Games, Group Classes, Printables, seasonal / holiday

January 2013 Piano Party!

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.

DSC_20130105_124025

You can download the Name-That-Tune worksheet by visiting the Printables > Games page and scrolling down to “Name-That-Tune – Christmas Edition.” Continue reading “January 2013 Piano Party!”

seasonal / holiday

James Koerts’ Free Arrangement of “Joy To The World”

This weekend, my students and I are preparing to play Christmas pieces at a local church’s “Come To The Stable” event.  I reserved an hour on Thursday and Saturday when we are going to play (I will fill whatever time my students don’t use).  Our music will serve as the background music as people come and go (open-house style) to admire a beautiful display of nativity sets.

In preparation, I’ve been practicing all my favorite Christmas arrangements – and learning a few new ones, too.  I discovered a wonderful free arrangement of “Joy To The World” on James Koerts’ website — take a listen below, and then click here and scroll down to download it yourself!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bFXRNDKNH4

Printables, seasonal / holiday

Free Christmas Photo Card Template

I can’t believe it is December already!  This year, I decided to design my own music-themed Christmas photo card to send out to my family and give to my piano students.  My husband and I have started a tradition of taking a photo of ourselves with our cats (donned in their mini Santa hats) each year.  🙂

The best part about designing your own photo card template is that they are much cheaper to print.  I paid the normal rate for printing 4×6 photos at my local store (rather than paying extra to use the templates provided in the machines at photo centers).

If you would like to use this template too, you are welcome to it!  Due to the size of this file (15MB), I have added it to DropBox and you can download it here.  You will need access to a program like Photoshop (Photoshop Elements or Lightroom is fine) to edit the text and insert your own photo.  Here are the directions:

  1. Open the file in Photoshop.
  2. Select the text layer, and change the words to your family members’ names.
  3. Select the layer called “Put your photo here!”  Open a photo of your family, and then drag and drop it to replace the current image.
  4. Go to File > Save As.  Change the file format to jpeg, title the file whatever you wish, and save it to your desktop.
  5. Print the photo using your favorite online service, or put the file on a flashdrive to take to your local store.

I hope your holiday plans are going well!

seasonal / holiday

Forum Q&A: Christmas Gifts for Piano Students

I hope all you USA-ers enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!  I know I did.  🙂

It has been awhile since we did a Forum Q&A post (how did that happen?!).  Last time, we discussed how to help students who are frustrated by the mistakes they make, large or small.  You can read all the responses by clicking here.

Today, I’d like to hear about Christmas gifts for piano students!

Do you give your students a gift at Christmas?  If so, what are you giving this year?  What have you given in previous years?

Please share in the comment section below this post!

seasonal / holiday

Time for Christmas Music

I am preparing to pass out Christmas music to my students to this week!  It still seems early to me, but my students have a performance opportunity in early December — so I thought we better get rolling on that Christmas music!

I’ve updated my post from two years ago “List of Free Christmas Arrangements on the Web” to include a few new links and some resources for lead sheets.  The holiday season seems like the perfect time to focus on chord playing, because of the wealth of familiar Christmas tunes students know!

Let me know if you know of more links to add to that post!

seasonal / holiday, Studio Business

Classical Music To Attract (or Scare) Your Trick-Or-Treaters

This year for Halloween, I plan to pass out candy with my studio name on it again and wear my piano costume dress again.  I was thinking about having some scary classical music playing on my porch too, so I compiled a list of music!  Let me know if you have any suggestions to add to the list.  🙂

  • Alkan – Prelude Op. 31 No. 8 (a madwoman at the seashore)
  • Bach (previously attributed to Bach) – Toccata and Fugue in d minor, BWV 565
  • Bartok – 3rd movement of Suite Op. 14
    Bartok
    – 1st, 4th and 5th movements of Out of Doors Suite
  • Bartok – Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta (mvmt. 3, adagio)
  • Berlioz – “Dream Of A Witches’ Sabbath.”
  • Berlioz – Symphony Fantastique
  • Wendy Carlos – Incantation from Beauty in the Beast
  • Chopin – Marche Funebre
  • Chopin – Prelude Op. 28 No. 14 in E-flat minor
  • Corigliano – 4th movement of Piano Concerto
  • Corigliano – 4th movement of Etude Fantasy (“Ornaments”)
  • Cowell – The Banshee
  • Daugherty – Viola Zombie
  • de Falla – Dance of Terror (check out the Bragiotti arrangement for 2 pianos, too)
  • Dukas – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (also check out the 2-piano arrangement by Rabinovitch)
  • George Crumb – Vox balaenae Continue reading “Classical Music To Attract (or Scare) Your Trick-Or-Treaters”
seasonal / holiday

