Combining Vocal Exploration with Story Telling and Composition

I’m collaborating with my music teacher blog friends at MusicEd Blogs on Facebook to discuss all the different ways we teach melody! Today I wanted to share an easy idea that combines melody composition with story-telling. Many of you are probably familiar with vocal explorations. I love the idea of vocal explorations and how simple yet effective they are. If you aren’t familiar with vocal explorations, here is an example of one you might see… Vocal explorations are typically used for vocal warmups. Students follow a lined path singing different pitches. The visual representation of those pitches is what inspired me […]

Review: Little Gems for Piano Primer Level

About a year and a half ago, I had the opportunity to review Paula Dreyer’s Volume 1 and 2 of Little Gems for Piano. If you missed that review, you can read it here. This time, I am excited to let you know about the primer level in the Little Gems for Piano series. The primer level is perfect for your beginner students. Students learn the pieces by rote. Each book includes access to audio downloads and video tutorials. When students are home, they can listen to the audio files or study the pieces through the online video tutorials. In the […]

Review: Sarah and The Magic Piano

Summertime, when I was a child, meant lots of trips to the library and many, many books to read.  Anytime that I can combine a story element to creating music, my interest is peaked. Combining those two elements together is something that I love to do with my students with their compositions, so when I found out about Sarah and the Magic Piano, you can bet I was interested in what it was all about. In the story, Sarah discovers a magic piano in her grandmother’s basement which transports her through time and space. Sarah and the Magic Piano is the […]

Review: Practice Habits

I am a huge fan of giving students a variety of music and lots of it! I believe it helps with their sight-reading and reading skills as well as their motivation. Because of this, I like to subscribe to different digital sheet music subscription services. This last summer, I joined the Practice Habits community. Chris Owenby is the composer/arranger of all the music you can find inside Practice Habits. You can read more about him here. What makes Practice Habits a little different from some of the other music subscriptions is that Chris includes more than sheet music. Of course, it […]

Students Quitting Before the Holidays?

Several years ago I noticed a trend when students typically quit lessons. The first was usually in November right before the Christmas holidays and the second was in April right before our big spring recital celebration. It would drive me nuts because I felt that they were missing out on the BIG stuff where we celebrate the end of the semester. I realized that both of these trends probably stemmed from the fact that parents simply wanted to save money and/or time before 1) Christmas and 2) Summer. It wasn’t necessarily because the student wanted to quit. So where there […]

Review: Piano Program Music Theory Courses

Have you ever been excited about something where it ends up taking over your dreams? This happens to me all the time, but I didn’t expect it to happen with this… Dr. Kathy Rabago from PianoProgram.com has created Music Theory Courses for students. These courses are the very definition of flipped learning and something that I have been wanting to find for a while. Students learn the music theory concepts at home or during their music lab time, reinforce the concepts through worksheets (provided), and return to their lessons with an increased knowledge of music theory. Currently, there are 6 levels […]

Review: Jingle Those Bells

Once a year about mid to late October I give my students Christmas books so they can start learning their Christmas music for our annual Christmas camp and/or music at the mall performance. While I like to give suggestions to what I think they would enjoy (or what I would really LOVE for them to play) I always have them make the final decision on what they would like to perform. It is inevitable that I will have a handful of students that want to play… can you guess it? Yep! Jingle Bells! But what if… you had a book that […]