Music History, Printables

New Composer Lapbooks: Vivaldi & Prokofiev

As mentioned yesterday, two new lapbooks have been added to my digital shop: Antonio Vivaldi and Sergei Prokofiev.

If you aren’t already familiar with my lapbook curriculum, you might be interested in checking it out if you offer monthly group classes or summer music camps. Every year, I offer a music history camp using these lapbooks for my piano students and we study a composer from each historical time period. I’ve also used this curriculum in the past to offer weekly music appreciation classes for homeschoolers. To date, I have twenty different composer lapbooks available to choose from.

Purchasing the PDF for a composer includes the license to print and copy from the PDF for your entire teaching career for personal and educational use with your students. As the teacher reads the biography booklet and discusses terms/music related to the composer, students are responsible for cutting out and assembling the items for their own lapbook to take home.

Here is some info about the two new lapbooks.

In the lesson about Vivaldi, students will enjoy learning about “The Red Priest” and his passion for composing and teaching music to the orphans and students at the Ospedale della Pietá in Venice. Special focus is given to Vivaldi’s most well-known work, The Four Seasons.

Vivaldi collage

Sergei Prokofiev was a great Russian composer of the Modern Era. Students will learn about how the political upheaval in Russia impacted Prokofiev both personally and as a composer. Special attention will be given to perhaps his most well-known work, Peter and the Wolf.

Prokofiev collage

Visit the digital shop by clicking here.

Music Camps, Music History

2015 Music History Camp

Summertime means…time for music camp!

Last week, I held my first music camp of the year: our annual Music History Blast From The Past camp using my composer lapbook curriculum. This year, I was able to re-use a few of the composers that we studied at camp three years ago, but I did create a new lapbook for Vivaldi.

Each day, we studied a period of music history and a composer from that time period.

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What kid doesn’t enjoy arts and crafts + music?! :)

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The four composers we studied this year were Antonio Vivaldi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Amy Beach, and John Cage.

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Here is a photo of this year’s camp T-shirt design. :) I ordered my shirts from

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It was a fun week!

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Interested in holding your own music history camp using these composer lapbooks? Here is a blog post describing how to do just that!

Stay tuned — tomorrow I will share more about the new lapbooks now available in my digital shop: Vivaldi and Prokofiev.


2015 Piano Pedagogy Seminar at Ohio University

Last weekend, I attended the 2015 Piano Pedagogy Seminar at Ohio University. It was a wonderful event that definitely helped recharge my teaching batteries! If you happen to live anywhere near Ohio University, I would encourage you to “like” their facebook page so you can receive information about this annual event.

This year, the featured artists and clinicians were Alan Chow and Dr. Robert Duke. Alan Chow gave a masterclass, an artist recital, and a lecture entitled, “It’s In The Score!” I really like Alan Chow’s playing — I must say his recital was among the best I’ve attended. His lecture the following day was enlightening as it gave us a glimpse into his mind as an artist interpreting the score, and also into his mind and method as a teacher.

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Robert Duke gave a two-part lecture entitled, “If We Learn Like That, Why Do We Teach Like This?” He is the author of the incredible book, Intelligent Music Teaching, which I reviewed in a previous post. His lecture was challenging, inspiring, and entertaining. If you ever have the opportunity to hear him speak, be sure to take advantage!

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cover170x170After his lecture, Robert Duke encouraged us to check out the U of Texas-Austin’s Center for Music Learning website. There are a variety of videos and other free resources available there. He also let us know that he is involved in an NPR podcast called Two Guys on Your Head. I’ve been greatly enjoying these podcasts, and I also discovered that there are a few lectures by Robert Duke available for viewing on YouTube if you search for his name.

Other sessions included a lecture entitled, “The Secret Ingredient to Piano Teaching Success: The Powerful Role of Parents” by husband and wife team Dr. Christopher Fisher (OU professor) and Katherine Fisher (co-author of the Piano Safari method). In their talk, they described the “Parent Practice Workshops” they like to organize to help inform and equip parents to support their students’ piano study. They also shared a huge variety of creative resources and ideas for making home practice interesting and effective. If this sounds interesting to you, you might enjoy listening to this podcast Chris Fisher gave for the folks.

We also enjoyed a session about the Royal Conservatory of Music exams, given by Dr. Andrew Hisey. He gave an overview of the program and also provided a great deal of helpful information about the changes that were made with the release of the new 2015 syllabus (revisions are made every seven years). P.S.: If you have ever used my free technique charts for RCM, please know that I do plan to release charts for the new 2015 syllabus–hopefully soon!

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For the OU seminar, I traveled and roomed with a seasoned piano teacher from my local MTNA chapter. We had such a great time together.

I’ve been saving up to attend a couple of other events at the end of this summer: the 2015 NCKP near Chicago and a workshop by Irina Gorin occurring in the Indianapolis area. What upcoming events are you planning to attend? I encourage every piano teacher to be committed to attending every professional development opportunity that you can!


Highlighter Tape Alternative for Marking Music

Just a quick, fun post today…

I’m sure many of you are familiar with and love using highlighter tape to add visual reminders to students’ sheet music. The “tape” is transparent yet colorful, and removes easily if you want to keep the student’s music clean. I’ve seen highlighter tape available at music stores, conferences, or online.


Highlighter tape is a bit expensive (but worth it!), in my opinion. However, I recently discovered that these highlighter “tabs (pictured below) are just as good if not better!Hot-Sale-Paper-Sticky-Adhesive-Post-Highlighter-Index-Tab-Flags-It-Neon-Page-Marker-School-Memo.jpg_350x350


They are essentially pre-cut as opposed to the tape rolls. Only half of the strip is sticky, but that actually makes removal easier. Win-win.

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You can buy packages of highlighter tabs here on Amazon; however, you will find it to be much more affordable in the office supply aisle at your local store. You might even find them at your local dollar store.