private teacher studio building ideas

No-Stress Way to Announce a Piano Lesson Rate Increase

Are you raising your rates this year and feeling stressed about the response you might get from parents? Some parents will fuss and others might quit. However, if you don’t do something you’ll be worse off this year than you were last year because you’re not even keeping up with inflation.

This post will provide you with ideas to take the stress out of asking for a piano lesson rate increase. Check out four tips for when and how to break the news.

1)  An Announcement in an Email – Many students take the summer off, so an email to parents in August may already be a common routine. Make it a routine that you email every parent about the new year. Tell them about upcoming recitals, new books, and your lesson rate increase. Slide it in there, and don’t make a big deal of it. They probably won’t make a big deal of it either.

Make your lesson rate increase announcement a one-sentence statement: Lesson rates will increase by $___ this year. Easy. Done. If you make it a small dollar every year, rather than skipping years, parents will even roll their eyes, and say, “That’s nothing.” No problem.

2) Same Time Each Year – If you increase rates at the same time each year, parents will expect an increase and ask you about it when they write the check for lessons that month. Once the routine is established, it’s a cakewalk. You just need to get the routine going.

3) Make It Small – One year I left a music studio to teach my students in their homes instead. I increased the rate by $5 to cover travel to their home. Parents wouldn’t have to travel to the music studio, spend the time sitting around waiting while I taught their child, and they’d be saving gas money. It was a great deal, but more than one family wanted to spend. They quit because the jump was too big, and I was sad to see them go.

These days I talk about a rate increase every year in August. Kids are going back to school and many kids are coming back to lessons after having taken the summer off. It’s the perfect time to request for an increase. As a routine, I ask for only $1. It’s enough to keep up with the rate of inflation, and small enough that parents never mind. Some even roll their eyes and say, “That’s nothing.” “No problem.”

Price increases happen every day out there in the world. That’s because business people understand the reason why it must be done. Music teachers just need to think like business people a little more often, and consider what they need to run a successful business.

Go for it!


Browse Sheet Music and Music Theory posts:

Ode to Joy | Easy Piano Sheet Music – Play and Learn™ Edition
6 Ways to Save on Piano Lessons
Let It Go (Frozen Movie) | Easy Piano Sheet Music
“You Say” by Lauren Daigle (Digital Print Sheet Music)
M&M Note Name Challenge | Free Note Name Worksheet
Carnegie Hall Park (Matchbox Parking) | Music Theory Board Game


printable sheet music

3 Dynamite Themed Music Recital Ideas

Many piano teachers will be scheduling music recitals for your students in December, and are already planning for the big day. This post includes a few themed recital ideas to make this recital extra special, along with links to beginner and easy sheet music arrangements your students will love!

Famous Composer Theme
Ask each student to choose his or her favorite composer such as Brahms, Beethoven, or Chopin. Chose a piece for them to learn and have them share a few facts about their composer. IF you want to really go crazy, encourage your students to dress up as the composer they’ve chosen.

Popular Movies Theme
Decorate your studio with movie posters. Ask your students to perform a song from their favorite movie. Serve traditional movie snacks at the reception, like M&M’s, Milk Duds, and buttery popcorn. Create piano recital invitations that look like movie tickets to send home to the parents.

Disney Theme
Host a Disney-themed piano recital. Encourage your students to dress up as their favorite Disney character, such as Ariel, Elsa, Nemo, Jasmine, or Winnie the Pooh. Ask each student to chose and prepare a song from the same movie.

Piano Sheet Music Ideas for Your Recital

Here are a few awesome beginner and easy arrangements. Each one has something that makes it special, and should provide a fun long-term project for your Christmas recital.

Jingle Jazz | Five Christmas Favorites for Easy Jazz Piano Collection/Book

Beyond That Star for Easy Piano Solo by Andrew Fling

Blackbeard’s Ghost for Beginner Piano Solo by Fling

Blackbeard’s Ghost for Easy Piano Solo by Fling

Cantina Band from Star Wars for Easy Piano by John Williams

Catch the Villain for Easy Piano Solo by Fling

Christmas Concerto for Easy Piano Solo by Corelli

Cotton-Eyed Joe for Easy Piano Solo

Grandma’s Gonna Drive the Sleigh (‘Cause Santa’s Got a Cold) for Easy Piano Solo by Fling

