As promised in my last post “So your child wants to quit music lessons?“, here is a list of modern pop/rock songs for piano that you can introduce to your child or student (in no particular order). I plan on adding songs to the list as they are released or discovered. *Disclaimer: some are not appropriate for kids but would still be good matches for young adult/adult students.
- “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars
- “Jar of Hearts” by Cristina Perri(more…)
Is every lesson day a struggle? Not to mention practice… forget that! If your kid wants to throw in the towel on music lessons here are a few things to consider or try:
1. Change up the repertoire!
Does your child sing when they think no one is listening? Do they listen to any music regularly on their iPod/iTouch/etc? What music do they ask you to play on the radio in the car? Whatever music excites your child, try that first! If your child doesn’t seem to have a musical preference then check out my list of recommendations in my next post “45 Modern Pop/Rock Songs for Piano” (I’ll do a guitar list soon)! Ask your child’s teacher to pick a good match and CRANK UP the distortion on the amp or play the piano with gusto! And remember, you PAY the teacher! The teacher wants to keep their student base… so don’t be afraid to be truthful with them about your child’s attitude toward lessons (though I’m sure they’ve probably noticed )!
Since last September, I’ve been working diligently to bring you the first book in a series designed to help parents teach their children music… even if they don’t know music!
While most children begin school with a head start on letters, numbers, colors and even words, they’ve had little or no exposure to reading music or learning music theory. This unfortunate trend shouldn’t be surprising as there are almost no resources that enable parents, especially non-musical parents, to teach their children music. Often, it isn’t until a child is enrolled in private lessons or takes a class at school (if their school is fortunate enough to even have a music program) that they have any music learnin
Though it’s *technically* spring now, it’s 17 degrees right now in Chicago.
I don’t do well in cold weather. I am self-diagnosed SAD (seasonal affective disorder). I lose my zeal for life, I’m terrible at calling friends back, I’m not very productive, I forget to put on makeup… I have SAD bad (Dr. Seuss anyone? “Dad is sad. Dad had a bad day”). When we were in college, my husband wrote a song “Always Winter, Never Christmas” (inspired by C.S.Lewis’ book “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe). You don’t need to hear the lyrics to know it was really, really sad… (more…)
This photo isn’t me but I’ve decided that I *must* dig up a photo of me in front of my big ol’ player piano!
When I was a young piano student, there were a couple of challenges I regularly gave myself. You know, just because:
- How fast can this song be played?
- Can I play it from memory?
- Could I do both of the above, with my eyes closed?
I LOVED playing my beautiful, old, hand-me-down player piano (complete with giant scrolls that could be activated by pumping the built-in oversized foot pedal) with everything my little soul had to offer. Later, after a couple cross-country moves, when my piano didn’t make the moving-truck-cut, I would crank up the volume on my little Yamaha keyboard, select the “church organ” sound and play Phantom of the Opera for the whole neighborhood to enjoy… err… I mean, I loved it, why wouldn’t everyone else?
All these years later I still love making and listening to good music… (more…)
I saw this and just HAD to share! Wouldn’t you love one of these in your house or studio?!?
I’d like to tell you a story and share I song I wrote, so grab a cup of coffee, get comfy on the couch…
A couple years ago I was working at a therapy/rehab center running music therapy groups for adults with mental and physical disabilities. It wasn’t an easy job. We were understaffed, underpaid and under resourced, as is the case in many of these types of organizations. I led groups as small as 2 clients and as big as 30, often without a helper (it wasn’t uncommon to have a chair thrown at me or to have to stop a session so I could keep a client from banging their own head against the wall).
There was one therapy group that made up for the daily craziness, though, and in it was my favorite client, for the sake of privacy I’ll call her Sarah. Sarah was probably 3 years older than me. She had a very expressive face, she would look at you with a beautiful, beaming smile… or, sometimes (not often) cry tears that would break your heart.
Sarah was living her life in a wheel chair. She couldn’t speak but communicated by opening her hand to signal “yes” and closing it to signal “no”. One of my coworkers, who had worked with Sarah from the start, told me that Sarah wasn’t always like this. They said that she was a totally functional, healthy teenager until one day when she developed a neurological disorder. It was slowly taking away her abilities, one by one.*
Before I even purchased “SHHHH… Your Piano Teacher Thinks This Is Practice” I knew it was going to be a wonderful resource. I saw the 3 sample pages and thought, “this husband/wife combo is brilliant!”
This book truly makes practicing fun for students! I’ve been testing it out on my students during their lessons and the results are remarkable! THE KIDS LOVE IT! Which means… they’ll practice because they want to (there’s almost nothing better than that for a teacher)!
I’ve been gleaning a lot from Victor Wooten in his book, “The Music Lesson”… here is a video that sums up one of the chapters. He shares a lot of rich, helpful advice and great teaching metaphors! Check it out!
In my last post I showed you the treasure chest that I use with my students for extrinsic motivation. This time I’m letting you in on an experiment that I’m implementing in September. After the Summer Olympics and all of the excitement that comes with it, I decided to commence Lesson Olympics.
From September 1 through December 14, my students will be competing for Gold, Silver and Bronze medals (you can buy them at oriental trading.com here
- You can even get them personalized!). The following activities earn the student points: (more…)