Manipulatives and Games for Private and Group Lessons

A Master List

How many manipulatives, games, and other resources do you have in your music studio?

You probably don’t even have to count to know the answer. A lot!  Am I right?

Keeping track of all our teaching resources can be a daunting task.

Lesson planning for private and group classes can be enough work in itself without having to continuously recall and rehash all the different manipulatives and games we have each time we plan.

After finding myself physically walking back and forth regularly to my game files, flashcard box and such, I decided it was time to put together a master list of every activity or manipulative I had or could use to teach a concept.

It can be very easy to lose track of what we already have. Having a document like this has allowed me to not only have an easy place to reference what activities I could utilize at any given time, but it was an awesome snapshot and inventory of what I owned.

Keeping a master list is also a great place to keep teaching ideas that may not necessarily have physical items to accompany the activity.

I thought you might find this document useful as well.


The Master List

Since it is a document that I update on a regular basis I decided to simply share the public link to a Google Doc. Keep in mind that it’s a working document so it’s possible I will add to, edit, and even remove items as time goes by.

There are three ways you could utilize this document

  1. If you want to keep the document as is and not risk being at the mercy of my future edits, you could download it.
  2. If you want to always see the updated version, I would recommend bookmarking the link in your browser (or in Evernote :-). This way you simply click on the link and you always see the most updated version.
  3. If you wanted to create your own list you could even copy and paste into your own document to get you started and create your own version with the materials you have!

I’m working on hyperlinking directly to every item on the list if it’s available. It’s not complete but I have a good start.

May this document help you add a little more sanity to your lesson planning and studio organizational life. 🙂

Click the link below to view the document.

Manipulatives and Games for Private and Group Lessons


Game Day Roundup for your Studio and Kitchen

This coming weekend much of America revels in Super Bowl Sunday. In honor of the upcoming festivities, today’s post is a round-up of ideas for the upcoming week.

I’ll be sharing some football-themed resources from around the web for this week’s lessons, a few of my favorite game-day eats to spark your taste buds before you hit the grocery, and a couple of personal memories of years past.

First, a personal memory.

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Announcing Piano Pantry’s First Big Resource!

One of the first posts I wrote on this blog back in March 2016 was about my addiction to designing assignment sheets.

Since I’m a one-woman show here on Piano Pantry, it’s taken me until now to figure out the technical side of how to make this resource available to you in the best way possible. I like things to look clean, well-laid out, and organized.

I spent last weekend setting up “Assignment Sheet Central” here on Piano Pantry.

There are 15 assignment sheets of all kinds of sizes, shapes, and colors (well, not exactly, but the phrase seemed to work here). 🙂

The best thing? There are MORE to come! I have at least another ten sheets ready to be added to the page on top of the 15 already there. It takes me about 20 minutes per sheet to get it onto the website, so I didn’t want to have to wait until I got all 25+ up to make it available to you!

Hopefully, 15 choices are enough to get you started!

Swapping up assignment sheets every 6-12 months is just one way I keep things fresh.

The resource page can be accessed from the main menu at the top or click here:

Assignment Sheet Central

Let me know what you think!



Assignment Sheet Addiction

It’s Small, White and Written All Over…

The iconic spiral-bound notebook. Is there a piano student in all the world who can be found without one? One of the first, if not THE first one I had was small (approximately 3″ x 5″) with a red cover and side spiral. I kept it for years but cannot seem to find it in my old memorabilia. Knowing me, I probably threw it away during one of my “reduce and minimize” streaks.

This image reminds me very much of what the well-used notebooks of my childhood looked like.


As a teacher, I used notebooks for years, but in my effort to grow and manage the structure of lessons better I started making my own assignment sheets. I distinctly remember this as a period of intense growth and scrutiny of myself as a teacher as I was in the early stages of my graduate studies.

During this time, I was trying to figure out how to be a piano teacher as opposed to a classroom music teacher. Although I had been teaching piano part-time for years, it felt like a whole new world as I learned about true piano pedagogy. I had no idea there was so much that should be incorporated into the lesson!

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Dynamic and Tempo Meter

Adagio, Andante, Allegro, Modera…whaaa?

Have you ever had moments when you feel like banging your head against the wall during a lesson with a student? Those moments seem to happen to me most often with musical terms and symbols. I’m not shy to say there are times I’m screaming in my head “Seriously, how many times have we used this term during lessons? It’s called a ‘staccato!'”  while my more experienced and sensible teacher-side calmly says“Ssssttttaaaa” trying to draw the word out of them with a verbal cue or gives them multiple choice.

When asked what the term Andante” means, the student looks at you with a sideways glance, eyes squinting slightly in uncertainty as if they had just eaten a piece of sour candy, hands twisting, and mind whirling. “It means…it means like slow….or well, maybe fast?”

At this moment, my teacher-conviction takes over, and I remember:

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