Freebie of the Week! Young Beginner Sheet Music

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!


Download here – Mary Had a Little Lamb

 Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 1.40.00 PM

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Teaching the Young Beginner – More lessons learned

As I’ve taken on more younger students in my studio, I’ve been learning a whole lot about teaching the young beginner.  Here’s some of what I’ve learned lately.  It might be obvious to many of you, but for those that don’t accept young students, it might encourage you to give it a try.

  1. Definitely don’t rely on the materials in any one or (several) method books to be enough to reinforce concepts or to be engaging enough to introduce them.  I’ve used Bastien, Faber, and Alfred’s young beginner series extensively, but I am constantly supplementing them with worksheets I make myself or that I find online.
  2.  Always have a back-up plan in case your tiny tot comes to lessons that day and has forgotten or “forgotten” everything they’ve learned so far.  The tiny can be unpredictable this way.  This usually will mean teaching the same concept with a different game, activity, and/or worksheet.
  3. Allow tiny tot to improvise EVERY lesson, even if he or she is not yet ready to do most things on the piano.
  4. Structure to lessons.  Make sure your lessons are predictably structured so that the child learns how lessons will work.  Do be reactive entirely to the child’s mood.  My new plan for structure will go something like this:
    • Wash hands
    • Improvise
    • Review Finger Numbers and RH and LH
    • Review last material
    • Introduce new concept
    • Apply new concept thru a game.
  5. Review, review, review.  Just when you think they’ve nailed a concept, the child will have it completely upside down and will need to re-learn.
  6. Hide your dog or other cute and distracting pet.  I have a shih tzu named Petunia who mostly just lies around while I teach, which is normally fine, but the younger students get incredibly distracted wanting to pet her and play with her.
  7. Beta-test any games you create for your students.  It is not ideal to figure out that you’ve forgotten a key piece of the game or made a rule that doesn’t make sense when you are in the middle of playing with a young child.  Play the game before you try it in the lesson with an at-least-semi-willing adult.
  8. Remember, some days tiny tots will have bad moods, not feel like cooperating, or just be in the mood to do the opposite of what they are supposed to do.  On those days, take deep breaths and do the best you can!piano lessons

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First Groupmuse Hosted – Success!

Well, I survived hosting my first Groupmuse concert here in New Orleans and, I must say, it was an overall wonderful experience.


If you haven’t read about Groupmuse before, see my post to learn a little about it.  Groupmuse is a platform that connects people who wish to host classical music recitals in their home (or office) with performers and concertgoers.  Now that it is in New Orleans, I’ve attended two Groupmuse events, one held by the President of the New Orleans Opera and the one I hosted myself.


So far, I’ve had a blast both as an attendee and as a host.  At the first Groupmuse I attended, the concert was given by a clarinetist, bassoonist, and pianist.  At my Groupmuse, I hosted a violinist, Eva Liebhaber, and a cellist, Rachel Hseih.  Both musicians were members of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and drew audience members therefrom.


Not to downplay the truly lovely performances I’ve so far seen, I wanted to talk about how much Groupmuse appears to be creating a vibrant community of classical musicians and lovers.  At my Groupmuse, I met many LPO members, interested future hosts, local composers, singers, conductors, avid fans, and all around interesting and good people.  As a pianist, which can often be isolating, it was really lovely to spend time talking with other musicians of different disciplines.  We even spoke of collaboration in the future!

I also appreciate the community Groupmuse fosters by providing more intimate, relaxed, classical concerts in a salon-like atmosphere.  New Orleans is not a city with a huge chamber music scene (although there are Birdfoot Festival and Friends of Music), and this makes that music more available to New Orleans concertgoers who have an especial interest in this music.  Lastly, I love that Groupmuse will provide a new outlet for classical musicians to perform in this city.  In a city with a million jazz clubs and blues dive bars, it can be hard to participate in the vibrant musical culture as a classical musician because there just aren’t as many less-formal environments in which to perform as there are with other genres.  I think the accessibility of these concerts will encourage and even drive more classical musicians to share their solo or chamber works and make the community that much better.

With that said, it’s time to schedule my next hosting event!

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Freebie Friday! Worksheet for Intermediate/Advanced Music Theory Student (with answer key!)

This worksheet is pretty simple.  It is designed for the student who has learned how to recognize and draw the following key signatures:  C Major, G Major, D Major, A Major, and E Major.  Additionally, it is designed for a student that has some experience playing and recognizing basic chord progressions; I’ve included two in this sheet and asked the student to identify the key and the chord (by roman numeral).  The chord progressions are ii-V-I (from Jazz Theory book by Levine) and IV-V-I.

Lest students find this worksheet with it’s key online, I’m going to share only by request.  Comment below, comment on my Facebook page, or email me and I will gladly send the answer key your way.

WORKSHEET_key signatures and chord progressions

key signature worksheet pic

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Freebie Friday! Find C, D, and E on the piano.

Happy Friday everyone!

In today’s giveaway, I’d like to share a quick worksheet I made to help reinforce learning note placement on the keyboard.  This sheet is limited to the notes in the two black key group, C, D, and E.  can be given as a homework assignment following playing my Memory Matching Game (preferably using the C, D, and E cards only if the student is very young).

Without further ado, please enjoy this worksheet.  Comment below if you use it and let me know how it went!

CDE worksheet

Download here.

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Announcement: Hosting my very first Groupmuse concert

For those of you who haven’t yet heard of Groupmuse, it is platform designed to pair people who want to perform classical music with people willing to host their performance and people wanting to attend.  It’s basically a classical music house party.  The event is different from your average classical music concert in that it is much more casual; events are often BYOB and offer floor seating.  It’s also different in that it tends to bring together a particular community of all ages (classical music lovers) and encourages them to engage with one another socially.   You can read more about Groupmuse here or learn about them straight from the source at

At the first Groupmuse I attended here in New Orleans, I ran into musicians I knew, met some members of the local orchestra I didn’t know, met the President of the New Orleans Opera, and many more interesting classical fans. And, I got to hear some great chamber music.  What could be better?

My event is long in the planning – I first heard of Groupmuse years ago, but it had not yet made it to New Orleans, so I had to wait patiently.  Finally, my patience was rewarded and I am thrilled.  This movement will bring new life to the New Orleans classical scene and encourage more performances of solo and chamber works.

If you are in New Orleans and would like to attend, the event starts at 7:30.  You can get all the details by following this link.

Hope to see some of you there!  If not, please check out and support Groupmuse in your area or plan to attend the next one in New Orleans which is on May 31, 2017.


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Freebie! Name the note on keyboard worksheet.

I recently created this simple worksheet to help my young students learn where the notes are on the piano.  I find that between the Faber, Bastien, and Alfred very young beginner books, there just aren’t enough activities, worksheets, etc to reinforce the concepts week-to-week.  So I’m in the process of making several.

This one is simple.  It shows either a 2 black key group or a 3 black key group with a white key colored in and then asks the student to name the note.  Important to note that the entire musical alphabet (not sharps or flats) is covered on this one sheet, so make sure the student has already been taught all the notes in order to use this effectively.

WORKSHEET_Id notes all

WORKSHEET_Identify the Notes on the piano

One way of teaching keyboard note recognition is the game I shared in my last post.  Check it out if you need an engaging game to teach note names to young ones.  You can break up the deck into just a few notes at a time or play with all of the notes, once all the notes have been introduced and become familiar.

Anyway, to get the worksheet, simply click on the image below and it should download.  Happy Teaching!  (And Mother’s Day!)

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