Performances

NEW: Printables for Your Silent Film Recital

As promised in my recent blog post about organizing a Silent Film Recital for your piano students, today I’m sharing a few printables/templates I created for my Silent Film Recital.

Here’s what I’ll share:

  1. A silent film recital program AND a multiple choice quiz featuring facts about Buster Keaton and silent films
  2. The “welcome” image I showed on the TV/projector screen before the recital started
  3. The recital invitation I created for students to invite their friends and family to the event.

Before I get into it, I should let you know that these templates were all created using Canva.com — my favorite resource for creating graphics or documents (e.g., worksheets, images for blog/social media, and much more). To access the templates linked below and edit them for your own use, you will need to create a free account with Canva.

If you haven’t used Canva before, you might be thanking me later for introducing you to it. It’s a fantastic resource for creating attractive documents and images for whatever purpose you might have in mind. Many of the graphic elements at your fingertips in Canva are free to use, but you can also purchase premium elements very affordably (think, ~$1 each) if you want to. (BTW, if you use my referral link to set up your free Canva account, you’ll earn a Canva Credit to get one premium item for free!)

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

1. Recital Program & Quiz for Your Silent Film Recital

First up, here is the recital program I designed for my student’s Silent Film Recital. The movie camera graphics you see here were available in Canva — I just changed the colors and arranged the elements the way I wanted at the top of the page.

As you can see, I included a short blurb summarizing the silent film at the top. Then, I create a table that showed the various “chapters” or scenes from the film, the name of the performing student, and the titles of the pieces they played.

At the bottom of the recital program, I listed a few solo pieces my students performed after the silent film showing. Feel free to edit any and all of these program elements to suit your own recital plans!

If you scroll down while viewing this template in Canva, you’ll also find the silent film quiz I made using fun facts about Buster Keaton and silent films in general. During my recital, I had the audience work in groups by family to complete this quiz while my students played their solos as background music. After about 15 minutes or so, we went through the correct answers and I awarded a prize (movie gift card, microwave popcorn, candy, etc.) to the family who guessed the most correct answers. This worked even better than I envisioned and was a lot of fun!

When we took our Silent Film Recital on the road and performed it again at a local retirement center, I wanted attendees to be able to take the quiz sheet back to their room to complete on their own time. So, there are actually THREE versions of the quiz provided in my template: one has no answers, one has has the correct answers circled (an answer sheet), and one has the answers provided upside-down in the margin. Version 1 is suitable for an event where you wish to lead everyone through the answers verbally at the end. Version 2 is an answer sheet for you to use in that same setting. Version 3 is a version with answers provided for attendees to complete on their own time just for fun.

After making your edits to this template, click the menu option Share > Download > PDF download. From there, the PDF should download to your computer. You can then print out whichever pages you wish to use.

>>> Get the Silent Film Recital Program & Quiz template here.

2. Welcome Screen Slide for Silent Film Recital

Next up, I created this simple welcome image to put on the TV/projector screen as a way to greet folks as they arrived to the event.

Just open the template in Canva, edit the details for your own recital event, and then hit the menu options Share > Download to download it as a JPG or PNG image. View the image in full screen mode on your computer while connected to the TV or projector via an HDMI cable, and voila — it will show on the screen.

>>> Get the Welcome Screen Slide template here.

3. Invitation for Silent Film Recital

Finally, here is the template for some simple invitations I created for my students’ Silent Film Recital.

Edit this template in Canva to fill in your own information, and then hit Share > Download > PDF. After printing out the PDF, cut the invitations apart and give them to your students to give out to their families and friends.

>>> Get the Silent Film Recital Invitations template here.


If you are planning your own Silent Film Recital, I hope you’ll find these templates useful!

Performances

How to Organize a Silent Film Recital for Piano Students

As mentioned previously, my students and I successfully presented a Silent Film Recital a couple of months ago. (Highlights and photos here!)

As promised, I’d like to share the details of how we did it and give you a guide on how to plan your own Silent Film Recital. The process was so much fun from beginning to end, and I definitely recommend it to other piano teachers looking to spice things up with a unique recital format that is memorable and fun.

