Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us; the world is full of it, and you simply take as much as you require.”

— Edward Elgar

Every Wednesday brings Words of Wisdom here at the Color in my Piano blog in the form of a musical quote or joke, intended to bring inspiration or humor to the middle of your week. Have suggestions? Send an email off to admin[at]colorinmypiano.com.

Games, Group Classes, Motivation, Music Camps, Music Theory, Resources, Rhythm, Teaching Piano

Group Piano Class Ideas

I recently came across this great video/podcast on Mario Ajero’s YouTube channel: an interview with pianist and piano pedagogue Dr. Julie Knerr.  Both Maria Ajero and Julie Knerr are graduates from University of Oklahoma’s widely recognized piano pedagogy program.  In this video, Dr. Knerr shares some of her game ideas for her group piano classes — which she holds weekly in addition to her student’s weekly private lessons — to build a variety of musicianship skills.  Check it out!


Most of these activities could be easily modified for use during a private lesson, music camp, studio party, and other settings.  You can visit Dr. Knerr’s website at julieknerrpiano.com.  She has recently been co-writing a new piano method series called Piano Safari (as mentioned back in this post) available by order via PayPal at pianosafari.com.

Be sure to also check out more great podcasts at Mario Ajero’s website, The Piano Podcast.

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

Just Added: Write In The Barlines Worksheet #1

That’s right, a new free printable worksheet has just been added to the Printables > Worksheets page:

Write In the Barlines #1

This worksheet is an one I created a few years ago, and I thought I’d share it here for any of you to use!  My students LOVE taking home “extra credit” worksheets (outside of their weekly assignment from their theory books) to earn extra stickers.  =)

This worksheet is designed for the late elementary / early intermediate level student, to reinforce the following concepts:

  • measures
  • barlines
  • ties
  • meters (2/4, 3/4, and 4/4)

Click here to view and print it now!

Early Childhood Music, Resources, Rhythm

Babies and Music

Check out this interesting news article, reporting about a research study done on babies and their response to rhythm versus speech.  Here’s the summary from another site reporting on the same research:

Human infants are born to dance, researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Psychologists from the United Kingdom and Finland played an assortment of classical and children’s songs, drumbeats, baby talk, and regular speech for 120 infants ages 5 to 24 months. Speech inspired little motion, but music consistently got the babies into the groove. They moved to music with a clear rhythm and adjusted their movements as the beat varied. And the better the babies matched their motion to the music, the more they smiled. So while it remains a mystery how humans evolved our musical wiring, it’s now clear we enjoy it and always did.  (news.sciencemag.org)

Also see the corresponding video here.

Whether you believe that humans evolved their “musical wiring” or were created with it, this research confirms that humans have some sort of natural inclination towards music, apparent even at the youngest of ages.  It confirms what we as teachers have always known — humans should be developing their musical ability when they are young!

Isn’t it kind of amazing how well those babies in the video have a natural sense of beat?  I wish some of my students could keep a steady beat half as well as the babies in the video!  =D

General, Printables

Best Piano Jokes

I’ve just compiled list of kid-friendly piano jokes…read on below to check them out!

This compilation of piano jokes is also available as a pdf to give out to your students/parents, available on the Printables > Other Resources page.

* * *

Student to Teacher: “I can’t reach the brakes on this piano!”

Why is an 11-foot concert grand better than a studio upright?  Because it makes a much bigger kaboom when dropped over a cliff.

Why are pianists’ fingers like lightning?  They rarely strike the same place twice.

Why was the piano invented?  So the pianist would have a place to put his coffee.

Did you hear about the stupid pianist who kept banging his head against the keys?  He was playing by ear. Continue reading “Best Piano Jokes”

Group Classes, Printables, Worksheets

Just Added: Hands & Fingers at the Piano Worksheet

Just added: a new free worksheet, available on the Printables > Worksheets page:

Hands & Fingers at the Piano

This worksheet is suitable for use with new young beginners, either in the private lesson setting or in the classroom piano setting.  (I would not recommend using this worksheet with older students, because there is only room for little hands to be traced on this worksheet!)  In this worksheet, the student is instructed to trace their hands, and label the finger numbers on each finger.

Worksheet Objectives:

  • The student recognizes the left hand versus the right hand.
  • The student learns the abbreviations “LH” and “RH.”
  • The student understands the fingering numbering system for piano (1-5), for both hands.

Click here to check it out now!

Early Childhood Music, Games, Group Classes, Resources

Early Childhood Music Online Resources

I’ve been digging around online lately, looking for early childhood music resources.  (Yes, I’m sorry – I’m still on this kick!)

Look what I found!  TONS of great links:

Songs / Sheet Music

Early Childhood Music, Group Classes, improving as a teacher, Music Camps, Rhythm, Teaching Piano

Teaching 2-Against-3 Using Movement

In answer to a question a received last week, I thought I’d talk a little bit more about teaching 2 against 3, as I had mentioned in a post about teaching music through movement.

To tell you the truth, I have not needed to teach 2 against 3 very often so far, and when I have, it’s been in private piano lesson settings.  In the past, I’ve used a purely theoretical approach (similar to the method described in this article and this article) to teaching the concept, using tapping of the RH and LH, and have been only mildly successful.

However, I have experienced another method that works.  During my undergrad, I took a Dalcroze Eurhythmics course, and we went over a number of different meter and rhythm concepts, including the issue of 2 against 3.  Although I already understood the concept of 2 against 3 prior to that class, it was quite revealing to look at it from the perspective of movement.   Continue reading “Teaching 2-Against-3 Using Movement”

Group Classes, Music Theory, Printables, Worksheets

Just Added: Sharps and Flats Worksheet

Just added to the Printables > Worksheets page:

Sharps and Flats Worksheet

In this free worksheet, students will practice…

  • drawing sharps and flats in front of notes on the staff.
  • identifying sharped and flatted notes on the staff.
  • locate sharped and flatted notes on the keyboard.

This simple worksheet is a great way to check whether a student understands the concept behind sharps and flats.  I often send this sheet home with private students after introducing accidentals for the first time.  They are instructed to complete it on their own at home, and to bring it back the next week to earn a sticker.  =)

To download, visit the Printables > Worksheets page and scroll down to the S’s for “Sharps & Flats worksheet.”  Enjoy!