A Merry Musical Christmas: Piano Advent Calendar

25 days, 25 Christmas piano activities to bring in the Christmas season 

Now available for free download on my Freebies page is a Christmas advent calendar activity to use with your piano students during the month of December.

This fun activity will encourage good practicing skills as students count down the days until Christmas with a Christmas practicing activity each day of December. It includes a variety of activities to practice sight reading, performing, technique, theory and more.

Print the colorful numbered cards with the activities on the backs, and each day students have a short activity to do to help bring in the Christmas season!

Once each activity is completed they may tape or glue the card to their blank calendar, filling up the days and counting down until Christmas! You may want to decide on a prize they receive when the whole chart is filled out, or a very small treat to go along with each day’s activity.

Merry Christmas!


Giveaway Winners

I'd like to announce the three winners of the Amazing Autumn giveaway! (Sorry I didn't do this two days ago like I said I would - we went on a last-minute trip for Labor Day weekend and just got back last night!)

The three lucky winners are:


Ladies, please contact me and let me know what your email address is and I will send you the lesson plan!

And don't forget, the Amazing Autumn lesson plan is on sale for 25% off until September 23rd! To get it at the discounted rate, purchase it at the bottom of the giveaway post.

Happy Autumn!


Autumn Time is Here!

As is obvious from my last post, I am way excited about Autumn! The other day I got giddy when I noticed pumpkin decorations outside of a grocery store. I can't wait for the leaves on our 5 or 6 huge trees to change colors. I'm even sort of excited to rake said leaves. At this time of year I always have Vivaldi's "Autumn" (3rd movement) running through my head with the lyrics we sing at our preschool Early Explorers class.

Who else is excited for Autumn?? Who would like to try out the Amazing Autumn preschool lesson plan for free? I'd love to give away THREE free copies of the Amazing Autumn Early Explorers lesson plan! Are you interested? Just leave a comment below to be entered into a drawing for a free copy. For an extra entry, subscribe to my blog and leave an extra comment letting me know you did. For an additional extra entry, share a link to this post via Facebook, Pinterest, or another social media site of your choice, and leave an additional comment letting me know you did. I will draw the three winners on Monday, September 1.
And for all those of you who want to try out this amazing lesson plan and don't want to wait and try your chances at winning (I never win these things!! haha), I am offering the Amazing Autumn lesson plan at 25% off until the first day of Autumn, which according to Google is September 23.

You may purchase it at the discounted rate only in this post - if you purchase it in the Teaching Studio Store it will not be the discounted rate. Got it?

Special Discount - Amazing Autumn Early Explorers Lesson Plan
Price: $7.50

Happy Autumn!


Classical Piano Pieces for Autumn

This past week has been so wonderful - it has been pretty rainy here, and the temperatures have cooled down a bit. My family and I are just giddy with this weather! We have not experienced a true Autumn for four years now (in San Antonio the leaves don't change colors, they don't fall down until after the new year, and it doesn't really get cool outside.) With temperatures in the low 60's or high 50's, us Texans are breaking out our sweats, drinking hot chocolate and leaving the windows open to enjoy the cool breeze. We are in heaven!

Autumn is my favorite time of year! I love it so much. In honor of this beautiful season that is upon us, I decided to do a little research and find some great classical piano pieces about Autumn. I found some really great pieces. These would make a great Autumn recital program, or is a wonderful list of beautiful pieces to play or listen to to get in the mood for chilly days. I hope you enjoy!

4 Sketches, Op.15 (Amy Beach) I. In Autumn

6 Études de concert, Op.35 (Cécile Chaminade) II. Automne. Lento (D♭ major)

In Autumn, H.162 (Frank Bridge)

10 Woodland Sketches, Op.51 (Edward MacDowell) IV. In Autumn

8 Characteristic Pieces, Op.36 (Moritz Moszkowski) En Automne

I love this one and just keep listening to it over and over! You can just hear the Autumn leaves falling and swirling through the air. Beautiful!

Feuilles mortes: Lent et mélancolique (Dead Leaves) (Claude Debussy)

3 Tone-Pictures, Op. 5 No. 3: The Night Winds (Charles Griffes)

I love Charles Griffes. I thought this was a nice one for Autumn.

Yellowed Leaves, Op.31 (Seven Bagatelles) (Nikolay Myaskovsky) sheet music

Now I believe the title "Yellowed Leaves" may be referring to yellowed pages, but I still love this set of pieces. I have never heard of Myaskovsky before and this was a fun little find!

Autumn Waltz (Stephen Foster) sheet music

The Seasons, Op.67 (Glazunov, Aleksandr), IV. L'Automne, transcription for piano solo 

sheet music

Ten Pieces from Cinderella, Op. 97 (Sergei Prokofiev), Autumn Fairy

I love these short fairy pieces! Each one is so beautiful and perfectly evokes the mood of each season.

(Autumn Fairy begins at 5:19 in the video)

Fluttering Leaves, Op. 147 No. 3 (Carl Kolling)

This is a piece I played in junior high school, and is a great little piece for intermediate students. The quick runs sound just like fluttering leaves. It actually is kind of a joke in my family: whenever I would practice this song, after each fast run on the last note of the phrase my family would bang cupboards or slam things in time with the music. One day my grandma was visiting and when my family slammed things in time with the music, my grandma got such a kick out of it that she was crying with laughter. Isn't it wonderful when piano practice becomes a fun family memory? ;)

Other Piano Pieces About Autumn:

An Autumn Ride (Rawlings, Charles Arthur) sheet music
Autumn Sketches, Op.103 (Smith, Wilson) sheet music
Autumn Song, Op.88 (Sudds, William F.) sheet music
Autumn, Op.15 (Sherwood, William H.) sheet music
Autumn Leaflet (Geibel, Adam) sheet music
Trembling Leaves, Op.17 (Wehli, James M.) sheet music
When the Autumn Leaves are Falling, Op.495 (Grobe, Charles) sheet music
Autumn Leaves, Op.40 (Gimbel Junior, Charles) sheet music
Autumn (Saroni, Herrman S.) sheet music


Teaching Ideas From Around the Web

One thing I love about this day and age and the technology we have is how we as piano teachers can share so many ideas with each other to improve one another's teaching. I love the things that I create for my own teaching, but I am also so grateful for others' fantastic ideas, and I am so grateful that we can each benefit from each others' ideas and strengths in the piano-teaching field.

Visit Kristin's awesome website!
Last year I had a guest post from Kristin Jensen, an amazing and creative piano teacher who has a fantastic website all about teaching ear training and improvisation to young piano students. I would encourage you to go back and take a look at all the new resources she has available. She has so many neat improv activities on her blog with step-by-step instructions (often with videos) on how to simply teach a child to improv on the piano. Many of her activities are simple enough for parents and children to do together, which I love! I also love her collection of theory worksheets and games - we could all use more of those to amp up our teaching!

Some other ideas I am loving lately from around the web:

These Animal Alphabet Clothespin Matching Cards from Susan Paradis - what a fun idea! I love piano resources that cater to the younger children, and this is a clever one.

This Practice Makes Awesome pencil found in an Etsy shop (thank you, Pinterest!). This could be a perfect addition to the Building Blocks of Piano Practice Incentive (if you've seen the Lego Movie, you'll understand ;))

Be sure to follow my Pinterest boards, where I pin any fun piano ideas I happen upon! I have three piano boards - Piano Teaching, Preschool Music Class Ideas, and All Things Piano.
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