Camping Themed Lessons and Free Games!

Wow, what a heat wave we have going on here!!  It’s almost impossible to cool down without air conditioning.  Our kids having been begging for a pool for years, but Ken has been reluctant to commit to the upkeep so they finally took matters into their own hands and saved up their money and bought a pool for our yard…one  that is 18 feet wide and 4 feet deep!!  I have to admit, I’m really enjoying reaping the benefits!

Last week we had our second installment of summer lessons and it was a camping theme!  We had three fun camping-themed games that we used and I thought I’d share them with you, they are a lot of fun whether you are actually headed out camping or doing a little stay-cation.  If you are on the go, two can be used without a piano and one could be used if you had an iPad (or just play some major or minor music from your phone or iPod).)

camping lesson 4

The three games were discovered on the Teach Piano Today website and then slightly adapted to fit our camping theme!  Here they are:

  1. Sly As A Fox:  Print the board and the game cards!

This is the story the students and I adapted into a camping theme! 😉  Along with their instructions!

One sunny morning a chicken accidentally wandered too close to a campground. Quick as a whip a sly fox who had been contemplating what to make for dinner on his crackling campfire cornered her outside his campsite.  “Please!” she begged… “Don’t eat me! I have barnyards to scratch! I have eggs to warm! I have worms to chase!” The fox (whose stomach was larger than his heart) was just about to toss her into his cooking pot when he remembered something. You see, this fox played the piano and he had some theory homework to hand in the next day. Naming bass clef notes had always been his weakness and this week’s assignment had been a bass clef doozy. “Do you read music?” He asked the bewildered chicken. “Of course!” She clucked, “I used to sing in the Barnyard Chorus!” “I’ll make you a deal” said the fox. “If you can correct my theory homework, I’ll let you go.” The chicken stared wide-eyed at the fox, “Okay! I’ll do anything!” The fox licked his lips as he put his paw around the chicken’s quivering back. “But if my theory homework comes back too many mistakes… you’ll be tomorrow’s soup!”

Game Play: Put the cards face down in a stack.  Put the game board in front of both of you. Your child is the chicken. Have her flip over cards one at a time and decide whether the named note on the card is “true” or “false” as fast as she can.  The teacher keeps track of her correct incorrect answers by placing the card on the “correct” or the “uh oh!” game board. Tally her results once the card pack is finished.  Do the correct cards outnumber the “uh oh’s?”…Is she free… or is she soup?

       2.  Serving Up Steps and Skips

Pretend you are camping and it’s breakfast time!! Let’s flip some eggs!

Instructions from Teach Piano Today: “This activity is a simple sorting game that reinforces your child’s ability to identify notes that step, notes that skip, and notes that repeat.To begin, give your child a flipper and have him sit in front of the frying pan. Instruct your piano student to use the flipper to turn over any two eggs. When the notes on the two eggs have been revealed, ask your student to compare the two notes and determine if they represent repeating notes, stepping notes or skipping notes (they can use a keyboard, tinsheet or iPad keyboard to help them if they like. Once identified, have your student place the two eggs onto the corresponding plate.

Your child can continue playing until all 6 eggs are removed from the frying pan and placed onto an appropriate plate (note: some plates may be left empty). When all eggs have been served, mix them up, place them in the frying pan and play again!”

3. Smore’s Chords (another great idea that I am sure I found on Teach Piano Today but for the life of me can’t recall so here is how I used it)

This is an ear training game.  Give you child the ingredient to a smore:  2 graham crackers, a piece of chocolate and a marshmallow.  THen play major or minor chords or melodies or youtube snippets and if they hear major they will build a smore with only the marshmallow, if they hear a minor they will add the chocolate for that dark delicious sound! 😉

 

We actually did just get back from camping the week before this lesson!  One of my favorite things to do while camping after a long day of hiking is sit by the fire and read.  I like a variety of summer reading…from Dean Koontz mysteries to inspirational books that help me learn and grow as a teacher or parent.  I have a couple of great suggestions for you as piano parents if you’d like to get some refreshing ideas for the fall…or to use this summer.  One is written as a story and is such an easy ready and the other is helpful tips….but again a quick and easy read!!

The first one is called Coffee With Ray by Nick Ambrosino, an inspirational novel about a teacher who inspires his students to be independent learners.

The second one is 101 Piano Practice Tips by Tracy Selle.  It’s a goldmine of upbeat and creative ways to get your student to the piano!!  Use the ideas for the summer or lock them away for the best year of practicing yet starting this fall!!

 

I hope you enjoy the free games as well as the books!  If you think your student would love a fun and motivating summer lesson (and enjoy some time out of the heat in a nice cool studio), our third and final installment of summer lessons is next week and the theme is “Roadtrip”.  Email for more details!

