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.

Composition, Music Theory, Printables, Teaching Piano

Just Added: Music Staff Paper for Stickers of all Sizes

Guess what!  Tomorrow is Color In My Piano’s THREE YEAR anniversary!  Woohoo!  I’ve got a few fun posts and giveaways planned for later this week in honor of our anniversary.  But today, I thought I’d share this new printable:

Continue reading “Just Added: Music Staff Paper for Stickers of all Sizes”

Forum Q&A's, Music Theory, Performances

Q&A Forum | Do your students undergo standardized testing?

Last week we had some great replies to the question about what level of recital music to assign. Here’s our new forum question for this week!  I have really enjoyed hearing you responses the last few weeks.  Keep it up!

Do your students undergo standardized testing?  Why or why not?  If you do, which testing(s) do you use (MTNA testing for your state in the U.S., RCM/NMCP, Piano Guild, etc.)?  Do you require it of all your students or is it optional?  What benefits do you see in doing testing –not doing testing, as the case may be?

I’m looking forward to hearing your responses on this one (as usual)!!  Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo Credit: vanzCC 2.0

Have an idea for a Q&A Forum question?  Please send me an email admin[at]colorinmypiano.com.


Games, Music Theory

Musical Jenga!

I did it!  I created my own Musical Jenga game.

I got the inspiration from the Sing A New Song blog, who in turn got the idea from someone on the Faber Piano Adventures forums. (To view a list of other favorite games with musical spins, click here.)

I found an off-brand version of the Jenga game at Target for about $5.  Then using two different colored Sharpie permanant markers, I put various musical terms on the blocks: Continue reading “Musical Jenga!”

Games, Group Classes, Music Camps, Music Theory, Printables

DIY: Musical AlphaGems

I recently have made what I have decided to call “Musical AlphaGems.”  These fun little gems have many uses: they fit well on my DIY Silent Mini Keyboards and also work well on paper printed of the staff (such as this one by Susan Paradis, which is pictured in the second photo below).

I got the inspiration for these Musical AlphaGems from those little magnets that have been so popular over the last couple of years (see this blog article).    Continue reading “DIY: Musical AlphaGems”

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

DIY: Silent Mini Keyboards

I recently decided that I wanted to own a set of silent keyboards for doing introductory piano activities with young children, and for using during group theory activities.  Unfortunately, buying a set of silent plastic keyboards (view them at musicinmotion.com) can be a rather large studio expense.  Of course, a cheap alternative would be to simply print a picture of a keyboard on paper.  But there is something nice about the 3D features of a silent keyboard…so I decided to make my own.  I got the idea from Anne Cosby Gaudet’s Piano Discoveries website, where she made similar keyboards with wood and foam.

My DIY (Do It Yourself) mini keyboards do not have true-to-life sized keys as the store-bought plastic silent keyboards have.  However, I spent less on the supplies for making a set of six keyboards than it would have cost me to buy just one plastic silent keyboard!  Here’s how I made my set of six keyboards:

Continue reading “DIY: Silent Mini Keyboards”

Music Theory, Printables, Worksheets

Just Added: Musical Terms Worksheet #2

Just added to the Printables > Worksheets page:

Musical Terms Worksheet #2

This worksheet is intended for elementary level students who have learned basic note values and musical terms. The first section of the worksheet, which is Fill In The Blank, reviews the 10 terms which were introduced in Musical Terms Worksheet #1. The second section, Matching, introduces seven new terms: crescendo, decrescendo, ritardando, barline, double barline, repeat sign, and time signature.

Complete list of covered in this worksheet:

  • treble clef, bass clef
  • quarter note, half note, dotted half note, whole note
  • piano, mezzo piano, mezzo forte, forte
  • crescendo, decrescendo
  • barline, double barline, repeat sign
  • ritardando

Stay tuned – more muscial terms worksheets are to come in the upcoming weeks!

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”

Music Theory, Printables, Worksheets

Just Added: Five-Finger Pattern (b’s) Review

Just added to the page of free Printables:

Five-Finger Pattern Review (b’s) worksheet

This worksheet is intended as a review of all the major five-finger patterns (5FPs) with flats; however, using the “WWHW” pattern template, students can easily figure out any 5FPs that they might not already be familiar with.  This worksheet will help students become more familiar with the accidentals needed for each FFP and what each FFP looks like when played on the keyboard.

A worksheet such as this works well in group lessons, or as an extra theory assignment for the private lesson.

To download, visit the Printables > Worksheets page and scroll down the F’s for the “Five-Finger Pattern Review worksheet.”

This worksheet corresponds to previously posted Five-Finger Pattern Review worksheet for FFPs with #’s.