The Crocodile | Easy Piano Sheet Music and Lyrics

Here’s a funny song for easy piano. It’s best suited for kids that are in Level 2 or Level 3 lesson books. You can download the sheet music by clicking the link below. Then head back to the site to use the Mp3 to practice. I find that kids that are given an audio or video recording of the song to practice with, will play with far greater confidence and consistency when they perform it for their music teacher in the following lesson.

The Crocodile offers piano students a chance to play music in 3/4 meter. Most pieces in beginner piano books focus heavily on 4/4 meter. Far too little time is spent in 3/4, and students struggle when they are confronted with pieces in this meter. Supplementing their music books with pieces like The Crocodile will help them to perform more confidently in this meter.

Print and Download Piano Sheet Music

The Crocodile | Easy Piano Sheet Music and Lyrics

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Lyrics for Kids Song “The Crocodile”

Here are the complete lyrics for “The Crocodile.”

An Aussie went on a walkabout,
In search of a crocodile.

He said “I’d like one for a pet,
I’m sure he’d make me smile.”

Soon he found one, sixteen feet,
Resting on a dock.

But before he said, “Hello, good friend!”
The smile was on the croc!

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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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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

100-Year-Old Still Teaching Piano Lessons

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

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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!

 

Pirate Quest | Basic Music Terms Game (Printable Board Game)

Here’s game you teacher can play with their students during piano lab time, or just with the family. Provided in the printable download is a game board, musical term cards, “Jump the Plank” cards and an answer sheet.

Download and Print Music Theory Game

Pirate Quest | Music Terms Game

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About this Activity
Ahoy there, Matey! Want to add some swashbuckling fun to your music theory skill building efforts? PirateQuest™ provides young musicians with a pirate-themed game board and 30 basic music term cards to drill and practice. Mix and match the question cards to drill the musical terms they need to know. When they’ve mastered the first set, grab a new set of terms.

Pirate Quest | Music Terms Game

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Browse More Music Theory Posts:

Flash Frog™ | Free Printable Music Flashcards for Beginners
Pirate Quest | Music Terms Board Game (Digital Print)
Music for Little Mozarts | iPad App Review
Carnegie Hall Park (Matchbox Parking) | Music Theory Board Game

Piano Pedagogy | Figuring Out the Best Way to Do the Stuff You Do

Most of us start teaching the way our teachers taught us. Good or bad, it’s all we knew about teaching so we did it that way. With this post I thought I’d push beyond those boundaries, and explore the stronger and weaker points about the piano methods that we use every day.  Then I’ll give you ideas of how to make the experience you offer your students even better. Comments are always welcome.

Pre-Reading
With everything in life, there’s always a trade off. You can have that good thing, but you’ll have to compromise on this other thing. I like the idea of pre-reading pieces, because they allow students to focus on fewer things. I always say, “If juggling three balls is hard, start with just one.” With pre-reading pieces, the challenge of note reading is removed. All students need to do is press keys down to a steady beat and watch to see if the notes are going up or down. Great! The downside, however, is that available methods always have students playing on the black keys. Why not place them in C position right from the beginning? They would be learning the names of the keys from the first lesson.

Pro: Fewer elements to manage
Con: Focus on black keys, rather than focusing on white keys and helping students to learn key names right from the beginning

Problem Solver
Consider writing a few songs in the pre-reading format, but with hands in C position. It  is the best of both worlds. You provide kids with an opportunity to juggle less balls, increasing their success rate, and you teach them where C position is right off the bat!

C Position/G Position
Some teachers, myself included, like to jump right into note reading. Band/orchestra students begin this way all the time, with great success. The challenge that piano students are confronted with, however, is that they must immediately learn 10 notes in two clefs, and then add 7 more notes 8-10 weeks later. Band/orchestra students only need to learn one clef, and around 10-12 notes total for the school year. The upside to this approach is that students begin learning note names from the very beginning, and jump that hurdle sooner – hopefully.

Pro: Kids can master note reading sooner (if parents help drill)
Con: Most method books introduce elements too quickly, overwhelming the student.

Problem Solver
Consider supplementing your piano course. Begin with songs that focus on only the right hand. When they are feeling confident with their note names, add a few songs for just the bass clef. When you see G Position on the way, begin drilling. Ask mom and dad to help out. Provide a prize for student efforts in this area.  Use Beethoven Bucks to reward kids on the way to their goal.

C Position
Some method books take a Middle C Position approach. They begin with Middle C and a few surrounding notes and expand outward in both directions, and into both clefs.

Pro: Notes are limited in the beginning, rather than presenting kids with 10 notes and two clefs as C Position/G Position books do.

experience with this approach, though I would tend to want to see how fast the method expands to more notes and rhythms before I would choose it.
Problem Solver
If things are moving too fast for your student, consider supplementing your piano course. Write a few songs that keep them on the first five notes until they really know them. It will quickly build confidence in your young student, and maybe even build in them a lifelong desire for playing music and learning!

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How to Promote Your Music Studio Website

Many piano teachers probably own a music studio website. If you don’t, it’s a great thing to start building for the new year. Many people think that just putting up a website is all they need to do. The fact is, there are more than 180 million websites out there, and you need to do everything you can to get noticed these days.

The following are a few suggestions to help you make the most of your music studio website:
Write Articles for Your Site – Google outwardly states that they favor sites that are large and well established. If they favor your site, it will be seen more often in the search engine results. If you only have 5 pages, add 5 more with unique and interesting articles. The bigger the better.

Write Articles for Other Sites – The goal here is to build incoming links to your website, and establish you as an expert in your field. One of the biggest websites to write for is Squidoo.com. Consider writing a 400+ word article, and find a place to add a link or two back to your website. Not only will you be driving traffic to your site, but a link from this site will be like getting a big “vote” for you site because they are such a large and well established site. The other big plus for writing for Squidoo.com is that they share 50% of the profits from the ads and affiliate links within your articles. You won’t get rich, but you may add an extra $10-20 per month in passive income to your budget.

Pinterest – Do you have a bunch of snazzy photos/images on you site that are worth sharing? Pin them to a board on Pinterest.com. The links will be valuable in terms of Search Engine Optimization, and will drive more traffic to your site.

Teacher Directory Profiles – Many teachers find students through teacher directory profiles on websites like GetLessonsNow.com and PrivateLessons.com. Both of these websites allow you to link back to your website. MakingMusicFun.net goes the extra mile, and allows you to include valuable keywords within your link that will greatly enhance your presence on the web. (Easy to understand examples are provided.)

I hope you find many wonderful students as a result of your efforts!

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