Do you want to teach chords and arranging to your music students?

The Piano Chords Fun Book is a 24 page easy-to-understand resource, including popular left hand accompaniment patterns, tips for accompanying singers and instrumentalists, tips for voicing chords, lead sheets, and the most repinned piano chord chart on Pinterest!

Get The Piano Chords Fun Book | Chords and Arranging for Kids

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Contents
Easy to Read Piano Chord Chart (2 Pages)
Examples of Popular Left Hand Accompaniment Patterns
Tips for Accompanying Singers and Instrumentalists
Introduction to Chord Voicing
8 Lead Sheets (Jesus Loves Me, Hot Cross Buns, Baby Bumblebee, Mary Ann, Brahms’ Lullaby, Jingle Bells, Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella and Simple Gifts)
Music Manuscript Paper (2 Pages)

This book makes accompanying easy. It begins with the most popular accompaniment pattern – the boom-chick – and builds from there. The first few pages are devoted to learning how to create arrangements of songs for solo piano. The next part shows students how to accompany singers and instrumentalists. To make your arrangements really sound great two pages are set aside for chord voicing – the art of chord inversions, spacing and chord member doublings. The next section is worth the price of the book all by itself – lead sheets. Eight lead sheets are included (listed in the contents above) to help students get started. After that they can print digital download lead sheets and fake books on  sites like SheetMusicPlus.com and MusicNotes.com. Finally, two pages of music manuscript paper are included to write out a few ideas. Students may have a hard time understanding how the music and the accompaniment patterns fit together in their head, so the manuscript paper will be helpful.

Here are a few pages from the book:

The Piano/Keyboard Chord Chart includes 48 of the most popular piano chords. Unless your students are learning a jazz lead sheet (with rich chord extensions) this piano chord chart should be all they’ll need.

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This page is the first page of instruction, introducing students to left hand accompaniment patterns. Example #1 provides students with an easy to play song – Hot Cross Buns – with the boom-chick accompaniment pattern. Since this book is all about the accompaniment it’s nice to have a simple melody to play. Example #2 show students how to adapt the boom-chick pattern for 3/4 meter to accompany Brahms Lullaby.

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This page is one of the 8 lead sheets included at the end of this book. Each lead sheet includes the melody, chords and lyrics. The list of songs is included in the contents (see above).

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The basics of arranging a song is simply applying “vocabulary of ideas” to a song. The Piano Chords Fun Book is a “vocabulary” builder. Choose one of the patterns included in this book that’s right for your song and you’re on your way to a solid arrangement. Refine it a little with the other tips included in this book and you’re well on the way to greatness!

Get The Piano Chords Fun Book | Chords and Arranging for Kids

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Most kids won’t grow up to be music composers. However, the opportunity to compose or arrange music shouldn’t be overlooked as it will bring a richness of understanding to their musical experience that you just can’t get any other way.

I started writing and arranging music is high school, and my band director had the jazz and concert band read every single thing I wrote. I learned how to building chords, writing counterpoint, and orchestration. All these experiences made me a better listener and helped me to appreciate the music I played.

If you’d like to try composing with your students, but don’t know where to start, you can print this book – Composing with Kids | Fives “Recipes” for Success. Each “recipe” includes ingredients (like “use this ostinato”, “this form”, or “these rhythms”) and directions on how to combine them. If it sounds a lot like baking cookies… it is!

Composing with Kids | Fives “Recipes” for Success

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Music Notation Apps

Seeing your music printed from a professional notation tool is an amazingly satisfying thing. I recently asked one of my students to give Finale Print Music a try, so she download the 30-day free trial. She loved it! One of the big advantages of writing things out with a notation program is that students get to hear a digital performance. Finale’s Human Playback feature is pretty nice. It still sounds like an electronic piano, but sounds very much like a real person is playing.

Noteflight
Noteflight is a web-based app that can be used on you iPad or Desktop. They offer a “try before you buy” account, so you can check things out first.  Noteflight is supportive to teachers and students and includes many materials and lesson plans for download.

Finale Print Music
Finale Print Music is a basic version of Make Music’s Finale software. They also offer a “try before you buy” account, so you can check things out first. I began writing arrangements with Print Music and liked it. It’s a wonderful tool that allows you to write simple piano arrangements, or music for full band or orchestra. The only reason I upgraded was so I could switch clefs mid-measure.

Looking for an app to drill basic theory skills? This iPad app from Alfred Music is a great pick for beginning students.

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Download Music for Little Mozarts App

Review

The app provides drill and practice activities for:

  • Distinguishing between High and Low Sounds
  • Melodic Direction (Up or Down)
  • Rhythmic Identification (Simple Rhythms)
  • Notes Naming Skill Development

Other notable features for this app include a point system rewards students for correct answers, and cute watercolor animals that are sure to be a hit with kids. It would be nice to see app developed that meet the growing needs of students as they progress through the Alfred series piano books.

