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Do you enjoy including Halloween-themed activities in your music studio during the month of October? Amy has tried all kinds of stuff over the years, and in this episode, you’ll hear ten items that have made the cut and continue to be staple activities this time of year in her studio.
Related Blog Post – Halloween Favorites: Games, Resources, Graphics & More
Heavy Laminating Sheets (7 mil) – 10 mil would be great too!
- Halloween Video Series
- Shades of Sound Listening and Coloring Book – Halloween
- Spooky Classical Music for Trick-or-Treaters
- Marketing with Halloween Candy
- Favorite Sheet Music Piano Solos for Halloween
- The Ultimate List of Halloween Sheet Music for Piano Students
- Bats & Cats Rhythm Game
- Candy Corn Note Match
- Halloween Rhythm Dictation and Powerpoint
- Trick-or-Treat Rhythm Game
Welcome to episode 88 of The Piano Pantry Podcast. I’m your host, Amy Chaplin, a piano teacher who loves keeping up knowing what’s out there in Independent Music Teacher world. I’ve used all kinds of Halloween-themed goodies over the years in my private and group lessons and am going to dispel for you today 10 of those that have made the cut and stood the test of time.
I want to start out, though by first giving a shout-out to two teachers who were the FIRST to jump into my new Patreon community, Sarah Boyd and Valerie Merrell. They both jumped right in on the same day and are great cheerleaders.! If you don’t know what Patreon is, it’s a place where you can support creators like myself with recurring donations if you feel so moved.
I have to tell you a fun story tied to the launch of Patreon. Valerie – who is a friend and colleague from my state and was actually a guest on Teacher Talk 40, where we both talked about returning to grad school later in life – texted me on September 14.
She said, “Good morning! I just poked around your site a bit just in case you had added a Patreon component and I missed it – I didn’t see anything like that, but please be sure to let me know if you do add it. Your content is well worth it!”
“Oh my goodness,” I told her, “That’s so funny you say that! I’ve been working on putting that together this week!”
Such a crazy coincidence! She went on to say…
“I have always been a DIY-er…and while that has been great in many areas, I have realized over the past couple of years that it is really worth it to me to invest in outside expertise. Even after having that realization, though, I wasn’t really taking action beyond acknowledging the benefit of seeking outside expertise. It’s time to actually take more action!”
…and she did! Welcome to both Valerie and Sarah, who are now two of my Piano Pantry Insiders.
It’s the first week of October, which means that it’s power-hour week. What’s that, you say? Well, power hours are free work sessions I organize on Zoom the first Wednesday of every month from 12-1:00pm Eastern Time. It’s not a coffee date or coaching session but acts as accountability time for you to have a focused one-hour work session to get done whatever you need.
One teacher, who also attended my retreat this past Summer, messaged me after attending the first one in September and said, “Thanks for hosting the power hour today. I was curious to see how it worked and was pleasantly surprised to see how much more I accomplished in an hour when I knew I had to report back what I accomplished!”
Sign up for this month or any of the following months ahead of time using the link in the show notes.
The first three items I’m going to kick off today’s top 10 list with are all Halloween music listening-based.
First off is a video series I published on the Piano Pantry site several years ago that has been a huge hit with a lot of teachers. It’s a compilation of over a dozen Halloween-themed videos, from an epic Toccata and Fugue organ solo to a unique glass harp version of the same piece. There’s Jarrod Radnich’s version of the theme from Harry Potter, Infernal Dance from Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, Dream of the Witches’ Sabbath from Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, and more. While the series is free, there’s also a listening guide available in the Piano Pantry shop for just $5 that includes brief, easy-to-digest background information on each piece and a reflection question. The guide can be useful as support information when including these as part of a group or class activity. You could also use it for individual students’ off-bench music-lab time.
Next up is a coloring book from Jenny at thePlayfulPiano.com. It’s just one of a series she has, called Shades of Sound Listening & Coloring Book. Like my video series, this is something that could be fun to use in a variety of ways. You could extract one coloring page and use it during the start of a group class so students can listen and color while waiting for all students to arrive. You could use it as an actual lab time at the studio, or you could even have it available for students who are waiting for their lesson while their brother or sister is having a lesson.
Third is a list Joy Morin compiled more than ten years ago on her blog of Classical Music to Attract (or Scare) Your Trick-or-Treaters. If you had the time, I would suggest plugging them into your own playlist. Spotify is great for that.
