Here’s a quick worksheet I made for a student who is learning about the concept of the tonic, subdominant, and dominant. It does not require the student write out the chord; it only requires that the student name the chord.
It covers the following major keys: C, G, D, A, E
It is designed with an intermediate student in mind.
I’m not sure what happened, but all of a sudden today, I’m obsessed with Halloween. I’m paper mache-ing a costume (inspired by a costume seen on a televised opera production), I’ve bought goodies for students, and I have strung faux spiderwebs and orange lights outside my door.
So, while I was at it, I made this chart (click on link to download):
I loved timed tests in math as an elementary student. Maybe you did too. One thing I’ve noticed teaching lately is that despite having students do sight reading assignments weekly (from Faber’s Piano Adventure’s Sight Reading books), my students in both my group classes and individual lessons are weak on quick note reading. So, I’ve decided to start putting them under a little pressure with timed tests.
This one is aimed at students who can read both clefs, lines and spaces but uses little to no ledger lines. Download by clicking on the image below!
Today, I created this studio chart to help incentivize my students to learn their scales and I thought I’d share how I did it, in case anyone would like to make a similar one.
Word processor, computer, internet connection.
Printer and printer paper.
A yardstick or T-square to help you draw straightish lines.
Spray glue and/or a glue stick.
Scissors or paper cutter.
Watercolor paints (optional).
Take a normal-sized poster and cute in half lengthwise.
Follow this link to download the Chisel Mark font by SavanasDesign at TheHungryJPEG.com. It’s free to download. You just have to create an account (which isn’t so bad because they email you about free products that way!)
Install the font. If you are on a mac, you simply go to the font where it downloaded, open the file that is either .ttf or .otf and then click “install font.”
Open your word processor. Type in the text you want in your chart so that you can cut it out and paste it to your poster board. If you’d just like to use mine, you can find it here, but please note it won’t look the same unless you’ve already downloaded the font.
Decide on your background. I chose to use this circus-themed background which I purchased for $1 on TheHungryJPEG.com. They have tons of $1 deals as well as free graphics that you can use if you want to keep your budget low. It’s one of my new favorite resources when I create things for my students (I used to hand-draw a lot of things! Crazy, I know.). NOTE: When I used this background, I chose to set it at slightly transparent so it wouldn’t overwhelm other elements of the design. You might experiment with what you want.
Take your background and open it in a different page in your word processor. Size it to print to fill the whole page. If you have a printer that can print legal-sized paper, use that setting.
Now gather your materials to construct your poster.
Cut out the words you printed that you intend to use as the Title of the poster and as the Headings for each column.
Take your background paper and trim bleed areas so that when you layer on poster board it will not have extra white space. I needed four pages of my pattern to cover my poster, for reference.
Cover surface with newspaper or other protective layer. Lightly spray poster with adhesive spray and position the background images so that the entire poster is covered with the pattern. Overlap and trim as necessary. Allow a couple of minutes to dry.
Use glue stick to adhere the Title near the top of the poster board. Be careful to make sure it’s relatively straight.
Below the Title, use the glue stick to put your column headings in place. If you typed up your students’ names to label the rows, also put those in place but make sure you leave room for names of any transfer or new students you might get in the coming months. (Also, pro tip, this is probably obvious but, when a student leaves, just white out their name and replace it with new name of student if you need room.)
(Optional): Use watercolor paint and a brush to lightly paint the background of each column heading and the title. I found this helped them stand out a little better from the background.
Use a T-square or ruler and draw your grid so that each student has a space under each scale where you could put an “X” or a sticker to show success. I recommend tracing the lines in pencil lightly, then going back over with a sharpie.
To use in your studio:
Select a prize or prizes that will appeal to all students that they can earn by completing the chart. Add an additional prize for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd students to finish. In my studio, I offer discounts to adults and special toys for children. For the girls, they win a charm bracelet and with each new prize-winning feat, they get musical charms to add to it.
