can download the pdf by visiting the Printables > Other Resources page and scrolling down to the S’s for “Signs for Beginner Piano.”  I hope you can find some way to use these with your students!

Composition, Music Camps, Printables

So, You Want To Be A Composer? – 2012 Summer Camp Details

Last week, I held my second summer music camp for my piano students!  It was called, “So, You Want To Be A Composer?”  I am so excited to share with you some details about our camp.  We had a really great week!

Here’s where all the magic happened:

Continue reading “So, You Want To Be A Composer? – 2012 Summer Camp Details”