Over the Edge!

This past summer brought a whole group of new beginning students to my studio. It’s been a while since my schedule has been heavy on the beginner side, and it’s been a refreshing change!  It has made me realize, however, that I’m a little tired of some of the games that have been in my closet for a while.  Even though they are new to … Continue reading

Student Activity Binders

Every good pedagogy student and music teacher knows that it’s important to teach more than repertoire.   There’s lots of extra “stuff” that goes into a well-balanced piano curriculum.   Stuff like theory… and sightreading… and rhythm, technique, ear training, music history, improv, composing… and the list goes on!  During the month of July, I often find that my desk is buried under piles of … Continue reading

Musikopoly Incentive Program

I’ve been taking advantage of some summer down-time to work on studio planning for the upcoming school year.    My big project this week was putting together a new studio incentive program to kick-off in the fall.    This year, I really wanted to do something with music money.   (Thanks to Cecilly and Susan on the Piano Teacher Resources site for a great post … Continue reading

LEGO Rhythms

I recently ran across a fantastic idea for a new “prop” to use in teaching over on Rebecca’s blog: LEGOS!   She shared information on a LEGO Smart contest for educators (that includes a free Lego kit!).   The contest doesn’t officially start until September, but I was anxious to try these out with students, so I picked up a set of basic blocks. The … Continue reading

Listening TWISTER!

Several years ago I adapted a Twister game to use in my studio.  Since then, it’s become a yearly tradition to play it at the last group lesson of the year.    This year, we used it to drill interval recognition. To make the game music friendly, I add small strips of painter’s tape to each of the dots on the mat.    For this … Continue reading

Major/Minor Scale Identification

As I’ve been prepping students for theory exams this spring, one of my goals as a teacher has been to find a “hands-on” way to work on each concept.  This week many of my students were working on identifying and building major and minor scales, so I created a set of manipulative cards to help us: First, I asked students to lay out the scale … Continue reading

Symbol Search Worksheets

I’ve added a couple of new music symbol worksheets to my website.  They’re a colorful way to make sure your students really understand everything on a page of music (or practice for upcoming theory exams, as is the case in my studio!). I’ve made two levels so far.  Level 1 drills these symbols: treble clef, bass clef, time signature, repeat sign, bar lines, forte, piano, … Continue reading

Interval Tower Game

This new game was a BIG hit with my elementary students at group lessons last week.    We’re working on instant recognition of intervals (without having to count lines and spaces), which takes a LOT of drill.    With this game, though, the kids wanted to keep playing the whole lesson!  Here’s how we played: I divided the students into partners and gave each pair … 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

Clothesline Rhythms

Break is over!  A new semester has begun!  One of my goals as I start each new semester is to return to a “balanced” curriculum.  I find that the END of a typical semester is full of performance-oriented teaching.   Lesson time is consumed with fine-tuning repertoire and preparing for recitals, concerts and recording projects.    For most students, the BEGINNING of a new semester does not bring with it those same … Continue reading