This fall I have had a lot of luck in finding great new resources to use in teaching. It’s been so invigorating to incorporate new ideas and materials. This post is part two and deals more with repertoire, organization, and finds around the web. You can read part one of this post here, which deals primarily with celebrating successes, marketing and a terrific hands-on manipulative.
Wunderkeys is a piano program designed for one-on-one lessons with preschoolers. This is another great offering by Andrea and Trevor Dow at Teach Piano Today. In my studio I have started teaching children as young as four years of age and have bemoaned the fact that there aren’t many choices in piano teaching materials for younger children taking individual lessons. Wunderkeys is a great addition to the field in that it teaches math concepts right along with musical concepts. I wish I had this great resource years ago! You can buy the books on amazon (super convenient). The website (linked above) includes tons of free printables for games to practice note reading, sight reading, etc. My younger students are especially loving the games!
Piano Pronto Keyboard Kickoff and Power Pages
The Keyboard Kickoff books from Piano Pronto are helpful when needing to review notes with younger beginners or teaching note-reading quickly to older beginners. The book moves students quickly through basic note-reading and rhythm skills. You can buy the digital download (which is what I did) or order the book to be sent through the mail.
A site for downloading piano (and other instruments) sheet music at multiple levels. The pieces are arranged pianistically and layed out beautifully. The website is very user-friendly, and they are constantly adding songs to the collection. I especially like the fact that you can purchase the arrangements at different skill levels. I just found this site, but I have a feeling I will be coming here often.
Wow – so many great ideas. Looking forward to spending more time deep-diving into his blog. This is where I found out about Noviscore. I’m also very interested in his posts about pop music and group teaching.
I have been seeing Evernote everywhere lately – conversation, blogs, people using it during meetings. When something pops up in your life on a continual basis, you kind of feel like you should investigate a little. Then I read this blog at Piano Pantry. Amy clearly and effectively articulates how to use Evernote in the studio. Last week I thought I would give it a try and start organizing some student information on Evernote. While I am a lover of the hand-written, I have to say I am super excited about this system. I can already tell that my organization is much more clear and refined, and therefore my thinking has been more clear and refined as well. So far Evernote has helped me to organize repertoire more effectively, identify holes in a student’s repertoire or technical skills, collect and organize notes from various meetings and conferences, and clip ideas from around the web. I am excited to see where the possibilities will take me!
Magnetic staff board idea from Susan Paradis
I used Susan’s printouts to create a magnetic board with notes, clefs, flats, sharps, and naturals. This tool has already been so useful in many ways –
- Learning about space and line notes
- Treble and bass clef placement
- Placing specific notes on the staff (find all the C’s, etc.)
- Practicing intervals
- Building primary chords
- Learning how chord inversions work
- Building scales, then identifying tonic, dominant, leading tone, etc.
- Practicing key signatures
I’m looking forward to figuring out more uses as the year goes by!
Bulletin Board from Hobby Lobby
So fun for creating community, celebrating student successes and displaying art work!
Studio instagram account
A great way to create community in our studio. Feel free to follow!
Photo Props from Teach Piano Today
Super cute way to celebrate student success by displaying these pictures in the studio and on social media.
Cecile Chaminade, 1857-1944
Lately I have been playing and enjoying works by Cecile Chaminade. She was an accomplished musician and composer whose piano works enjoyed high acclaim, especially in England and America. She lived a long and profitable life, writing in the late-Romantic French style.
Chaminade’s Toccata, Opus 39 is wonderful. Lots of sixteenth notes, dynamic variations, harmonic clarity and features some chromatic movement. It’s keeping my fingers moving these days.
Her Theme and Variations, Opus 89 is also on the top of my list right now. It contains thicker textures, larger chord spans and a wider keyboard range than the Toccata, which I feel makes it a nice, contrasting companion to practice along with the Toccata.
Both are lovely! And both are available for free download on imslp Petrucci Music Library.
One of the greatest aspects of taking piano lessons is knowing how to play a song on the piano! You can sit down and play a piece for your own enjoyment, show off to friends, satisfy Grandma’s desire to hear you play when she comes to visit, and have something cool to post on your social media site.
It’s so important for our piano students to have completed pieces they can sit down and play. It’s easy to keep track of these pieces by simply printing off a sheet of paper labeled “Playlist”. I include a new Playlist paper in every student’s studio binder at the beginning of each school year, and it’s fun to see the playlist grow and expand throughout the year.
Once the Playlist gets filled in with a few favorite pieces, this is how I use it:
- Have the student play one or two pieces at the end or beginning of each lesson. This gives the student a mental break from working on new pieces or technique. It also reminds the student that playing the piano is fun and they already know how to play some cool pieces.
- Make a video recording of some of the playlist pieces. Video recording is a great way to practice playing under pressure. These video recordings make a great gift for parents and are fabulous marketing tools for your studio’s social media site.
- Use the playlist to quickly identify the pieces your student likes the best. The list will help to make future repertoire choices you know they will love.