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.

Resources

Great Resource: Fun & Learn Music website

Screen shot 2013-02-12 at 8.54.21 AMAfter finding the new Fun & Learn Music website last night, I simply had to share the link with you all.  This website has a large variety of FREE music worksheets, organized by subject.  The worksheets are clear and to-the-point, but also cute and fun for students.  I will definitely be using many of these worksheets with my students in the future!

Fun & Learn Music also has a Shop area, where they sell complete theory books and a couple of rhythm games that look really fun and well-designed.  I can’t wait to see how this site develops in the future!

Check out their website here, and their facebook page here.

Group Classes, Music History

More Details About My Homeschool Music History Class

DSC_20121005_173751I have been receiving TONS of questions about my homeschool Music History Classes lately, so I decided to write a post that explains more about how I started and currently run the class.

You may recall that my husband and I moved from Michigan to Ohio about a year-and-a-half ago.  Starting up a new studio from scratch takes time, and there is a business strategy that says: “Diversify your income.”  I had been wanting to reach out to the home-school community for awhile already (Fun fact: did you know I was home-schooled for 5 years of my education growing up?).  🙂  When I saw Sheryl Welles’s idea (see her blog here) about having a Music Appreciation/Music History class for home-schoolers, I decided I wanted to try to start one, too!

After some online research, I discovered that the home-schooling families in my area have a Yahoo group where they chat and stay in touch about upcoming events.  I joined the Yahoo group and posted some information about the classes I want to start.  I received only one reply, from a family with three children.  Those three children were the entire class for quite awhile, and eventually two more joined.

I decided to hold each class for 50 minutes, so that I could have 10 minutes to put everything away afterwards and still have time to start a private lesson at the next hour if I wanted to.

At first, I taught short lessons about a new composer every week, but soon realized that this was not enough time to give the composer justice — and the students were not absorbing the information well enough.  When I would review information from previous weeks, they would get the composers mixed up.  That is when I decided to format my curriculum into lapbooks.   Using the lapbooks, we cover a new composer every three weeks.  (My music history curriculum “Great Composers & Their Music” is currently available for purchase in my Shop at $10 per composer.)

We generally spend about 20-25 minutes each class working on the lapbooks while I read the biography and play musical excerpts by the composer.  The rest of the class time is spent doing a variety of activities.  I plan worksheets or games that cover rhythm, aural, or theory concepts that are appropriate to the students’ current music knowledge.  I write weekly lesson plans, so that I can easily look back and plan ahead.

As you already know, I often create my own games and worksheets and share them here on my blog.  🙂  But I do often use materials created by other teachers, too.  The two resources I have been using the most recently are pianimation.com and susanparadis.com.  If you don’t already know about these two websites, you should definitely check them out now!

If you have other questions about my homeschool music class, please leave a comment below this post!

Printables, seasonal / holiday

Piano Valentine Printable #2

Remember the piano valentines I made last year?

I was wasn’t planning to design a new music-themed valentine this year — but when inspiration struck, I just had to design it!

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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!

  Piano Valentine Printable 2 (146.6 KiB, 13,517 hits)

Early Childhood Music, Games, Group Classes, Music Camps, Printables

Grand Staff Pass Game

I’m back!  I took a long blogging break over the holidays, but I’m super excited to be back and I have lots of things to share in the upcoming weeks!  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Years’.

Today, I am excited to share with you about a fun game I came up with for my students’ Piano Party last Saturday:

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“Grand Staff Pass” is a activity for finding and naming notes on the grand staff.  Each student has a printed grand staff in front of them, and must find the notes as indicated on the cards.  The cards are passed to the next student, going counterclockwise around the room.   Continue reading “Grand Staff Pass Game”

Games, Group Classes

December 2012 Piano Party

A week from last Saturday, I held another piano party with my students.  Unfortunately, I neglected to take photos AGAIN, despite the fact that my camera was ready within reach.  Bummer!  🙂

Here is a list of the activities we did during our hour-and-a-half together:

  1. Music Jenga (as students arrive)
  2. BANG rhythm game – as I described more fully in a previous post.
  3. Musical Truth or Dare – This is a new game by Jennifer Fink from Pianimation.com.  It worked really well for my multi-level group of students because she has provided three different levels of cards.  I used Levels 1 and 2 with my students.  To put a holiday twist on this activity, I put the Level 1 cards in a santa hat and the Level 2 cards in an elf hat (hats were bought at the dollar store a few years ago).  My students loved this game and asked to play it again next month! DSC_20121213_110219
  4. Carol Dictation Worksheet – This worksheet is also by Jennifer Fink.  Students worked on their own to notate the rhythm of “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”
  5. Student performances – I allowed each student to play a piece or two that they are working on.
  6. Debussy lapbook – This lapbook will be available in the ColorInMyPiano shop sometime in January!

I always try to hit on a variety of skills during these group classes, and we sure did this time!  We covered terminology, rhythm, dictation (aural skills), performing, and music history!

Games, Group Classes, Printables, Rhythm

Bang! Rhythm Game

On Pinterest, I saw an idea for a sight-word game called BANG and decided it would make an excellent music game.  Here is my musical version:

I tried it out with my students at our Piano Party last Saturday, and it was a hit.  The BANG! cards add an element of fun to an otherwise ordinary flashcard drill. Continue reading “Bang! Rhythm Game”

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!

Games, Group Classes

My New Monthly Group Lessons: “Piano Parties”

Now that I have enough students to do so, I have begun holding monthly group lessons with my students.  I tried it a few times last year, but ended up with a poor turnout both times.  Fortunately, now I have enough students to make it worth the effort.  I call them “Piano Parties.”

Right now, any of my students under age 15 are invited.  My youngest private students are 4, so this makes for a very wide range of ages!  Eventually, my goal would be to split them into groups by age/level, but for now, I am just happy to give them some kind of group lessons.  I am keeping them very fun and informal.

Our first one was a back-to-piano pizza party last month, and I completely forgot to blog about it.  Oops!  🙂  I’ll tell you about it now.  Continue reading “My New Monthly Group Lessons: “Piano Parties””