Yesterday I shared about The Topic Wheel and how I’m finding it to be a valuable tool in planning our studio summer piano camp this year based on a classical model of learning. In studying and preparing for it, I came across a great free resource that you can download and explore. It will give you an idea for what this approach looks like when applied to a curriculum unit. This particular resource is on dolphins and is based on the movie Dolphin Tale 2. I’m enjoying perusing it and gaining lots of inspiration and ideas!
The first several days of this week I had the privilege of attending a Parent Practicum put on by Classical Conversations. What a fascinating and thought-provoking experience! An article by Dorothy Sayers called, “The Lost Tools of Learning” seems to be the underlying call of this movement to return to the more effective methods of education employed in earlier periods of history.
I hope to write much more about the things I’m learning in the days ahead, but for the moment I thought I would share one of the most useful tools for thinking and planning: The Topic Wheel
Right now I’m employing this tool to help plan our studio sumner piano camp and I’m so excited about how it’s helping me organize my objectives and ideas to hopefully make the camp a rich learning experience!
This Thumb Piano looks like a really cool project for a summer piano camp!
Many of you have requested the ability to see sample pages of the piano Practice Incentive Theme Packages and the Piano Camp Lesson Plans, so I’m excited to report that you can now view samples of every product available in the Music Matters Blog Store! I know many of you are busy getting ready for summer piano camps, and a few overachieving teachers are even planning ahead for next year’s practice incentive theme (I am not one of those!), so as a special thank you for your patience I am offering a special $5 off coupon for any item in the store in honor of the completion of this project! Just enter the following code when you checkout to have the discount applied to your cart: Sample
Also, be sure to check out what other teachers have to say about using these games, piano camps, and practice incentives on the Testimonials page.
I am just beginning to consider piano camp plans for this summer, so if you have any favorite ideas or resources, feel free to share them! For those thinking about offering a piano camp for the first time this year, here are several blog posts to help you get started:
Piano Camp Logistics – http://musicmattersblog.com/2010/06/28/monday-mailbag-piano-camp-logistics/
Planning Piano Camps – http://musicmattersblog.com/2011/04/11/monday-mailbag-planning-piano-camps/
More About Planning Piano Camps – http://musicmattersblog.com/2009/05/18/monday-mailbag-more-about-planning-piano-camps/
Summer is just around the corner, and most teachers are starting to plan ahead for summer piano camps and theme ideas for next fall (except for the over-achieving ones who already have it all figured out… :-))! In light of this, I’ve decided to offer a special $5 off discount for anything in the Music Matters Blog store.
Whether you’re looking for piano camp plans, fun music games to change things up a bit, or a fully developed practice incentive theme to launch in your studio, you’ll find a variety of tried-and-true possibilities in our store. And if you have a website or blog with ideas or materials for summer, feel free to share a link in the comments section!
Just enter this discount code when you checkout to receive your $5 off: 101W2RP0
After many, many hours of work, I am thrilled to announce that our latest project is finished and ready for the world! 🙂 I could write all about it, but instead I’ll let you watch the trailer that Joey and Jed put together for it:
For the Love of Music is a 5-day course to help pianists develop a love for skillfully reading music. Joey and Jed were my inspiration for this course because they are both fabulous musicians, but both struggle to sight-read fluently. We spent an intense week working together to produce a course that they have gone through and that we hope will be a great help to pianists around the world who face a similar challenge.
You can visit the Music Matters Blog Store to read more about what’s included in the package (including a special bonus offer worth $15!). For the Love of Music can be used by any individual who has experience playing the piano and a basic foundation in music theory. The boys especially enjoyed going through it together, and competing against each other between each class to see who could sight-read the most measures of music (they both played 8,000+ measures of music over the course of five days!).
It was lots of fun and very stretching for us and we hope it proves to be the same for everyone who goes through For the Love of Music!
There’s a lot going on in the studio this week! It has to do with this:
And these two awesome students are helping me with it:
Stay tuned for more! 🙂
If the vivid colors of the website aren’t enough to draw you in, then surely the energetic music by renowned Jazz musicians will do the trick! This fun, high quality CD could easily be considered the modern day Jazz equivalent of Saint-Saens’ imaginative Carnival of the Animals.
Grammy Nominee for Best Children’s Album of the Year, Jumpin Jazz Kids: A Swinging Jungle Tale is a fun collection of narration and music as seven-year old Claire and her animal friends search for her Grandpa’s “lost” story. Kids of all ages will enjoy listening to the story unfold, and I could even see using it as a basis for a fun music camp curriculum!
Now, for the best part, the producers of Jumpin Jazz Kids: A Swinging Jungle Tale, have offered to giveaway five copies of the CD to Music Matters Blog readers! Just leave a comment below to be entered in the drawing. The winners will be chosen at noon (CST) Thursday, July 11, using a random number generator.
Did anyone else grow up with the Wee Sing series of songbooks? I still have a collection of these childhood favorites sitting on my shelves (I think I need to pull them off and start using them in my teaching!). I just recently discovered that there is actually a Wee Sing Website with more info, resources, and activity sheets to go along with the Wee Sing books. And even though these have been around for 30+ years, the authors are keeping up with the times and have created a new Wee Sing and Learn ABC app to help children learn the alphabet. The Wee Sing series would be a fabulous teaching resource for planning themed preschool or elementary music education classes!
Buckle your seat belts and get ready for an adventure with this fun set of piano camp lesson plans developed by Sheryl Welles: RoadTrip USA!
The camp is organized into a 5-day/15-hour set of plans with a different theme for each day: Patriotic Day, Wild West Day, Carnival Day, I Love New York Day, and Luau Day. The students participate in themed games and activities all week long to help them improve their skills in note identification, rhythm, musical terms, ear-training, and movement.
Lesson plans for each day include ideas for set-up, listening suggestions, game and activity instructions, supply lists, and photos from when Sheryl held the camp with her students. The last two-thirds of the packet is a collection of resource cards to go with the road trip theme and printable cards for the various games and activities. Sheryl has laid out everything to make running the camp a breeze, but there’s also lots of room for flexibility and creativity! Her game ideas and supplies could easily be used with students throughout the year at group classes, too.
Now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for…Sheryl is giving away one copy of the RoadTrip USA! piano camp packet (regularly $39!) to a Music Matters Blog reader! Just leave a comment below to be entered in a drawing to win this packet for your studio. The winner will be drawn using a random number generator on Thursday, October 4, at noon (CST).