Games, Videos

Video: Playing the Ice Cream Interval Game

During a recent lesson, I used my Ice Cream Interval Game — one of my favorite games for piano teaching — to reinforce and improve my student’s visual recognition of the intervals unison, second, third, fourth, and fifth in staff notation. Today, I thought I’d share a three-minute video clip of the activity.

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Here is what you’ll see in the video:

  • 0:00 When playing this game with my students, sometimes I like to hand-pick certain cards from the pile for the student to sort next, in order to build success. First, I made sure Emma could easily distinguish 2nds versus 3rds.
  • 0:10 Then, I gave Emma a card showing a 4th on the keyboard, and then a 5th on the keyboard. After that, I start giving her 4ths and 5ths notated on the staff.
  • 0:12 I like to ask the question: “How many notes are being skipped over?” I have found that this is a more effective strategy leading to being able to quickly recognize intervals on the staff upon sight, as opposed to allowing students to count all of the steps within an interval (for example, counting “1-2-3-4-5” for a 5th).
  • 1:00 I point out to Emma that 5ths look like triads except that the middle note has been removed.
  • 1:18 I encourage Emma to try to recognize the intervals on sight, instead of immediately resorting to counting the steps within the interval.
  • 1:44 Emma enjoys taking note of which cone has the most ice cream scoops so far. Students often comment on this during the game, because it’s fun! Emma does it again at the end of the video.
  • 2:08 Emma is beginning to recognize the various intervals upon sight, as evidenced by the increased amount of ease and decreased amount of time she uses while sorting the cards.

The Ice Cream Interval Game is available in my shop as a digital PDF download here. To read more of my thoughts regarding the important role of interval recognition during sight-reading, check out this post. Thanks for watching!

repertoire / methods, Videos

Christmas Piano Duet Recommendations

Hello, friends!

My piano teacher friend, Susan West, and I have been busy practicing a selection of Christmas duets in order to perform them for a handful of local events during this December. Susan was kind enough to join me for today’s video to share a peek at the books we are using this year for our duet repertoire. Check out our favorite duet books and listen to our live performance of Norman Dello Joio’s O Come All Ye Faithful arrangement in the video below!

2877961Here is the list of piano duet books mentioned in the video:

Do you have Christmas duet recommendations for us to consider for next year? Please leave a comment below!

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Thanks for watching. All past broadcasts are here: ColorInMyPiano.com/live/. To watch future broadcasts live, download the free Periscope app (for iOS or Android), search for @joymorinpiano, and hop online on Mondays at noon Eastern time. Hope to see you next time!

Do you have suggestions about what we could discuss in future Periscopes? Please submit your ideas by clicking here. I appreciate your input!

Reviews, Videos

Teaching Tool Review: Wright Way Note Finder

wright way note finderWhen I am teaching piano, one of the teaching tools I use frequently is the Wright Way Note Finder (find it on Amazon). I love this tool because it is useful for building a stronger sense of staff-to-keyboard correlation in students in just a few minutes’ time during lessons.

Watch the video below to learn more about how I use the Wright Way Note Finder during lessons. In this video, I also describe what I consider to be the four steps that our minds go through when decoding music on the staff during sight-reading:

  1. Recognizing the note’s location on the staff (e.g., treble clef line #2).
  2. Audiating (hearing in your mind’s ear) the approximate pitch (how high/low is this sound?).
  3. Correlating the note to a specific key location on the keyboard (e.g., the G above Middle C).
  4. Knowing the name of the pitch (e.g., G or sol). This step is not nearly as important as the other three steps; yet, in practice, we and our students tend to overemphasize the importance of the note names. This step is not crucial during sight-reading.

I like to use the Wright Way Note Finder to help the student improve steps 1-3.

Where to find the Wright Way Note Finder and similar tools:

  • The Wright Way Note Finder costs about $12 on Amazon.
  • Alfred Publishing offers a similar tool called the All-In-One Flashcard for about $8. As the video on Alfred’s website shows, the tool is two-sided with letter names printed on one side. And the quarter note can be flipped upside down so that the stem is pointed the proper direction.
  • Slide-A-Note is a similar teaching tool, sold for about $7 at slideanote.com, that shows a sideways printed keyboard for the intent of further building the student’s sense of correlation from staff to keyboard.

Thanks for watching!Wright-Way Note Finger vintage

All past broadcasts are here: ColorInMyPiano.com/live/. To watch future broadcasts live, download the free Periscope app (for iOS or Android), search for @joymorinpiano, and hop online on Mondays at noon Eastern time. Hope to see you next time!

Do you have suggestions about what we could discuss in future Periscopes? Please submit your ideas by clicking here. I appreciate your input!

Videos

Monday Broadcast: Piano Lesson Time Management — Thinking Holistically

004 Piano Lesson Time Management - Thinking HolisticallyGreetings!

During today’s live broadcast via Periscope, we discussed possible time management solutions for in-lesson time with students. If you are like me, I’m sure there are many, many times when you wish there was more time during each weekly lesson! It often feels like it is a challenge to fit everything into a 30-, 45, or 60-minute lesson. Please enjoy watching the video conversation below.

