What happens when you are teaching lessons online and your student needs a new music book? My tuition fee includes the cost of books/materials, so I am accustomed to handling the acquisition of books for students as needed. Since we’ve been online, it’s not quite as simple as handing the book to the student!
So, here’s what my approach has been. (1) If the student lives nearby, I can do a porch drop-off. (2) I can mail the books to them. Or, (3) I can order the books online and have them shipped directly to the student’s address.
When mailing a package or doing a porch drop-off, it’s fun to include some kind of surprise for the student along with books! I’ve been raiding my studio prize box to find some fun, mailable items.
Here’s what I ended up gifting my students last month:
Gloves for pianists 🙂
Treat sacks with brownies
I ordered the black gloves from eBay (here). I used white 3D fabric paint to add the treble clef on the RH glove, and allowed it to dry. I came back later to flip it over and draw a bass clef on the LH glove. They turned out pretty cute!
I can’t take credit for the idea. I saw a piano teacher share the idea in one of the Facebook groups for piano teachers, quite some time ago. I saved the idea, thinking I’d probably use it some year. And here we are!
I baked the brownies myself and placed two pieces in each treat sack, separated by a square of parchment paper. A quick piece of ribbon makes them look a bit festive.
If you’re looking for a good brownie recipe, here’s the link to the one I used: Best Fudgiest Brownies. My husband is a better cook than I am; he’s able to bake them just right so they are wonderfully fudgey, plus achieve that lovely cracked look on the top. Fortunately, they still taste pretty great even when I bake them. 🙂
Just thought I’d share. I always appreciate getting ideas from other teachers, and bet you do too!
I know, I know…it’s barely November, and here I am already talking about Christmas gifts! But in my opinion, it’s never too early to start thinking ahead and brainstorming. I tend to enjoy the holidays more when I’ve managed to get an early start on my to-dos. 🙂
I don’t think it’s necessary to give your piano students gifts at Christmastime, but it’s a nice gesture if you feel so inspired!
And so, I thought it’d be fun to do a flashback post today, taking a look at the Christmas gifts I’ve done over the years for my students. Some of these gifts were pretty time intensive (certain years, apparently I was inspired enough to be willing to take on a big project!), and other years were simple, but thoughtful gifts. I hope perhaps these photos will give you a useful idea or two, if you’re looking for ideas for something to do for your own students!
2011: Personalized Glass Sheet Music Ornaments
Back in 2011, I created personalized glass sheet music ornaments for each student, with their name and the year written with a gold paint pen. They turned out so pretty! I love how they turned out, and would like to use this idea again in the future. Each student also received a chocolate Symphony bar. Read more here.
That year, I gave my adult students something else: a copy of the book “The A to Z of Foreign Musical Terms” by Christine Ammer. I learned about this book during grad school, when one of my professors recommended it as a music dictionary that actually contains all the words we commonly see in our music. (Have you ever looked up a word in your music dictinary, only to find it wasn’t included?!) This book is a nice slim volume, and a great price — I’d recommend it to any piano teacher or student! I use it not infrequently during lessons, to have students look up the terms in their pieces.
When I was a 5-year-old beginner piano student, I remember being re-assigned one-/two-line method book pieces when the only thing lacking was dynamic contrast. And I remember being frustrated with this. My frustration was partly due to the fact that I was bored with the music I was playing; I wanted to be reading staff notation instead of pre-staff notation, as my mother taught me to do before she found me a piano teacher. Regardless, having to re-practice pieces that were already mastered, due to forgetting to drop from forte-piano to piano in one place was a hard thing for me to swallow.
Looking back, I do realize the importance of dynamics. As a teacher, I am a stickler about them even with the most beginner of students. However, as tempting as it is, I do not generally reassign a beginning-level piece from a method book if the ONLY thing lacking is the dynamics. I have decided that holding a student back in their progress is not worth it, because learning to observe dynamic markings is something that can be mastered over time through the next few pieces in their method books. Continue reading “Dynamics & The Beginner Piano Student”→
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?
I recently had a current student refer a new student to me for piano lessons. The best kind of marketing is word-of-mouth, so I am always happy when parents/students are willing to tell others about my services! So I decided to give a little gift as a token of my appreciation:
I created this T-shirt at printfection.com, and accompanied it with a thank you card. 🙂
Also: I wanted to use this post to announce the winner of the candle giveaway: It’s commenter #12, Pauline! Congrats! Please check your inbox for an email from me.
The winners of the other giveaways will be announced over the next few days.
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?
Guess what! Tomorrow is Color In My Piano’s THREE YEAR anniversary! Woohoo! I’ve got a few fun posts and giveaways planned for later this week in honor of our anniversary. But today, I thought I’d share this new printable:
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:
Quarter, half, dotted-quarter, and whole notes.
Quarter, half, dotted-quarter, and whole rests.
Single eighth note, beamed eighth notes, eighth rest, and dotted quarter note.
Treble clef, bass clef, staff, and grand staff.
Barline, double barline, repeat sign, and time signature.
Forte, piano, mezzo forte, and mezzo piano.
Sharp, flat, natural, quarter note with flat.
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!
Have you ever have a student play a piece with frequent hesitations throughout, even though you know they can play much better than that? This phenomenon can occur with all ages/levels of students. Why does this happen? What is going on when this happens? This article will examine possible causes of and solutions for a lack of fluency.
A lack of fluency could be caused by a number of things:
A lack of the proper technique required for the executing the piece;
A lack of familiarity of the notes of the piece;
A tempo that is too fast for the student’s ability at that moment; or,
A lack of mentally “chunking” the information on the page properly. The analogy I use to refer to Number 4 is that the students feels like they are wearing horse blinders, or are mentally experiencing tunnel vision.
I recently started to do some in-depth planning for the summer camps I plan to offer this summer! My studio policies provide students with two options for the summer months (June-August):
Students ages 6-12 may participate in a camp each month plus take 5 lessons scheduled approximately every other week around family vacations, or…
Students may continue weekly lessons (10 total) as normal. Students who choose to continue lessons as normal are welcome to sign up for 1, 2, or all 3 summer camps on top of their lessons if desired, at a special rate.
Because I have such a range of ages/levels in my studio, I decided to make my camps very flexible so that students of a wide range of musical backgrounds (even those with no music background) can attend camp. When my studio is larger, I will probably design camps for certain ages/levels. For this year, I think it’s best to be flexible. I’m encouraging my students to invite their friends to attend camp and I’ll put posters around town too. I’m hoping for a turnout of about 4-8 students attending each camp.