He is Born, the Divine Christ Child for Easy Piano Duet

How Far I’ll Go from Moana for Easy Piano

I Saw Three Ships (Jig) for Easy Piano Solo

Jingle Bells Boogie for Easy Piano Solo by Fling

Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho for Easy Piano Solo

Theme from Jurassic Park for Easy Piano by John Williams

Malaguena for Easy Piano Solo | Traditional

The Medallion Calls for Easy Piano from Pirates of the Caribbean

Star Wars – Main Theme for Easy Piano by John Williams

Trepak (Nutcracker) for Easy Piano Solo by Tchaikovsky

Up on the Housetop for Easy Piano Solo

Water Music (Theme) for Easy Piano Solo by George Frideric Handel

When Johnny Comes Marching Home for Easy Piano Solo


Browse More Sheet Music and Music Theory posts:

Free Christmas Sheet Music for Jazz Piano
Free Sheet Music | Chopsticks for Piano (Three Levels)
Toccata in D Minor (Bach) | Two Free Piano Sheet Music Arrangements
Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride) | Free Piano Sheet Music
Christian Hymns | Free Easy Piano Sheet Music


music theory worksheets · Uncategorized

M&M Note Name Challenge | Free Note Name Worksheet

Learning to read music is a lot like learning to read your first book. Music notes and words in books are all just symbols that represent sounds. Your ABC’s all have a certain sound. Combine them and they make words. Combine sounds in music and they make a melody. Sounds that are high, are written high on the musical staff. Sounds that are low, are written low on the musical staff. If you’re just getting started with music there’s no better place to start that learning your note names. Learning your note names with help to know exactly how high or low to play each note.

The M&M Note Name Challenge Music Theory Note Name Worksheet is a fun and delicious way to drill note names. Quiz students by asking them to place their plain M&M candy on the correct line or space of the treble or bass clef staff. If they’re correct they get to eat the candy. Name 20 notes correctly and they win a bonus M&M.

Print Music Theory Worksheet

M&M Note Name Challenge | Free Note Name Worksheet


Learning your note names isn’t something that happens in one day. It usually takes months of drilling to master the names of each note. Print this worksheet and start practicing. Plan to use it often, along with a collection of flash cards, games and worksheets. The links provided below with direct you to additional music theory resources that you will find useful, and your music students are sure to love!


printable sheet music

Pirate Piano Sheet Music for Kids -Beginner and Easy

Pirate-themed games, movies, and books are always a hit with kids. Pirate-themed piano sheet is a sure-fire way to get them practicing too.

This collection of pirate sheet music has something for everyone, from beginning piano students to more advanced players. Click the links to check out the sheet music. Every piece on the list has recording of the piece and is available to print instantly.

Print Beginner Piano Sheet Music

Blackbeard’s Ghost for Beginner Piano is a one page arrangement that keeps the student in the same hand position throughout the piece. After they get the hang of the rhythms they’ll love playing this piece over and over.

Blackbeard’s Ghost for Beginner Piano


He’s a Pirate for Beginner Piano from Pirate’s of the Caribbean is super fun to play. This arrangement is five pages long, and more then more young players will want to work on. However, it’s easy enough to shorten the arrangement, and give them something they’ll enjoy playing.

He’s a Pirate for Beginner Piano

Screen Shot 2018-09-29 at 6.24.03 PM

Print Easy Piano Sheet Music

Blackbeard’s Ghost for Easy Piano is an energetic three page arrangement with lots of great challenges for young players. The arrangement find many ways to keep things interesting throughout, while making it playable for students with 4+ years of experience.

Blackbeard’s Ghost for Easy Piano


A Pirate I Am for Easy Piano is both a story and a song. You can print the piano sheet music and the fully illustrated picture book.

A Pirate I Am for Easy Piano


A Pirate I Am is a light-hearted tale that’s sure to tickle the funny bone of kids and adults alike. This book may be used in the music classroom as a lesson resource, or just enjoyed at story time. Includes fully illustrated story and piano sheet music so you can sing the whole thing.

A Pirate I Am Digital Print – Free Book 


The Medallion Calls for Easy Piano provides a wonderful challenge for students with 3+ years of experience. It’s tons of fun to play, and a great recital choice.

The Medallion Calls for Easy Piano


The Black Pearl from Pirates of the Caribbean is another wonderful piece for easy piano. The piece is bright, and energetic with opportunities to practice quick repeated notes. It’s perfect for students with 5+ years of experience.

The Black Pearl for Easy Piano



printable sheet music

Senor Don Gato | Beginner Piano Sheet Music

One of my piano students just read the book about Senor Don Gato. She loved it, the illustrations were amazing, and it includes the song in the back of the book. The song wasn’t written for beginner piano, but this one is.

