practicing · Uncategorized

Piano Practice: Success Begins with Mom and Dad

You’d like to think that you can hand a piano book to your child and their life would be forever enriched from the experience you’ve just provided them.


The truth is the day you sign up for piano lessons is that day the student, mom, and dad get committed to practicing. It’s the only way it really works. If you’re ready to take on the challenge, here are a few ideas to get you pointed in the right direction.

1) Ask Questions – Ask your teacher what your child should be doing that week at the end of every lesson. Ask for a demonstration if you don’t understand. Maybe even sit at the piano yourself and try things out.

2) Set a Practice Goal – I like to ask students to practice 20 minutes a day for 5 day each week. Some days get busy, so every day might not be realistic. Five days a week should be.

3) Flash Cards – Help drill note names and rhythms with flash cards. Not knowing the note names and rhythms can be the most challenging part of playing the piano in the beginning.

4) Suppliment – Look for great pieces to suppliment your child’s music book. This can often stimulate an interest in practicing.

5) Praise – Let your kids know how much you enjoy it when they play the piano. A little praise goes a long way!




Who’s That Pianist in the Android Commercial?

The first time I saw this commercial I was like, “Wow? A few runs later I looked it up.

Android, for their “Be together. Not the same.” campaign, wondered if they could take a piano with 88 keys and reengineer it so that it would only play one note: Middle C.

They asked Ji-Yong Kim to perform for the television commercial, and aired it for the first time during the 2016 Grammy’s.


About the Commerical

The TV spot features Ji-Yong Kim playing two pianos. One piano is tuned normally, while the other piano is tuned entirely to middle C – every single key. Ji performs a high-speed rendition of the third movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.”

The Making of “Monotune”


printable sheet music

Bach Invention No. 1 | Free Piano Sheet Music

Piano music generally presents two distinct challenges: 1) Chord-Based Music, and 2) Linear-Based Music. Piece from both categories should be introduced to young piano students. Bach’s Invention No. 1, falls into the linear-based music category – two distinct lines that complement each other. It is masterfully written and a rewarding challenge for students.

Download and Print Free Piano Sheet Music

Bach Invention No.1 for Piano Solo from



Sparking Creativity with Your Piano Students | Music Composition/Games

by Jennifer Foxx


Students need creative opportunities to flourish in their music studies. Here are just 3 simple ways you can get started in sparking creativity with your students.

Improvise and/or Compose – I will confess that occasionally there will be some students who will groan when told we are going to be composing that day. Why do you think that is? It’s usually because

they are not confident in those skills. To help with creative confidence, start with improvising. Give them an easy “no fail” base line to work with so no matter what they do it will sound awesome. Black key improv patterns works very well for this! Then gradually work over to composition.

This year in my piano studio, I have created “Creative Story Compositions** where students are combining two skills: Story writing and music composition. Even some of my more stubborn creators are enjoying this process. I have them do a page each month to gradually build their complete story composition. Giving them smaller guidelines to work with has really helped and I have enjoyed seeing their creative process in work.

Play Games – Games are a fun way to encourage creativity. Whether it is an app, a puzzle or something a student makes up; games have a way of igniting their brains, shaping them towards the creative thinking process. The best games that encourage creativity are games without “rules” where there isn’t necessarily a winner/loser but a tool that simply encourages creativity.

Make it Part of the Learning Process – One of my favorite things I like my
students to do over the summer is a practice prop project. A practice prop project is simply something that students create that represents their practicing. The great thing about these projects, besides encouraging practicing, is that they are creating something. I’ve had students create theory games, write compositions, art projects, computer animations and much more. I’m always amazed at the projects that students come up with. Alone, the projects are pretty neat, but then you add the element of practice that was represented behind them and it makes it even cooler; all of the sudden that project means more to them. It represents hard work, dedication and most of all creativity.

Creativity + Engagement = Positive results! So make time for creativity with your students. Light that SPARK! It’s in them ready to come out!

Jennifer Foxx

printable sheet music

Pathetique Sonata (Beethoven) | Free Easy Piano Sheet Music (Digital)

Here’s an excellent arrangement of Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata. This arrangement provides elementary/jr. high students with an easy-to-play introduction to one of the very best Beethoven compositions.

