Category - Summer Camps

How two teachers created a dynamic Baroque Bash and guess what’s coming soon!

How do you invite 21st-century digital natives into the culture and music of powdered-wig times? You hold a Baroque Bash! I did last year and blogged about it. It never dawned on me that other teachers would follow suit and amplify my ideas into something bigger and much better!

Here’s Hannah Greiner to tell us more about the Baroque Bash she produced with fellow teacher, Susan Hamblin-Dennis.

Make sure to watch the video at the end of the post…there’s something coming soon that will help your studio GO Baroque!

-Leila


For most piano teachers, their personal experience with piano lessons as a child probably revolved around learning technique (scales, chords, arpeggios, etc.), repertoire, sight reading, and ear training. These lessons would be at a teacher’s studio, and these activities would occur on the piano bench.

In my lessons, a teacher would sometimes offer stickers for playing a piece well. One of my teachers even offered a “treasure chest” with goodies from the dollar store if I earned enough “A’s” on my assignments (this was such a highlight for me!).

Any historical information was generally taught from a textbook or from the teacher explaining the background behind a piece.

As a piano teacher now, there are SO many resources and ideas from creative teachers around the world, and many activities can happen “off-the-bench.”

My colleague, Susan Hamblin-Dennis, had an idea to implement Leila Viss’s “Going Baroque” idea for our piano students.

We loved Leila’s idea of exposing students to what is typically a “boring” era in music. We wanted to find ways to immerse our students in the Baroque environment and make it fresh and relevant to them.

There were several important aspects we wanted our students to experience: Read More

Feeling the BEET with Edwin Gordon’s Music Learning Theory

Edwin Gordon’s highly recognized and esteemed research leading to the Music Learning Theory (MLT) is defined as

“An explanation and description of appropriate ways students learn one or more styles of music.” p5 of Quick and Easy Introductions by Edwin Gordon

It is not a teaching method that you purchase and follow exclusively. YOU can apply and integrate MLT into your current teaching method, NOW. This is great news! You don’t need to reinvent your approach to enhance it with the MLT philosophy. Keep reading and I’ll explain how. Read More

Marie’s Secret Sauce for Getting New Students

NEWSFLASH! Marie Lee (good friend and featured here at 88pianokeys.me) is writing a happy-music-camp-01group teaching resource for the Piano Teacher Planning Center! I, along with many others, can’t wait to learn from this long-time expert in group teaching.

In this post, Marie gives us a taste of what’s to come.

Even if you are not interested in teaching piano in groups, you will want to read Marie’s article for great tips on how to grow your studio during the summer. She shares her “secret sauce” –a brilliant way of getting more students in the door during the summer months. Also, keep reading so you learn how to market this “secret sauce.”

Take it away, Marie… Read More

Share your sizzling hot summer studio plans in STYLE

Andrea West has just rolled out irresistible graphics for your summer programs. With all the options and variety I believe you’ll find it difficult to choose just one! In addition, she’s created a free template to help you produce a professional looking summer brochure. 

Here’s Andrea with all the details.


Many of us are still planning our spring recitals, while some are basking in the afterglow of another successful event.

Regardless, we all know that looming just around the corner is…SUMMER.piano-is-a-journey-01

It’s that laid back time of year when parents try to find a balance between a flexible care-free schedule and just enough structure to keep their kiddos from getting bored. That’s why so many parents look to camps: vacation Bible school, sports camps, and of course, your Piano Camp (or at least lessons!)

It’s definitely time to promote your summer music program to interested parents if you haven’t already.

Begin by sharing the fun and exciting things you’ll be offering with your current student families. If you are looking to add new students, remember that enthusiastic referrals from your current students who adore you is your TOP marketing strategy. Providing your families a colorful brochure, flyer or email showcasing your summer program will make it easy for them to share the news with others.

In addition, you’ll want to generate excitement through your website and social media outlets like Facebook.

