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, 13,376 hits)

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

Reviews, Technology

App Review: SproutBeat for iPad

sproutbeatlogoA fantastic new iPad app was recently released.  I am so pumped about this one!

I am a huge fan of Eik Siang Mar’s website, FunAndLearnMusic.com.  She has a huge variety of free music worksheets that are both visually attractive and educationally effective.  I have some of my favorite worksheets downloaded on my iPad.  I like to be able to print them from my iPad during the lesson to send home with students, targeting a new concept we just learned.  And, once in a while, I ask students to complete the worksheet digitally during the lesson on my iPad by “writing” on the worksheet.

Now, this process is about to get a whole lot easier!  FunAndLearnMusic has released a companion iPad app called SproutBeat.  The app allows view to all the worksheets from FunAndLearnMusic, organized by category.

The free version of the app allows you to download 25 of the worksheets.  Purchasing the full version of the app for $19.99 gives you access to ALL of the worksheets, plus any worksheets released in the future.  Eik generally adds new worksheets every Tuesday.

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Continue reading “App Review: SproutBeat for iPad”

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, 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”

Composition, Music Camps, Printables

So, You Want To Be A Composer? – 2012 Summer Camp Details

Last week, I held my second summer music camp for my piano students!  It was called, “So, You Want To Be A Composer?”  I am so excited to share with you some details about our camp.  We had a really great week!

Here’s where all the magic happened:

Continue reading “So, You Want To Be A Composer? – 2012 Summer Camp Details”

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, 24,805 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!

Music Theory, Printables, Worksheets

Just Added: Treble & Bass Clef Worksheet

Today, a new worksheet was added to the Printables page, all about the treble clef and bass clef!

 

This worksheet uses dotted lines to teach the student how to draw the treble clef and bass clef. I also included a couple of illustrations in this worksheet showing the development of the clefs over the centuries. Our modern clefs still bear some resemblance to the letters G and F, which can be a helpful tool for students for remembering those landmark notes.  Students will find this bit of history interesting and memorable as they learn about the clefs!

To download this worksheet, please visit the Printables > Worksheets page and scroll down to the T’s for “Treble & Bass Clef Worksheet.”  Enjoy!

P.S.: Don’t forget to enter the giveaways from last week if you haven’t already.  Winners are going to be announced this week starting tomorrow!

Group Classes, Music Theory, Worksheets

Just Added: “Gallery of Music” Symbol Drawing Worksheets

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!  I have a free printable to share today…

This is a set of simple worksheets for having students learn to draw various music symbols.  The worksheets can be used singly or in groups, depending on what concepts your students are currently learning.  I would encourage students to use colorful crayons to draw the symbols.

Here are the symbols covered on each page:

  1. Quarter, half, dotted-quarter, and whole notes.
  2. Quarter, half, dotted-quarter, and whole rests.
  3. Single eighth note, beamed eighth notes, eighth rest, and dotted quarter note.
  4. Treble clef, bass clef, staff, and grand staff.
  5. Barline, double barline, repeat sign, and time signature.
  6. Forte, piano, mezzo forte, and mezzo piano.
  7. Sharp, flat, natural, quarter note with flat.
  8. Slur, tie, staccato, accent.

If you have suggestions for more symbols to include in additional worksheets, let me know!

To download this set of worksheets, visit the Printables > Worksheets page and scroll down to the G’s for “Gallery of Music – Symbol Drawing Worksheets.”

P.S.: I received an email yesterday from the MTNA Collegiate Chapter at Butler University, asking if I’d send a link to the survey they created about online marketing for piano teachers.  They are looking for responses to help them with a session they will be presenting at the MTNA National Conference in NYC next month.  Please take a minute of your time to help them out!   http://tinyurl.com/butlersurvey2012

P.S.S.: Today is the last day to sign up to attend the MTNA National Conference at the early registration discount!  Visit mtna.org to learn more.  Hope to see you in NYC!

Games, Group Classes, Music Camps, Music Theory, Printables

Just Added: Musical Flashcard Sorting game

This is a simple game to play with groups of students that makes note-naming flashcards a bit more interesting.   It involves sorting the flashcards onto alphabet letter signs on the floor, as pictured on the right (the “A” flashcards would go in the blank space on the right side of the page).

The game is pretty flexible, because beforehand you can sort out exactly which flashcards you want to focus on with your students.  This also allows you to control how long you wish the game to continue.

You can also use different flashcards.  With my Homeschool Music Class this week, we used my Piano Key naming flashcards (they came with the MiniMusic set I purchased earlier this year).  With my Piano Readiness Class, we’ve been doing on-staff work so we used regular staff-note-naming flashcards (I use this set from Faber & Faber, but any flashcards will do).

Another tip with this game: if you are using the note-naming flashcards, arrange the musical alphabet signs on the floor in a column, so that A is at the bottom and G is at the top.  I recommend this because this arrangement resembles the staff, where the musical alphabet progresses vertically.  If you are using piano-key-naming flashcards, I would arrange the signs on the floor horizontally, just like the keyboard.

Download the pdf of the alphabet signs and detailed gameplay instructions by visiting the Printables > Games page.  Scroll down to the M’s for “Musical Flashcard Sorting game.”