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Browse more “The Piano Student” posts:

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

 

Looking for a fun way to drill note names and keyboard key names? Treble Clef kids has been a go-to solution for my students, and may be just what the doctor ordered for you and your students.

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Download Treble Clef Kids | iPad App

Review

While the graphics fall a bit short, the value of the drill and practice activities are worth the price of the app. The cheering and the funny sounds for wrong answers add an element of fun. It would also be nice to see a scoring system added to engage the kids a bit more.

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Browse more “The Piano Student” posts:

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

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Do your kids say stuff like, “How does it go?” or “What’s the name of this note?” The MMF Piano Primer app is an interactive app for the iPad that provides the answers to the questions your kids ask most when they’re practicing piano. Because it provides these answers their time spent is much more productive.

Download MMF Piano Primer on the Apple App Store

 

Features

Right Hand Focus – The MMF! All-in-One Primer begins with only one note in the right hand, and expands from there. By doing so, students will be confident in their abilities every step of the way.

Limited Left Hand Chords – When students are ready, MMF! All-in-One Primer introduces limited chord combinations in the right hand, and continues drilling for success.

Limited Dynamics – Dynamics are limited to just two – mp and mf.

Limited Rhythms – With rhythm being the most challenging musical element to master, MMF! All-in-One Primer limits the number of rhythmical symbols introduced to students. With only three rhythms and two rests to master (Whole Note, Half Note, Quarter Note, Whole Rest, and Quarter Rest) students are assured a successful and rewarding experience.

Useful Interactive Tools – Students get interactive tools that provide them with the answers they need to help them practive effectively, including mp3 recordings of their piece and a note name keyboard chart.

Download MMF Piano Primer on the Apple App Store

 

Review

I really like this app. At first glace the graphics for this app really stand out. Digging in, features that I have enjoyed when teaching my students include the well written collection of songs that are introduced at just the right speed. The interactive features, including the mp3 recordings of the pieces and the drop down keyboard/note name chart, are where this app really shows its value. Kids get the questions answered that they ask most often, like, “How does it go.” If I were to change anything, it would be to add a moving cursor, so students can see where they are during playback.

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Browse other “The Piano Student” free sheet music posts:

All-In-One Piano Book for Beginners | Free eBook
Composing with Kids | Free Piano Lesson eBook
Level 1/Easy Piano Solos
Level 3/ Intermediate Piano Solos
Level 4/ Intermediate Piano Solos
Level 5/ Intermediate Piano Solos

Here’s a creative resource for piano teachers who are interested in introducing music composition to their students.

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Download Composing with Kids | Five “Recipes for Success

Free Lesson Plans Included:

  • Hot Cross Buns Remix – This lesson provides you with a simple arrangement of Hot Cross Buns, and asks the students to write a variation on this melody.
  • Walk Like an Egyptian – This lesson asks the student to write a piece with the Egyptian Scale. The accompaniment is provided.
  • Surprise Inside – This lesson asks the student to write a melody that saves a note until late in the eight measure melody, offering a refreshing sound.
  • Ostinato, Ostinato, Ostinato – This lesson asks students to write a D Dorian melody over a provided ostinato accompaniment.
  • Ragtime Mix-n-Match – This lesson asks students to select pre-written musical phrases to form an eight measure ragtime melody with accompaniment. The lesson allows students to access which phrases work well together, and which phrases lend themselves to ending material verses interior material.

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Browse other “The Piano Student” free sheet music posts:

How to Make Money Online for Music Teachers and Students
Nursery Rhyme Piano Sheet Music for Children
Level 2/Easy Piano Solos
Level 3/ Intermediate Piano Solos
Free Sheet Music | Fur Elise for Pianos

Alfred’s Basic Piano Library is a leading piano book series for the beginning and intermediate piano student. Throughout each level a wonderful world of excitement is opened for piano students in their first years of study.

 

The Collection

Core Study

The Lesson Books are carefully designed to progress in a smooth and consistent manner. Supplemental books in the Alfred’s Basic Piano Library series are correlated with the core lesson books.

The Theory Books are filled with a wide selection of fun activities designed to reinforce the musical idea presented in the lesson books. They are clear, effective, and engaging for the young learner.

The Technic Books work to develop coordination of the hands. The exercises are short, with repetitive rhythms that make reading very easy.

 

Supplimental Study

The Recital Books include well-written solos which are perfect for recitals.

The Ear Training Books provide additional reinforcement through rhythmic, melodic and intervallic drills.

The Repertoire Books provide the piano student with popular works from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern eras.

 

Overview

Strengths: The series is well organized and the music generally well written.

Weaknesses: Some of the arrangements could be reworked to achieve a more pleasing sound.

Overall: Highly Recommended

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