To help with these tasks, I’ve created some special cover art for your summer camp brochures. They are formatted so they can also be used on your website and on Facebook.

There are a variety of eye-catching designs to choose from that will grab the attention of your students and their families. All you have to do is add your studio branding with a title and your personalized content.

If you want help on how to do this, enter your first name and email address below to get a template you can use with the design of your choice.

Check out all the designs in the slide show below

Read More

Have a ball at group lessons!

Starting a composition and naming it can be tough. To charge up the creative juices, we played a game called “Would You Rather” with the help of a groove and a beach ball at this week’s group lessons.

When I rang the bell, they had to stop and whoever was holding the ball had to answer the question under his/her right hand.

“Would you rather eat dinner in a castle or breakfast in a hot air balloon?”

“Would you rather eat three live worms or a tunafish and peanut butter sandwich?”

They didn’t want to quit…

The video explains it best. Click here if you can’t see it.

Sometimes it’s just hard to get to know your students when they’re sitting on the bench next to you. They may feel a little shy about sharing their thoughts, their likes, their dislikes, etc. In a group setting and with an icebreaker like “Would You Rather,” all those inhibitions get tossed aside–yes, pun intended!

How will this contribute to an upcoming composition project?

After a student answered the question, most everyone else chimed in with their answer and we discussed why they chose what they did. They were eager to start making connections with what they like to what they will be creating at the keys.

Bonus: did you notice that this is a great activity to get them moving to the beat?

WARNING: Stock up on beach balls…more ideas to come. Here’s a screamin’ deal on them if you can’t find beach balls in your local stores right now. Remember to look for them on sale at the end of summer!

What questions to include on your “Would You Rather” beach ball?

Here’s a start. Begin each statement with the words Would you rather

  • Run a mile or swim a mile?
  • Go to a movie theatre or watch Netflix?
  • Stay up late or wake up early?
  • Have a robot or a monkey in the house?
  • Sleep on a hard pillow or a soft pillow?
  • Eat pepperoni pizza or sausage pizza?
  • Eat breakfast in a hot air balloon or dinner in a castle?
  • Eat a hamburger or a hotdog?
  • Paint a picture or take a picture?
  • Do word finds or crossword puzzles?
  • Do math homework or science homework?
  • Have ten brothers or ten sisters?
  • Go to school on Saturdays or go to the dentist every week?
  • Ride a bike or a skateboard?
  • Color a picture or draw a portrait?
  • Drive a self-driving car or a spaceship?
  • Become a famous singer or a famous actor?
  • Shop at the mall or play at the park?
  • Snowboard or ice skate?
  • Have a fish or a bird?
  • Eat mac ‘n cheese or spaghetti?
  • Play at the beach or in the snow?
  • Live on the beach or on a mountain top?
  • Have a cat or a dog?
  • Live without music or without TV and movies?
  • Talk on the phone or go out for ice cream?
  • Be a super hero or a villain in a movie?
  • Wear running shoes or flip flops?
  • Eat a bug or get stung by a bee?
  • Cook dinner or clean up?
  • Take a walk or a bike ride?
  • Go out for Mexican or Italian?leila3d
  • Read the book or watch the movie?
  • Eat 3 live worms or a peanut butter and tuna sandwich?
  • Take a vacation or $1,000 in cash?
  • Eat chocolate chips or gummy bears?
  • Take a road trip or a stay-cation?
  • Ride in a plane or a train?

For more “Would You Rather” questions, checkout my Pinterest board.

Need a fresh way to determine who performs first at the group class?

To review the sound and look of intervals, students were asked to read my e-book Understanding Intervals last week during Off-Bench Time. During the group lesson, everyone spun to see who would play first. I created three wheels in the Decide Now app, with level-appropriate intervals.img_3645

  • Wheel #1: Intervals Repeat-5
  • Wheel #2: Intervals Prime-8
  • Wheel #3: Major 2nd, 3rd, Perfect 4th, 5th, Major 6th, 7th, Perfect 8va.

