Monday, September 19, 2016

Lucky Leaf Piano Technique Game & Bonus Freebie!

Lucky Leaf Piano Technique Game
Over the weekend, I created the Lucky Leaf Piano Technique Game to review basic piano technique concepts (sitting position at the piano, proper hand posture, finger numbers, relaxed arm/arm weight, curved fingers, etc) in lessons this week. It is suitable for private lessons and group classes. 
To play, students draw cards and place corresponding leaves on a tree after they complete the direction on the card. The winner draws the card with the "lucky" green leaf on it.

This game includes 1 tree game board, 24 playing cards, 12 blank cards to customize as desired, and 24 leaves. I used poster tack to adhere the leaves to the game board (my students LOVE poster tack). 

To assemble:

  1. Print the tree game board, playing cards, and leaves onto cardstock.
  2. Cut out the playing cards and leaves. I cut the leaves out as closely as possible. They could also be printed on transparent paper.
  3. If desired, print blank cards and write your own directions on them!
  4. Laminate all pieces to extend game life.
To play (2-4 players):
  1. Set the game board up on the piano's music stand. Cover the keys with the lid to prevent small pieces from falling in between them.
  2. Place leaves in a pile between all players or adhere the leaves with poster tack around the base of the tree prior to the lesson (I chose the latter option).
  3. Shuffle the playing cards and place them face down in a pile.
  4. The youngest player starts, drawing a card from the pile. Player completes the direction on the card and places a leaf that matches the leaf on their playing card onto the tree. 
  5. The winner of this game draws the "You Won" card and places the green leaf on the tree.
I played this game with my 2 year old by making simple adaptations. Some examples include:
  • Wave your left hand!
  • Wave your right hand!
  • Clap your hands 4 times!
  • Make circles with your fingers!
This game is available in my TeachersPayTeachers Store. Let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Also, check out my Freebie Cat Themed Ear Training Worksheet, just in time for fall!

Fall Preschool Piano Palooza Lesson Plan

Ready for the Palooza!

Earlier this month, the studio hosted a Preschool Piano Palooza, a free event where preschoolers could experience a taste of the preschool piano classes offered here. It was wonderful to see so many children, some as young as two, playing their first piece on the piano after just 30 minutes! I'm looking forward to hosting another one in the future!

I've included the lesson plan in this post, for those of you curious to read more about it. This plan is purposefully multi-sensory and fall themed. One resource that I did use and is not mentioned in this plan was Pumpkin Musical Alphabet Cards from Susan Hong Studio. She posted them the night before the Palooza, and they were so adorable that I just had to include them last minute!

Resource Links: This was the curriculum that provided the base for this event. The songs, story book, coloring pages, cloth keyboard, and discs came from here.
Tales of a Musical Journey For this particular event, I only used some of the exercises found in Irina's teacher guide. This book is excellent for beginners and teaching proper piano technique.
Five Little Pumpkins Book I created a simple finger play to accompany this book.
Getting to Know You Page
Autumn Musicland Game From Greenside Music
Blackbird Puppets These puppets have been a favorite in my studio for almost 2 years now!
My First Piano Trip to London Another great resource that I can't imagine being without!

My students and I love the Music Alphabet Song from My First Piano Adventures (MFPA), so I used the CD for that song only during the Palooza.

Preschool Piano Palozza!
Sept. 5, 2016
·         KiddyKeys & MFPA CD
·         My First Piano Trip to London
·         5 Little Pumpkins Book
·         2 Blackbird Puppets
·         Buckets & drumsticks
·         Cloth keyboard & circles
·         Getting to Know You Pages
·         Parent Handbooks/Information
·         Coloring Pages & Markers
·         Autumn Musicland Game

·         KiddyKeys Song                     
·         Getting to Know You Page
·         Let’s Say Hi!

·         Tales of a Musical Journey (Gross Motor Skills)
-           Weeping Willow Exercise
-           Big Bird Exercise
-           Windmill Exercise
-           Floating Arms Exercise (like pool floaties)
·         5 Little Pumpkins & 2 Little Blackbirds (Fine Motor Skills)
-           Read 5 Little Pumpkins Book and complete finger plays
-           2 Little Blackbirds

·         Music Alphabet, pg. 62 in MFPA with song
·         Play Autumn Musicland
·         Keyboard Geography: Use cloth keyboard and mark groups of black keys with circles
·         Use Kids Music Piano app to find letters on keyboard; which black key group is C closest to?

·         Learn and play Royal Guard piece

·         Bucket Drum Echoes
·         Read story/color pictures, if time permits

Conclude class with choice from prize box!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fall 2016

Wreath Designer from Etsy
The first day of fall is just around the corner! As each season changes, it seems appropriate to bring out something new in the studio, too. Check out some of the instruments, games, and pieces that are new to us this fall:

Labor Day = SALES! The local Guitar Center was having a fantastic sale. Some beautiful instruments were added to the percussion collection here. Filbert the Frog is already a favorite and loves his new home on the piano.

The fall recital is less than a month away, and everyone has been working tirelessly on their pieces! This recital will feature fall themed repertoire. Some of it is pictured above. Pieces not pictured came from Susan Paradis' site and Elena Cobb's publishing company. 

I recently spent a Sunday afternoon assembling some really fun games to use in lessons this fall. Several of them came from the Piano Game Club, which has been a fantastic resource since I subscribed a few months ago. Here are the names and sources of the others:

After attending Irina Gorin's inspiring Practical Piano Pedagogy Workshop last month, it has become a renewed goal to focus on review and learning of proper piano technique. I put together the Lucky Leaf Piano Technique Game pictured above to fit the fall theme, review technique with my beginning piano students, and to provide a fun alternative to scales. Also, my students love using poster tack, so I had to include it in this game!