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.

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seasonal / holiday

Christmas Gifts for Piano Students, 2011-2021

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, 2011-2021”
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, 1,529 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!

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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!

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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!

seasonal / holiday

Christmas Gifts for Students, 2011-2020

Hi there! Christmas Day is nearly upon us. Today, I thought I would make an update this flashback post to share what I gave my students this year. (You can skip down to the bottom of this post to see!)

Things to keep in mind: 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 Students, 2011-2020”
Teaching Piano

Piano Pouches: Something Fun for New Online Students

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.

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seasonal / holiday

2019 Christmas Gift for Students

Just a quick follow-up to the student Christmas gift post from some few weeks ago

Here’s what I ended up gifting my students last month:

  • Gloves for pianists 🙂
  • Treat sacks with brownies

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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!

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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.

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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!

Happy Wednesday to you!

General, seasonal / holiday

Christmas Gifts for Students, From 2011-2018

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.

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Teaching Piano

Dynamics & The Beginner Piano Student

Music-forte-pianoWhen 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”