We had a great first class of the year at preschool music! Baby M. (stands for music) my wee monkey helper introduced the children to right hand, treble clef uptown, and then left hand, bass clef downtown. We then marched uptown to the music of “Candy Corn Munch,” to the pumpkin patch where we met Captain Crescendo! The children learned about the two black keys from Floppy the elephant, and then each child received two pieces of candy corn as they stood on the two black notes of our giant keyboard. – Great music fun!
Fall has arrived – which for many people, means leaves changing color, apple cider and pumpkin patch time, but in my house growing up it always meant that candy corn would be more readily available in the stores! My mom started my siblings and me on the tradition, so I thought the other week when I bought a bag of yummy mix for my mom she would be ecstatic, but no. She announced to me, “Oh no! Do not get me started. I’m trying to eliminate sugar out of my diet!” Now my brother, Tim, still loves candy corn and will raid whatever stash he can find this time of year. I dedicate this song, “Candy Corn Munch,” to my beloved mom and to my brother, Tim!
My younger students have been begging for Festive Fall bean bag notes to use on our grand staff mat. Well – here goes: we have pumpkins, candy corn and fall leaves. Since the days are shorter and “fall back” is soon around the corner, some lessons may be after dark, which is perfect for glow in the dark bean bags! The lines in the mat also become glow in the dark! (Shh! – some of my students do not know this yet – Surprise!)
I love using the iPad in piano lessons, and I have also become spoiled using it for special music in church. The note clarity is amazing, and I love the page turns – no more sheet music falling all over the piano! Medieval Melodies: A Fairy Tale Suite – Volume II is specially written for the iPad. The early intermediate piano book couples the sister arts of music and painting through a storybook format that sparks the imagination of the performer. Original compositions come to life on the iPad through vivid illustrations and audio performances. Medieval Melodies: A Fairy Tale Suite – Volume II can be downloaded in the iBookstore.
The Bible speaks of how Jesus would many times leave the crowds and his disciples behind, and go to a mountain top to pray to His Heavenly Father. Quality and quantity of prayer time with the Heavenly Father is crucial for every Christian. I pray that this song is an encouragement to every believer to enter the mountain of prayer.
“Where do my hands go?” – I’m sure this notorious question has haunted piano teachers for several centuries! When my own child/student began asking me this question, then I decided to try some new things, such as – “Piano Critters.” I made a little “critter” for each note. Each time I introduce a new piece to a beginning level student, I ask them to place a critter on the starting notes. My students have loved these characters! The critters can also be used along side of flash cards.
(Note: I handcrafted these, but they could be easily made with a little glue and felt.)
What Shoes Should I Wear? is my latest collection of elementary piano solo pieces created special for fancy little girls – Girls who cannot decide what pair of glitzy shoes they should wear in the morning, or what items to fill their purse with for the day’s adventures. My two young nieces, Charis and Allison along with my own daughter Amber, all of which have now started taking piano lessons inspired me to compose this book. I dedicate What Shoes Should I Wear? to these three lovely and creative girls.
I’ll never forget when one of my teachers, Loretta Slovak, introduced me to Bartok. – How exciting! (My father did not share my enthusiasm.) I started my own piano studio after college, and was saddened when I consistently saw my students conveniently leave out their 20th Century pieces from their practice schedule. (What? How could they not like Bartok?) I now realize that maybe Bartok isn’t for everyone, but that there are some other “softer” 20th Century composers that students will more willingly try such as Kabalevsky. One of my little students recently performed “Dance on the Lawn,” by Kabalevsky for a piano festival and created a marvelous imagery of young children dancing gleefully, perhaps barefoot in the soft grass. Rebikov has a precious piece, “Evening in the Meadow,” that is simply delightful! Who said 20th Century can not be fun?
I have a large grand staff mat that I created from a plain white table cloth. For some added Valentine fun, my daughter, Amber and I made bean bag hearts to use this season in place of our circular bean bag notes. The students have loved them! The staff mat has been a great learning tool for both my group and private lessons.
I was looking for new piano music to inspire my own son and student, Trent. He loved knights, dragons and medieval battles. – And so the adventure began. I composed a book of Medieval Melodies.