“Señor Don Gato” is a children’s song from Spain about a cat sitting on a red roof thinking about the fact that his true love has agreed to marry him. He gets so excited, that he falls off the roof and dies. However, the story of Senor Don Gato is not yet over. As his funeral procession passes through the marketplace, Don Gato smells fresh fish. The scent is so strong that he returns to life.

Print Piano Sheet Music

Senor Don Gato | Beginner Piano Sheet Music


Get the Book – ‘Senor Don Gato’

Senor Don Gato: A Traditional Song – Illustrations by John Manders


Review from Booklist
Originally a Mexican rhyme that transmogrified into a traditional song that is not widely familiar, this boisterously illustrated interpretation will likely be a new favorite among youngsters. After Senor Don Gato climbs on a roof to read a love letter, the good news that the fluffy, white, sweet lady cat will wed him makes him so happy that he falls off the roof and breaks his knee, his ribs, and all his whiskers. Doctors come on a run but declare him dead. But when the funeral passes market square, the smell of fish brings him back to life. The bright, exuberant gouache illustrations, featuring a cast of bug-eyed cats (Don Gato wears a blousy, ruffle-necked shirt and a hat with a large feather), add the right amount of exaggeration and operatic flair to the entertaining story. A “meow-meow-meow” refrain runs throughout the rhyme as a chorus, and two pages of musical notation give children ample opportunity to “sing” along.


Senor Don Gato Lyrics

Oh Senor Don Gato was a cat.
On a high red roof Don Gato sat.
He went there to read a letter,
Meow, meow, meow,
Where the reading light was better,
Meow, meow, meow,
‘Twas a love note for Don Gato.

I adore you wrote the lady cat,
Who was fluffy, white and nice and fat.
There was not a sweeter kitty,
Meow, meow, meow,
In the country or the city,
Meow, meow, meow,
And she said she’d wed Don Gato.

Oh, Don Gato jumped so happily,
He fell off the roof and broke his knee.
Broke his ribs and all his whiskers,
Meow, meow, meow,
And his little solar plexus,
Meow, meow, meow,
Ay Caramba cried Don Gato.

Then the doctors all came on the run,
Just to see if something could be done.
And they held a consultation,
Meow, meow, meow,
About how to save their patient,
Meow, meow, meow,
How to save Senor Don Gato.

But in spite of everything they tried,
Poor Senor Don Gato up and died.
And it wasn’t very merry,
Meow, meow, meow,
Going to the cemetery,
Meow, meow, meow,
For the ending of Don Gato.

When the funeral passed the market square,
Such a smell of fish was in the air.
Though his burial was slated,
Meow, meow, meow,
He became reanimated,
Meow, meow, meow,
He came back to life, Don Gato.



music theory worksheets · Uncategorized

Clown Fish | Free Color-by-Note Worksheet (Rhythm)

Kids love the chance to color, so grab the crayons and lets have some fun. This free printable music theory worksheet drills basic rhythms, including the whole note, half  note, quarter note, and rests.

Print Music Theory Worksheet

Clown Fish | Free Color-by-Note Worksheet


Crayons Needed
Green, Light Blue, Dark Blue, Orange, Red, Dark Gray

If you sharing this worksheet with your kids, and you’re not quite sure which note is which, or how many beats a particular note get, don’t worry. Here’s a link to a post that will tell you everything you need to know.

How to Read Music Made Easy | Beginner’s Guide


Browse More Sheet Music and Music Theory posts:

Ode to Joy | Easy Piano Sheet Music – Play and Learn™ Edition
Flash Frog™ | Free Printable Music Flashcards for Beginners
Free Music Memory Game | Treble Clef Note Names
Pirate Quest | Basic Music Terms Game (Free, Printable)
Music for Little Mozarts | iPad App Review
Carnegie Hall Park (Matchbox Parking) | Music Theory Board Game

music theory worksheets · Uncategorized

Monster-Themed Musical Spelling Bee – Free Note Name Worksheet

Want some monster-sized fun for your piano students. That’s what the following free printable worksheet delivers!

You students will have a chance to drill and practice their treble clef note names and learn a little about music notation with this free printable monster-themed musical spelling bee worksheet.

Students complete this worksheet by reading the  spelling the word below the music staff. Then they write the word on the staff with music notes. This worksheet is ideal for  your 5-7 year old piano students!

Print Free Music Theory Worksheet

Monster Music Spelling Bee | Free Note Name Worksheet