In this article, I’ll first share how I became interested in organizing a silent film recital. Then, we’ll discuss the following steps for organizing a silent film recital for your piano students: (1) Selecting a Film, (2) Sourcing the Music, (3) Matching Music to the Film, (4) Preparing Students, and (5) Hosting a Silent Film Recital.

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Performances

Highlights from My Students’ Silent Film Recitals

This past weekend concluded a three-weekend run of Silent Film Recitals I hosted for my piano students, and let me tell you — it was such a fun project to organize! I really enjoyed this as an opportunity for my students and myself to try a performance event different from a typical piano recital and learn about the historic art form of silent film accompaniment.

Continue reading “Highlights from My Students’ Silent Film Recitals”
seasonal / holiday

My 2023 Christmas Gifts for Piano Students

Do you enjoy giving some kind of small gift to your piano students at Christmastime? I do! I enjoy giving something small but thoughtful to make them smile.

I try to come up with something different each year. Often, it’s a music-themed ornament for their Christmas tree, but not always. Some years, it’s a homemade gift; other years, it’s store-bought.

Note: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my blog!

This year, I started browsing and brainstorming early. I found quite a few nice ideas on Amazon. (Later in this post, I’ll share a link to a whole list of ideas I considered.)

But as soon as I saw these sequin music note keychains, I immediately ordered them!

Continue reading “My 2023 Christmas Gifts for Piano Students”
Studio Business

5 Steps for Successful Interview Lessons with Music Students

Interview lesson, meet-and-greet, intro lesson, trial lesson, consultation—whatever you choose to call them, introductory sessions are a great way to jumpstart your potentials students’ success in music lessons. This article presents five steps to help you make the most of your interview lessons with new music students.

Step 1: Define Your Goals for the Interview Lesson

Before conducting an interview lesson, it is important to determine your goals for an interview lesson. For many music teachers, these sessions are useful for setting expectations for their music studio and determining if a student-teacher fit is possible. They allow you to build rapport, communicate your expectations for practice, behavior, payments and other studio policies and procedures, and assess the student’s goals, needs and level of interest.

Additionally, an interview lesson can also be an opportunity to:

Continue reading “5 Steps for Successful Interview Lessons with Music Students”
General, seasonal / holiday

My 2022 Christmas Gifts for Piano Students

Do you enjoy giving some kind of small gift to your piano students at Christmastime? I do! I enjoy giving something small but thoughtful to make them smile. I try to come up with something different each year.

Note: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my blog!

This year, I was pleased to find some really lovely and affordable music-themed ornament options on Amazon. In fact, I could hardly decide which one to go with!

I ended up choosing the wooden sheet music ornaments pictured below, and am very happy with my decision. They are light-weight, but nice quality wood ornaments with a sheet music print and blackened edges. The package comes as a set of 24 ornaments with 8 different shapes: hearts, pine trees, reindeers, snowmen, bells, round ornaments, stars, and snowflakes. You must attach the strings yourself, but they are included.

Continue reading “My 2022 Christmas Gifts for Piano Students”
seasonal / holiday

Christmas Gifts for Piano Students, 2011-present

Hello, teacher friends! Today, I thought I would make an update this flashback post sharing ideas for piano student gift ideas. Read on to see what ideas I’ve done in the past…and stay tuned for tomorrow, when I’ll share what I’ve planned for this year!

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! Some years, I’ve kept it pretty simple while other years I have felt inspired to take on a more time-intensive project. I hope you’ll enjoy browsing this post and perhaps gaining an idea or two to tuck away for the future!

Continue reading “Christmas Gifts for Piano Students, 2011-present”
seasonal / holiday, Teaching Piano

My 2021 Student Christmas Gifts

Do you enjoy giving some kind of small gift to your piano students at Christmastime? I don’t feel it’s something we as piano teachers should feel obligated to do. But if it’s something you enjoy, I think it’s a nice gesture! I look forward to coming up with something different each year.

[Click here to see gift ideas from past years!]

This year, inspired by a photo I saw on Instagram, I decided to seek out a local bakery to make some pretty piano cookies for my students. I requested quotes from two bakeries and was thrilled when the first one gave me a rate that was reasonable enough for my budget. I placed my order and couldn’t wait for the pick-up date to arrive.

Over the weekend, I picked up my cookie order. I was so thrilled and pleased with how they turned out! Aren’t they pretty?!

