music lessons · practicing

Rhythm Clap Backs | Body Percussion Activities for Music Students

Learning rhythm is an important foundation for developing musical skills and studying piano. Rhythm is a natural part of our daily lives which we experience through our heartbeat, pulse, breathing, the way we move our body when we walk, the sound of falling rain, or the rustling of leaves. However, it is still essential for music students to be taught to read and play rhythm so they can easily identify them when they hear or see them.

Some of the ways to begin ear-training drills for rhythm is through singing, chanting, tap-backs and clap backs. These activities are very useful because they facilitate learning through eurythmics (which are movements in response to sound).

Print Rhythm Clap Backs BUNDLE

Rhythm Clap Backs BUNDLE

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Perfect for back to school time or anytime during the year! If your students love to do body beats, they will have fun with Rhythm Clap Backs!

This Bundle Includes:
20 Clap Backs
4 Rhythm Notation Worksheets (including answer keys)
1 Memory Game
Plus ‘I Have Who Has Clap’ Back Game!

Rhythm Clap Backs BUNDLE

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Browse More Piano Lesson Resources

10 Piano Games for Kids | Note Names, Rhythms & More
3 Dynamite Themed Music Recital Ideas
No-Stress Way to Announce a Piano Lesson Rate Increase
Monster-Themed Musical Spelling Bee – Free Note Name Worksheet
Baa, Baa, Black Sheep | Free Beginner Piano Sheet Music

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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.”

Summary
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!

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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

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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

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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

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music lessons · practicing

Teaching Dynamics: Linking the Visual Arts to Music

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 performances 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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music lessons · recommended method books

Learn to Write Music – Book and Music Notation Apps

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!

Download and Print Piano Lesson Book

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.

 

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Browse Piano Sheet Music and Music Theory Posts:

Ode to Joy | Easy Piano Sheet Music – Play and Learn™ Edition
Teaching Dynamics: Linking the Visual Arts to Music
Music Flash Cards | Treble and Bass Clef
Free Beginner Piano Sheet Music/Level 1
Free Beginner Piano Sheet Music/Level 2
Free Easy Piano Sheet Music/Level 3
Free Easy Piano Sheet Music/Level 4
Free Easy Piano Sheet Music/Level  5

free printable award certificates · Uncategorized

Teacher Appreciation Week | 7 Ideas for Thanking Your Teacher

It’s teacher appreciation week! That’s right teachers and students – May 2nd through May 6th is all about thanking teachers for all they do.

In 1984 the National PTA established the first week in May as the week to honor teachers – the people who devote their time, passion and skills to educating our children.

Wondering how you can thank them? Here are a few ideas…

1) Give your teacher an award certificate. (Print free certificate below.)
2) Bake cookies. Wrap them nicely in clear cellophane and include a ribbon and a note.
3) Make a Report Card and give them all “A’s”.
4) Give them a gift card for ice cream or their favorite restaurant.
5) Give them a framed photo of both of you.
6) Nominate them for a teacher of the year award, and let them know that you did.
7) Practice. You might not think this a good one, but it one of the best things you can do to make your teacher happy and feel valued.

Download and Print Free Music Award Certificate

Music Teacher Award Certificate

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homeschool music lessons · printable sheet music · Uncategorized

Canon in D | Easy Piano Sheet Music – Play and Learn™ Edition

Here’s new edition of Canon in D for advancing piano students. With this easy piano sheet music edition you not only get the piano solo, but you also get a composer biography for kids and a few fun worksheets that accompany the biography to help introduce piano students to the composer of the music they’re playing.

Get Canon in D | Easy Piano Sheet Music Play and Learn™ Edition

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Contents
Canon in D for Easy Piano Solo (2 Pg)
Hey Kid’s, Meet Johannes Pachelbel | Composer Biography
Johannes Pachelbel | Composer Word Search Worksheet
Meet the Composer Job Application (You fill it out for the composer as if they were applying for a job.)

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