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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Reviews

Sheet Music Review: Madge’s Notebook by Rebekah Maxner

MadgeCoverPromoThis summer, Canadian composer Rebekah Maxner has released a new book, “Madge’s Notebook: A Piano Tribute to The Hunger Games.”  When Rebekah emailed me to ask if I’d be willing to review her book, I told her I wasn’t sure if she would want me to review it since I have not yet read the popular “Hunger Games” books.  (I know, am I out-of-the-loop or what?)  :)  She replied that she nonetheless would like to me to review the books — after all, the music should be able to stand on its own.  I’m glad Rebekah felt that way, because I enjoyed checking out her music!

“Madge’s Notebook” is intended to be a book of music that will appeal to intermediate students — in particular, tweens, teens, and adults.  Rebekah states that the purpose of the book is to meet today’s piano students where they are and to use their interest in book literature to foster interest in piano literature.

This book is one that Rebekah imagines the characters from “The Hunger Games” would have on their piano.  The passage in “The Hunger Games” series that inspired Madge’s Notebook is found in the second book of the series, “Catching Fire.”

“Madge’s Notebook” is 28 pages long and contains 11 pieces.  The Table of Contents divides the pieces into three sections: (1) Folk Music of District 12, (2) Classics from a Time before Panem, and (3) Piano Music by Madge for Katniss.

Many of the pieces are original compositions, but there are also some interesting pieces inspired by famous piano pieces.  Although at first I thought they might be “simplified arrangements,” I think it is more suitable to think of the pieces as “inspired by” famous piano works.  The pieces seem to evoke the original classical work, rather than exist merely as a simplified version.  Very creative!   Continue reading “Sheet Music Review: Madge’s Notebook by Rebekah Maxner”

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

seasonal / holiday

Time for Christmas Music

I am preparing to pass out Christmas music to my students to this week!  It still seems early to me, but my students have a performance opportunity in early December — so I thought we better get rolling on that Christmas music!

I’ve updated my post from two years ago “List of Free Christmas Arrangements on the Web” to include a few new links and some resources for lead sheets.  The holiday season seems like the perfect time to focus on chord playing, because of the wealth of familiar Christmas tunes students know!

Let me know if you know of more links to add to that post!

Reviews

Review: Sheet Music by Elena Cobb

Elena Cobb is a piano teacher and composer in the UK (but originally from Russia) who writes music in various popular musical styles, including blues, Latin, and jazz.  She has music books available intended for both young students and intermediate to advanced students.  You can read more about Elena’s teaching approach and goals behind her pedagogical music here.

Elena asked me to review a couple of her books, which you can read about below!  Continue reading “Review: Sheet Music by Elena Cobb”

Resources

Sheet Music Washer Necklaces

Remember back when I did a giveaway in March for this sheet music necklace?

Some of you asked about how I made those necklaces.  Well, I got the idea from a photo I saw on pinterest a long time ago.  I was planning to make a nice tutorial post about how to do it, but now I don’t have to — because yesterday I found a great tutorial that shows all the steps!  :)  I made my washers double-sided, and used vintage sheet music on one side.  What you see in the photo above is from an ancient Shirmer’s edition of Bach Inventions.

Happy crafting!  :)

Forum Q&A's, repertoire / methods, Studio Business, Teaching Piano

Forum Q&A | Obtaining Student Materials & Reimbursement

I forgot to put up the week’s new Forum Q&A post yesterday, so here it is a day late!  Sorry about that…I think the term paper for my music history class is draining all my brain cells.  =D

It was so fun to read the variety of approaches teachers use when it comes to summer lessons for last week’s Forum Q&A!  I hope you had as much fun reading about them as I did.  I just added my own comment which describes a new method I’m going to try next summer (2012), so please check it out and let me know what you think.

This week, though, we are going to discuss methods of obtaining and getting reimbursed for student materials!  I’m curious to know….

First of all:  Do you tell students to go purchase the new books/materials they need, or do you go and get them yourself?

