Today’s kids take ballet, soccer, and gymnastics, always do the work there. They are conditioned to complete their goal while they’re with the teacher. Music lessons require a completely different conditioning for the student – and the parent. A conditioning that requires daily work at home.

So what can be done to point our kids in the right direction?

1) Get to Know Students. Start by getting to know the interests of your students. Ask them about what’s going on at school, what they are interested in, and what movies they’ve seen recently. The last question can often give teachers ideas as to what they might be interested in playing. The music from those movies can be found on MusicNotes.com.

2) Mark Mistakes. Make mistakes with a colored pencil to show students what to practice – and what mistakes shouldn’t be mistakes by next week. Use a new colored pencil next week.

3) Ask Students What They Want. Ask students what they want to play. Some students will practice every song in the book and be faithful to practice every week. Others won’t. That’s when you ned to find out what motivates them. What song is so great that they wouldn’t want to miss practicing it. Then find it.

4) Use a Point System. Award a point every time something is played well. At the end of the lesson, they get a treat from mom or dad. I find that 25 point goal works well.

5) Educate the Parents. Keep parents informed about how things are going. They can often help keep your students remembering to practice and remembering what they’re supposed to practice.

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Finding the perfect words to express what you mean and make the concept understandable to young students can be a challenge. When we finally figure out how to express our ideas, we tend to repeat these phrases over and over again.

I have been enhancing my students perfomances with dynamics (p, mp, mf, f) for many years.  I have accomplished this with two strategies:

1) Define Terms – I teach students to pronounce the terms and defined them.

1) Demonstrate – I play examples and explain the terms. Mezzo Forte (mf) is easy. You don’t need to work hard to play soft or to play loud. Mezzo Piano (mp) and Forte (f) are more challenging because they require extra effort. Piano (p) requires the most effort.

Nothing special here. It has worked well enough, but it was difficult to achieve artistry-level performances with grade school students… until now.

For the past 5-6 years I’ve been taking art lessons, and decided to see if a connection between art and music might help my music students play their music in a much more expressive way.

I introduced value.

Value refers to the visible lightness or darkness of a color, and is one of the most important design elements in a work of art.

So, how does this relate to music?

The following chart shows the four most common dynamic levels and assigns a value to each of them.

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I found that drawing a box above a section of the music, and shading it with the appropriate value, gave students a visual indication of how loud or soft the phrase should be played. A light turned on for my students and it transformed their performances.

In some instances, you might draw a box above a four measure phrase and that will be enough. Other pieces are so well written, and your students so capable, that you might want to dig a little deeper -adding value boxes above individual notes.

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Are you looking for a piece that your kids can start practicing for your New Year’s Eve party? This arrangement is perfect for students that have had 2-3 years of piano lessons.

Get Silent Night | Easy/Beginner Piano Solo

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Lyrics

Silent Night
Holy Night
All is calm
All is bright
Round yon virgin
Mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

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Are you beginning to think about music for your upcoming Christmas recital? This wonderful piano piano by composer Italian-born organist and composer Pieto Yon will make a welcomed edition to the recital. The sheet music is available in PDF format and there’s an audio button on the site to listen to it to see if you like it and for practice purposes.

Get Gesu Bambino | Sheet Music for Easy Piano Solo

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Lyrics
When blossoms flowered ‘mid the snows Upon a winter night
Was born the Child the Christmas Rose, The King of Love and Light
The angels sang, the shepherds sang, The grateful earth rejoiced
And at His blessed birth the stars Their exultation voiced.

O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Again the heart with rapture glows To greet the holy night
That gave the world its Christmas Rose, Its king of Love and Light
Let ev’ry voice acclaim His name, The grateful chorus swell
From paradise to earth He came That we with Him might dwell

O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Remember the Frito Bandito song from the late 1960’s and early 1070’s? Cielito Lindo is the song is was based on. This arrangement for easy piano is teriffic for students with two-four years for piano lessons.

Get Cielito Lindo | Easy Sheet Music for Piano

cielito-lindo-piano

Frito Bandito Lyrics
Ay, ay, ay, ay! oh, I am dee Frito Bandito.
I like Fritos corn chips, I love them, I do.
I want Fritos corn chips. I’ll get them, from you.
Ay, ay, ay, ay, oh, I am the Frito Bandito.
Give me Fritos corn chips and I’ll be your friend.
The Frito Bandito you must not offend.

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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

the-piano-chords-fun-book

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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Here’s an easy to play piano solo for You Raise Me Up, made popular by Josh Groban. It would be a great selection for students that have studied piano for at least four years.

Get You Raise Me Up | Easy Piano Sheet Music on MusicNotes.com

your-raise-me-up-easypiano-sheet-music

Lyrics
When I am down, and, oh, my soul, so weary
When troubles come, and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me…

Get more lyrics on Google Play Music

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