Reviews

App Review: Musiclock

Musiclock appI’m excited to write this app review, because it is one of the most well-designed and useful apps I’ve come across lately!

Musiclock is a $2.99 app for iPad and iPhone that provides a variety of backing tracks intended to be used while practicing scales or improvising.

The first step is to select a scale. The scale choices are: major, major pentatonic, minor pentatonic, natural minor, melodic minor, harmonic minor, blues, and dominant bebop.

IMG_5067 Continue reading “App Review: Musiclock”

Announcements, Games, Group Classes, Music Theory, Resources, Teaching Piano, Technique

Recent Purchases: Scale Blocks & A Technique Monkey

I don’t know about you, but I’m always on the lookout for creative and inexpensive items for my teaching.  The dollar store is one of my favorite places to go!

In the craft aisle at Dollar Tree right now, there are packages of foam cubes, as shown in the picture.  I’ve always wanted to make scale blocks like Natalie Wickham’s, but have never got around to buying the wood blocks and paint.  These foam cubes seem like a pretty good alternative, although they may not last as long I suppose.  On the upside, it doesn’t take long to write the alphabet letters on these little cubes with a marker!  I am going to go back to buy a couple more packages, so I can make a nice set of scale blocks using the orange colored cubes.   Continue reading “Recent Purchases: Scale Blocks & A Technique Monkey”

Music Theory, Practice, Printables, Teaching Piano, Technique

Just Updated: Scale & Arpeggio Fingering (2 Octaves) Reference Sheet

Some of you may remember the Scale & Arpeggio Fingering reference sheet I posted in December of 2010. About a month ago, a friendly reader made some very helpful suggestions for improvement, and so I spent quite a bit of time revising the printable. It’s called “Scale and Arpeggio Fingering for Piano (2 Octaves)” and you can find it on the Printables > Other Resources page.

I originally created this printable with my intermediate/advanced students in mind who are working on 2- and 4- octave scales/arpeggios and have trouble keeping all their fingerings straight in their head once they start getting them under their fingers. It’s nice to have a guide tucked inside the front cover of a book to refer to now and then!

The document contains three pages:

Page 1: Rules and tricks for remembering scale and arpeggio fingerings (as shown on the right).

Page 2: A listing of the fingerings for each Major and Harmonic Minor scale/arpeggio (2-octave) for piano.

Page 3: A continuation of page 2.

Of course, there are a few different ways to finger scales and arpeggios, so I’m sorry if the fingerings listed in this printable do not correspond with the ones you prefer to teach your students. These are the ones I like to use, and I thought I’d share it with anyone who might happen to find it useful.

If anyone else finds typos or inconsistencies, please let me know! I did my best to proof-read the fingerings, but it is certainly possible that I still may have missed something!

  Scale and Arpeggio Fingerings (2 Octaves) Reference Sheet (86.0 KiB, 101,528 hits)

Practice, Printables, Technique

Just Added: Scale and Arpeggio Fingering (2 Octaves) Reference Sheet

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve added a new printable to the Printables page….so here’s one I created a couple of months ago.  You can find it on the Printables > Other Resources page.

Scale and Arpeggio Fingering (2 Octaves) Reference Sheet (3 pages long)

I created this printable with my intermediate/advanced students in mind who are working on 2- and 4- octave scales/arpeggios and have trouble keeping all their fingerings straight in their head once they start getting them under their fingers.  It’s nice to have a guide tucked inside the front cover of a book to refer to now and then!

The document contains three pages:

Page 1: Rules and tricks for remembering scale and arpeggio fingerings (as shown on the right).

Page 2: A listing of the fingerings for each Major and Harmonic Minor scale/arpeggio (2-octave) for piano.

Page 3: A continuation of page 2.

Of course, there are a few different ways to finger scales and arpeggios, so I’m sorry if the fingerings listed in this printable do not correspond with the ones you prefer to teach your students.  These are the ones I like to use, and I thought I’d share it with anyone who might happen to find it useful.

I did my best to proof-read the fingerings, but it is certainly possible that I may have missed something….so if you encounter something that seems sketchy, please let me know!

Memorization, Music Theory, Practice, Technique

Top 5 Reasons to Learn Scales

an excerpt from Kuhlau Sonatina Op.20 No.1

Why do we learn and practice scales?  Have you (or your students) ever asked this question?  Is it just for tradition’s sake that piano teachers assign scales to work on?  I think it’s important not only for we teachers to know the WHY behind scales, but also for our students to know!   Continue reading “Top 5 Reasons to Learn Scales”

Group Classes, Music Camps, Printables, Teaching Piano, Worksheets

Just Added: Scales & Primary Chords Worksheet 1 (CGDF)

Just added: a new free, printable worksheet called:

>  Scales & Primary Chords Worksheet 1 (CGDF)

Ideally, this worksheet is designed for the intermediate+ student who is already familiar with the scales and primary chords for the keys of C, G, D, and F major, and perhaps could use some review in writing them out on the staff.  However, this worksheet could also be used during a group lesson while introducing these ideas for the first time.

Terms/concepts covered in the worksheet:

  • An understanding of key signatures for C, G, D, and F major.
  • Practice writing out scales.
  • Practice writing out primary chords.

To download, visit the Printables > Worksheets page and scroll down to the S’s for “Scales & Primary Chords worksheet.”

Watch for the next worksheet coming soon, covering D, A, E, and Bb major!

Group Classes, Music Theory, Printables, Worksheets

Music Theory Review Tests A-J plus a Guide

If you navigate over to the Printables > Worksheets area, you will find some new worksheets listed.  This set of Review Tests was originally created for group keyboard classes of various age groups, but they may easily be adapted for other uses.  The set is basically a set of progressive worksheets testing in the areas of basic piano skills and music theory.  They may work well for group lessons, or just for single students to brush up on their theory skills.

  • Review Test *GUIDE* — This chart provides the teacher an easy guide for what concepts must be introduced to the student in order for them to successfully complete each Review Test on their own.

Concepts covered in each worksheet:

  • Review Test A — finding the keys A – G on the piano; finger numbers; quarter and half notes.
  • Review Test B — naming notes on the staff (treble clef: middle C to G; bass clef: F to middle C); whole and dotted half notes;  terms & symbols: treble clef, bass clef, staff, barline, double barline, repeat sign, forte, piano.
  • Review Test C — C, G major 5FPs (five-finger patterns);  terms: slur, staccato, accents;  drawing barlines in rhythms in 3/4 and 4/4 time;  intervals: unison, 2nd, and 3rd.   Continue reading “Music Theory Review Tests A-J plus a Guide”