A Great Game for Reviewing Major Chords and 5-finger Patterns

Don’t you just love it when you come up with an activity or game that turns out to be a real winner making you wish you had thought of it sooner? I had one of those moments recently and wanted to share the activity with you right away as it was such a hit.

I was looking for a fun way to do a big review of all the 5-finger patterns and chords in preparation for a festival in which a few students will be participating.

The only game I really have for that concept is one of my favorite TCW card games (that’s Three Cranky Women if you’re not familiar) – Flashy Fingers.

Most of the TCW card games though are not made for students just learning, or even in the early-mid stages of mastering any particular concepts. They really have to know their stuff to play most of the games. Believe me, I’ve tried a lot of their games with students who didn’t know the information like the back of their hand and it makes the game a lot harder and not nearly as much fun if they have to sit there for a minute to even figure out the answer.

Don’t get me wrong, they are high quality, wonderful games (I own every card deck in the series), they’re just more useful once the student really knows what they’re doing. The games really help students learn to think faster about concepts they already know and understand well.

Just because particular games are made to be played one way doesn’t mean we can’t utilize them in another, so that’s what I did!

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Lesson Planning

A king-size master spreadsheet

lesson-planning-a-king-size-master-spreadsheet

When I started teaching piano full time, one of the biggest challenges for me personally was finding a method for lesson planning, tracking student progress, and materials.

The latter item I’ve mastered using Evernote (see Evernote Part 1: Studio Mangement), but the first two I struggled with for several years (I’ll avoid sharing the details of my failed attempts!)

We all know the best way to learn is to make mistakes and find a better way on our own, and that’s what I did.

One thing I’ve learned about myself is I’m a very visual person. I don’t do well simply making a note or two here or there for items I need to remember for students for their next lesson. I need to see the big picture. For one semester I even tried somewhat “winging it,” without writing down anything before the lesson and I felt kind of out of control and disorganized.

Finally, in 2014 I was inspired by an article in the September/October 2014 Issue of Clavier Companion written by Arlene Steffen, Stephen Hughes, and Craig Sale called “Lesson Plans: A teaching essential?” (I would highly recommend you read it!)

Thanks to their detailed article, my king spreadsheet was born. 

Because a spreadsheet like this will be completely customized to your teaching style (and studio calendar), it doesn’t do me any good to give you a copy of mine. So, in this post, not only do I walk you through the details of what I include, but I’ve also created a video showing you through how to create your version.  I’ll show you tips and tricks for using Excel like a pro! Continue reading

5-Days of Giveaways | 01: Music Moves for Piano

 

In celebration of the one-year anniversary of Piano Pantry, I wanted to do something big for you all as a “thank you” for giving this newbie (me!) a shot in this blogosphere world. So THANK YOU!

Here’s the kicker – I’m only giving away items that I currently use and love. Three days will be prizes worth around $20 including one “foodie” giveaway, and two days will be BIG with one worth up to $75 and the other worth $90.

 

Today’s Giveaway is sponsored by Marilyn Lowe, author, and creator of Music Moves for Piano. I was blessed to get to know Marilyn and be trained by her during my training in Music Learning Theory and Music Moves for Piano through the Gordon Institute August 2016 in Boston. You can read more about that here.

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