Category Archives: Teaching Aids

A Simple Guide to Teach Major Scales Without a Book

A simple step-by-step start to major scales

Click here for the special price

I am excited to share with you a special offer on a simple guide to teach major scales without a book taught by the outstanding pedagogy teacher, Elizabeth Gutierrez. She is extending this offer to my followers, for a special price before it goes live to the public.

This course was originally part of the 2017 Piano Camp for Piano Teachers, so if you have purchased the 2017  bundle in the past, you already have this. But for those of you who didn’t, and are not able to attend PCPT in person, it is now available as a stand alone class for only $37.00 for a limited time. Included with the price is lifetime access to it across all your devices. Plus, Elizabeth is adding a couple of more modules of additional help.

Course Description

Why wait until students can read a scale book and understand key signatures before starting scales? You can start students easily with scales once they know steps and skips at the keyboard. Elizabeth shares a tried and true method for introducing scales in a highly visual, auditory, and kinesthetic manner to confirm understand of all 12 major scales in just a few weeks! All without a book! When students are finished with this system, they will be able to move easily into playing one octave scales with the traditional fingerings.

The course contains a video lesson plus 4 PDF handouts.

Course Enhancements Coming Soon

  • A week-to-week assignment plan for an average age beginners so you will have a better idea of how to progress from week to week.
  • A video of an actual student performing scales


Elizabeth’s system will get your primer-level students (any age, even 4-5 year olds) started on scales in a very straightforward, understanding way. No more waiting until method books introduce scales. She begins this step-by-step teaching plan when students have demonstrated a good grasp of steps vs. skips on the keyboard and on the staff.

This system works beautifully for beginners of all ages and it’s especially helpful for teaching transfer students who need serious review or who have never learned scales at all. The reason it can be used with pre-schoolers who have learned whole and half steps, is because it is all on the keyboard, without a book!

If you are an adult who always wanted to learn some music theory, you can enroll in this program and guide yourself along quite easily. 

Home school parents who have some background in music will learn how to teach their students scales in all the keys. Once students are finished with this two-hand method, it will be easy to move into key signatures and the circle of fifths. It will help students who want to learn how to play with church groups or take theory exams.

Access this course anytime, on demand, across all your devices. All the PDF handouts are downloadable so you can use them again and again with your students.

The good news: You get the pre-launch price of $37.00! Hooray!

The bad news: You have to grab this before Sunday, Feb. 18 at midnight Central time.

About Elizabeth

Founder ELIZABETH GUTIERREZ began Piano Camp for Piano Teachers in 2009 as an extension of her instructional blog for piano teachers. She has years of experience teaching piano, piano pedagogy, and piano literature to undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Texas at San Antonio. She has given numerous workshops and master classes to working independent teachers around the globe both in person and via livestream on Facebook and Periscope and also as a national clinician for Faber Piano Adventures. For her workshops and online courses, she draws on her extensive background as an independent teacher, professor, performer, and composer/editor/author.

Filed under Elementary Music, Preschool Music Resources, Teaching Aids, Teaching Business, Texas State Theory Test

Valentine Card Envelope Tutorial

Envelope For Valentine Card

I had some requests for the envelope to match the Valentine’s card I posted recently, so I decided to post the template with a tutorial in case you want to make one. You can find the Valentine’s card here.

Now if you have a very large music studio, cutting out a bunch of envelopes is probably not something you want to do. But if you have a child or grandchild who takes piano, or if you only have a few students, it really doesn’t take much time to cut this out. And with an envelope, you can even insert a special treat!

This template is for standard 8.5″ x 11″ US letter size paper. I’m not sure if it will work with UK size paper since I don’t have access to that size paper. But some of you on the other side of the pond might know how to do it.

When you print, it is important to select “Actual Size” or some words like that. If you choose “Fit Paper” or “Scale Paper” it is not going to fit the card. Also, it is a lot easier to fold the envelope and card if you don’t use card stock! I used 24# pound paper, which is not that much more expensive. It is good for printing both sides because it doesn’t see-through as much.

Happy Valentine’s Day!Music Valentine Card Envelope

Filed under Teaching Aids, Uncategorized, Valentine's Day

Music Valentine Card

Susan Paradis Valentine Card

Valentine Card

Today’s post is a free, one page, music Valentine card for you to give your students. It is made to be printed on 8.5 x 11 inch paper and folds to  a 5.5″ x 4.25″ card. Once folded, it has 4 pages. It has 3 easy pencil puzzles inside: a music sudoku, a music word search, and a sweet little music note-sentence to complete.

This is made for US letter size paper. When you print, be sure to print it with the free Adobe Reader DC and select “actual size.”

It is designed on one page, so when you print it, you need to fold it twice. First fold the 11-inch side in the middle so “Happy Valentine’s Day” with the cat holding the valentine is facing you. Then fold it again so the note story puzzle is on the back.

Now you have a 5.5″ x 4.25″ Valentine card ready to pass out. If you want an envelope to fit, you can get them from an office supply store. [I have a template to make an undecorated envelope yourself. Leave your request in a comment and I will email it to you.]

Also today I am posting a new fun, intermediate level jazzy solo Here I Come, which will be on sale for one week.

Here’s a video showing how to fold the card!

Hope you will enjoy these two new items!

Filed under Holiday Activities and Worksheets, Teaching Aids, Valentine's Day

2018 One Minute Club Cards

One Minute Club Cards 2018 One Minute Club 2018

I’ve finished the 2018 One Minute Club cards. This is the time of year everyone starts to ask for them!

Sometimes, as teachers, parents, and students, we don’t realize that it is not enough to be able to identify note names on a flash card. Pianists need to know exactly where on the piano keyboard the note is found. And we need to be able to find it quickly, so that when hands have to jump from one octave to another, we will know exactly where to go.

In the One Minute Club, the idea is to show students flash cards and they “say and play” the notes on the grand staff in one minute or less.

Our job as teachers is to prepare students to learn how to do this. We can’t just present the cards one day and hope for the best. My students have been studying notes all year, and this is the culmination of all that work. And if we want students to be engaged, we have to find ways to make it accessible. For example, I start with just a few cards and, until they are successful, I don’t add more. And you have to keep it light-hearted and fun.

I’ve found students need to be in about 5th grade to have the motor skills for this, but you certainly need to start gradually preparing them before that. And then, sometimes students have excellent motor sills and visual memory so they can be successful much younger. Sadly, this activity will not turn a poor sight-reader into an excellent sight-reader, but it will help.

For students who struggle to learn note names, it’s better to wait until they are older, and then to gradually work up to this.

You are the teacher, so you get to decide how many and which cards the students should be able to say and play. There are no national standards, LOL!

Here is a link to a video I made to show you how it works.

There are 10 cards on the page. It is formatted for “business card” perforated cardstock, but you can also cut them out. I put them in plastic business card holders and attach them to their music bags. There is a slight over-lap (called “bleed”) with the border to help with printing on business card stock, so if you cut them out yourself, be award of that. Draw a cutting line on the cards with a ruler, don’t just cut out along the blue or the card will be too big.

You might notice the design is the same theme I used for the calendar at the beginning of the year. My students look forward to new art each year! [Edited to add challenge chart.] Here is a challenge chart I posted a few months back you can use to keep track of your students progress. One is even fillable! Challenge Charts

You can read more about how to run this activity on my blog at this link. One Minute Club


Filed under Note Identification, Teaching Aids, Theory