9/22/12

Amazing Autumn Lesson Plan!


Happy Autumn! Who else loves this season?? It definitely is my favorite. Since I live in San Antonio and we sadly don't get much of an autumn here (except for the constant sound of acorns hitting and rolling off our roof), I thought we could bring in the season with a little Vivaldi, pumpkins, and falling leaves (even if they aren't real leaves...). I have been working hard getting our next Early Explorers preschool music class lesson plan all ready to go...just in time for the season!


This was one of the first Early Explorers lesson plans that Nichole and I wrote, and we had such a great time planning it and especially coming up with the song lyrics! It is such a fun lesson - I love that the children get to dance around to Vivaldi's Autumn with giant fall leaves, I love the fun Carl Kolling piano piece we use to talk about raking leaves and jumping in the pile, and I just love this theme! Here is a little sneak peek of the objectives for this lesson plan:


This lesson plan does have some slight similarities to the "Spectacular Spring!" plan, because we wrote the Spring plan to take Autumn's place when we taught our class in the Spring :) I think the two lesson plans complement each other nicely (and we've thought all along how neat a Vivaldi's Four Season's lesson plan pack would be...). I hope you and your students enjoy bringing in the fall season with this lesson! It is 43 pages long and includes a student Take-Home Booklet, three songs, lots of clipart, templates and tutorials, and more. Book is in downloadable e-book format and will be available for instant download after payment. Purchase here or in The Teaching Studio Store.

$10.00


9/10/12

My Muscle Builders Book: Level 2 now available!



Hello, hello! Happy Monday evening! I hope that many of you have been able to use and enjoy my first Muscle Builder Book. I know that my students have done an amazing job in learning all of their scales and chords, and have enjoyed learning them with the help of this fun little book.

For ages now I have been working on the level 2 book - deciding what I wanted to be in there, trying exercises with my young students who just whizzed through level 1, and so on. I am so excited tonight to announce that I have finished the "My Muscle Builder Book 2" and it is now available for purchase as a digital download in The Teaching Studio Store.
So, let me tell you a little about this book! My goal for this book, other than the obvious of teaching my students scales, chords, and such and improving their technique, is to build a super strong foundation of chord-playing, and to help them really be able to play in any key. I want them to have the tools necessary not only just to read music and sight read a piece, but I want them to be good, well-rounded musicians who can harmonize a melody with chords. I want them to have a great understanding of the way music works - not only to just understand it and get it, but be able to do something with it. I think this will be an excellent tool for developing those creative keyboard and harmonization skills down the road. So I am super excited!

Here's a bit of a preview:

The book really stresses knowing how to spell the chords. Students will do lots of review of the chords learned in book 1 and will get pretty good at playing them.

Along with the major scales and chords, minor is also introduced in this book.


We do a lot of review of the same material, but do so in different and fun ways. These "Fancy Arpeggios" help encourage musicianship, good piano posture, fun with dynamics, pedal-playing, and leaning your body into the notes instead of scooting all over the bench.

We do more hands-together five-finger scales in this book, as well as scales in contrary motion. The book continually stresses the importance of curved fingers and playing on fingertips - gotta develop that good technique!
We also get into chord inversions! I am continually amazed at my young students (6, 7 years old) who catch on so quickly to these concepts. All chord inversions include colorful pictures with note names and correct fingerings for developing good habits from the get-go.

I hope you all enjoy this new technique booklet! It is available on this page, as well as in The Teaching Studio Store. It is 37 pages, and is in digital e-book format. You will receive an email with an instant download link following payment. You are encouraged to print off as many copies as you'd like for use in your own private studio


My Muscle Builders Book 2
Price: $10.00



9/4/12

Some of My Favorite Pieces I Sightread

Happy September!

Whew, well I had a whirlwind of a time my last few weeks of summer and a lot of things came up, BUT am happy to say that I finished my Summer Sightreading Challenge and sightread over 100 pieces! Yes, I may have begun the summer sightreading much harder and longer pieces than I ended with, but I did complete the challenge :) I really enjoyed it, particularly because I got to discover some amazing pieces I had never taken the opportunity to play before. My sightreading skills increased (which I think is true for anyone at any level who decides to sightread consistently) and it gave me, a busy stay-at-home mom, a great excuse to play more consistently.

I wanted to share some of the great books I decided to sighread through this summer - kind of a random assortment, but that's how I roll!

I started out with some Debussy - very challenging sightreading but I loved it. I discovered that I LOVE the whole Suite Bergamasque (which includes the famous Clair de Lune - I think it's wonderful to hear such a beloved and often-heard piece in the context of the whole work!). Hear Richter play it here and here.

I read through most of the Debussy book (see below) and then decided I needed a change...so I went onto some Handel! There's nothing like a little Baroque to give you some much-needed simplicity and straightforwardness after playing Debussy for a month. I love these composer series editions by the Frederic Harris Music Company (seen below, and also the whole collection can be found here - I love the clean, solid colors of the covers - it makes me want to buy them all and line them up on a shelf!! Someday...)

I also tried out some Scarlatti sonatas - I really haven't played much Scarlatti and would LOVE to delve more into his sonatas someday. They were a nice read.

For some variety I decided to turn to some Scriabin Preludes - so gorgeous and haunting! These were excellent to read because despite their intricacies they were quite short. I discovered that, just like Chopin, Bach, Shostakovich and others, he wrote 24 Preludes, one in each key. Take a listen to his Prelude in C Major, Op. 11 No. 1, and tell me if it doesn't remind you a bit of Chopin's first prelude in C Major...

Grieg's Lyric Pieces were SO FUN! I love the great variety of his pieces and the scenes and stories they depict. I definitely enjoyed some more than others. One of my favorite sets that I read through was his 6 Lyric Pieces, Op. 43 - I particularly liked No. 1 - Butterfly and No. 4 - Little Bird (and of course No. 6 is a classic!).

I ended with some of the Applause book - which, if you are not familiar with and have teenage students, I would highly recommend that you go out and get a copy now! These pieces are SO much fun to play - I think they are a great way to get your teenage students excited about classical music. Pieces included come from all of the musical periods and are all impressive and showy solos. I especially loved playing Beethoven's Six Ecossaises!



Well I hope that a few of you were also able to hone your sightreading skills this summer, and I hope you also discovered some great pieces! How did your sightreading go? Did you find any pieces that you just LOVE and would like to share? Happy sightreading!

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