Steps to Success

Today was the first day of summer lessons for my studio. I forget how much I LOVE teaching in the summer. Not only do I get to trade in long, crammed nights of teaching for some welcome daytime lessons, but, in a way that doesn’t happen during the school year my students and I get to be mentally “all there” for our time together. Without … Continue reading

Composing Sheets

One of my goals for this summer’s lessons is to have my students do more composing.     There was a really interesting article on the ComposeCreate blog last month that inspired me to incorporate more writing into my lessons.   In a nutshell, the author suggested that writing music is great training for reading music – especially for students who struggle with notereading.   … 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

Harmonization Worksheets

As a follow-up to the Connect-A-Chord game I used at my April group classes, I whipped up several short melody harmonization worksheets.    I’m planning to do more composing and improv with students over the summer, and these make a great “warm-up” activity to get us thinking that way again. The Connect-A-Chord game challenged students to think of all the possible triads that could go … Continue reading

Recital “Medicine”

It’s 8 days and counting to recital day in my studio.  I always enjoy this time of year – at lesson after lesson I get to hear polished, or “almost-there” music.  It’s a treat for my ears! For most students the week before the recital means that their piece is ready to go… except for that one measure that’s still hard to play with both … 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

Playdough Articulations

I had one of those “aha” moments in the middle of a lesson tonight.   One of my middle school students is working on a jazz piece for our upcoming studio recital. She’s got the notes and rhythms down, but her playing tonight lacked excitement.  She was playing it “safe” by keeping her hands close to the keys, which limited her range of articulation and … Continue reading