Discovering the Insides of the Piano

  If your students are anything like mine, they are often curious as to how the piano works. When they come for lessons, many of them will stand up and look inside the grand as they play a note totally fascinated at what is going on inside. I use that as an opportunity to talk about the basics of how it all works but this year I wanted to bring in my piano technician so he can take out the action and REALLY show how it all works. (He even voiced it so they can hear a before and after difference!) […]

Let’s All Make a Drum!

  It’s MIOSM! In today’s post I am participating in MusicEdBlogs 31 Days of Rhythm. Back in 2011, I had the opportunity to participate in a 3-day Roots of Rhythm workshop given by Dr. Craig Woodson of Ethnomusic and Frank Thompson with AZ Rhythm Connection. In this workshop, we learned about percussion instruments from around the world within their respective cultural and historical contexts.  We also learned how to make at least a dozen different types of drums or rhythm instruments. We would then use the instruments we made in a drum circle. Shortly after I participated in this workshop, I did a Roots of Rhythm […]

From Preschoolers to Adults

  Have you ever had a student hide under the grand piano playing a little hide and seek the second you turned your back? How about a really wiggly student who just couldn’t sit still? Or maybe an adult student who’s lesson time was over and realizing after sharing about their life’s challenges they hadn’t touched the piano at all? These are just some of the things that I have experienced with students over the years. Did you know that all these scenarios are typical of certain age characteristics? When it comes to teaching, understanding the different age groups is […]

10 Body Beat Activities to Engage Students Today!

    It’s MIOSM month! In today’s post I am participating in MusicEdBlogs 31 Days of Rhythm. I thought I would kick off this post with a little Stomp. Love Stomp! One of these days I will actually see them live! Body beat or body percussion activities is one of my favorite activities to do with students. The great thing is you don’t have to worry about any instruments! Our body is the instrument! Students can clap, snap, stomp, pat or click. Body beat activities also work well if you are needing a quick activity to end your class. It […]

From Stagnant to Engaging!

As teachers, we know all too well that no two students are exactly alike. For this reason, it is important that we change up our teaching styles, strategies and techniques to prevent our lessons from becoming stagnant. The not so great news is we are creatures of habit. It’s easy to teach the same way, from the same lesson plans and material that we are comfortable with over and over. I know I have been guilty of this many times over the years. The problem with that is our lessons get stagnant and predictable. Stagnant lessons can dis-engage students. The […]

Establish an Engaged Learning Environment

  The following article was recently published in the March issue of The Piano Bench Magazine, a magazine I highly recommend. It is an app you can find in the iTunes Store or GooglePlay Store and read from your mobile device. Engaging our students can sometimes feel overwhelming especially when a teacher might be feeling a bit burned out.  But did you know that when we truly engage our students in their learning we can also be engaged in our teaching? And visa versa. This is because students respond more positively when they are interested and engaged in what they are learning. That positive energy can return […]

3 Ways to Activate the Students Brain

  Have you ever had a student tell you, “You never taught me that” when you know that not only have you taught them what they were claiming you didn’t, but you have gone through it multiple times? There is actually a scientific reason in the brain that explain why a student has no memory of being taught a particular concept. As teachers we have the responsibility to activate our students brain. We need to make sure they are fully engaged in their learning. This isn’t always easy especially if you are experiencing a bit of burnout. (See articles regarding […]