Hi there! Christmas Day is nearly upon us. Today, I thought I would make an update this flashback post to share what I gave my students this year. (You can skip down to the bottom of this post to see!)
Things to keep in mind: I don’t think it’s necessary to give your piano students gifts at Christmastime, but it’s a nice gesture if you feel so inspired! Some years, I’ve kept it pretty simple while other years I have felt inspired to take on a more time-intensive project. I hope you’ll enjoy browsing this post and perhaps gaining an idea or two to tuck away for the future!
Here’s what I ended up gifting my students last month:
Gloves for pianists 🙂
Treat sacks with brownies
I ordered the black gloves from eBay (here). I used white 3D fabric paint to add the treble clef on the RH glove, and allowed it to dry. I came back later to flip it over and draw a bass clef on the LH glove. They turned out pretty cute!
I can’t take credit for the idea. I saw a piano teacher share the idea in one of the Facebook groups for piano teachers, quite some time ago. I saved the idea, thinking I’d probably use it some year. And here we are!
I baked the brownies myself and placed two pieces in each treat sack, separated by a square of parchment paper. A quick piece of ribbon makes them look a bit festive.
If you’re looking for a good brownie recipe, here’s the link to the one I used: Best Fudgiest Brownies. My husband is a better cook than I am; he’s able to bake them just right so they are wonderfully fudgey, plus achieve that lovely cracked look on the top. Fortunately, they still taste pretty great even when I bake them. 🙂
Just thought I’d share. I always appreciate getting ideas from other teachers, and bet you do too!
I know, I know…it’s barely November, and here I am already talking about Christmas gifts! But in my opinion, it’s never too early to start thinking ahead and brainstorming. I tend to enjoy the holidays more when I’ve managed to get an early start on my to-dos. 🙂
I don’t think it’s necessary to give your piano students gifts at Christmastime, but it’s a nice gesture if you feel so inspired!
And so, I thought it’d be fun to do a flashback post today, taking a look at the Christmas gifts I’ve done over the years for my students. Some of these gifts were pretty time intensive (certain years, apparently I was inspired enough to be willing to take on a big project!), and other years were simple, but thoughtful gifts. I hope perhaps these photos will give you a useful idea or two, if you’re looking for ideas for something to do for your own students!
2011: Personalized Glass Sheet Music Ornaments
Back in 2011, I created personalized glass sheet music ornaments for each student, with their name and the year written with a gold paint pen. They turned out so pretty! I love how they turned out, and would like to use this idea again in the future. Each student also received a chocolate Symphony bar. Read more here.
That year, I gave my adult students something else: a copy of the book “The A to Z of Foreign Musical Terms” by Christine Ammer. I learned about this book during grad school, when one of my professors recommended it as a music dictionary that actually contains all the words we commonly see in our music. (Have you ever looked up a word in your music dictinary, only to find it wasn’t included?!) This book is a nice slim volume, and a great price — I’d recommend it to any piano teacher or student! I use it not infrequently during lessons, to have students look up the terms in their pieces.
Just thought I’d share a couple of Valentine’s Day related resources from my blog!
Heartbeat Charts activity
This activity is a staple for my monthly “Piano Parties” with my students. It’s such a good activity for working on rhythm and ear training.
Here is how the activity works: Each student is given a heartbeat chart and some game tokens (I use glass baubles from the floral aisle). The teacher claps or chants a prepared rhythm and asks the students to repeat it back together. Once they have internalized the rhythm, students notate the rhythm on their heartbeat charts using game tokens.
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. Here’s my own take on this sheet music ornament idea.
Old sheet music paper
Black pony beads
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 create 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.
My students and I are counting down the days until our studio recital! I find that having this visual reminder each week in the studio is very helpful for students as they prepare for the big day. Learn how you can make your own Recital Countdown with a 4×6 photo frame here.
Valentine’s Day is this Saturday! I have two piano valentine printables that I created in previous years that you might be interested in using. Or, perhaps this year you might like to use Susan Paradis’ or Wendy Stevens’ designs? Below you’ll find some photographic inspiration. Continue reading “February Happenings”→
Guess what! February 28 marks the 5 year anniversary of this blog. How awesome is that?!
In celebration of the upcoming blogiversary, I wanted to announce that I will be holding a sale for the month of February: 20% off the items in the shop(ends February 28, 2014)! Stay tuned for the details. Perhaps you will want to start planning ahead for your summer camps so you can purchase some material while it is on sale. 🙂
February also brings Valentine’s Day. I thought I’d remind you that I have a couple of free piano-related Valentine printables available.
This is the valentine I designed last year. It is quick and easy to cut these out for your piano students. Click here to learn more.
The valentine pictured below requires a little more assembly, but they are very cute. 🙂 Click here to learn more.
I was wasn’t planning to design a new music-themed valentine this year — but when inspiration struck, I just had to design it!
Is it a heart, or is it a piano?! Well, it’s both! 🙂
This design is simpler and easier to assemble than last year’s design. Just cut out the heart shapes! If desired, you can attach a piece of candy to each valentine using a circle of tape. I made a bunch of these to give to my piano students next week.
The free pdf printable can be downloaded by visiting the Printables > Other Resources page, and scrolling down to the P’s for “Piano Valentine Printable 2.” Enjoy!
Last Saturday, I held another Piano Party for my students. I had record attendance: 14 students! Here’s a run-down of what we did:
We introduced ourselves, and shared our favorite Christmas present this year.
Christmas Recital and Name-That Tune game. Yes, I know Christmas is over! Because of how busy December often can be, I decided to try scheduling our students-only Christmas recital in early January instead. Besides, students always play their Christmas pieces through the break anyway, so they might as well do the recital after that!
I took advantage of the fact that my students would be playing familiar tunes, and held a name-that-tune game. I gave each student the worksheet below, and they had to write down the titles as they heard them. If they got it correct, they got to color in the star on the right, in order to keep track of how many they guessed correctly. This was a huge hit! Even the students who didn’t know very Christmas tunes were able to learn some new ones by the end.