Back To School Piano Lessons

Make A Wish Jars: LadyDpiano l 88 Keys


Music Goals

Leila came up with a great idea, Make A Wish Jar. Read all about it, Do Simple Better. I created my own approach using her templates and absolutely love the idea. At the beginning of the school year, I usually ask my students make "Time Tunnels." They would write their goals on an index card and place it inside home-made toilet paper tunnels. I really like the new approach of the jars and can't wait to use them! There is a jar for the parents and the students. A win-win situation!



Importance of Praise: LadyDpiano



The Importance of Praise

Sincere praise from the teacher is one of the most motivating factors in teaching piano. Praise often accomplishes more than admonition. Since students learn something new on practically every page of their lesson books, the teacher has the opportunity to remind them that they are constantly making progress. Over at 4dpianoteaching.com, you will see a plethora of affirmations in this fantastic word cloud!

High and Low Tones l LadyDpiano


High or Low? 

Older students enjoy a sound approach to reading taught by intervals. Second, third, fourth and fifth intervals are discussed within the first few weeks of lessons. Beginner students will figure out the sound of the note you are playing on the piano. As they listen, they will begin to discover if they hear a low note on the low end of the piano or a high note. There are all kinds of animals to use here. I like frogs and bees for listening to the rhythm in this approach.

LadyDpiano: Mr. Frog


Fingering

For the little ones, I love to trace their hands and ask them to number their piano hands. I am a WunderKeys teacher and with my preschoolers, we use finger puppets and each finger is assigned an animal.

It's fun to play two notes and ask young students to listen carefully. Are the notes same or different?

Also, this would be the time to discuss the music alphabet... starting from A to G. I like to introduce C Position right away but I know many teachers who dive right into Middle C Position. That's good, too. Learn Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Jingle Bells and for sure, Heart and Soul! I like Frogs Wearing Flip Flops by Susan Paradis using the 4th finger on the F note. It helps to strengthen this weak finger.



Books Recommended

A Lesson Book, Theory Book and Recital Book would be a good start. Some enjoy exercise and scale books, too. There are numerous supplemental resources to order online. Here's just a few:


  1. Faber & Faber "PreTime" Series
  2. WunderKeys Piano for Pre-Schoolers
  3. Dozen a Day Preparatory Book

Four Part Curriculum

There's a wonderful website that I recommend for music teachers, https://funmusicco.com/.

Janice Tuck shares that "We're not teaching music, we're teaching children." She breaks the curriculum down into 4 parts:

Key Concept 1

USA


  • Create, perform and record composition.
  • Demonstrate selected and organized musical ideas for an improvisation, arrangement, or composition to express intent, and explain the connection to purpose and context.

Australia


  • Create, perform and record compositions by selecting and organizing sounds, silence, tempo, and volume.
UK

  • Improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the inter-related dimensions of music.

Key Concept 2

USA


  • Be actively involved in making music. 
  • Perform music, alone or with others, with expression and technical accuracy, and appropriate interpretation.
Australia

  • Practice singing, playing instruments and improvising music, using elements of music including rhythm, pitch, dynamics and form in a range of pieces, including in music from the local community.
UK

  • Play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control, and expression.

Key Concept 3

USA

  • Listen to detail. 
  • Rehearse to refine technical accuracy and expressive qualities, and address performance challenges.
Australia

  • Develop aural skills by exploring, imitating, and recognizing elements of music including dynamics, pitch and rhythm patterns.

UK

  • Listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory.

Key Concept 4

USA

  • Listen with intent.
  • Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.
Australia

  • Identify intended purposes and meanings as they listen to music using the elements of music to make comparisons, starting with Australian music, including music of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
UK

  • Appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians.
Meet My Students!

LadyDpiano: Students Collage

LadyDpiano: Student Collage

LadyDpiano: Brothers Taking Piano Lessons

First Week Lesson Plan

Before students get a chance to dive into 'method books'... Well, I like to assign them some simple songs to work on with memory. Kids learn to play Chopsticks, Happy Birthday, Heart and Soul... and of course, the C Major Scale.

Next time, we will discuss the importance of reviewing scales!

This school year I will be working with 12 children, several adults and a few students with special needs. I sincerely wish you a wonderful, successful year ahead with piano learning/teaching!

Be sure and check out these free video lessons and sequence, 4videos.

Blessings,

-- LadyD


 "The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King

2 Ways To Find The Key

2 Ways To Find The Key l LadyDpiano


I was going through my note-taking from Jermaine's teachings and came across some valuable tips. It's about the 2 primary ways to find the key. 

