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 […]

Christmas Camp: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I just love this time of year. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas…. I LOVE Christmas music. It just has a way of lifting the spirits and I do not mind it one bit when I hear it in stores, restaurants or radio a little bit “early”. Matter of fact, I was having breakfast with my husband at one of our favorite places last weekend and my eyes totally lit up when I found myself singing along and realizing it was Christmas music!   I have been telling my students this week that Thanksgiving is just a couple weeks away, can you believe […]

Practice Makes Perfect or DOES It?

  You know the old saying, Practice Makes Perfect? Well as teachers we know better but do our students? It’s not enough to just tell our students to practice, we must show them what practicing should look like. Some students might think playing a piece over and over again is practicing. Others might not really listen to what they are playing, they are just going through the motions. Then there are others that just want to get it over with so they will speed through it as fast as they can. Focus can be a HUGE problem at home. So what […]

Performance, Games and Activity Ideas For Halloween

  Saturday was my yearly Halloween Piano Festival. It’s my most favorite performance of the year! I love fall! It is my favorite time of year. The weather starts to cool down (still waiting on that one since it reached 94 yesterday- but at least we are out of the triple digits!) and we kick off some fun performance opportunities for the year! I love to dress up too and this year since I had a Hollywood theme going on, I decided to dress up as one of my favorite old hollywood actresses, Lucille Ball as Lucy Ricardo in “I Love Lucy!” I […]

A Review from Piano Bench Magazine

Karen Gibson reviewed my course, Make More Teach Less; A Comprehensive Guide to Running a Music Camp or Workshop in the March edition of The Piano Bench Magazine. If you aren’t familiar with the Piano Bench magazine… it is an app available in the iTunes Store or Google Play Store where you read it from your iPad or tablet. It is a quick read that is fun and relevant for piano teachers. Every month she has helpful articles, tips, reviews and even a recipe! This month is on Summer Camps and Group Lessons and has some wonderful articles inside. She also […]

Music Crafts for Your Group Activities

During my camps and workshops I try to have some kind of craft students can make that goes along with our theme. Taking a craft break is a fun hands on activity students enjoy plus they get to take their finished product home! I thought I would share some music craft ideas I have done with my students. Hopefully it will help give you some ideas you can do with your students. Homemade Instruments  Homemade Instruments are always a great craft activity to do in a camp, workshop or group setting. After all instruments always relate to music. When we are […]

Two Music Games Students Will LOVE!

I wanted to share a couple games we played at Christmas camp that were a big hit especially with the boys but the girls loved it too! Both of these games have nothing to do with Christmas so you can use them anytime. Best played during a group lesson or camp. Now as you probably know by now, my theme this year is a Quest so I wanted to incorporate a couple games that would go perfectly with our theme. Blow Bow Intervals Materials Needed: Straw, Q-Tip, a Target of some kind (I used small boxes), Interval Target Cards. How to […]