After the student spun, he/she was asked to play the interval on the piano and try to recall the tune that is associated with that interval in Understanding Intervals. For example, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” begins with a 2nd. The student was then asked to sound out more of the tune. Naturally, everyone sang along!

The student who landed on the smallest interval performed first and others followed according to the size of their interval.

Need to build up knowledge of key signatures?img_6027

In preparation for upcoming theory tests at the local Federation Festival, students identified specific key signatures within the Challenge Mode of the app called Tenuto. They took turns naming the key as the key signatures flashed before them. After each drill was completed, they were challenged to reach a new high score. Music Money awarded to the whole group for beating the prior score. I’m never above bribery!

Note: you don’t need to hook your iPad to an HDTV in order to play this game. I like to reflect my iPad during groups lessons to show videos or to explain theory concepts with an app called Octavian.

Need one more winner for your next group lesson?

Make sure to get Rhythm on a Roll.

This game was developed for my group lesson week last December. I brought it out for group lessons this week and everyone was excited to play it again.copy-of-rhythm-on-a-roll-3 That was good news to me because you know how some can moan about doing anything more than once.

My students also enjoyed the new score cards with the rests and playing the variations I mention in the resource.

Tip: we played this as students were performing for each other. It works well as the audience is quiet, listening and thinking at the same time. This keeps them from getting restless.

It’s still on sale until March 11th. Get it now and your activities for group lessons will be set!

-Leila

Drumming Cards 9-12 and Three Reasons to Stick Around

We fast forwarded the 12 days of drumming into 7 and now the final round of holiday bucket drumming cards are included below. Thanks for your patience as we drummed up ideas for your holiday fun! Pun intended.

Another thank you to SO many of you who purchased Bucket Drumming for Piano Teachers. Remember, it’s still on sale through December so share the news with your friends! Order it here.

And the credit goes to…

This flurry of upbeat ideas for the holidays could not have happened without thefunkeylogo-web-e1412370119928 efforts of my good friends and colleagues Marie Lee and Heather Nanney. Marie and Heather are to be credited as the imagineers for most of the cards. As they came up with the ideas, I produced the cards and delivered them to you. I could have never done this series of posts without their creative minds!

FYI: Heather is extremely creative and offers fabulous teaching ideas at her blog with the best name ever: FunKey Music! She posted a must-have freebie called The Ultimate Chord Bundle to help categorize, color code and spell chords. Follow this link to get yours now–the bundle is brilliant.13528831_263815857314918_5066482634924078563_n

FYI: Marie has forged into a new, exciting studio expansion and never seems to run out of ideas or energy. Check out her Musicality Schools website here and be inspired by its attractive organization and content. If you recall, Marie was featured in an article at 88pianokeys.me around a year ago. Her studio and business has skyrocketed since then! Look for the article here and learn why she never wanted to be a piano teacher. Really?

The three of us were on fire to get these cards out to you ASAP so we do hope you will include them AND enjoy them in your holiday lesson plans. We’d love to hear how it goes for you.

What does bucket drumming look like?

Below is a sneak peek at bucket drumming to the Tchaikovsky’s Russian Dance. I had drummed with the students through this piece and guided them in a “choreography” to go with the soundtrack. Then I asked if they would do it again so I could take a video.

If you notice, the 4th grade young man took charge and led the others in the “dance.” The gal in the pink was wondering why we were drumming in piano lessons. You may ask the same thing.

What I see in this video: active listening skills, large muscle and memorable responses to the music, ensemble work, conducting and smiles. All with some buckets, sticks and a few giggles. If you can’t see the video below, follow this link.

We wish you a merry and musical December!

Some reasons to stick around…

#1 If you signed up for any of the drumming cards or any of the products in The Piano Teacher Planning Center, you will automatically receive my newsletter. I send it out about twice a month and catch you up on things going on at the blog and usually announce or offer something new.

