As much as I love to travel, sometimes I just can’t make it to all the cool places to enjoy all the unique experiences the world has to offer. At least with the internet we can sometimes get a small taste of it!
For example, from the comfort of your own home, you can pay a virtual visit to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam to watch and listen to their latest musical offerings.
HT: The Musician’s Way Fall 2017 Newsletter
After one week back to teaching in the studio, I am reminded of the value of trying new ideas and approaches to connect with each student and engage them in the learning process in a meaningful and enjoyable way. The end result is that I love teaching more and they love their piano lessons more. A win-win! Here are a couple of new ideas we’re trying in the studio this year:
In keeping with our rhythm theme for this year’s practice incentive theme, I downloaded The Most Addicting Sheep Game app and it has been a huge hit! What a fun way to practice finding and keeping the pulse in music. We spent about 5 minutes making rhythm the coolest part of the lesson and then moved on to other assignments (perhaps with a bit better beat in our music!).
Have you ever wondered what to do with those high school students who love music, but struggle to make the time to devote consistent practice to their instrument? Well, this year two such students happen to be my boys. So, after a bit of brainstorming I decided to try something new to keep them engaged in learning and playing, but without the pressure of daily practice and progress. I printed each of them a For the Love of Music workbook and we spend about an hour each week going through it together. They are enjoying watching the video clips featuring a couple of my former students and deepening their own understanding of music. The only stipulation in addition to attending our weekly session is that they have to have something prepared to play for the monthly group class. It can be something learned by ear or from printed music, as long as it’s on the piano and ready to perform. Less pressure on them and less expectation from me and we’re all loving piano lessons more than before!
Having just gone through the process of trying to determine the best seats for the money at an upcoming Broadway show, I was delighted to discover this authoritative advice from a design engineer on how to select the best seat in the concert hall based on the shape of the room. I will definitely be referring back to this handy guide the next time I have to make such a nerve-wracking decision!
HT: The Musician’s Way Fall 2017 Newsletter
After months of anticipation, Musical U has finally launched their brand new podcast: The Musicality Podcast! Here’s a quick link to the audio file and shownotes for the interview I did for one of their episodes titled, A Mindset for Musicality. I already subscribed via my podcast app and am so looking forward to tuning in regularly to gain inspiration and ideas for my own musical development and for helping my students become more musical!
And, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a prize package worth over $500!
As has been our tradition for many years, we launched our new year of piano lessons last weekend with the September Surprise!
Each returning student had a piece ready to perform for the rest of us we played a fun rhythm get-to-know-you game (in keeping with our rhythm theme for the year!), and we had the much-anticipated revealing of this year’s practice incentive theme: Beat the Pirates!
In between each of the student performances I played select folk tunes from the fun collection Old MacDonald Had the Blues by Rebekah Maxner and had everyone see if they could guess what song it was. Especially the younger siblings got into this game and were eager to call out the tunes they recognized!
We concluded the evening with a tasty ice cream bar! Thankfully, the evening wasn’t quite as surprising as last year, and we had a wonderful time with all the studio families catching up after summer break and anticipating a great year ahead!
To celebrate the launch of the brand new Musicality podcast (1st episode is going live on Monday!), MusicalU is offering a giveaway of over $500 worth of music-related prizes (including my For the Love of Music course!). I only listen to a couple of podcasts regularly, but I’m really excited to see what Christopher Sutton has in store for each episode. He is tapping into a variety of musicians and music educators all across the globe, and I’m excited that I was able to be a part of this first episode, sharing about some of my own experiences toward becoming a more musical musician. Be sure to enter the giveaway and then tune in for the first podcast on Monday!
Matt, of Music For Little Learners, recently shared a link to their Treble Maker game with me and it looks fabulous! They have several sets of colorful cards you can download and print, depending on what you want to review with your student – note names, key signatures, symbols, tempi. The directions are simple to understand, and the play is quick and perfect for a few minutes of fun review at the beginning or end of a piano lesson – or any instrument! I can’t wait to try this out with my students and see how it goes!
Sabrina Peña Young, of MusicalU.com, has just posted a fun and inspirational collection of 10 Mini Song-Writing Challenges that would be super fun to use as composition starters with piano students as well! Check out her list for details on suggestions like: superhero songs, using art for inspiration, finding random lyrics, postcard songs, and more!