Friday, June 28, 2013

Whats in my Cupboard? 5



I couldn't say how many books I've purchased in the past years. Some I've used and some I haven't. As teachers, we all know some are better than others. But I have collected the ones I like and put them in my shelves and marked each book (on the inside cover) by level. I also put my studio sticker on each, so students can identify them at home as my book and not theirs.

I was broad in my levels- only making 5;  A B C D and E. I did the same with my Christmas books. Now, as a part of my Sight-reading Award offered in my studio, my students can choose any book they like from the boxes BELOW their current reading level and sight-read the entire book.

Sight-reading works this way- the books should be beneath the student's current reading level, and should be easy enough for the student to just quickly read and count each one, page after page without having to go back and practice or work on any sections. This not only builds sight-reading skills, but it builds rhythm skills, and fingering skills.

The following week, I choose 3 random pieces from the book for the student to count and play. I can be a fussy or as lenient as I desire for that particular student. I can overlook a small note error, or insist on each and every dynamic and phrase. This depends on the ability of the student or if they have other learning difficulties.

When the student successfully plays the 3 pieces I picked, they receive credit for the book. If they don't, they take the book home again, and the following week I pick 3 different pieces. When they have completed 20 books, they earn the Sight Reading Trophy.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summertime Imagination


Use modeling clay to back these creative "buttons". Then let your imagination run wild with uses on and off the piano! I have the student spell 5-finger scales, triads, show letter names, accidentals, place them on staff paper for line and space notes, and place these on the correct piano key for flashcards. Or as seen above, I can make the scale myself and ask the student whats wrong!

These mini ice cream cones are fun. I put all sorts of things inside them for the student to pick. I have put beads in them and the student plays an improvised measure of music containing the same number of beats as there are beads. I've put letter names inside them and the student has to name the enharmonic, play the scale, or the triad. I've put numbers in them so the student plays the corresponding interval- it makes drilling more fun than just plain quizzing.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Student Awards


Last weekend I held my annual end-of-the-year Awards Recital. At this recital, my students finally receive the awards they've been working on all year.


In my studio I have several awards that my students can earn. In September, they set goals for the year by choosing which awards they want to work toward earning. Then they begin work to achieve those goals by June. In this post I will highlight 3 awards offered in my studio.

Shown above are my "Blue Ribbon Practice Awards". Each week at the end of the student's lesson, I rate their ability to demonstrate their home practice on their assignment from the previous week. The student earns a rating between 1 and 5 (the student receives the same number of beads for their practice chain). Students who receive a 4 or 5 rating each week for the whole academic year earn the Blue Ribbon Practice Award.

Here is another award students can earn. This is the "Listening Trophy". Students earn 25 points during the course of the academic year by borrowing CD's from my library. CDs are of many genres; symphonic literature, piano literature, jazz, ragtime, piano in pop music, and other CDs highlighting different timbres. They take the CD home, listen to it, and draws a picture of what the music reminds them of or how the music makes them feel. For this they earn 1 point. When the student attends a live concert or performs in a recital or school concert, they earn 2 points. Proof of attendance or participation is required. When they earn a total of 25 points, they aren the Listening Trophy.

This is the "PIANOlympic Gold Medal". Students earn this by performing technical challenges perfectly on the piano from their PIANOlympic Book. The student must perform a minimum of 8 technical challenges to earn the medal. The student's name and number of challenges are engraved on the back of the medal. This year the highest number of technicals challenges earned by a student was 25!