Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to all who entered the giveaway for a free piano camp, and thanks for all your well-wishes!

Our sweet little Norah was born on May 1 at 8:13 am, making Olivia our winner! Congratulations, Olivia - you win a free copy of the Mighty Musicians camp! Please contact me and let me know which email address I can send the camp download link to. I hope you love it!


Limited Time: Save 25% off Summer Piano Camps & more!

This is a fun time of year for piano teachers - finishing up Spring recitals and prepping for some summer studio fun! My spring/summer is looking a little different than that this year - I'm finishing up a pregnancy and prepping for baby number four to be born! I am in super nesting mode and have frantically been trying to pack my hospital bag and clean up my house in anticipation of another sweet little girl joining our family.

In my nesting excitement, I thought I'd offer up a fun little discount for all of you preparing for your piano teaching summers! From TODAY until the day my baby girl is born (give or take a few days - you can't expect me to be on the computer in the hospital, right?), I am offering some of my bestselling piano teaching resources for 25% off!

Here are the products included in this discount (click on titles for more information):

This awesome piano camp will introduce your young students to a year of music, going through each season from Spring through Winter. It works perfectly as a week-long, four-day camp, or as a month-long once-a-week class.
Regular Price: $38
Limited-Time Price: $28.50!  

This super fun camp for children ages 5-6 is a positive and fun introduction to the world of music-making and a good jump-start into piano lessons. Children will listen, sing, move and play, use their new-found knowledge to work on their basic piano skills, learn about the great composers and their music, and will even do some composing themselves! 
Regular Price: $46
Limited-Time Price: $34.50!

A fun practicing incentive program for your creative students who love building with Legos! Students earn blocks for daily practice of assigned "projects" in four elements of piano lessons.
Regular Price: $10
Limited-Time Price: $7.50!  

This incentive pack features an awesome piano-themed pirate map to hang in your studio to track students' progress through the summer. Students complete practicing goals to earn points which move them forward on the treasure map to find the buried treasure!
Regular Price: $10
Limited-Time Price: $7.50!  

Don't miss this opportunity to grab this bestselling resource at an amazing price! My Muscle Builder Books keep students motivated and having fun as they learn to play scales, chords, arpeggios and more all over the piano. With full-col0r cute illustrations and easy-to-follow instructions for correct practicing at home.
Regular Price: $27
Limited-Time Price: $20.25!  

Printable, full-color circular flashcards to use with a giant floor keyboard and giant floor staff. Includes letter names, finger numbers, sharps and flats, notes on the staff, notes on the keyboard, lines and spaces and more. Activity suggestions are given for each set of printable circles. Just print as many as you’d like, cut them out, laminate, and you’re ready to play! 
Regular Price: $20
Limited-Time Price: $15!

Discount will be applied automatically at checkout, whether from the links in this post or from The Teaching Studio Store. All products are digital downloads. Discount lasts from today until my baby comes - which could last a few days or up to about two weeks! (My due date is May 2.) Don't miss out on these great prices!

To celebrate this fun time, I'm in the mood for a GIVEAWAY! Simply leave a comment guessing the date and time you think my baby will be born. (Due date is May 2!) Whoever guesses closest to the actual birthday and time will win a Piano Camp of your choice for FREE!! Choose between the Vivaldi's Four Seasons Camp and the Mighty Musicians Camp (let me know which you would prefer in your comment).


On My Wall

Hanging above my piano, I have framed pages from three pieces that have been meaningful to me in my piano education. I love how this turned out, and I love looking up and seeing these pieces on my wall - it's motivating, that's for sure!

Here are the three pieces I have framed:

1) La fille aux cheveux de lin, or The Girl with the Flaxen Hair by Debussy

This is the first "real" classical piece I learned. I studied for years with a wonderful teacher in my neighborhood, going through mainly just method books (finishing both the entire Eckstein and Schaum methods), never really learning any "real" classical pieces except for versions that were in my method books. My Dad has always loved classical music though, and was always so supportive of me and my music. He came to me one day and encouraged me to learn this Debussy prelude, one of his favorite pieces. So I learned it all on my own and loved it! I used it to audition with my next teacher, who really got me playing correctly, playing some wonderful literature, and who really encouraged and inspired me to become a piano teacher.

2) Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto in G minor, Op 25, 3rd movement

I played this concerto with my high school orchestra my senior year of high school. It's important to me because it is the piece that helped me get into the piano program at Brigham Young University, where I wanted to study piano performance. I had actually already auditioned and had not been accepted, when I performed this piece with the school orchestra. It went so well that my piano teacher got all determined and decided to send a letter, along with a video recording of me playing this piece, to the piano department of the school, asking them to reconsider. Pretty soon I received a phone call from the head of the piano department, telling me that they had watched the video and decided to move me to #1 on the waiting list. I was so excited and so grateful when I got another phone call letting me know I had gotten in! My 4 years in the piano program at BYU were so amazing and have been so important to me in my life. 

3) Polonaise-Fantasie in A-flat Major, Op. 61 by Chopin

This is the piece that I concluded my senior recital in college with - sort of the peak of my college career I guess you could say. This piece is meaningful to me because it reminds me how much I learned and accomplished during those four years.

Which pieces have been meaningful to you as you have studied piano?


Piano Beanbags

Today I just wanted to share something fun I made for my daughter! I have been teaching my 3-year-old daughter piano lately, and she really loves it. Her almost-2-year-old brother likes to tag along as well; it's a fun part of our day!

Sometimes when I get awakened early in the morning by my *darling* children, the wheels in my mind start turning and I just can't shut it off and go back to sleep - this was one of those early morning ideas that came to me last week, and it turned out so fun!

Since my daughter is pretty little, right now we are doing a combination of piano basics (keyboard topography, black key patterns, high/low, etc.), pre-staff notation/rote songs, music & movement, games on my giant floor keyboard, etc. I wanted a fun way to get her to start recognizing the different white keys without necessarily quizzing her on the letter names (she is still learning her alphabet anyway, and doesn't know them all yet). So I made these fun beanbags for her! Each beanbag has either 2 black keys or 3 black keys with their coordinating white keys; each also has a colorful circle on one of the white keys.

When I sewed these my daughter was thrilled! We have put them to good use already. Here are a few of the ways we have used them in her lessons:

*matching them up with the black key groups on the giant floor keyboard (she puts them on either a 2-black-key group or a 3-black-key group)

*matching them up on the giant floor keyboard with the specific white key shown with the colorful circle - she got the hang of this so quick and did a great job! A good first step to learning the letter names on the keyboard.

*putting them all together in a row in the correct pattern (2 black keys, 3 black keys, 2 black keys, 3 black keys) to make a beanbag keyboard

*pretending to play some of her little songs on the beanbags once they are put together in a row!

The backs of the beanbags are just fun colorful patterns.

I'm having lots of fun teaching my daughter and focusing on coming up with ideas for one-on-one lessons for preschoolers. They are such a fun age group, and are so excited about music and learning things that it is a perfect age to start if you do it right (LOTS and lots of off-the-bench learning, music and movement, listening games, and just teaching with excitement and joy). 

What things have you found that work with teaching little ones? Or with teaching your own children?


Free Download: Piano Muscle Builders for Older Beginners

I have been wanting for a long time to make a "muscle builder" technique booklet for older beginners - something similar to the My Muscle Builder Books but less cutesy and more concise, something that could be used by beginners who are teenagers or even adults. I finally have taken one that I made a couple of years ago and revamped it a bit, and I'm excited to offer it to you today as a free download!

Piano Muscle Builders, Level 1: White-Key 5-Finger Patterns covers all of the same material that is in My Muscle Builder Book 1, and much of the same material in My Muscle Builder Book 2. Concepts/exercises in this book include five-finger scales, simple arpeggios, "fancy" arpeggios, and block chords in the fourteen white-key major and minor keys.

As older beginners use this book, my goal is that they accomplish three main objectives: understand what they are playing, learn to play with good technique, and play with a musical purpose. To achieve these goals, this book contains more theory and terminology explanations than the My Muscle Builder Books; each page contains reminders of good technical practices; and exercises include articulation suggestions to make them musical.

I have also included a review at the end of the book to test students' knowledge of the exercises learned. This review includes spelling all of the major and minor chords, playing the scales and chords all in a row, and notating the major and minor chords on the staff.

This resource is available as a free digital download and is 12 pages long. It may be downloaded in this post, or on the Muscle Builders page of The Teaching Studio Store, or on the Freebies page. I hope you enjoy it!

Piano Muscle Builders, Level 1: White-Key 5-Finger Patterns
12 pages

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