Secondly, if you purchase them yourself, how do you go about getting reimbursement?  Is the cost of books/materials covered in your tuition rate?  Or do you charge a yearly or semesterly fee to cover books and materials?  Or do you add the cost of the books to that month’s invoice for tuition?

I’m trying to decide how to go about dealing with getting books when I start my independent studio in the fall, so I’d love to hear what method works for you!

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks | CC 2.0

Resources, seasonal / holiday

11 Sheet Music Craft Ideas

After posting about the sheet music ornament star last week, I was inspired to dig around the web for other music-related crafts!  There are tons of ways to recycle old sheet music (which you can often find at thrift stores, garage sales, auctions, and antique stores).  Here’s a sampling of what I found!  All links lead back to the original bloggers’/crafters’ websites.  Click the photos to view them larger.

1.   Sheet Music Garland | This fun garland is fast and easy, made by cutting out sheet music circles and sewing them together.  It’s perfect for decorating a music room, fireplace mantel, or Christmas tree.

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2.   Sheet Music Light Switch Plates | Cover your plain light switch plates with sheet music to give the room a little zing!

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3.   Advent Calendar Cones | These sheet music cones can be used to stash Advent calendar goodies.

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4.   Sheet Music Wreath | Hang this beauty on your door or above your piano.  Another example is shown here.  Also try mini ornament wreaths like the one as shown on this blog.

< Continue reading “11 Sheet Music Craft Ideas”

repertoire / methods, Resources, seasonal / holiday

List of Free Christmas Music Arrangements on the Web

Christmas is on the way, whether you are ready or not!  My students are already starting to ask about Christmas music, so I’m doing some digging on the web to find places to print easy Christmas arrangements for free.

I also have a lending library of Christmas books that I’ve built over the years (mostly used books I find at garage sales and thrift shops), but printing music is great because they can keep it if they like.  When students wish to own their own Christmas books, I’m happy to get them for them — but I’m just as happy to give them printed arrangements from online because they only get used a few weeks out of the year.

Here are a few places I’ve found Christmas pdfs of sheet music for piano: Continue reading “List of Free Christmas Music Arrangements on the Web”

repertoire / methods, Resources

Links page has been updated

The Links page here at colorinmypiano.com has been updated!  I’ve created a new category devoted to sites with free sheet music, preferably for piano.

My personal favorite:

IMSLP / The Petruccit Library

This site contains TONS of sheet music pdfs of the great classical works!  Just this week, for example, I was looking to round out one of my student’s “musical diet” by giving her a piece from the Romantic Era.  After browsing around on the IMSLP site, I came across the Burgmüller Etudes Op. 100, which includes some lovely little pieces which were among my favorite pieces to play when I was a kid.  Examples: “Arabesque,” “Grace,” “Progress,” “Innocence,” and “Ballade.”

Do you have a favorite site where you print free sheet music?  Please let us know and I’ll add it to the list!

Announcements, improving as a teacher, repertoire / methods

Organizing your Music Books

DSC_20090831_6801How do your organize your library of music books?  About a month ago, I purchased a new bookshelf (see photo) for my music, because most of my books were still in boxes with no place to go since our move to our new apartment.  In just a few hours, I managed to re-organize all my music books, and I’m proud to say I can actually find stuff I’m looking for when I need it!

Here’s how I organize my books:

I divide my music into two major categories:

  1. Student-level repertoire
  2. Advanced repertoire

Within the above categories, I divide my books further into the following categories:

  • Sheet music — organized by level (e.g., early elementary, late intermediate, etc.).
  • Classical music — alphabetized by composer last name.
  • Classical Anthologies — books that contain pieces by a number of different composers.  When possible, I organize these books chronologically (i.e., by music period).
  • Sacred music — books of hymn arrangements.

I also have a few other categories:

  • Method Books — such as Alfred, Faber, etc., organized by method series and then by level.
  • Technique — such as Finger Power, Dozen A Day, Hanon exercises, etc.
  • Theory — such as Notespellers, books of theory worksheets, etc.

How do you organize your music library?