Now Available: Muscle Builder Book 6

Now available to purchase is the 6th book in the My Muscle Builder Book series! This book is a lot of fun and continues to build on the techniques learned in previous books. 

In Book 6 we continue working on hands-alone two-octave major white key scales, this time adding in some interesting rhythms and articulations to help make our scales more even and musical. We begin working on hands-alone two-octave black key major scales as well, using our Sneaky Thumb and Finger Crossover exercises to achieve a nice, even scale.

Students will review chord inversions, playing some inversion exercises in all of the white key minor keys - these exercises include "walking up" the chords one note at a time as well as playing them in block chords.

Next, students will do some simple transposing into the keys of D-flat, E-flat, G-flat, A-flat and B-flat. 

And who doesn't love playing a good, fast chromatic scale?? In Book 6 we learn the right hand and left hand fingerings of the chromatic scale, and then practice each one several different ways - gradually speeding it up with a metronome, playing it in different rhythms - until we get to try and play it at lightning speed

And finally, students will work on listening and identifying a few different intervals - minor 2nds, major 2nds, and perfect 4ths, 5ths and 8ths. Each exercise is accompanied by colorful diagrams of the notes in each scale and the correct fingerings, so students of any age will be able to become fluent in playing all over the piano.

As always, this product is in the format of a digital download. I recommend printing the Muscle Builder Book in booklet form, with 2 pages per sheet, then folding and stapling together. Each exercise has a little circle that students/teachers can check off or place a sticker on when the exercise is mastered.

Also available is the companion Muscle Builder Extras - Book 6, which includes 2 reference sheets: black key major scales (right hand fingering and left hand fingering) and chromatic scales (right hand fingering and left hand fingering). It also includes a 2-page "Book 6 At a Glance" sheet, a handy sheet where you can check off and keep track of your students' progress.

Both resources may be purchased in this post, or in the Teaching Studio Store on the Muscle Builders page.

My Muscle Builder Book 6
42 pages, digital download
Price: $10.00

My Muscle Builder Extras - Book 6
4 pages, digital download
Price: $1.99


Piano Anno: A New Resource for Fingering and Interpretation

Today I'm excited to share another guest post written by pianist and teacher Christie Sowby. I love Christie's insights into using technology in our teaching, and today she is going to introduce us to an amazing new website for pianists and teachers!

I would like to share an excellent new resource I have found for piano teachers and students. It’s called Piano Anno (www.pianoanno.com) and is an online platform for sharing annotated music in the public domain. The “Annos” contain fingering, markings, interpretation, and performance tips from professional pianists. Annos sell for $3 each in the form of a downloadable PDF.

For teachers, this is a welcome relief. How many times have I written in fingering for the same piece of music for my students? Or how many times have I wondered if there is a better fingering out there to approach something technically? Piano Anno is a real timesaver in this way with its reliable fingerings and other interpretive markings. I can affordably purchase as many copies as I need for my students. (Annos are licensed for a single user.) Sometimes I have found its fingering suggestions better than my own, as they have been stage-tested by other pianists.

For students, Piano Anno jumpstarts the often time-consuming process of annotating one’s own copy of the same music. The print-ready Annos are handy and inexpensive. Even if you don’t use the public-domain edition (perhaps you prefer your own), the Anno is still a good reference and you can hand-copy as many fingerings to your preferred edition as you need to.

Piano Anno invites qualified contributors to submit their own Annos and earn a commission on each sale. They are always looking for new pieces, or even new Annos of a piece already offered. Since only public-domain works are shared on Piano Anno, many 20th-century composers like Bartók, Scriabin, and Cage are off limits. Nevertheless, there is a growing selection of other favorites to which you might add your own. If you have great fingerings or ideas and want to share them with the world, this is a good opportunity. (And maybe even to get paid while you sleep!)

I’m thrilled to see innovative efforts like this, where pianists can harness digital technology to share their ideas and advance their musicianship. Think of it. A digital library of classical piano scores, with annotations by real performers. It’s like downloading some of that performer’s experience into your own learning, and it also gives you a way to pass on yours.

Visit Piano Anno to see what Annos are currently available, to suggest Annos you want to see there, or to become a contributor yourself. This is an excellent resource for all pianists, so please share this website with your students, colleagues, and the music community.


Now Available: Muscle Builder Book 5

Now available in the Store is the next volume of the My Muscle Builder Book technique series! I'm super excited about Book 5 and about all of the things students have learned once they have reached this level. In this book we are using our "Sneaky Thumbs" and finger crossovers learned in previous volumes to play two-octave major scales!

Students will learn the basic scale fingering patterns and put them to good use on and off of the piano. We review our minor triads and then use them to play some fancy, musical arpeggios on both ends of the piano.

We also start dabbling in full-octave arpeggios, using the black-key major keys of D-flat, E-flat, G-flat, A-flat and B-flat. Students will really have a fun time as they cross over and under and play all over the piano in 19 different keys! As always, this Muscle Builder Book is in full color and includes all of the colorful picture scales and arpeggios to help students of all ages become literate at the piano.

Also available to purchase is the companion Muscle Builders Extras pack, including 3 full-color picture scale/arpeggio reference sheets and a "Book 5 At a Glance" page, where teachers or students can keep track of their Book 5 technique progress on one handy sheet. I recommend printing the Muscle Builder Book 2 pages per sheet in booklet format.

My Muscle Builder Book 5 and the Book 5 Extras pack may be purchased in the Store or at the bottom of this post. Enjoy some preview page views below. Have a happy new teaching year!

My Muscle Builder Book 5
40 pages, digital download
Price: $10.00
After purchasing, you are authorized to print out as many copies as needed for your own personal piano studio only.

My Muscle Builder Extras - Book 5
4 pages, digital download
Price: $1.99


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!
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