Download and Print Easy Piano Sheet Music

Pathetique Sonata | Easy Piano Sheet Music










About the Composer
Ludwig van Beethoven (baptized 17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. The crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time. Read more in


practicing · private teacher studio building ideas

5 Tips for Teaching the Young Pianist (Age 3-6)

Most school teachers are faced with teaching only one grade level. As a piano teacher you must develop strategies for teaching students as young as three years of age.

This post will address the challenge of teaching students ages 3-6 years of age.

1) Lessons Length – Determine a lesson length that your student can manage. It might be as little as 15 minutes per week. Consider spending half of the time at the piano, and the other half at the kitchen table learning note names and rhythmic values.

2) Questions – When you ask a question, give them time to answer. This really just good teaching. With this age group you will really have to be patient. It might take young students a while to come up with an answer.

3) Keep Instructions Short – Throughout the lesson, instructors should set achievable goals with very few words, and then attempt them quickly. Lost time will result in distractions and loss of focus.

4) Movement – Young students need to move. Be creative with your approach, giving them opportunities to learn through movement. Example: Ask them what a whole note is, and then let them show you by placing four blocks together on the floor to represent four beats.

5) Encourage – Each and every time a student meets your goal, congratulate them. Your goal should always be to build up the child and create in them a love for learning.



printable sheet music

10 Piano Pieces You Can Play Upside Down | Free Sheet Music

Every once in a while I recall that moment from the  Amadeus movie that came out in 1984, when he performed laying on his back for folks at the local tavern. Sometimes for the amusement of my students I will play a song for them as he did. Always a hit!

Here’s a list of songs that should be easy enough to play upside down for the amusement of your friends and family. We begin with a piece by Mozart himself.

Download and Print Free Easy Piano Sheet Music

1) Marriage of Figaro for Piano Solo by Mozart

2) Musette in D for Piano Solo by Bach

3) Bingo for Piano Solo | Traditional

4) Do Your Ears Hang Low? for Piano Solo | Traditional

5) The Farmer in the Dell for Piano Solo | Traditional

6) Hot Cross Buns for Piano Solo | Traditional

7) Little Green Frog (Galumph) for Piano Solo | Traditional

8) Mexican Hat Dance for Piano Solo | Traditional

9) Skip to My Lou for Piano Solo | American Frontier Song

10) Sweetly Sings the Donkey for Piano Solo | Traditional


printable sheet music

Overture to William Tell | Free Beginner Piano Sheet Music

Here’s a student favorite from Rossini’s opera William Tell. The arrangement is perfect for students with 1-3 years of experience. It is available in PDF format.

Download and Print Free Beginner Piano Sheet Music

Overture to William Tell | Free Beginner Piano Sheet Music by Rossini


About the Composer
Gioachino Antonio Rossini (Giovacchino Antonio Rossini in the baptismal certificate) (29 February 1792 – 13 November 1868) was an Italian composer who wrote 39 operas as well as sacred music, chamber music, songs, and some instrumental and piano pieces. His best-known operas include the Italian comedies Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) and La Cenerentola and the French-language epics Moïse et Pharaon and Guillaume Tell (William Tell).


printable sheet music

Frère Jacques | Free Beginner Piano Sheet Music

Here’s a great piece for the beginning piano student. The arrangement is simple, and provides teachers with an opportunity to teach about a basic musical form – the round.

Download and Print Free Beginner Piano Sheet Music

Frère Jacques | Free Beginner Piano Sheet Music


Lyrics for Frère Jacques

The original French version of Frere Jasques is as follows:

Frère Jacques, frère Jacques,
Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?
Sonnez les matines! Sonnez les matines!
Din, dan, don. Din, dan, don.

Frere Jasques is translated into English as:

Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping?
Brother John, Brother John,
Morning bells are ringing! Morning bells are ringing!
Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.


music theory worksheets

The Rhythm Store Game | Music Theory Game for Kids

This printable music theory game is a twist on a classic playtime game. The shopper (student) is given rhythms to spend as currency, and he/she selects merchandise to purchase that has been priced at 1-12 beats in value. To play, select several toys from around the house, “price” them, and let the fun begin!

It’s super fun for young piano students and a nice break from music flashcards.

Download and Print Music Theory Game

The Rhythm Store Game | Music Theory Game


17 Rhythm Cards
9 Price Tag Cards
Game Instructions