Listening Challenge Worksheets

Elementary Level Challenge (front and back)

One of the “New School Year” resolutions I set for myself this fall was to devote more time in lessons to listening.   A couple of workshops I attended last spring and summer challenged me to think about how often my students are exposed to really excellent, highly musical performances.    The short answer…. not enough!! In group lessons this week, I introduced these new … Continue reading

Clothesline Rhythms

Clothesline Rhythm Cards

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

The Really, Really Long Music Game

Piano Race1

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

Symbol Search Worksheets

Symbol Search #1 Thumbnail

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

Musikopoly Incentive Program

Musikopoly Gameboard

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

Over the Edge!

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

Boomwhacker Sightreading Cards

Boomwhacker Sightreading

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

Major/Minor Scale Identification

Scale Steps1

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

Key Signature Worksheets

Order of Accidentals

Rehearsals and recitals and auditions, oh my!  Between a full calendar of student activities this month (and another exciting project I’m looking forward to sharing soon), blogging has taken a backseat the last couple of weeks.   My plan is to play catch-up this week and post some odds and ends from last month’s group lessons… before this months groups roll around! I’ve added two … Continue reading

Crazy Keys – A Whole & Half Step Game

Crazy Keys

Whole steps and half steps… is it possible to drill those concepts TOO much with elementary students???   We write and identify them each week in lessons as we work through our technique patterns and warm-ups, we play games with them in group lessons, we identify them in our repertoire pieces… and yet I still fear that under the pressure of a theory exam, some … Continue reading

Sensory Spotlight: Dotted Quarter Rhythms

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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

Giant Playable Floor Keyboard

Big Keyboard Mat

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

Floor Staff Carpet

Floor Staff3

It’s finally summer in my studio.  Not that you could tell by looking at a calendar – the “official” June 21st start to the season is still a week away, and I’ve already been on summer teaching schedule for 2 weeks.  Nope… It’s finally summer because my to-do list has been cleared to the point I can work on some creative projects I’ve been putting off … Continue reading

LEGO Rhythms

Lego1

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

Stem Placement Game

Simple Stems1

It’s group week again in our studio!  Many of my students will be taking theory exams later this spring, so we’ve been doing LOTS of theory review this month in preparation.   One of the skills my elementary students are required to demonstrate on their exams is proper stem placement.  We usually don’t spend much time covering that particular objective (other than an explanation and … Continue reading

Student Activity Binders

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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

Mission: Music Incentive

Mission Music Student Map

Bring on the school year!  All of my new studio incentive materials are back from the printer and ready to find their way into the hands of my students.  For any of you looking for incentive ideas, here’s a look at what we’re doing this year: This new studio incentive is a little bit “Mission: Impossible” and a little bit “Amazing Race.”   Each student … Continue reading

Christmas Resource Round-Up

Christmas Tree

Are you looking for some fun Christmas-themed games and activities to use in lessons and group classes this month?  Or something new and different to keep your student engaged and motivated through these last few weeks of the semester?   Over the last couple of years, I’ve posted a number of Christmas games, worksheets and resources.  You have to do a bit of hunting through … Continue reading

Listening TWISTER!

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

Interval Tower Game

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