Intuitively


  • Any given time, there is one note you can press down while listening to a song and it will always feel like "home." 
  • Common Tone
  • Home Base
  • Harmonics
  • The I
  • The Tonic
  • True Key
Analytically

  • Like DNA, every major key has a unique set of chords. For example, take F Major Scale: F G A Bb C D E F. The key of F has 3 different types of chords: major, minor, diminished.
  1. Major Chords: F major, Bb major, C major.
  2. Minor Chords: G minor, A minor, D minor.
  3. Diminished Chord: E diminished.
  • There is only ONE key that has this combination of chords... F major! While C major is close, (C Major, D minor, E minor, F major, G major, A minor, B diminished); it does not contain the exact musical DNA of F major.
  • Like a detective, you can learn to follow these clues to lead you to the right key. Of course, your ear and intuition should be the final judge!
Pro Tips

  • The key of the song is essentially the first tone of the scale, aka - "the tonic." We're looking for a scale to place the song in so we can work our magic with the number system, chords, and patterns (the subsequent steps to playing by ear! Without a reference point (the "key" or "the 1"), we're lost.
  • Every tone of the scale produces a chord. The first tone of the scale produces a major chord (aka - "the 1-chord"). This is the chord you're listening for. It's usually found at the beginning and end of the song (but not always).
  • All songs wrap around to the beginning (usually after the end of the verse or chorus).If you can hum the first chord that's played when the song returns to the beginning, that's likely the 1-chord or the key!
  • It will sound like a common tone you can hold down during the entire song.
  • In fact, even though the song is progressing from chord to chord, pattern to pattern, this ONE tone will never clash with any of the chords, regardless of what's going on in the song. It's always harmonious.
  • If you had to close your eyes and imagine the very last chord of the song...the chord that propels the audience to their feet, clapping and cheering (because even they know it's the last ending chord) -- that's most likely the key of the song, the common "home base" tone we're looking for. 
  • If you're not good at finding the key of a song, the good news is you can work on it DAILY while driving in your car -- no piano needed!
  • It is recommended that you first hum the key with your own voice before jumping on the piano to figure out what key you're humming. If you can heat it, you can sing it, and if you can sing it, you can play it!

More articles I've written:

What If There Isn't A Transpose Button

Nashville Number System Explained

So, you will probably want to look for the 300pg Course Book that is offered from Hear and Play. It's a fantastic music theory resource book that I continually use with my students.

All the best,

-- LadyD

 "The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King

How To Play Thrive by Casting Crowns


Thrive by Casting Crowns l LadyDpiano


 My husband loves the song "Thrive" by Casting Crowns. Another favorite that my readers enjoy, Praise You In This Storm seems to be so comforting and hopeful when one is going through rough times. One of my favorites is Who Am I by Casting Crowns. 

Here's the video to Thrive if you're not familiar with the song.





"Thrive" (Chords and Lyrics)

Intro


    F#
B F# B F# B F# C#


Verse 1

B
  Here in this worn and weary land
                        F#
  Where many a dream has died

B
  Like a tree planted by the water
                   F#
  We never will run dry



Pre-chorus

            B             F#
  So living water flowing through
         B                  F#
  God we thirst for more of You
           B                    F#
  Fill our hearts and flood our souls
             C#
  With one desire



  Chorus

          B
  Just to know You and
     F#
  To make You known
     B                 F#
  We left Your name on High
        B                 F#              C#
  Shine like the sun made darkness run and hide
     B                     F#
  We know we were made for so much more
       B        F#
  Than ordinary lives
       B              F#                C#
  It's time for us to more than just survive

  B      C#       F#
  We were made to thrive

      
  Interlude
  B F# B F# B F# C#


Verse 2

B       
  Into Your word we're digging deep
                     F#
  To know our Father's heart

B  
  Into the world we're reaching out
                      F#
  To show them who You are



Pre-chorus
            B             F#
  So living water flowing through
         B                  F#
  God we thirst for more of You
           B                    F#
  Fill our hearts and flood our souls
             C#
  With one desire



Chorus

          B
  Just to know You and
     F#
  To make You known
     B                 F#
  We left Your name on High
        B                 F#              C#
  Shine like the sun made darkness run and hide
     B                     F#
  We know we were made for so much more
       B        F#
  Than ordinary lives
       B              F#                C#
  It's time for us to more than just survive

  B      C#       F#       
  We were made to thrive

    play F# until bridge


Bridge


F#                                   B                 C#
  Joy Unspeakable, Faith Unsinkable, Love Unstoppable, Anything is possible   
  
   4x


Chorus

          B
  Just to know You and
     F#
  To make You known
     B                 F#
  We left Your name on High
        B                 F#              C#
  Shine like the sun made darkness run and hide
     B                     F#
  We know we were made for so much more
       B        F#
  Than ordinary lives
       B              F#                C#
  It's time for us to more than just survive

  B      C#       F#
  We were made to thrive

  Hey!

  B F# B F# B F# C#

  B       C#      F#
  We were made to Thrive

  F#

Again, if you're not familiar where to place your hands with the chords in this progression, be sure and check out Hear and Play's music resource Chords 101 & 102.

All the best,

-- LadyD

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"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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