Giveaway of Jungle Expedition Studio Decor!

Fall is in the air, and with it the beginning of a new year of piano lessons, and (most importantly!) a new studio practice incentive theme! With that in mind, I’ve cleared off my studio wall in preparation for all new colorful decor. Now you have a chance to win a complete set of studio decor materials for Jungle Expedition: where mighty musicians survive!

Jungle Expedition!

Everything that you need along with the student assignment books is packaged up and ready to send to one special winner. The studio decor package includes the wall poster, the theme title and tagline, the theme verse, a set of student markers to place on the poster, and a set of laminated tickets that the students will be collecting throughout the year.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below. The winner will be drawn using a random number generator next Friday, August 26, at noon (CST) and the package will be in the mail the next day!

 

Coming This Fall…


Vanishing Voices: a musical race against time!

The practice incentive theme for this next year is in development and I’m so excited about how we’re planning to integrate music history with world geography and a dose of strategy as the students work diligently to reach new goals and practice consistently throughout the year! It’s always fun to start a new year with th excitement and adventure of a new theme. I would love to hear what other teachers are up to this fall. Are you thing anything new in your studios?

Win a Free 3-Month Subscription to the New Piano Cub App!

Dr. David Brown, an innovative music educator, has gathered a team and developed an app to help students learn to read and play the piano. He has just recently launched PianoCub (and has a Kickstarter campaign running right now), and he has offered to giveaway a free 3-month subscription to one Music Matters Blog reader! Just leave a comment below to be entered in the drawing. The winner will be drawn using a random number generator on Friday, July 29, at noon (CST).

Here’s a preview of the first lesson:

Dr. Brown says,

PianoCub is a brand new piano education tool that’s perfect for students as well as a supplement for piano teachers. PDF lessons are accompanied by HD videos and state-of-the-art graphics with notes that highlight in correspondence to video performance. You can check out a video and samples at http://www.pianocub.com/.

Guiding Students to Become Independent Learners and Musicians

The more I learn about Classical education, the more I am inspired to help my students become effective learners in every area of their studies. After reading this insightful post by Katherine Fisher, one of the authors of my absolute favorite piano method (Piano Safari, in case you didn’t know :-)), I am contemplating ways of incorporating more rote teaching even with my older students as a way of helping them make better connections with what they are playing and the underlying structure of the music. The deeper their understanding of music and how it is structured, the better equipped they will be to learn on their own.

Katherine says this,

I do believe the beginning of the process [of becoming independent learners and musicians] for students is to develop the discipline to concentrate and store information in a logical way. In the realm of piano pedagogy, I believe this translates to teachers encouraging students to learn and memorize a large amount of music. This should not be done in a “blind” sort of way in which there is no understanding of how the music is constructed. On the contrary, students should understand from the beginning that music is composed of patterns and a logical form. For musicians, this is an essential element of the art of learning.

Summer Piano Camp Roundup

This will be the first summer in a long time that I haven’t held a piano camp in my studio. It’s always so much fun to brainstorm and create a week of fun-filled music games and activities centered on a specific theme (although I think Carnival of the Animals will always be my favorite!). However, this year my students and I all decided that a break was the preferred option. 🙂

So, in lieu of my own to share, I thought I would round up some of the summer piano camp inspirations from around the web:

Joy Morin’s Summer Composition Camp looks fabulous! What a bunch of talented young musicians.

I haven’t seen a new piano camp at Sheryl Welle’s Notable Music Studio Blog, but she has tons of games to explore in addition to her well-loved Road Trip USA summer piano camp!

This isn’t specifically a piano camp, either, but I could see Wendy Steven’s Rhythm Explorations series being used as the main curriculum for a fun rhythm camp!

Here’s a helpful resource from Trevor and Andrea at Teach Piano Today on How to Use a Summer Piano Camp to Grow Your Studio.

Jennifer Foxx always does great projects in her studio, and has put together Let’s Go to the Movies, a piano camp/workshop where they learned about music in the movies and completed silent movie projects. Watch her studio blog for pictures!

Those are a few of my findings thus far. If you have or know of a summer piano camp that could inspire or be purchased by other music teachers, please share!

The Seventh Annual Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition Winners

If you’re looking for some viewing and listening pleasure this summer, you might enjoy checking out these videos of the finalists and winners from the Seventh Annual Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition.

The first prize winner, audience award winner, and press award winner was 38-year old Thomas Yu, a periodontist from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It’s not hard to see why! Here’s his final round performance of the third movement of the Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No. 5 in F Major, op .103 (“Egyptian”):

New Custom Files Added to Jungle Expedition Studio Practice Incentive Theme

Thanks to some wonderful suggestions from a Music Matters Blog customer who has previously used a Music Matters Blog studio practice incentive theme, I’ve created and added a few files to the Jungle Expedition theme to make it more easily customizable for use in your studio.

The customizable files include:

  • A new Jungle Huts page with blank areas to customize your hut titles.
  • Separate pages with enlarged blank huts so that huts may be placed in separate locations around the studio (for extra fun and adventure!)
  • A new wall poster without huts so that the huts may be placed around the studio (this also allows more room for studios with a larger number of students that can’t all fit on one wall poster).

If you previously purchased the Jungle Expedition practice incentive theme, you can download this additional .zip package using this link: https://app.ecwid.com/download/5643098/9b249b7f4f3f5bb8800085548ad899f1/JE_Custom.zip. If you haven’t yet purchased the theme, the new customizable files will automatically be included in the downloadable package. Please feel free to email me with any questions!

Using Pennies to Teach 16th Note Rhythms

Years ago I first tried the idea of using pennies as a tactile way to teach the subdivision of 16th note rhythms. It’s been a while since I used it in my teaching, but now that all of my students are reaching a higher level of playing, it was time to break out the penny jar again!

At our final group class of the year I let each student select a rhythm instrument and pick 16 pennies from my penny jar. We started by stacking them in four groups of four and beating a steady quarter note beat. Then I had them separate them into eight stacks of two and beating the eighth note rhythms. Finally, we placed all of the pennies individually and played them as sixteenth notes with a slight emphasis on the first one of each beat to help maintain a sense of pulse.

We used these fabulous sixteenth note rhythm flashcards from D’Net Layton and I showed them what the rhythm patterns looked like, then we arranged the pennies to match the pattern, then practiced playing it on our instruments. The students really enjoyed this approach, and it seemed to help them understand both the mathematical subdivision of the beats and also how to play them fluidly within a beat structure.