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


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


Most kids won’t grow up to be music composers. However, the opportunity to compose or arrange music shouldn’t be over looked 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


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 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.

I’ve had several students over the years ask about playing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. It’s such a great piece. This arrangement should be playable by your intermediate piano students. It’s in the Key of C Major, but you can change the key if you want to introduce a new scale and get them playing more comfortably in a different key.

Get Hallelujah (Cohen) | Printable Sheet Music (Easy Piano)



The Carnival of Venice became popular as a virtuoso trumpet solo, but makes a wonderful piece for intermediate piano students. This arrangement is written in the key of C Major, and keeps the hands close to C position most of the time, providing for ease of performance.

Get Carnival of Venice | Sheet Music for Intermediate Piano Solo


The Carnival of Venice melody is based on a popular German folk tune, “My hat, it has three corners.” In German it’s “Mein Hut, der hat drei Ecken.” The trumpet solo, mentioned earlier, is written in theme and variation form, including plenty of opportunites to play fast scales, arpeggios,  and double and triple tounging. The Arban’s Conservatory Trumpet Method is the most celebrated solo, though cornet player Herbert L. Clark also wrote his own version. Chopin also jumped in with “Souvenir de Paganini”, and dedicated his version to the violin virtuoso Niccolò Paganini.



If the experienced teacher is the best teacher, Olive Haffner might just be the best teacher on the planet.


Olive says she loves teaching, and say’s it’s alot like reading the Bible, she’s always discovering something new.

Olive started teaching music lessons during the depression for .25 a lesson. These days she’s teaching the fourth generation of students, as her first students have sent their kids, their kids sent their kids, and their kids sent their kids.

Happy Birthday Olive!




Summer Stars Online Music Festival began accepting sign-ups yesterday.

This online music festival is open to elementary school music students between the age of 6  and 12.

Awards include:

“Shining Stars” win a Trophy and a $25 Gift Card! The top nine students will win this award (3 from each age group.)

“Top Practicer” wins a Trophy and a $25 Gift Card! One student will win this award. Students must practice 16 hours minimum and earn 80 points on their adjudication sheet.

Everyone enrolled student gets a certificate based on their level of achievement and an adjudication sheet which includes helpful tips for growth and tons of encouragement.

“I love your online festival idea because it is very NON threatening and that’s what the kids really like about it too.” – Sarah M.

“Thank you MMF! My son always enjoys the extra motivation.” – Selina H.

If you’d like to sign up it’s not to late. will be accepting applications though June 20th.


All the info you’ll need to participate is at the following link:

Summer Stars Music Festival FAQ’s | 2016

Want to see a few videos from last years festival?

Summer Stars Showcase 2015


The good folks at Fun Music Co. are hosting the Virtual Music Education Conference again this year, and the line up of speakers looks pretty interesting.

You get to hear from one of the world’s top education speakers, Todd Whitaker, who will be presenting, “What Great Teachers Do Differently”, and Janice from Fun Music Co. will share a few tips on applying these ideas to the general music classroom. The conference will also feature a top neuroscientist researching music education, Dr. Nina Kraus, and include music education experts like Artie Almeida, John Jacobson and ‘Standard of Excellence’ band book series author, Bruce Pearson. The conference will also offer hands-on implementation sessions for Garage Band for teaching composition, Ukulele in the classroom, and teaching with Boomwhackers.

Interested in a program guide?
Virtual Music Education Conference 2016 | Program Guide

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