Music Theory, Reviews

Review: Celebrate Theory Series from The Royal Conservatory

celebrate-theoryI’m so excited to tell you today about a fantastic series of theory workbooks called Celebrate Theory (Canada | U.S.), just released from Frederick Harris Music publishers. If you happen to already enjoy – as I do – using the wonderful Celebration Series (Canada | U.S. | Amazon.com) with your piano students, you will be especially interested in learning about Celebrate Theory.

Before talking about the specifics of the Celebrate Theory books, allow me to first briefly cover some background information about The Royal Conservatory and the revisions to the RCM Theory Syllabus, 2016 Edition.

The Royal Conservatory (RCM) is a music education institution in Toronto that has been in existence since 1886 and is responsible for a curriculum for music study that is considered by many to be the foremost music education system in Canada, the United States, and many other countries around the world. Exam centers for RCM (also known as the Music Development Program [MDP] in the U.S.) are available in many major cities a few times each year. RCM offers quality publications for music study through their non-profit publisher, Frederick Harris Music.

I have entered a few students in the RCM/MDP practical exams over the past few years and I consider the program to be absolutely top notch. (Check out my printable charts for helping students prepare for the technical requirements portion of the assessment.)

Whether or not your students participate in RCM/MDP exams, you will find the Celebrate Theory books worth your attention. Continue reading “Review: Celebrate Theory Series from The Royal Conservatory”

Music Theory, Worksheets

Worksheets: Matching Staff to Keyboard

Have you ever had students correctly identify a note on the staff, but proceed to play the note in the wrong octave on the keyboard?  I think piano teachers all around the world can raise their hands on that one.  :)

Being able to identify note names on the staff by letter name is important, but not as important as being able to instantly connect a note on the the staff to a particular piano key.  This is why, during flashcard drills or note-naming games, I require students to play the corresponding piano key as they give a verbal answer of the letter name.

With all of this in mind, I created a new set of worksheets that require students to draw a line to match notes on the staff to the corresponding piano key.  Although students may decide to figure out the letter names of the notes as they solve each problem, it is not the end goal — they must go a step further and connect the note to the keyboard.

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By arranging a series of notes on each staff (instead of just one note), my hope was that students would develop a stronger understanding of how intervals on the keyboard look when placed on the staff.  Read more about interval reading here.

Download the free PDF by visiting the Printables > Worksheets page and scrolling down to “Matching Staff to Keyboard Worksheets.”  There are five worksheets within the PDF, arranged in progressive order by difficulty.  The first worksheet uses only the landmark notes Bass F, Middle C, and Treble G.  The following worksheets each gradually increase the range of the notes on the staff.

  Matching Staff to Keyboard Worksheets (327.4 KiB, 13,374 hits)

Update: I’ve created a new digital version of this worksheet that can be completed digitally on your iPad/tablet.

Music Theory, Worksheets

Freebie: Identifying Intervals worksheets

Identifying Intervals - iPadBefore I talk about the interval worksheets, I’d like to announce the five winners of the NoteWorks app for iPhone giveaway:

  1. Jane
  2. Lisa
  3. MaryBeth
  4. Laura
  5. Kristina Bowman

Congrats!  Winners, please check your inbox for an email from me.

I have a couple of freebies to share today.

Remember my article about intervalic reading?  As mentioned in that article, my DIY music whiteboard is an oft-used tool when I am working with students to learn to recognize intervals.   Continue reading “Freebie: Identifying Intervals worksheets”

Games, Group Classes, Music Theory, Printables

Ice Cream Interval game

Check out the newest item added to the ColorInMyPiano Shop!

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Being able to read notes on the staff intervallically is crucial for sight-reading.  I like to tell my students that reading music is at least 80% interval reading, and only 20% note identification.  To help my students learn to identify intervals quickly upon sight, I created the Ice Cream Interval game.   Continue reading “Ice Cream Interval game”

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.

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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.

Games, Music Theory

Piano Keyboard Printable

Today, I’m sharing a simple but useful freebie: I call it the Piano Keyboard Printable.