In the meantime, enjoy the weather!!

camping lesson 2

 

 

 

 

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Summer Reading for Piano Parents and Teachers!

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is read!  Well, I love to do that all year round, but I usually have a little bit of extra time in the summer so I like to create a summer reading list.

This year I began with a book I read last year, Coffee With Ray, and then followed up with it’s “sequel”, Lessons With Matt.  They were both such a fun and enjoyable read that I thought I’d share, especially as they are both so applicable to both piano teachers and piano parents.

Here are the two books I started with this summer, I highly recommend both!  They will inspire you and leave you feeling a bit refreshed whether you are a teacher or parents.  In fact my husband really enjoyed them as well.

Happy Summer Reading!

*This post contains affiliate links.  Any sale that is made through an affiliate link provides me with a small commission. You will never be charged for this commission. It is paid directly from the company with whom I am affiliated.

July Piano Newsletter 2017

School’s out and sun’s out!  Some of you have already hit the road for summer holidays, some of you have been enjoying some exciting day camps and some of you may have just been enjoying some lazy days of summer (my son falls into this latter category!).  A special few of you actually spent some of this week with me doing a summer lesson and what fun we had!!  This year I decided to offer summer lessons in the form of a three lesson package OR a la carte, this week was our first installment and it was a beach theme.  We enjoyed it all, from beach themed games and music to a tasty beach themed treat!

beach day studio

For those of you who weren’t able to sign up for this week I’ll be sharing one of the games we played in case you’d like to print and use it at home over the summer to keep some concepts reviewed. It’s not too late to join the fun over the summer!  Our next summer lesson will be the week of July 18th and the theme for that week will be CAMPING!  There will be one more during the week of August 2nd and that theme will be ROADTRIP.  Email if you are interested in some piano lesson fun for your student and a little help and review/practice motivation over the summer.

No matter where you are or what you are doing, I hope music is a part of it!  Over the past several weeks on our Facebook page I have been sharing some resources and tips to help keep up that practicing over the summer.  Practicing the piano is a little bit like climbing a ladder, every time you practice you go up a rung, but when you don’t practice you end up going down a rung and long extended periods of practice can mean going down several rungs before lessons resume in the fall. Even the use of some great music apps can help the slip and slide!

For those of you who haven’t yet liked the Facebook page or are not on Facebook, here are some of the resources that have been shared over the past few weeks:

  1. A fun beach themed printable game from Teach Piano Today (instructions at the bottom of the post: beachdaycardpacks BeachDayGameBoard
  2. Some great apps to keep up the note naming skills:  Note Rush, Ningenius, Flashnote Derby  (name AND play the key—these can be used with your acoustic OR digital piano at home OR if you are on the road traveling you can use the little attached keyboard setting!)
  3. Creating an awesome practice nest that will help keep up that practice motivation over the summer: https://mmmusicstudio.com/2017/06/26/creating-a-practice-nest/

I can’t possibly share them all so if you like to keep up to date, like the Facebook page!  Enjoy and have a wonderful summer!!

 

Beach Day game instructions:

Single Player: Place your game marker on the “Start” circle and draw a card. Complete the task on the card.  If you complete it correctly, move forward the number of spaces shown on the card. If incorrect, move back two spaces and re-draw a new card. If you draw a “beach gear” card, keep it and put it to the side of the board.  If you land on an “Oops” circle then you lose one piece of your beach gear and the card is returned to the pile.  If you land on the “Shopping Spree” circle, you get to take back one piece of your lost beach gear. If you reach the finish with at least 3 pieces of beach gear you win and head to the beach! If you do not have 3, stay on the last space and continue to flip over and complete cards until you collect the 3 needed pieces of beach gear.  (single player ideas from teach piano today.)

Multi-player (Mrs. Miller’s version): Place game markers on the start circle and roll a dice to see who goes first.  Draw a card and complete the task on the card.  If completed correctly, move forward the number of spaces on the card.  If incorrect, turn goes to next player. If you draw a beach gear card, keep it and draw another card.  If you land on an oops return to the beginning! If you land on a shopping spring you can “shop” from another player.  If you make it to the end with the most beach gear, you win!

 

Exam Excellence!

The exam results are posted and all the students did absolutely excellent!! Congratulations! Hard work and dedication pays off!

FIRST CLASS HONOURS WITH DISTINCTION (90% or higher)
Jessica, Level 6 Theory
Sherry, Level 5 Theory
Theo, Level 1 Piano

FIRST CLASS HONOURS (80% or higher)
Brennan, Level 1 Piano
Ethan, Level 1 Piano

exam