Have you ever had a student return from the holidays and sadly inform you that they had been out-of-town and didn’t open their books the entire time? I usually turn it into something funny, like, “I can’t believe that they don’t allow you to bring pianos on airplanes anymore!” or something equally silly. One student thought I was serious and wanted to know if we could do that in the old days. That might have been the same student who thought I rode a horse and buggy to piano lessons.
If your student is a beginner, pull out this New Year’s game, and after this brief review of music symbols and vocabulary, you can get back to work at the piano!
This game is very much like the Birthday Game. [The art is the same, but the Birthday Game is a 3-level note-identification game, including ledger lines. If you have older students, you might want to give it a try.]
Below are two ways to use this activity, but please feel free to make up your own rules.
Beginning piano students.
New Year’s Game board.
Star cards cut into circles.
Directions for Student/Teacher
Print only one copy of the game board. You and your student will use the same game board.
Place the circle cards in a container.
Each player will choose a color of star to cover. For example, the student will cover the yellow stars on the board, and the teacher will cover the blue stars.
Players take turns closing their eyes and drawing a card from the container.
After drawing a card, the player identifies the symbol and places the card on the correct symbol on the game board.
If young beginners do not know the answer, help them out because we want the student to be successful.
The object of the game is to cover all of one color of stars on the game board.
The student draws all the cards and identifies them as they place them in the correct spot.
You can time older beginners to see how long it takes them. Some students freeze when they are timed, but others love it.
Today I am sharing a chart your students can use to make a list of the music they have learned. My friend Marcia is doing a 30 Piece Challenge and she thought it would be helpful to have a chart for each student to list the name of the pieces they have learned. So I made one up to match the other balloon-themed material I’ve posted this year, such as the academic calendar and the freebie Key Signature Chart that is a test product in my store.
I created this file as an editable PDF, but only the title is editable, so you can use it for anything and call it anything you wish as long as the title fits in the space. To edit the form, simply click on the title and type over the text with whatever you wish the chart to be called. For example, you can title it “Scales I Know” and have students keep a list of the scales they have learned. Put it in your student’s binder and you’re good to go! I made it with space to list 40 items so it will work with the 40 Piece Challenge.
Have you heard of the 40 Piece Challenge? This is an idea thought up and shared by the imaginative piano composer, blogger, and piano instructor from Australia, Elissa Milne. You can read all about it here.
I first heard about Elissa’s idea at a MTNA convention about 3 years ago. Students set a goal to learn 40 pieces each year instead of only practicing the same several difficult pieces the entire year, neglecting easier pieces that help with sight reading and make piano more interesting and educational. The music doesn’t have to be memorized or polished to perfection like a competition piece. Now that her idea has spread all around the world, teachers with a shorter teaching schedule have tweaked it to require only 30 pieces.
To find all the material I’ve posted this year that matches this chart, select “Free” in the top menu. When the page opens, select “Teaching Aids” and start scrolling down to find the matching pages. There is a lot of material there!
Here is a simple Halloween card you can give to your students next week. All you have to do is print it on card stock and cut out. Then, using a ruler as a guide, cut the 2 light-colored lines on the cards with a craft knife. These slits will be where you will insert a pencil. I found these easy to cut out because there are no little tiny bits to cut around!
I’ve found I can buy very inexpensive holiday pencils at nearby dollar stores. The ones I’m using are 12 pencils for a dollar.
Alternately, you can insert a lollipop or a glow stick which can also be found in packs at dollar stores. You can also tape on a piece of candy.
If you or your students prefer Autumn related activities, below is a link to some fall-themed bookmarks I posted previously. If you’ve been following my blog for a long time, you will recognize them. In the past, I have written a short message and taped some candy on the back. There are four bookmarks on the page and with all straight lines, they are easy to cut out with a paper-cutter.
Today I am posting a grand staff binder cover for you to personalize and use on your students’ binders. It has the notes of the grand staff on the front and it matches the studio calendar that I recently posted. What I am really excited about is that I think this is the first time I’ve posted a PDF file where you can change the font!
Not only can you type a name and title of the binder, but if you have some computer knowledge, you can change the font, the color, and the size of the text.
If the directions below are too challenging for you, open the file in Adobe Reader DC, select “Your Text” and type over my text. [If you want to remove the text on this page, select Your Text, delete it, and print. The large light blue box you see will not print.]
If you wish to change the font, color, and size, follow the directions below. You must use Adobe Reader DC which is free to download from the web . If you are having trouble opening this file in Adobe Reader, this link might help.
Directions for a PC
Download and save the PDF file. Open it in Adobe Reader DC. (To change the font, you cannot just click and open the file as usual.)
Select Your Text.
Click Control E and the text properties box will open.
In the font box, you will be able to change the font, the color of the font, and the size of the font.
Directions for a Mac
Download and save the file. Open it in Adobe Reader DC. Do not use Preview. (To change the font, you cannot just click and open the file as usual.)
Select Your Text.
Right click on the selected text. A menu box will open. Select “Hyperlink.” [There is supposed to be a keyboard shortcut, but I don’t know what it is.]
The Form Field Text Properties menu will open. Select Font.
You can change the font, the color of the font, and the size of the font.
*If you try a font on you computer that will not print, try another more common one. There are some fonts that you might not be able to use due to licensing and embedding, that sort of thing. If you have a font that works well, please share it with us!