The fourth item on my top 10 list is tied to Joy’s classical music list for trick-or-treaters, and that’s a recommendation from her to use Halloween and trick-or-treating as an opportunity for free marketing! While it’s not exactly a resource, it’s a bit of advice that can stand the test of time. The blog post I linked to in the show notes shows fun little tags she printed and attached to each piece of candy. Of course, this is relative to where you are. If you’re someone like me who lives in the country or a quiet neighborhood – it’s not really that useful, but if you live in a city or busy suburb that gets a lot of trick-or-treaters, it’s a fun and easy way to get your name out there!
The next two are places that are good for finding good Halloween sheet music. First is my own list of my favorite individual sheet music piano solos for Halloween. One year, I embarked on a big project to try out a ton of individual solo sheets. I felt like I wasn’t as familiar with all that was out there as I was with full repertoire books, so I assigned my students lots of individual solo sheets. The project resulted in several posts of favorites, including this one. It includes some you won’t be surprised by, like Nancy Faber’s Zoom Zoom Witches Broom and Kevin Olson’s Haunted Hollow, as well as many more from the Early Elementary through Late Intermediate levels.
Sixth is an ULTIMATE list of Halloween Sheet Music for Piano Students compiled by Oliva Ellis and Davis Dorrough on CreativePianoTeacher.com. In case you missed it, Oliva & Davis were guest hosts on this podcast in August and talked about utilizing lead sheets and chord charts. While I’ve seen lots of posts and shares over the years on Halloween sheet music, they’ve covered the gamut in shocking detail – and I’m not exaggerating.
The last four items on my list are all games and activities that are fun to pull out at any time during the month of October.
First is Susan Paradis’s Bats & Cats Rhythm game. I like this game because it’s short, simple, and visually fun. It can be played in individual lessons or in a group setting in almost a bingo format to see who covers their board first.
The second game is Candy Corn Note Match from Layton Music published clear back in 2008. The candy corns have three parts to them: the bottom yellow part is the keyboard picture, the middle orange part is the note on the staff, and the top white piece is the letter name. Students have to assemble the candy corns with all three parts matching. Like Susan’s, this can be played individually or in a group setting.
The last two games and the final two items in my top 10 list are from Joy Morin. If you didn’t notice, Joy scored 40% of the content in this top 10 list! LOL. First is a fun Halloween-themed PowerPoint with word rhythm dictations such as “Dressing up in costumes” and “Jack-o-lanterns glow tonight.” The first slide in each word rhythm shows the word and then the second slide shows how you might notate it. Since it’s a PowerPoint, I would say it’s best to use during a group class.
Last but not least is the one game that, if anything, I will break out every single year, and that is Joy’s trick-or-treat rhythm game. She just went through and posted a revision of this game that made some great improvements. It includes five different levels of rhythm cards. Treat cards are included so students keep drawing cards and practicing rhythms until they encounter a treat card and can get a special treat from you. It can be played in a solo or group setting. Just a heads up, though, that the rhythm levels are based on how rhythm is approached using an audiation-based approach inspired by music learning theory. For example, level one is just what we call macro and micro beats or big and little beats in both duple and triple meters. To give you a visual, that means you’ll see patterns using quarter notes and eighth notes only in duple meters and in triple meter, dotted quarter notes, and groups of 3 eighth notes, like what you see in compound meter. So just beware that the leveling is a little different than what you might be used to in a traditional method.
There it is! My top 10 favorite Halloween resources! I hope you have enjoyed this little list and either discovered one new item or were maybe reminded of something you had forgotten about. Don’t drop off yet – I have a really good tiny tip coming up at the very end.
First, I wanted to give you a heads-up that next week, you’re going to hear from our next guest host, and – I’m telling you – it’s an exciting one! To make sure you don’t miss it, be sure and hit that subscribe button so new episodes will download automatically to your device. If you’ve been enjoying this podcast, I would appreciate it if you would also take a moment to rate and review the show so it becomes easier for other teachers to find on the podcast apps. The more ratings, the better the search results!
Today’s tiny tip is to laminate laminating sheets – yep, that’s what I said – that’s what I mean! Take a blank laminating sheet and run it through the laminator. Use these as a way of propping up papers in front-facing magazine holders that might want to fall over and get all bent up or for giving more sturdiness behind a magazine or piece of paper that you might want to sit out with information. I like to sit things out on like a desktop easel and sometimes it just gets all crinkled up and folded over.
I’ve used these clear laminated sheets a lot over the years in various places in my studio. The thicker laminating sheets work better because it gives you a really solid base to hold things up straight. The sheets that I use I think are 7 millimeters. The clear sheet means you can still see what you need to see – especially if you’re putting it in front of something! Brilliant, right?!
Well, maybe not brilliant, but I thought it was a pretty clever idea myself! LOL
See you next week!