Writing by Hand Makes You Smarter…

Many of my elementary students are bringing in first drafts of their Halloween compositions to their lessons this week, which has been a breath of fresh air for me!  I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how competent many are becoming at writing on the staff, and also at how creative they’ve been about adding “sound effects” like pedal and 8va markings, dynamics and articulations to make … Continue reading

Great New Visual Helper

I stumbled onto a WONDERFUL new teaching aid this week… by accident!   I made a quick trip to our local teacher supply store last week, and in the process of looking for something else, ran across these neat colored reading guides: I work with a number of students who struggle with reading, and thought this could be a helpful tool to keep their eyes … Continue reading

Fun New Manipulatives!

Has anyone else discovered Wikki Stix???  I ran across these at my local teacher supply store last week and had to get a pack!   These are bendable sticks made of a special wax-dipped yarn.   They’ll stick to themselves, or other smooth surfaces, and then come off cleanly.    They come in lots of bright colors: I’m always looking for creative tools to help … Continue reading

More Floor Staff Fun

Thanks to all of you who shared ideas for creating and using on-the-floor staff lines (see last post).    All of my students last week were curious about the “funny-looking green tape on the floor”, which meant the staff got a LOT of use (and I remembered to take a few pictures to share)! In addition to the beanie babies I picked up, I went … Continue reading

Floor Staff Races

I had the privilege of attending the KMTA annual conference over the weekend.    This year’s keynote speakers were Randy and Nancy Faber, so it was not to be missed!!!   Natalie has posted a wonderful summary of many of the weekend’s sessions over on the Music Matters Blog, which is definitely worth a look if you haven’t already checked it out.    I picked up some … Continue reading

Giant Sightreading Cards

I decided as I was doing some lesson planning last night that it needed to be a “fun” sightreading week in my studio.  Part of our weekly private lesson routine is to start each lesson with sightreading and/or technique.   Many students will be arriving at lessons a little stressed this week.  At school, they’re working on state assessments, plus in our studio we’re down … Continue reading

Hand Position Drill

It’s the week before spring break here, and I noticed right from the start of the week that many of my students already have vacation on the brain.    (Not that I blame them – I do too!!)    It’s weeks like this that I find myself scratching my head and wondering what has happened to my studio.  Before Christmas I could have sworn that … Continue reading

Boomwhacker Sightreading Cards

I’m VERY excited about a fun new toy I picked up for my studio last week.   I love using my set of Boomwhackers in lessons.   We pull them out frequently to make note flashcards more fun, or to “whack” out rhythms.   And with this latest addition, now we can use them to spice up our sightreading! With the XyloTote Tube Holder and … Continue reading

Jingle Bell Pattern Signs

It’s group lesson week again in my studio, and since it’s our last group lesson week before Christmas break, I’ve been incorporating Christmas tunes and themes into many of our activities.   I used the following activity with groups of first-year students this week: In previous groups, we had been learning to recognize simple melodic patterns (up, down, repeat) both aurally and visually. For this activity, I made signs … Continue reading

3-in-a-Row Matching Game

Sometimes the best ideas come from students!  This new twist on a couple of old games was born last week during an elementary student’s lesson.  We were ready to take a mid-lesson break from the piano and I had materials for Boomwhacker flashcards handy (see previous post).   My student had other ideas!  She ran over to a bowl of alphabet cards I had on a … Continue reading