In next week’s newsletter, I’ll include a link to all 12 cards–4 per sheet–that you can easily print off or better yet, access on your iPad via iBooks or Notability.

#2 Speaking of the Piano Teacher Planning Center, you do not want to miss the latest addition provided by Andrea West. Andrea is a graphic designer and a piano teacher who has created images that are ideal for your upcoming holiday recital program covers, party invitations and/or camp binders.

Click on the image below to order Andrea’s covers and get them on sale for $4.97! It’s a bargain and you’ll have images for many years to come! Free bonus: she includes instructions on how to create your program in Word and offers images for Facebook props to congratulate your students. Get ’em here.

8-different-covers

#3 I can’t wait to share a new rhythm game called Rhythm on a Roll that helps students of all levels understand adding and dividing note values. It’s something that works well in groups or during Off-Bench Time and correlates nicely with my off-bench resource called Rhythm Make it Count. It’s been tested all week long in my group lessons and has been met with strong approval. They didn’t want to stop playing! Stay tuned for a free printable coming your way soon.

Get your last four Holiday Bucket Drumming cards by clicking here or on the image below and thanks again for your support!

days-9-12

Remember, happy students STICK around!

 

12 Days of Drumming Cards 1-4 and Tips on Finding Drums

img_6251

All containers are potential drums. Start saving!

You asked for it and you got it!

Some of you have wanted all the holiday bucket drumming cards in a rush to make plans for upcoming group lessons, parties and camps. I get it, I feel the same way.

Also, I’d like to take a break from posting on Sunday.

In case you’ve missed the latest news about bucket drumming for the holidays, read this post.

That means that you have access to cards 1-4 today! I think you’ll like all of them.

By the way, if you have an aversion to purchasing big buckets because of the price tag or storage limitations, get creative. Save ANY container from now on (and forever!)

Chop sticks work well for drumsticks if your drums are too small for bigger sticks.

My good friend, Amy Watt, scored some great bongo drums at a flea market.

Home Depot buckets ($55 for a pack of 20 or around $4 a bucket) work well but are NOT required in order to make Bucket Drumming for Piano Teachers a hit in your studio.

Remember, you’ll want to purchase our drumming resource here (if you haven’t yet) since all the holiday cards refer to specific ideas found in it.

Click on the drumming reindeer to get the cards and start making your plans!

day-1-4

Twelve Days of Drumming Ideas for the Holidays: Days 1 and 2

The well-known carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas”  is a series of cumulative verses that list increasingly grand gifts given on each of the twelve days of Christmas. Take note that the 12th day isn’t just 5 golden rings, it’s twelve drummers drumming!

Nuts, Heather didn't make this pic but here's me with Marie Lee sporting our buckets and sticks AND our Let's Do This t-shirts.

Nuts, Heather didn’t make this pic, but here’s me with Marie Lee sporting our buckets and sticks AND our “Let’s Do This!” t-shirts.

This is the perfect segue into a reminder of a resource that is available here at the Piano Teacher Piano Center: Bucket DRUMMING for Piano Teachers compiled by Marie Lee, Heather Nanney and yours truly.

In honor of the upcoming holidays and the old English carol’s tribute to drumming, Bucket Drumming for Piano Teachers will be on sale through the month of December.

 

How about red and green drum sticks?  This could be a fun, electrifying twist to brighten up your holiday lessons. Use them in private lessons to review tricky rhythms in repertoire or let students take turn using them in a drum circle by passing them from one drummer to the next every 16 beats, then 8 beats, then 4 beats without dropping a beat!

Get yours here.

31hfktqgfplIf you haven’t purchased your copy of Bucket Drumming for Piano Teachers, you’ll find that this customizable resource is THE perfect solution for camps, groups and private lessons. You’ll have access to buckets full of resources so that you can learn how to teach bucket drumming in style. Order your copy by clicking here or on the photo below.

