Do you have a collection of games, flashcards, and props to use during piano lessons with your students? Are they organized so you can find things when you need them?
As you probably know, your teaching resources are only as helpful as your organizational system. When things are out-of-place or impossible to find (we’ve all been there!), those items unfortunately cannot do you — or your student — any good.
The key is to have a system in place where you always know where to find and put things. As the saying goes: “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” Your system needs to make sense to you, and it may be as unique as you are.
In this post, I’ll describe my method for organizing my teaching games/materials and share how you can set up a similar system if you desire. I hope you’ll gain some tips or ideas for how you can organize your favorite piano teaching resources to be readily at your fingertips!
Hi there! In this blog post, I’ll briefly discuss both the usefulness and shortcomings of mnemonic devices (such as “FACE” and “All Cows Eat Grass”) when it comes to music reading and then share with you a new FREE printable, pictured above.
In today’s post, I’d like to round up a few of my favorite resources (both free and paid) on my blog relating to composition and improvisation.
Composition and improvisation are skills I love integrating into my teaching. When students show an interest in creating their own pieces, I always foster this and coach them through the process of formulating and notating their compositions. To help expose all of my students to composition, I offer a composition-themed summer camp at least every-other-year. I use improvisation, in simple but natural ways, in my teaching too — although I’d like to get better at doing more!
In this blog post, there are three main sections: (1) First, I will first round up my free printables related to composition and improvisation. (2) Then, I’ll list some blog post links to some articles that discuss how to integrate improvisation and composition into your teaching. (3) Finally, I will tell you about two paid resources from my shop you might find useful for teaching composition and improvisation to your piano students.
I hope you’ll discover — or rediscover — some fun resources you can use in your teaching!
How are you doing, fellow teachers? How are you finding your physical and emotional well-being during this Covid-19 pandemic? And how is your teaching going? Remote teaching certainly carries its joys and challenges, does it not?
This is intended as a followup to my previous article, Teaching Piano During the Covid-19 Pandemic. Many of us now have a few weeks’ worth of remote lessons under our belts. Hopefully, you are feeling fairly comfortable with your teaching setup (Are you keeping it simple, as I suggested in my article?), and perhaps you might even be feeling ready to make a few incremental improvements to your arrangement! It’s not looking like we will be back to in-person teaching very soon, so why not experiment a little, right? 🙂
And, of course, let’s make sure we are taking care of ourselves. There are small tweaks we can make to ensure our comfort and well-being during long stretches of teaching.
As before in my previous article, I am again not necessarily recommending purchasing expensive new equipment at this time. Instead, I’d like to share some ideas for simple, easy ways to upgrade your setup using mostly items you probably already have around the house.
The suggestions in this article range from the simple to the more involved, and they are addressed in that order. Don’t try them all, and certainly not all at once. Instead, select an idea here and there, and see where that takes you.
Please join me in taking care of ourselves first, so that we can then take care of our families and students well!
1. Sit Comfortably
Are you sitting on a backless piano bench while you teach over the internet? Why not swap it out for a more comfortable chair?
Using a chair with back support will help prevent soreness. If you use a computer chair, you’ll have the benefit of being able to swivel between the piano keyboard and your nearby resources — saving your neck!
2. Prevent Vocal Fatigue
Are you finding yourself talking louder than usual when teaching via the internet, and suffering from a sore throat by the end of the day? Here’s a few suggestions to help alleviate this issue.
During today’s live broadcast via Periscope, we discussed possible time management solutions for in-lesson time with students. If you are like me, I’m sure there are many, many times when you wish there was more time during each weekly lesson! It often feels like it is a challenge to fit everything into a 30-, 45, or 60-minute lesson. Please enjoy watching the video conversation below.
All past broadcasts are here: ColorInMyPiano.com/live/. To watch future broadcasts live, download the free Periscope app (for iOS or Android), search for @joymorinpiano, and hop online on Mondays at noon Eastern time. Hope to see you next time!
Do you have suggestions about what we could discuss in future Periscopes? Please submit your ideas by clicking here. I appreciate your input!
A couple of weekends ago, I attended a fantastic Piano Pedagogy Seminar at Ohio University. The featured clinician was Dr. Peter Mack — an Irishman from Seattle who is a fantastic teacher with a wonderful sense of humor.
During one of the sessions, Dr. Mack told us that in his studio there are lots of teddy bears and dolls, as well as masks on the walls. He told us that it was so that his students would always feel that they had an audience to play for. Can you imagine having all those eyes watching you during a piano lesson? haha!
While I’m not particularly interested in using masks or teddy bears to decorate my studio, I am interested in getting my students to listen to themselves more and play as if an audience is listening. 🙂 Thus, I created this silly little prop. What do you think?!
I call it my “Jar of Eyes” or my “Audience in a Bottle.” 🙂 I haven’t used it on any unsuspecting students yet, but I anticipate it will be highly effective to bring out the next time I think a student could use a reminder to play as if an audience is listening/watching. 😉
I bought the little glass jar (it is only about 2.5 inches in diameter) at Hobby Lobby some time back for about $2. I already had all those different craft eyes in my bin of craft supplies. If you’d like to create your own jar of eyes, I’m sure you can find various sizes of googly eyes at any craft store.
I had a wonderful extended weekend in Michigan, giving my presentations and spending time with my family! Now I’m busy back at work, playing catch-up. 🙂 However, I do have a little game I’d like to share with you today.
I am not the original inventor of this game, I’m sure — but in case you haven’t seen it before, here’s how to play this keyboard game with your beginner students!
Today’s post brings a new Forum Q&A topic, and another GIVEAWAY!
Our last Forum Q&A discussion was about perfectionism. It’s never too late to add your thoughts to the comments, so feel free to hop over there and join in the conversation! I plan to follow up with an article on perfectionism to discuss this topic further at some point, but haven’t gotten to it yet! So many ideas, so little time… 🙂
Today’s new Q&A topic is about assignment notebooks. I’m curious –
What is your method of writing down assignments for students? Do you use a notebook (if so, any particular size/type?) or do you have a custom-made sheet you designed on the computer? What kinds of things are usually included on a typical assignment?
I’ve had a few requests lately from readers regarding more info about what kind of activities I do with my Homeschool Music Classes and Piano Readiness classes, so I thought it might first be a good idea to first give you a peek into how I lesson plan for group classes. Although I don’t lesson plan for teaching private lessons, I do always make a plan for group classes.
At each class, we begin and end with a “Hello Song” and “Goodbye Song.” Students like having this routine, and they are very good at reminding me about the songs if I forget about them! I have the students tap the beat on their knees (as we sit cross-legged on our carpet squares) while we sing. That way, I can tell if they are engaged even if they aren’t singing all the lyrics for one reason or another.