Mentioned in this video:

All past broadcasts are here: ColorInMyPiano.com/live/. To watch future broadcasts live, download the free Periscope app (for iOS or Android), search for @joymorinpiano, and hop online on Mondays at noon Eastern time. Hope to see you next time!

Do you have suggestions about what we could discuss in future Periscopes? Please submit your ideas by clicking here. I appreciate your input!

Videos

Monday Broadcast: Eye Gaze During Piano Playing

003 Eye Gaze During Piano PlayingGreetings! During today’s live broadcast via Periscope, we discussed the role of the direction of our gaze during piano playing, and what strategies we can use with our students to help them use their eyes to become better sight-readers, memorizers, and more. Please enjoy watching the video conversation below.

By the way, there was a bit of a tech fluke today: Periscope was showing that there were zero live viewers and did not show any of your comments — so I didn’t ask some of the interactive questions I was hoping to ask during the talk! I apologize to those watching live from Periscope today for not being very interactive and for not responding to your comments. Hopefully, this won’t be an issue again. :)

All past broadcasts are here: ColorInMyPiano.com/live/. To watch future broadcasts live, download the free Periscope app (for iOS or Android), search for @joymorinpiano, and hop online on Mondays at noon Eastern time. Hope to see you next time!

Do you have suggestions about what we could discuss in future Periscopes? Please submit your ideas by clicking here. I appreciate your input!

Videos

Monday Broadcast: Knowing When To Move On To A New Piece

Greetings! During today’s live broadcast via Periscope, we discussed a question sent in by Sarah Arnold: How do we decide when to move on to a new piece with a student?

002 Knowing When To Move On To A New Piece

Here is the video conversation:

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All past broadcasts are here: ColorInMyPiano.com/live/. To watch future broadcasts live, download the free Periscope app (for iOS or Android) and hop online on Mondays at noon Eastern time. Hope to see you next time!

Do you have ideas about what Joy should address in future Periscopes? Please submit your ideas by clicking here.

Videos

How To Organize Your Music Library

001Yesterday, I created my first live broadcast video for the blog. A big thank you to those who watched the broadcast live within Periscope (for iOS or Android) — I appreciate your support! There are a few technology kinks I need to get used to; nevertheless, I had a blast! :)

Below, you can watch the video recording of our conversation. We talked about organizing your music library.

I’ve created a new page here on the blog where you can view a playlist at any time of all previous videos. Visit ColorInMyPiano.com/live/.

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I’m curious: is your music library organized in sections similar to mine, or differently? I’d love to see photos of YOUR music library posted on the ColorInMyPiano Facebook page!

To watch future broadcasts live, download the free Periscope app (for iOS or Android), follow “Joy Morin,” and hop online on Mondays at noon Eastern time. Hope to see you next time!

Do you have ideas about what we can talk about in future broadcasts? Please submit your ideas here!

Videos

Piano Lesson Video: Introducing a New Piece

I’m currently working on the projects required for becoming a NCTM (Nationally Certified Teacher of Music) through MTNA.  Of the required projects for piano, I think the video project is the most time consuming — so that is the project I’ve been focusing on first. As recommended by piano teacher profile projects workbook, I started recording some of my student’s lessons for a time just to experiment with camera options and camera angle.  I think I finally found the camera location that works the best, so I thought I’d show you a little clip from a recent piano lesson with my student, Liz.

There is an art to introducing a new piece to a student in a way that sets them up for success.  For example, we cannot assume that a beginner student will notice the time signature until we have taught them to check it with each new piece. We cannot expect the student to learn a piece well unless we have properly prepared the student’s experience for the rhythms, sounds, techniques, and reading that the piece requires.

In Liz’s case, she has been taking lessons for a year and she already has a pretty good handle on time signatures, rhythm, and note reading.  We are still working on developing technique for playing various types of articulations, becoming a fluid sight-reader, and playing expressively.  Liz is a faithful practicer and has been making very steady progress.

Many of you will recognize the piece in the video: It is the Russian Sailer Dance from the Level 1 Lesson Book from the Faber Piano Adventures.  In the video below, I provide Liz with a brief introduction to the piece and then ask her to sight-read the piece. Then, we talk a little bit more about the technique for getting a nice staccato sound and how she can shape the repeated notes to add interest.

Sorry about the low volume in this video!  Next time, I will boost the volume before I upload.

This NCTM video project has already changed my teaching.  As I watch my videos, I find myself realizing how I could have introduced a concept better, or could have been more concise with my conversation in favor of having the student DO things besides listening to me.  Of course, hindsight is always 20:20.  We do the best that we can in the time and circumstances we are given.  But I am a big believer in striving for self-improvement, so I’m going to keep watching my teaching videos and learning!  Observing my own teaching is already causing me to make subtle changes to my teaching that will make it more effective.

I would encourage each of you to get permission from a student or two to record their lessons so that you can afterwards evaluate your own teaching.  It’s very valuable!

Tech specs for anyone interested:  I encountered many technical difficulties with the camcorder I borrowed from my parents and I found most point-and-shoot cameras have a 20 minute limit for video clip length.  I finally decided to settle with using my iPhone 5C due to the convenience and ease-of-use.  Nowadays, the quality of the iPhone’s camera actually rivals what a typical point-and-shoot camera can do.