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I love using my wooden/foam silent keyboards during group classes (both Piano Readiness or Homeschool Music Classes) and for theory worksheets/activities at my Piano Parties — but sometimes I just want paper, so I designed this printable.  I printed and laminated a bunch of these keyboard printables — and I love that I can also print these to send home with students.  I like to encourage my Piano Readiness students to play the games from class at home with their parents.

A quick list of a few uses for this piano keyboard diagram printable:

  • With my Piano Readiness class, I have students “play” the piano on their paper piano.  We can learn simple pieces this way in a group setting.
  • We also play simple games.  For example, I hold up a flashcard of Middle C on the staff, and they must put their gem on the corresponding piano key on their keyboard.
  • There are lots other games you can play using this printable keyboard, like the Spell-A-Keyboard game.
  • When teaching music theory concepts in group settings, I like to pair the keyboard with a printed/laminated staff.  I have students build scales/chords both on their staff and their keyboard at the same time using glass gems, which really helps build the connection between keyboard and staff.

You can download this free printable by visiting the Printables > Other Resources page and scrolled down to “Piano Keyboard Printable.”

P.S.: The 20% sale in the Color In My Piano shop has been entended for one more day!  (And the sale won’t be back until next year!)  Use the discount code “YAY4YEARS” by midnight EST on Friday, March 15, 2013.

Games, Music Theory, Printables

Easy DIY Music Whiteboard

This has got to be one of the most-used DIY projects I’ve ever made!

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Music whiteboards cost a pretty penny in music catalogues, so I decided to make my own.  I bought this 8.5×11” frame from IKEA for under $3.  I chose one that had plexiglass instead of glass, so that I won’t have to worry about it breaking if it gets dropped.  The frame is a sturdy plastic.

On my computer, I designed the staff and keyboard pictures on a horizontal piece of paper, printed it, and inserted it into the frame.  Easy!  Continue reading “Easy DIY Music Whiteboard”

Music Theory, Worksheets

Freebie: Line & Space Notes Worksheet

I’ve added a new free worksheet to the Printables page today!

This Line & Space Notes Worksheet is intended for use with beginner students who are first being introduced to the staff notation.  Understanding line and space notes is important not only for understanding how staff notation works in general, but it is also an important pre-cursor for being able to identify intervals accurately by sight.

You can download this free worksheet by visiting the Printables > Worksheets page and scrolling down to the L’s for “Line & Space Notes Worksheet.”  Enjoy!

  Line & Space Notes Worksheet (75.8 KiB, 23,923 hits)

Music Theory, Reviews, Technology

Review: NoteWorks iPad app & Giveaway

Noteworks – (Links: Free iPhone versionfull iPhone version for $4.99, Free iPad versionfull iPad version for $4.99)  

This app is designed for students to practice identifying notes on the staff and finding the corresponding piano keys.  Noteworks features an adorable little “Munchy” who eats the notes when the student identifies the notes correctly!

Continue reading “Review: NoteWorks iPad app & Giveaway”

Early Childhood Music, Music Theory, Worksheets

Treble & Bass Clef Dot-To-Dot Worksheets

Here’s a new worksheet I just added to the Printables page:

To teach my beginner students how to draw and recognize the treble and bass clef, I created this pair of dot-to-dot worksheets for the treble and bass clefs.  The dots and numbers are nice and big for little eyes to see!

To download, visit the Printables > Worksheets page and scroll down to the T’s for “Treble & Bass Clef Dot-To-Dot Worksheets.”

Enjoy!

  Treble & Bass Clef Dot-To-Dot Worksheets (68.0 KiB, 24,802 hits)

Group Classes, Music Theory, Teaching Piano, Worksheets

Music Worksheet: Identifying Space & Line Notes on the Staff

Here’s a new free music worksheet that I just added to the Printables page:

This worksheet introduces the idea of identifying the space notes on the staff using the mnemonics FACE and All Cows Eat Grass.  These are the only two mnemonics I use.  I don’t teach separate mnemonics for the line notes anymore (like Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge or Great Big Dogs Fight Animals) because it’s simply too much to try to keep 4 different mnemonics straight!  I have found that it’s easier for students to remember just two mnemonics and then learn to jump up a step from the nearest space note to identify a line note.

To download, visit the Printables > Worksheets page and scroll down to the I’s for “Identifying Space & Line Notes on the Staff.”  Enjoy!