Christmas Gift for Piano Students

Here’s what I gave my students for Christmas this year:

A Symphony chocolate bar, and a personalized glass ornament.

I found the glass ornaments at a craft store (Hobby Lobby).  On each ornament, I wrote the student’s name and “2011” on the ornament using a paint pen.  I put colorful confetti and pieces of old sheet music inside each ornament.  I thought they turned out cute!

For my adult students, I bought music dictionaries.  The A to Z of Foreign Musical Terms is my favorite music dictionary.  I don’t mind spending a little extra on the adult students to get something they would really use and appreciate.  🙂

Games, Performances, seasonal / holiday

Christmas Recital/Party Success! – Games

Well, my students’ Christmas party/recital was a success!   What a great way to finish off the year.

The recital took place in my home.  Whenever my college music history textbooks mentioned Schubertiads, I used to dream about the idea of having informal music performance parties in my home.  Since my studio is still small, I thought having our Christmas recital in my home would be so fun!  About 25 people attended, which is probably close the max that I can fit.  Next year I’ll have to find another location, or hold the party with just the students.  But it was nice and cozy this year!

We kicked off the party with the recital portion, and then we played three music games:

  1. Christmas Carol Rhythm Matchups — This game from Jennifer Fink’s Pianimation blog was a great hit with students!  Students worked together in a huddle on the floor to match the rhythms to the Christmas song lyrics.  They were able to successfully complete all three levels of difficulty!  Even the youngest beginners were able to match a few.  I ended up with three students who played “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas” during the recital because I have so many little beginners right now.  They were definitely able to help match that pair!  🙂
  2. Make Me A Rhythm! game — This is a game I found on a forum and shared about a few weeks ago.  This game wasn’t a total success, I’ll admit.  My students were very, very shy about asking other students to be note values as they composed a rhythm.  After all, this is the first time they’ve met each other.  Next time I use this game, I’ll use it with a smaller group (maybe in a setting where students are present without their parents), or with a group of people who know each other better.  It wasn’t a total flop though.  It’s a great game for visual learners.  The “composer” had to think about how many beats they had left in their measure.  Once each rhythm was composed, we clapped it together to see how the composers’ rhythm sounded.  It was fun, it just went slowly since students took a long time to choose.
  3. Music Bingo — I LOVE Susan Paradis’ version of Music Bingo.  You won’t find a nicer version of Music Bingo anywhere!   I’ve used Susan’s version of Music Bingo in previous years for other events (see some photos here).  Both the students and parents really enjoyed playing this game!
I’m putting together a slideshow of some photo highlights from the recital, which I hope to share with you later this week!  Stay tuned.

 

Announcements, Performances, seasonal / holiday

Studio Christmas Party Update – Food!

My apologies for being MIA from the blog the last few weeks!  At the beginning of the semester, I put up posters around the music building of the university in my town for freelancing as a collaborative pianist.  A few music majors contacted me rather last minute to ask if I’d accompany them for their end-of-the-semester juries as well as a concerto competition.  Learning their music and scheduling rehearsals has kept me very busy the last few weeks!  But I’m grateful for the extra money, especially after finishing all my Christmas shopping.  🙂  Anyway, I’m back now!  Juries are today, and this week will be much less hectic than the previous few weeks.

Now I’m focusing on the last stages of planning for my Studio Christmas Party on Saturday.  A couple of parents have volunteered to bring goodies, so I just need to make a few things.  I found some great food ideas on Pinterest.  (I love Pinterest! Are any of you on Pinterest?  Feel free to follow me, and I’ll be sure to follow you back!)  Continue reading “Studio Christmas Party Update – Food!”