Let's Drum This

 

With the help of over 80 “recipe cards” you’ll be able to integrate bucket drumming into any of your current plans with pedagogically sound and guaranteed-to-rock activities.

Even better news for those who are planning December group lessons and camps, we

Recipe cards

A page of recipe cards in Bucket Drumming for Piano Teachers

are offering an additional 12 days of holiday-themed drumming ideas that will rock your lesson plans!

The “Twelve Days of Christmas” is a cumulative song where each verse gets longer and longer. We are echoing this by adding a new card to your Bucket Drumming recipe cards you already purchased (or will very soon!) each day for the next 12 days.

You’ll notice that the cards modify ideas already found in Bucket Drumming for Piano Teachers so you’ll want to refer to the resource to make the most of the holiday cards.

Get your second (along with the first) holiday recipe card by clicking on the drumming reindeer.

12-drummers-drumming-1-2

 

12 Days of Drumming Ideas for Holiday Lessons and Camps

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

Five    ___ ___

Four   ___ ___

Three ___ ___

Two    ___ ___

and a partridge in a pear tree.

Did you easily “sing in” the blanks? If so, good for you.

What if you started with the number 12 and sang your way down to the pear tree?

Confession, I couldn’t do it. If you’re like me and a need a refresher, here ya go.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me

a partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me

two turtle doves

and a partridge in a pear tree.

and it continues…

3 French hens
4 Calling Birds
5 Golden rings
6 Geese a-laying
7 Swans a-swimming
8 Maids a-milking
9 Ladies dancing
10 Lords a-leaping
11 Pipers piping
12 Drummers drumming

Whoa, did you notice the 12th day? Twelve drummers drumming!

The perfect segue into a reminder of a resource that is available here at the Piano Teacher Piano Center: Bucket DRUMMING for Teachers compiled by Marie Lee, Heather Nanney and yours truly.

In honor of the upcoming holidays and the old English carol’s tribute to drumming, Bucket Drumming for Piano Teachers will be on sale through the month of December.

If you haven’t purchased your copy (yet), you’ll find that this customizable resource is THE perfect solution for camps, groups and private lessons. You’ll have access to buckets full of resources so that you can learn how to teach bucket drumming in style. Order your copy by clicking here or on the photo below.

Let's Drum This

With the help of over 80 “recipe cards” you’ll be able to integrate bucket drumming into any of your current plans with pedagogically sound and guaranteed-to-rock activities.
Even better news for those who are planning December group lessons and camps, we are offering an additional 12 days of holiday-themed drumming ideas that will rock your lesson plans!
The “Twelve Days of Christmas” is a cumulative song where each verse gets longer and longer. We are echoing this by adding a new card to your Bucket Drumming recipe cards you already purchased (or will very soon!) each day for the next 12 days.
You’ll notice that the cards modify ideas already found in Bucket Drumming for Piano Teachers so you’ll want to refer to the resource to make the most of the holiday cards.

Get your first holiday recipe card by clicking on the drumming reindeer.

copy-of-12-drummers-drumming

Happy students stick around.

Ten Things Guaranteed to Rock Your Summer Lessons

It’s mid-summer for those of us in the States which means we are either enjoying time off from teaching or are desperate to keep things interesting during private lessons, group lessons and/or camps.

Dynamic teachers Lou Ann Pope and Anna Fagan provided some terrific posts about Practicia and group lessons for multiple ages while I’ve been away. Click on their names to check out their posts loaded with ideas for your studio. Thanks to both of you!

After a wedding in Canada (hooray, we have a daughter in the family!) I travelled from coast to coast (South Carolina to Oregon) and I picked up some additional ideas to share.

As our 88 Creative Keys Workshop begins this Wednesday–July 6th–I’m short on time but big on ideas so the list below offers limited descriptions of each idea, but…I figured it was best to show and then I’ll tell more later OR leave a question in the comment section.

1) Rhythm Boards

Read More