Instruct students on the rules. Important: Make it so that the student must play the scale correctly multiple times before they pass on to the next scale. I suggest five good repetitions to make sure the scale is truly ingrained in their memories.
When a student “completes” a scale, put a sticker by their name under the scale. Make sure to explain to them that the sticker does not mean that they will never have to play the scale again and plan to do a scale “check-up” a few lessons in the future.
This is my plan on how to encourage students. We shall see if it works or not. Please feel free to comment with tips, suggestions, questions or anything relevant!
I’ll update in a few weeks to let you know how it’s going!
Today, I’m going to share a game that I originally created for my group theory class for 6th graders. Piano students of this age are responsible for knowing the theory for Level I of the LMTA’s Rally Syllabus, for reference.
The game goes like this:
You need an even number of players because the game is played in teams of 2.
First, place the Theory Taboo cards (linked below) in a bowl or hat. Then, inform each team that they have 1 minute per round. During the round, one team will play. One of the partners picks a card and, not using any forbidden words, tries to get the other team member to guess the what’s on the card. For example, if the card has a G scale on it, the players couldn’t say “scale” or “ABCDF or G” to get them to guess. They could say however, “a series of whole steps and half steps, 8 notes, 1 sharp, “which would of course narrow it down to the major or relative minor. When the teammate guesses the correct term, the clue-giver puts the card aside and picks a new card. Play lasts one minute and during that time, the clue-giver tries to get her teammate to guess as many as possible. Then it is the other team’s turn to do for one minute. The teams continue taking turns until the bowl runs out of cards (and the team members switch roles each time its their turn).
Players are allowed to pass the card, in which case the put it back in the bowl, and if players say a forbidden word (i.e. “scale”), then the card is also returned to the bowl.
At the end, whichever team has the most cards in their possession wins.
There are ways to make this game more elaborate, but that will have to wait for another day.
Note: I did not write down the “forbidden” words on each card. I would suggest before you print these (on cardstock) and laminate them, that you add forbidden words on each card. And print on multiple colors of paper to make it look festive.
To download the cards for this game, please follow this link. See a preview of cards below (and pardon my handwriting):
Here’s some summer-themed practice charts to keep your students interested in keeping track of their practice time. Accountability in lessons is a must for me, so my students have an assigned practice goal, a practice chart to track their practice, and, in my studio, they get a sticker by their name on a big chart if they’ve met their goal (where everyone else can see). Anyway, here are the two I’ve recently made to share. To download the full document, follow this link.
This is a follow-up to some posts I made a few years ago that I’ve been meaning to do for ages. Sorry it took me so long!
Anyway, I had made a few board games a couple of years ago and shared them on this blog here and here. And after someone had commented requesting more of these, I’d been meaning to make more but had never gotten around to it. Finally, I sat down to make one and realized my delay had a fitting punishment: I no longer could remember how’d I’d made the original ones (using Microsoft Word, pretty sure). So, after a little battle with the computer, I decided to just hand draw a new board game. So this one printable was truly a labor of love (and perhaps a higher-than-average propensity for crafting). I hope you and your students enjoy it.
Here’s a preview of the game. It’s two 8×11″ pages that you put together. I recommend printing on card stock and laminating. To download, go here.
To play, you’ll need to make a die with only C, D, and E on it. I made a quick template for one, which I’ll share here, but you could just as easily use a regular die and say 1 = C, 2 = D, etc. (Preview the template as an image file here below).
I hope you enjoy. Please let me know if you use it and how it goes!
I created this particular sheet music to introduce playing a simple and familiar piece requested by one of my young students. It uses notes (without the staff) and quarter and half notes. It is also color coded to aid in the student in quickly seeing which note is to be played. I haven’t decided if that was a bad call on my part, but I’m interested to know what any of you think. I suppose time will tell.
If you use it for your students, please provide comments below on how it went!