A Little Rhythm “Medicine”

There are certain necessary parts of music study that can be just plain not fun for young students. Like counting aloud while playing.  Or practicing with a metronome.   YUK.   From a student perspective, those chores are hard and frustrating (if you’ve resorted to using such forms of torture, it probably means something is going wrong in a piece, or at the very least, not coming easily … Continue reading

Sensory Spotlight: Dotted Quarter Rhythms

I’m excited to introduce a new series of posts coming to the Pianimation blog this fall and winter!  Sensory Spotlight articles will highlight creative, hands-on ways to teach musical concepts to active learners, using a variety of fun props, teaching aids and movements.   I’ve been busy capturing snapshots and video of some of my students in action this fall, and am looking forward to giving … Continue reading

Hands On Teaching, Part 2 – Fitting it All In

Last week, I shared some thoughts on why I believed that games and structured play are so important in private music lessons.  This week, let’s take a look at how we can incorporate them into lessons on a regular basis. If there’s one downside to using games, it’s that they’re time consuming.    Some weeks we’re hard pressed just to hear the pieces our students have practiced, … Continue reading

Hands-On Teaching… Part 1

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know that I use a LOT of games and teaching props with my students.   Thanks to a few wonderfully active students who came through my door a handful of years ago (and drove me nearly to the point of exasperation), I’ve come to embrace a very multi-sensory, “hands-on” approach to elementary piano lessons.  We … Continue reading

Hands On Rhythms – New British Edition

For all of my friends and colleagues who live in the U.K., Australia and other places around the world that prefer the term crotchet to quarter note….   I’m happy to announce the availability of a new version of my Hands On Rhythms curriculum with British English note terms. I’ve had requests from a couple of teachers for a version of the Teacher’s Guide and Student Workbook with … Continue reading

Giant Playable Floor Keyboard

Does anyone else remember watching this scene from the movie “Big” and wishing for a piano like this??? I’ve always thought that it would be REALLY fun to have something like that in my studio, so was very excited to run across this smaller 6′ version in a catalog earlier this year: I ordered one immediately!  This is called a “Big Keyboard Fun” mat, and … Continue reading

The Really, Really Long Music Game

Already a little scared by the title of this post?   I’ve used this new game at group lessons for the last 2 months, and hadn’t really settled on a name for it until a student pointed out this month that the gameboard was “really, really, really long!”  Don’t let the title intimidate you – this is a super-versatile game that can pack a LOT … Continue reading

New Rhythm Game Cards

Here’s one more game from my February group classes.  I posted this rhythm game last fall, but added 2 new sheets of playing cards to it this month.  I have a number of students who are starting to play in simple compound meters and wanted a fun way to review those rhythms at group lessons (and what better way to get students to reinforce something over … Continue reading

Something’s Missing Rhythm Game

Many thanks to all of you who came out to the KC Federated Teacher’s workshop on Tuesday!  I hope you enjoy perusing some of the hands-on learning resources on this site (as well as others) as you look for creative ways to engage your students!  For those of you a little too far away to join us at the workshop, I’ll be sharing a series … Continue reading