To Everything There is a Season

I love teaching piano.  A lot.  I love it more than any other job I’ve had, except being a mom.  We waited quite awhile for our children to come to our family.  After 5 1/2 years of marriage, we adoped a beautiful baby girl.  When she was 4 years old, we brought home an 18 month old son.  Ten months later, we brought home another son who was almost 2.  Seven months later, we brought home a 7 month old daughter. 

It was quite a time for us.  We went from one child to 4 in just under a year and a half.  Each child brought many blessings, but also unique challenges.  Piano gave me something else to think about during the 20 or so daily diaper changes, bottles, and the endless mischief and destruction that my boys always seemed to be in to.  The few hours in the afternoon that I spent teaching piano were a welcome reprieve from the chaos that seemed to rule my life. 

The Family, when the children were 7, 4, 4, and 2

The Family, when the children were 7, 4, 4, and 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t imagine a time that I wouldn’t want to teach piano.  Until now, that is.  My mischievous boys are in second grade this year, and my baby is in Kindergarten.  My oldest is in 5th grade.  I was blessed to land a part-time teaching job in our school district.  It’s wonderful.  I can teach when they are at school, and we can be together in the afternoons.  I went from 21 students taking 45 minute lessons last year down to a mere 3 students this year.  Now, I have time to do homework, talk after school, and simply spend time with my children.  I cherish this time, and am so thankful for it.  I have all the time in the world to be a piano teacher, but this is the only time that my children will be young, and I want to be with them as much as I can.

The other wonderful thing about this whole arrangement is that I finally have time to teach my 3 little ones piano.  We all know how hard it can be teaching your own children, but I am going to do all that I can to make it work.  To this end, it is my goal to post at least weekly about various activities and such that I do with my children during their lessons.  Since they are mine, they can have more than one lesson a week, and I can pull out many of the wonderful resources that I sometimes don’t get to use.  We are having a great time, and my little ones are pretty excited to be mommy’s piano students, too.  They have waited for this for a long time, and I am glad that I can accomodate their wishes.

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“Piano is Fun” Computer Game Chart

Since so many students are naturally competitive, I made a chart to track their progress on the Piano is Fun note naming game.  Students are not competing against anyone, but it sure does motivate them to do the lessons so they can get a sticker on the square.  This chart will print on 2 pages of paper, and I just trimmed and taped them together.

Piano is Fun Chart

Great Give-a-Way!

Head on over to Laura’s Blog  for the chance to win a Composers Activity Pack.  It looks like tremendous fun, and is a great price even if you don’t win the drawing.  Good Luck!

Christmas Songs

If you haven’t seen it yet, head on over to Susan’s Piano Teacher Resources site.  She is posting some wonderful Christmas songs for pre-readers and primer level students.  I already have these printed to use with my students this week.

I have also done up a few Christmas songs, hopefully with a few more to come in the following weeks.  Here’s what I have for now, though!

oh-come-all-ye-faithfulOh, Come All Ye Faithful

Away in a Manger

Joy to the World

Christmas Bells and Have a Very Merry Christmas

Stars Were Gleaming

Summer Ice Cream Challenge

This past summer I wanted to do something a bit different for our practice incentive. I decided to do a Summer Ice Cream Challenge. It was really quite simple. I printed ice cream cones and ice cream scoops, cut them apart, and laminated them so they would last for future use. For each 10 points a student earned, I awarded them with a scoop to add to their cone. Students earned points for meeting practice and performance goals.

At the end of the summer, we had a party for students who had a minimum of 4 scoops. Yeah, this was easy to attain, but since I had several students who were going to be gone for much of the summer, it worked well. At our party we had ice cream – of course – with lots of toppings to choose from. Afterwards, we watched Bugs Bunny’s Overtures to Disaster. The kids loved it, and it was low-stress for me.

Just a word of warning – I cut out a LOT of ice cream scoops. Most of it was done during my kids’ swimming lessons, when I was just sitting with little to do. If this had been a year-long incentive program, I would have gotten really tired of cutting! It would be much easier to cut the ice cream cones and scoops from a die cut. Check your local scrapbooking store or school to see if they have one you could use.

Christmas Rhythms

Mix up the rhythms from eight Christmas carols, and have students place them in the correct order. There is an assortment of rhythms from easy to more complex for many levels of students.

I also did up rhythms for two Hanukkah songs – My Dreidl, and Chunukah. For some odd reason, I made up these rhythms to read from the top of the first column down, then the second column down. Not that it matters, since they get all mixed up after they are cut!

Christmas Rhythms

Christmas Rhythms

Hanukkah Rhythms

 

 

Ice Cream Keyboard Matching Game

Ahh, more procrastination. My student teacher has some primer students who need a little more practice identifying notes on the keyboard. So, here is a yummy game to play to help learn those notes. Cut each ice cream scoop from the cone, and have students match them back up. There are 3 sets of ice cream cones, so each key gets to be on the vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry scoop. These could also be easily mounted to a file folder, making a cute folder game.

Ice Cream Key NamesIce Cream Keyboard Matching Game