Category Archives: Teaching Piano

Cyber Monday – Digital Music on Sale

Christmas pianoWelcome to Cyber Monday! The one day of the year when we can spend money as easy as pushing a button! Anyone up for going shopping?

I’m not usually one to get all excited about Black Friday or Cyber Monday, nor do I like to push deals too much. But today I’m making an exception.

Over at my digital music store, Glorious Assurance Music, all music is 50% off! Now, the music is not overly expensive to begin with, so you can get choruses for $.75 and piano arrangements for $1.75. I’m just not sure how you can beat this price.

Unless it’s free, right?

Well, unfortunately, most of the music is not free (but still 50% off). But there are two piano arrangements that are free, all the time.

I Surrender All – free piano arrangement, intermediate level

Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus – free piano arrangement, late intermediate level

If nothing else, be sure to download these free arrangements today! (Note: the site will say these arrangements are out of stock, but you just need to click on the title link under Free Download to get the PDF download.)

Other titles for sale include:

O Little Town of Bethlehem (intermediate)

Silent Night, Holy Night (advanced)

He is Born, the Divine Christ Child (advanced)

Amazing Grace (intermediate)

Christ the Lord is Risen Today (advanced)

Be Thou My Vision (early advanced)

Praise Him! Praise Him! (late intermediate)

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (intermediate)

…and many more. Don’t wait too long, the sale ends soon!

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Piano Teacher Resources: Susan Paradis

Do you ever come across something online and the next thing you know, an hour has gone by?

That happened to me last night. And it wasn’t Facebook! 🙂

I was looking for a handout to use for my kids explaining whole steps and half steps for their Five Finger Patterns, and I stumbled on this amazing website.

Susan Paradis has put together an extensive compilation of resources for the piano teacher. I was so excited!

Many of the resources are free to download, which is even more exciting!

Her resources include Worksheets, Teaching Aids, Games, Sheet Music for all seasons and holidays, and much more!

In addition to all these free items, she also has a store with even more stuff!

If you’re looking for easy church music for your piano students, she has several seasonal and hymn arrangements you can download.

I downloaded several worksheets that I plan to use for my kids, and I’ll definitely be going back!

Be sure to check it out. Who knows…you might even find something for yourself!

This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!

Two months from today is Christmas

What!?! Really?!? Already!?!

Yep. It’s back. That time of year again when everybody goes crazy in the stores and we spend money on things that most people will never use more than once or twice.

I love Christmas, really, I do.

Why?

I love the lights, the decorations, the colors, the traditions.

But, mostly, I love the music.

It’s time, my friends. Time to break out the Christmas playlist, the Pandora channel, the sheet music.

And this year, I get to pick out Christmas songs for my piano students.

I’m so excited!!!

What about you? When do you start listening to Christmas music?

This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!

Patience and Persistence

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Pistol Pete

Last night was a great night of lessons. I got home from work, fed the dogs quickly, changed clothes, and got ready to greet my first student.

Oh, and I put the dogs outside. This is very important.

The students had all practiced very well, so all their songs were prepared and ready. It was an exciting night of lessons because the musical alphabet was introduced. Flashcards were also given out.

Remember, the dogs were outside. Our dogs are normally inside dogs, but they stay outside during lessons so as not to distract me or the students.

We have a lab puppy who is growing bigger every day. And he’s eating a ton of food. Seriously.

We usually give him a bowl of food in the morning, one bowl around dinner time, and another bowl before bed. He’s a very patient dog. But he loves his food. I’ve worked with him to sit by his crate to wait for his food.

So now in the evenings, he will start sitting outside/beside his crate. This is his signal to me that he’s ready for his third bowl of food.

He did this last night several times, but I just wasn’t ready to give him the food yet. When I did give him the food, he sat by his crate and waited for me to put it down. Then it was gone.

Cool. My job was done. Or not…

A little bit later, I was sitting at the kitchen table working on my iPad. Pistol Pete (our lab) went into his crate, grabbed his food bowl in his mouth, and brought me his bowl! I looked at my husband like “is this for real?” and he said to go ahead and give him another small bowl. I did, and again it was gone very quickly.

Then a little bit later, he brought me his bowl again. He’s catching on quickly…

Musical moral of the story: I hope all my piano students will be patient and follow the practice steps I give them. At the same time, I hope they will be persistent in their desire to learn more.

This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!

Lesson Preparation: Assignment Sheets

When I decided to start teaching piano again, I wanted to have a strategy in place to help with lesson preparation. I didn’t want to just “wing it” (aka: turn the next page in the book and see what to assign for the next week).

I sat down and went through the books and made lesson plans for the entire semester.

Yay, score for me.

All right, confession time…I don’t like to hand write. I would rather type any day.

I used to write all the assignments in a spiral notebook, but that took up a lot of time during the lesson, plus…hand writing.

So I searched the internet looking for templates, found some that I liked, mashed the ideas together and came up with my own assignment sheet.

Student Assignment Sheet

Student Assignment Sheet

I used Microsoft Excel to create the form, but you could use Word if you wanted to.

Here are the important components on the assignment sheet:

1. Student information – name, level, date, week and lesson time

2. Easy-to-see blocks to enter daily practice time – I made these big enough to they wouldn’t be missed or forgotten

3. Assignment checklist – here I list all of the books, worksheets, warm-ups, etc. that they need to do each day. I also have the days of the week listed beside each item on the checklist. They are to circle the day that they do each assignment (helping them to remember that they did everything on the list).

4. Comments – I can put any reminders here, including practice steps, important dates, etc.

5. Teacher information – (not on the example); I put my phone number and email on each assignment sheet. I tell my students to call, text or email during the week if they have any questions. I would rather help them during the week instead of waiting till the next lesson to fix a problem or clear up confusion.

I have the assignment sheets already filled out before the lessons. This saves time and keeps me on track. (You can see a PDF of the Assignment Sheet here.)

You can see that the left margin is larger. This is because I three-hole punch the sheet and put it in a 3-ring binder for the student. They bring their binder to each lesson and get a new assignment sheet each week.

How do you give out assignments in lessons? Do you use a form or handout? I would love to hear your feedback.

This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!