Announcements, Composition, Group Classes, Music History, Music Theory, Printables, Worksheets

Just Added! Lesson Plans: Analyzing & Composing Music in the Romantic Style

Picture 2Just added to the Printables > Lesson Plans page:

Lesson Plans & Worksheets: Analyzing & Composing Music in the Romantic Style 

A few months ago, I used these lesson plans during a piano camp where I taught Theory & Composition classes.  This camp is unusual in that it gives the students a chance to work on ensemble music with their fellow campers.  In addition, all the ensemble music are original compositions — composed just for our campers.

In the lesson plans I made, I tried to incorporate both the emphasis on composition and the topic of the Music History classes (taught by another instructor; this year, focusing on the Romantic Period).  So, this year’s lesson plans are all about learning how to compose music in the Romantic style.  By the end of the week, the class had created a Class Composition for piano which was performed for all to hear at the camp recital!  The pieces were humorous, yet surprisingly sophisticated.  Perhaps later on, I’ll post an example of a composition they created, if that would be helpful to anyone.

The lesson plans are designed for classes of 4 – 6 students ranging in ages about 9 to 15, but I’m sure they could be adapted to suit other ages and groups of students.  Enjoy!  Let me know how they work for you.

  Analyzing & Composing in the Romantic Style - Lesson Plans & Worksheets (1.0 MiB, 35,184 hits)

Professional Development

New Nat’l Music Achievement Program in the US?

I recently heard that Carnegie Hall and The Juilliard School are considering the possibility of implementing a National Music Achievement Program in the US.  Here’s the lowdown:

The program would include the following characteristics:

  • Students would be evaluated by regional, reputable adjudicators using a pre-defined syllabus and repertoire list
  • Evaluations would be available several times per year in each area
  • Evaluations would be based on instrument performance
  • The evaluation would consist of 8 different performance levels, from beginner to advanced students
  • Students would receive a numeric score at the end of the evaluation
  • Students would be able to access their ranking in relation to other students across the country

The achievement program aims to benefit students and teachers in several ways, including:


  • Offer teachers materials to support their instruction
  • Help teachers track the development of their students
  • Enable students to understand their skill level on a national scale and gain recognition for passing each grade level
  • Motivate students to continue studying music by offering clear development goals

It is an interesting idea to consider.  I wonder if it will be similar to the National Certificate Program (based on the curriculum of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada)?  It sounds similar in some ways.  I’m not completely convinced that we need another National Achievement Program, but I do like that fact that this one would be “American made.”  My hope is that it will be something easily affordable for all students, and available for students in suburban and rural areas as well as urban.

To participate in the survey that Carnegie Hall and The Juilliard School are conducting about this possible achievement program, click here.  (The above information was quoted from the survey.)

(via Music Matters Blog)

improving as a teacher

6 Ways to Stay Connected with Parents

Sometimes it’s difficult to stay in contact with the parents and keep them informed about the students’ progress.  Here are some ways to improve the lines of communication:

  1. Newsletters.  Create a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter, and send it out via email or snail mail.  In it, congratulate student accomplishments (participation in competitions or other music events) and make announcements regarding future events.
  2. Studio website.  Start a studio website, which you can regularly update with news and announcements.  If you choose to have a blog on your website, parents can subscribe to email updates and receive an email version of each post you create.  
  3. Hold a Parent-Teacher Meeting.  Once or twice a year, you way wish to hold an informal meeting where all the parents (at least one parent per student) come to discuss anything and everything related to the piano studio.  You can make announcements concerning future events, and discuss past ones.  It’s a great way to get feedback from the parents concerning the way you are running your studio, and to get suggestions concerning how to run things next year.  Serve dessert and coffee to put everyone at ease, and keep it under an hour or so.  
  4. Personal calls or emails.  Once in a while, it may be appropriate to call or email a parent directly concerning a student’s progress.  I think this is especially important for when you are convinced that the student is not progressing as well as s/he could be.  Letting the parent know about your concern opens the door for their cooperation with you in further action.
  5. Progress Reports.  At the end of the school year, it is advisable to create and fill out a progress report for each student.  It not only helps you wrap things up, but helps communicate to the parent concerning what kind of progress the student has made under your instruction over the past year.  
  6. Evaluations.  At the end of each school year, it is also a good idea to create a Studio Evaluation form for the parents to fill out, concerning what they liked/disliked about lessons and studio events over the past year.  Getting feedback from the parents is extremely helpful for planning the following year’s events.  

How do you maintain the ways of communication with parents?  Let us know by commenting below.

Music Theory, Printables

60 CHORDS music images – Make your own Music Worksheets

Chord Abmajor BAs promised, here is a continuation of the “Make your own Music Worksheets” series — this time, adding CHORDS image files.

Also in this series:

  1. Make your own music worksheets: Five-Finger Pattern image files – includes the original tutorial.
  2. [Currently Viewing:] 60 CHORDS music images – Make your own Music Worksheets

Remember, “Tr” means “treble clef” and “B” means “bass clef.”

Happy worksheet-making!   Continue reading “60 CHORDS music images – Make your own Music Worksheets”

Music Theory, Printables

30 FIVE-FINGER PATTERNS music images – Make your own Music Worksheets

5FP Abmajor Tr

Also in this series:

  1. [Currently Viewing:] 30 FIVE-FINGER PATTERNS music images – Make your own Music Worksheets – includes the original tutorial.
  2. 60 CHORDS music images – Make your own Music Worksheets – click here

Ever find yourself wanting to make a music worksheet for your students, but don’t have easy access to any music notation software?  This tutorial will get you on your way to creating your own music worksheets using a word processor on your computer — without purchasing an expensive music notation software. Once you’ve created some worksheets, you can print as many worksheets as you need and send them home with your students.

Using Finale software, I have saved tons of image files of chords, five finger patterns, arpeggios, etc. on my computer over the last couple years.  I’d like to share them with you, so you can make your own music worksheets using just a simple word processor like Microsoft Word.

Here’s how it works: Continue reading “30 FIVE-FINGER PATTERNS music images – Make your own Music Worksheets”

Performances, Resources

Making Grab Bag Gifts for Music Students


Need ideas for what to give all your music students this year for Christmas or to reward them after a performance?  Trying to stay within a budget?  How about making grab bags full of music goodies! Your students are bound to be thrilled with this music-themed gift.

First, buy a package of cellophane favor bags – music-themed ones if you can. They are usually located in the party favors/decorations section at the store. Dollar stores often carry them as well. A good deal will cost from $1.00 to $3.50 for a package of 20 bags. If you cannot find favor bags, you can also use small gift bags – but it will probably cost you a little more.   Continue reading “Making Grab Bag Gifts for Music Students”