Aria, my constant sidekick, “helped” me put the cookies into individual baggies.

I couldn’t be happier with how these turned out!

Something else new I decided to try this year was to order custom pens with my studio logo. I thought it might be fun to include these pens in the Christmas gift this year, as well as to use around the studio and give out to new students when they join. I ordered through CustomInk.com, which has been a great company to work with in the past when I’ve done T-shirts for my students. The pens turned out nicely! It’s a good thing, because CustomInk.com have a minimum of 300 for pen orders. I will be well stocked for at least a few years! 😉

I also gave each student one of our family photo cards. To add a personal touch, I typed up a short holiday greeting printed onto sticky notes. (Did you know you can print onto sticky notes? It’s so handy for all kinds of projects! To learn how, check out this blog post.)

I packaged everything into bubble wrap mailers to send to my online students back in Ohio.

In my studio, I set up an area for my in-person students to receive their gifts. I’m excited to see my students’ faces when they see the cookies!

After all that hard work, Aria and I were ready to try out a cookie! It was our reward after a job well done. 🙂

[Check out the video version of this blog post here on Instagram!]

Your turn: Did you plan to give out students gifts this year? If so, what did you come up with? I invite you to leave a comment!

Printables, Worksheets

Just Added: “Identifying Ledger Lines” Music Worksheet

It’s been quite a while since I shared a new worksheet…until today! Here is a brand new worksheet about ledger lines that you are welcome to use with your piano students or music students of any instrument.

The top of the page includes a definition and a graphic demonstrating what ledger lines are. The rest of the page presents a number of ledger line notes and asks the student to identify the letter name of each note. It’s a simple worksheet that might be useful to send home with your students to reinforce the concept after you cover it during a lesson.

Download this FREE worksheet by visiting the Printables > Worksheets page and scrolling down to “Identifying Ledger Lines.”

  Identifying Ledger Lines (92.4 KiB, 2,929 hits)

PS: I have several other worksheets of a similar format you might be interested in checking out: Introduction to the Staff worksheet, Line & Space Notes worksheet, Identifying Line & Space Notes on the Staff worksheet, Intervals Unison-3rd worksheet, and Intervals Unison-5th worksheet. Hope you enjoy!

Games

Getting out my Trick-or-Treat rhythm game!

It’s that time of year — time to pull out my Trick-or-Treat! rhythm game! During the weeks leading up to Halloween, I like to use my Trick-or-Treat rhythm game at pretty much every student’s lesson. It’s a fun way to make students “earn” their treat, and it’s such a great game for building their rhythm skills. Best of all, they LOVE this game!

Continue reading “Getting out my Trick-or-Treat rhythm game!”
Teaching Piano

How to Create a “MEET OUR PIANISTS” Student Photo Wall

Back in 2017, I shared my “About Me” Student Profile cards that I hung on the walls in my studio. Now that I am moved back to Michigan and am settled in my new studio, I figured it was time to do something similar again! I love for my students to feel part of a studio community and be able to see each other’s faces, even if only thanks to photos. 😉

And so, I started browsing Pinterest and Amazon to find ideas for various ways to display student photos. In this blog post, I’ll share some of the best ideas I found as well as the resulting photo wall I ended up with for my students. I’ll also share a couple of free printables I created in the process, which you are welcome to use for your own photo wall. Read on, friends!

Continue reading “How to Create a “MEET OUR PIANISTS” Student Photo Wall”
Performances

My Piano Students Play the 12 Days of Christmas

As mentioned yesterday, my students collaborated to create a special video as the “grand finale” of our Countdown to the New Year project. Today, I’m sharing the video for you to see.

Please enjoy our take on The 12 Days of Christmas!

I hope you enjoy our fun little video. Credit goes to my student, Elijah, for the idea. Because it was a somewhat last-minute project, and we kept it simple — each student learned only the RH melody for their assigned day. But I think it turned out pretty great regardless!

I’m thinking about doing it again next year. I have some ideas for expanding it a bit.

If you are curious to hear more about the behind-the-scenes planning and video editing, could you let me know? If there’s enough interest, perhaps I’ll write up a blog post or even create a purchasable kit with everything you need!

Thanks for watching!

UPDATE: The 12 Days of Christmas Project: A Collaborative Video Kit has been published and is available for purchase here!