Getting to Know Our Students- Fun Activities to Kick Off the School Year!

Back to school is just around the corner. For some much closer than others. Regardless when your fall semester begins, it will be here before we know it! I think it’s important to get to know my students beyond the time I spend teaching them. I want to know what makes them tick. Their likes and dislikes. I want to know what music they like and listen to but I also want to know what they do outside of school, what their favorite food is or movie. There are so many ways to get to know our students better.  Get […]

Be Our Guest: Using STEM Based Projects in the Independent Music Studio

Disclaimer: The affiliate link included in this post does not affect your purchase price or the creators royalties in any way.  Thank you for your support and happy teaching!   It’s been awhile since I have had a guest post on the blog and I’m excited to introduce our newest guest! Emily Quiles has been gaining rapid recognition in her area for being a unique piano teacher with fun ideas and programs! Recently Emily shared her experience with a Science of Music camp she held with her students. It’s been years since I’ve done this type of camp with mine so I was […]

Feature Friday: Composer Time Capsules

One of my favorite group lesson activities was one I did over 10 years ago, composer time capsules. Time capsules are a fun way to not only learn about someone but they are a great way to remember interesting facts and stories. A couple years ago I started to make my composer time capsules available for teachers to use. Each time capsule comes with 16 facts about a composer and picture cards representing those facts. The best way to see what these time capsules are all about is to watch me introduce them in this video. (The video is older so it […]

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 […]

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 […]

Light Up The March From The Nutcracker

Last week was our first week of our Nutcracker Christmas camp. One of my favorite activities is using flashlights to help the kids learn about the musical form. Before we bring out the flashlights, I have them pick out the A, B and C sections. Before camp, I had bought and cut up squares of red and green cellophane (I bought mine at Michaels). So when we were ready, I gave the students some squares to fasten with rubber bands over their flashlight. (I had them bring their own flashlight but I had some extra’s just in case). A little tip […]