Image Archives

I spy with my little eye…

IMG_4074One of the neatest things about practicing before my lessons begin is that my students get a chance to look at my music.  We often have conversations about the notation, usually about how big the piece is – “Wow, that’s so many notes!” or “That song must be really long!”  But I also try to have them spot things that they already know – middle C, quarter notes, sharps and flats.  Think about the way children learn to read: Along with books they can read on their own, it is helpful to have books above their level around so they can see what books are like for adults and look for words or symbols they already know to give them confidence in their abilities.  The same experience rarely happens in music learning.  Students often look ahead in their own books and want to talk about whichever song is at the end, but unless they have someone else in the house who has played at a higher level, they won’t be exposed to reading more advanced music until they can play it.

So what can I do to expose more students to more advanced notation?  Musical I-Spy!  I’ll put out a different page of music every week for students who are waiting for their lesson to look at and examine on their own.  I finished putting it together yesterday, just in time for next week’s lessons!  Be sure to look for it in the beanbag room 🙂

It’s the holiday season!

Music has always been a huge part of my family’s Christmas celebration.  Every year we get together on Christmas Eve, have a huge dinner, eat some tasty desserts, then gather around the piano to sing Christmas carols.  Everyone has their own little book so no one can get out of singing by not knowing the words!  Even when I had just started taking piano lessons, I was encouraged to play a song or two while everyone sang along.  The first couple of years, the singing was a little touch-and-go as I tried to find the right keys (“Jingle… Bells, Jin-Jin-Jingle bells, Jingle… all… the…. (pause)  Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells”).
But nowadays, I usually just give myself an hour before festivities start to sight read through everything.  It always make me so proud to play for everyone, and plus, making music with others is extremely fun!

Christmas comes to the West family piano
The West family piano is extremely festive.

So whether you’re a seasoned ivory-tickler or still playing one note at a time, consider making playing and singing a part of your family gatherings.  It may start a new tradition that will bring you joy for years to come.