Monthly Archives: November 2008

Ornament Notes Mixed Up on a Staff

ornament-notes-on-a-staffThis worksheet is like the one I posted yesterday except the notes are not in order, making it more difficult. When I was young, I used to love pretty colors like this. Maybe I would have learned my notes sooner! Make it fun by letting the student choose which colors to identify.

You can discover a lot about a student by asking questions (assuming you’re using age and music level appropriate material.)  When I show this to a student I’m going to ask if which color ornament they like best. If they won’t make eye contact, mumble something like “none” or “I don’t Know”, you know the student is not enthusiastic about piano lessons. Have you ever had a student say “whatever”?

Then there are those who seem to agonize over which one they like. As you sit waiting and waiting, you want to shout that it’s not a hard question. This could  be a super sensitive or self critical student who is very hard on herself. She is so afraid of the wrong answer that she can’t make a choice. This kind of student can turn a 3 minute worksheet into a 30 minute lesson, so set a time limit. If she can only do 3 notes, that’s fine.

The opposite student may quickly pick out one and start to write the notes before you even give directions.  This student may play with a lot of enthusiasm, but sometimes the details aren’t there. The Mom of this student will tell you that he can do all his practicing in 5 minutes and can you give him some more music to practice.  Trying to keep that enthusiasm going as we make corrections is the hard part of teaching, IMO.

From the emails I received with so many creative ideas from all of you, I am awed at all the wonderful teachers out there who know how to instill the joy of music. I think the sharing of ideas has really benefited today’s piano student.

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Filed under Christmas, Holiday Activities and Worksheets, Note Identification

Christmas Worksheet

Well, I guess I can put my turkey pictures away and start polishing up my Santas. I already have some Christmas themed material ready to be posted, so watch for it in the next week or so.

I would like to encourage teachers who use my  worksheets to sit with the younger students and do it with them. From all the worksheets I publish on this blog, you might think that my students are doing written work and games all the time. That is far from reality, but I do have to adjust my teaching from kindergarten to twelfth grader in a short time span.  Most of the time I work at the piano doing my best to teach musicality.  I’ve noticed that if I don’t use too much written work and if I do it with the students, they enjoy it more. It is also true if you teach very little ones, you need to break up the time. Sitting one-on-one with a worksheet such as the one I’m posting today can be useful for this. Plus, if you are doing it with the student, you can sing as you write. As Georg Telemann said in the 17th century, “Singing is the foundation of music in all things.”


My grandson and I worked this Christmas Worksheet together. He is very young and doesn’t take piano yet. But he loves music, the piano, and can write the alphabet. So together we learned that the music alphabet only has 7 letters and he was delighted to write the letters inside the notes with my help. By the time we got to the treble clef he knew that A comes after G.  We sang as we wrote. He also loved to be able to point to middle C. He proudly showed it to his mother when she came to pick him up. We want our time with our little ones to be joyful and fun.

For those of you who want a “mixed up” version of this worksheet for a student a little further along, I already have made it.  I have one little student that I’m going to sit with as we do it together. I’ll post it soon or send it to you are a PDF if you’ll email me. Also, I have a cute blank staff with peppermint clefs that you can use can use at a group lesson with peppermints as the “notes” that I’ll post in a few days.


Filed under Christmas, Holiday Activities and Worksheets, Note Identification, Teaching Business

Ornament Notes


Today’s post is a Christmas worksheet called Ornament Notes that you can use in December or maybe for a group lesson. It’s in black and white for those of you without color printers. They can color it while they wait for other students to show up. I have a lot of Christmas worksheets and I’ll try to clean them up and post them as soon as possible so you can do some lesson planning for your group lessons.

Thanks again to all of you who have written to tell me how you use some of the things I have posted. It is so gratifying to know that my efforts extend beyond my studio. I love knowing where you are from, so if you print something out, send me a little note. I’m keeping everything.  I have lived and visited a lot of regions and each one is special to me. One of these days, when I retire, I hope to visit all the states.

Today we got the results back from a classical music festival some of my students played in and there were some very nice comments from the judges and some very good scores. I can’t take credit, because I have some of the most dedicated students that I’ve had in a long time.   We worked very hard on musicality and the results were worth it. In particular, a high school student did some difficult quarter pedaling on a piece, and the judge said it was beautiful. The last time we tried quarter pedaling it seemed to confuse the judge, so I marked it this time. I’ve learned to mark things that are a little different. The reason I mention the festival is because if there are any festivals in your area and you do not participate, consider doing so. Nothing will help your studio more. And if there aren’t any, consider getting together with other teachers and having one.

It is so hard being a piano teacher and having so many things to teach in a once a week lesson. There are so many things we need to teach, yet we want them to love and enjoy music. We have to give credit to the students, because without them where would we be?

If any teacher would like some Hanukkah or other December seasonal material, send me an email. I can do that if there is a need.

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Filed under Christmas, Holiday Activities and Worksheets, Note Identification

We Three Kings


We Three Kings was always one of my favorite Christmas carols when I was young, but when I first heard it, I didn’t like the chorus because to my little ears, it didn’t go with the verse. I loved the minor sounds in the verse and I wanted to hear that kind of sound through out the entire piece. The verse was too short, IMO. Of course I was about 5 years old, and at the time I didn’t know there were so many verses.

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Filed under Christmas, Elementary Music, Holiday Music