Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas

Time to decorate the studio and waiting room! I just did some minimal decorating this year, but wanted to share.....I always like to see pictures to get ideas!

Each year, I bring out the bells and all my students have fun playing their lesson songs (or any Christmas songs they want to sight read) on the bells. Beginners and advanced students alike enjoy this change of pace. We even sight read duets together. I only bring these out at Christmas so they don't become "old".

Last year, I had a 4 part bell choir at my Christmas concert. This year, I am having 2 duets instead. I am using a small book of Christmas pieces arranged for 2 C instruments (flute, violin, or oboe) and its working well with the bells.

Here are some decorations---

Some pretty things by the digital.
Outside the window, I hung a Christmas birdhouse next to all my feeders.
(One day my student was playing a woodpecker song...
and a woodpecker came to the feeder!--how lucky!!)
It still looks like fall here in Annapolis!

Just a baby tree this year.

I read somewhere to find everything you have that is alike
and display it as a collection....
so here are my snowmen.
The ornament hanger is from Ikea.

Music IS the food of love....and life!

I bought this at a craft show in Cleveland.
The students can arrange the manger scene in their own way
(the foam characters are backed with velcro).
This is hanging on the markerboard to encourage fun play.

Window clings that I put on the marker board.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I am grateful for 
  • my studio
  • my students
  • the ability to share what I do here
  • all those teachers who read my blog posts
Happy Thanksgiving everyone and thanks for reading!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Christmas CD Project

In the midst of all our Thanksgiving games and "Fall at the Mall" recital prep, my students are also preparing for our first Christmas CD project. Each student was given an assignment to list their favorite Christmas songs. The following week, we go "shopping" for editions they can play from my library of Christmas Sight reading books. Combined with their old repertoire in some cases, my students then begin to practice (or review) one or two songs at a time. We record each polished and completed piece and put it on a CD. 

The CD's will be given to parents and grandparents as a very special Christmas gift.

Here is what I'm using to create a decent quality recording:
  • Instrument Microphone and boom
  • Tascam digital recorder
  • itunes

Each piece is recorded and placed into an individual playlist for that student in my itunes folder. From there I can burn the CD. The nice part is that the recorder works on batteries or I can hook it into my laptop for juice. The whole thing transports around the studio really easily so I can record on the piano, harpsichord, or organ (I use the organ setting on my digital piano).

Here is the whole thing set up as we actually use it-- and it doesn't take up much space at all.

Here is an example of the sound quality-
(begins at around 10 seconds...I guess I'd better improve my editing skills)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Mr. Turkey's Feathers

This is one "major"-ly confused turkey! 

Our studio game this week is to name the key by giving Mr. Turkey back his feathers. The more keys the student can name, the better Mr. Turkey likes it!
Feathers can be placed back on Mr. Turkey via a given key signature on a flashcard, or just given orally (as I often do). 

 I can also use the feathers of Mr. Turkey to drill beginners on identifying a letter on the piano. Or a flashcard, for that matter. This week I have used Mr. Turkey with my younger students who play 5-finger scales. As they play them in the lesson, if they can also spell them, they get to put that feather on Mr. Turkey. 

Here is Mr. Turkey on the back side. 

Here's how I made him....
  1. I bought a cheap cheap cheap turkey table top decoration at Micheal's Crafts and omitted the paper fan of feathers. 
  2. I cut the bottom off and glued it to a large Popsicle stick (like on a hand fan so the student can hold it in their hand).  
  3. I covered the mess on the back with a piece of purple foam the shape of the turkey. 
  4. Then I traced the feathers on the turkey's side and cut feathers out of foam pages and glued them to mini clothespins. (The colors were randomly chosen.) 
  5. I used stickers and fabric paint to decorate the feathers. 
  6. The final touch was glitter- mainly because the 2 things my students absolutely LOVE is a new game and GLITTER! So I combined the best of both!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thanksgiving Songs

 I'm not the most crafty person on the planet, but I was able to put together a study aid for beginning students that help prep them for some Middle C position pieces this month. Susan Paradis has a lot of wonderful fall-themed and Thanksgiving pieces that use this position and I'm always looking for Thanksgiving-themed ideas.

I made the Pilgrim hat out of foam pages and a paper cup. The apples are stickers that I affixed to a piece of red construction paper circles. On the back of the apple are the letter names that I also created by using stickers. I used a visually different apple sticker for the F# and B flat.

We first choose a song to play, then using the letters of that song, the student picks one apple at a time out of the pilgrim hat and places it on the appropriate key. The student is also asked to place an apple on a key as I point to the note in the piece, to reinforce the newly learned note-reading skills.