seasonal / holiday

Sheet Music Christmas Ornament — Gift Idea for Piano Students

Christmas is nearing! Today, I’m busy making sheet music ornaments as gifts for my piano students.

I found this idea from this blogger, thanks to Pinterest. In the video below, I describe my own take on her sheet music ornament idea. (Sorry about the camera angle — it’s not the best, but hopefully you get the idea.)

Materials:

  • Old sheet music paper
  • Jute twine
  • Black pony beads
  • Scissors
  • Hole puncher
  • Ruler

For each ornament, I cut 12 pieces of sheet music into strips measuring 1 inch x 6.5 inches, and then punched holes at each end of the paper. I cut a length of 30 inches of jute twine, folded it in half, knotted it to creae a loop, and added beads and knots at various places along with the sheet music (as described in the video). The last step is to gently pull apart the paper around to form a circular shape. I love how it turned out!

There are many ways to vary the ornament: perhaps cutting smaller strips of sheet music, cutting the paper with fancy-edged scissors, using a different type of bead, etc.

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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!

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!

General

Monday Broadcast: Christmas Chain Piano Studio Project

005 Piano Studio Christmas ProjectGreetings! During today’s live broadcast via Periscope, I shared a little bit about a studio holiday project that I have been doing for the past two years: building a paper chain to decorate the studio, adding a new chain for every holiday piece that students learn. Preparing for this tradition again this year has made me excited about giving out Christmas music to students this week!

Here is a picture of the chain from last year:

DSC_20131213_133949_1

Watch today’s quick video here, describing the Christmas Chain project:

You can download the free PDF sheet of paper describing the Christmas Chain project here:

  Musical Christmas Chain Project (155.5 KiB, 2,570 hits)

Thanks for watching! Do you have your own holiday traditions for your studio? Please share! I would love to hear about them.

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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), 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!

Studio Business

Piano Student Gift Ideas for Christmas/Recitals

Need inspiration for music-themed gifts for music students?  Below are photos submitted by piano teachers just like you!

From Liz Hurst from Tooele, Utah:

Here is my little ornament I did this year.  It is made with little wooden stars, vintage sheet music and modge podge.  Glitter glue if you want the initial and hot glued ribbon to make the loop.

christmas ornament

Continue reading “Piano Student Gift Ideas for Christmas/Recitals”

Announcements

Studio Project: Musical Christmas Paper Chain

I love Christmastime for many reasons.

As a piano teacher, I love that it gives students the opportunity to play a variety of familiar tunes.  Playing tunes that are already in their ears really helps build their music reading skills.

I keep a lending library of Christmas books and loan them out to students each year.  I give students a book that is at or slightly below their current playing level so that they can quickly and easily learn a few selections from their book.

This year, I added a new tradition: When students complete a piece, they get to sign their autograph and write “2014” in the Christmas book.  It will be fun for students to see the names of students who learned the pieces in previous years.

Last year, we started a different tradition: a studio-wide project to build a paper chain to decorate the studio.  The idea is that when a student learns a Christmas piece, they get to add a paper strip to the chain.  It is a fun collaborative, inclusive project that allows the entire studio to participate.

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[Credit: I gained both of these ideas from a Facebook forum for piano teachers.]

This year, I created this simple PDF sign to explain the project.

20141205_103733 SONY

Feel free to download this PDF on the Printables > Other Resources page (near the M’s as “Musical Christmas Chain project.”), or here:

  Musical Christmas Chain Project (155.5 KiB, 2,570 hits)

Learning all those Christmas pieces during December will be useful for the January Piano Party, when students will each perform a holiday piece.  As students perform for each other, we will play “Name That Tune.”  Students keep track of their guesses on this worksheet and mark the stars for each correct answer at the end.

DSC_20130105_124025

Click here to read more about the January Piano Party from 2013.

You can download the Name-That-Tune worksheet by visiting the Printables > Games page and scrolling down to “Name-That-Tune – Christmas Edition”, or here:

  Name-That-Tune - Christmas Edition (45.6 KiB, 3,563 hits)

I hope you and your students are enjoying the holiday season!

Motivation

Christmas Paper Chain Fun

I saw this wonderful idea in one of the wonderful facebook groups for piano teachers (this one).   I am not sure who to credit with the original idea — I suppose it has been done many times by teachers in the past.

The idea is that when a student learns a Christmas piece, they get to add a paper strip to the chain.

DSC_20131213_133949_1

I just started the chain this week with my students.  I love how this is a collaborative (instead of competitive) project that allows the entire studio to participate.  Our chain already reaches across the entryway of my studio!

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It will be fun to see how long the chain gets by the time Christmas is over!

seasonal / holiday

James Koerts’ Free Arrangement of “Joy To The World”

This weekend, my students and I are preparing to play Christmas pieces at a local church’s “Come To The Stable” event.  I reserved an hour on Thursday and Saturday when we are going to play (I will fill whatever time my students don’t use).  Our music will serve as the background music as people come and go (open-house style) to admire a beautiful display of nativity sets.

In preparation, I’ve been practicing all my favorite Christmas arrangements – and learning a few new ones, too.  I discovered a wonderful free arrangement of “Joy To The World” on James Koerts’ website — take a listen below, and then click here and scroll down to download it yourself!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bFXRNDKNH4

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!

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.