Monthly Archives: July 2009

Wendy’s Giveaway

Piano Recital Showcase

Head over to Wendy’s blog and leave a comment. You will then be entered in a giveaway contest for a book of pre-reading pieces,  Hal Leonard’s Piano Recital Showcase Pre-Staff level book. I know a lot of you wish you had more pre-reading music for your beginners and this is a chance to win a copy. Wendy wrote 2 of the pieces, Cherokee Lullaby and Fire Dance and she is giving away 2 copies of the book. Wendy is an accomplished composer who has been very encouraging in my composing attempts. She has a great website, too, and you’ll enjoy looking around her site.

Unfortunately the contest ends Friday, July 31 at noon, so get over there right now!


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Filed under Teaching Business

Picture of Table Top Keyboard

table top keyboard

I decided to add a picture of the table top keyboard that my students are using from yesterday’s blog post. This one is sitting on the coffee table in my piano studio (living room). My husband got  a glass top to put on the coffee table so I don’t have to worry about students messing it up.

You can see the chips I bought last year. They are called Counting Chips and came in a package of 75 with 5 different colors. I got them at an office supply store in the “teaching” department. They are about 1 3/8″ in size (about 3.5 cm), so they are quite large for chips. This makes them very good for very young children.  Notice that they come blank, but I’ve written the alphabet on some of them. You can also use, milk carton tops,  checkers, or soda caps. If you want to make your own out of construction paper, find something around the house to draw your circles with, such as a medicine bottle.

Now think of all the games you can play with this table top keyboard!


Filed under Preschool Music Resources, Teaching Business

Table Top Keyboard

Kebyoard_table_sizeTable Top Keyboard

I have some large colored bingo chips that I bought at Staples in the teacher supply section. This paper keyboard is large enough for those chips. Print it out in landscape on card stock, cut it out, laminate it, and tape it together. Then you can spend some off-bench time with your student learning the names of keys, steps and skips, and intervals. Children need to get away from the piano some, especially children with different learning styles. Children who learn kinetically do a lot better if they can place a manipulative on a keyboard and move it around.

If you don’t have any bingo chips, cut out some colored paper into circles that will fit this keyboard.

This graphic can also be used by young children to write the names of the keys. If you do this, you can print it with  economy mode  of your printer on inexpensive paper or even the back of paper you’re discarding. I never throw away a piece of paper if I’ve only used one side!

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Filed under Note Identification, Steps and Skips

Cecilly’s Incentive Program with Composer Bucks

Cecilly, who made up the games in the category “Cecilly’s Games” plans to implement an incentive program in her studio this fall. She has given me permission to publish her plans here. The reason I am posting it is because I want to show other teachers an example of a well-thought out program. She has thought out who, where when, and why. While it takes time to think of something in this detail, in the long run it will save you time. Parents appreciate knowing all the details, too.

It is always helpful for teachers to see how other teachers are doing something. My incentive program is different from this one, but I hope I can organize it as well. 

Composer Bucks Incentive Program from Cecilly

Participating students: beginner, elementary, and intermediate piano students who are in the Basic and Standard Courses of study.

 Goal: to motivate students to develop more effective practice habits, improve skills, and increase self-discipline related to their piano study.  Also, to recognize and reward consistent efforts made to progress, and to encourage students to move beyond the studio in applying their developing skills at the piano.

 How the program works:

  • Students will select a “composer” account from a given list to correspond with a composer statuette that they will be working to “buy”. They will also receive an info sheet with basic facts about their composer.
  • Students will receive a pencil pouch for storing their earned composer bucks, their studio bank card, etc. for the program.  This pouch should be kept in the front of their binder for easy access.
  • Throughout the teaching year at each lesson, students can earn composer bucks (money) for reaching & exceeding expectations, achieving goals, practicing, etc. (see below for details).
  • Also, fees, tickets, and various citations will be given for careless or faulty preparation, execution of skills, etc. for which the student will have to pay a fine from their composer accounts. 
  • Monies earned must first be put toward the purchase of their selected composer statuette.  Once this amount has been reached, any remaining monies earned can be used to purchase items from the studio “store” or “chances” for the recital raffle give-away of $20 (real money). Statuettes will be given out at the April recital.

 Monetary rewards: The following is a list of what will be rewarded and for what value:             

             $1 …

  • For each practice day beyond the expected 5 days per week (parent’s initials required).
  • For each assignment criteria met at a given lesson.
  • For each technique skill securely demonstrated as pertains to the student’s level of study.
  • For adequately completing any weekly theory assignment.
  • For sharing 1 composer fact (limited to 1 per lesson).

$2 …

  • For any assigned piece receiving a “Gold Star Pass”

$5 …

  • For each 5-day practice week recorded with parent initials.
  • For each 16 measure piece or section of a piece securely memorized.
  • For each piece recorded successfully on the student’s “Studio Recording Club” disk.


  • For presenting a private home performance concert of 3 learned assignment pieces for family/friends.  Student must list each piece played, date & time of concert and audience members present (with initials from each).


  • For any “out of studio/home” performance before a public audience (church, school, community setting).  Student must record date & place of their performance, and the initials of 1 teacher or 2 other adults who heard the performance.
  • For attending a local music concert (church, school, or community.) A program, ticket stub, or note initialed by parent or other verifying adult must be provided.


  • For participation in a studio recital or adjudicated event during the year.


  • For attending a professional Classical music concert performance (Symphony, Choir, Chamber ensemble, etc.).  A program/ticket stub must be signed by parent or other verifying adult.


  • For having your piano tuned/serviced. Tuner’s business card or invoice receipt must be dated and initialed by the tuner.


  • For subscribing to “Piano Explorer” magazine.


Fees, Fines, and Violations:

  • Late fee: for arriving late to a lesson without notice. $_____
  • Borrower’s fee: for not having all needed materials and having to borrow the teacher’s book(s) for the lesson.  $_____
  • Speeding ticket: for rushing practice/performance tempos resulting in avoidable errors.  $_____
  • Parking ticket: for careless or faulty execution of rhythm in assigned activities or pieces.  $_____
  • Failure to yield ticket: for neglecting to observe expressive markings printed in the music.  $_____


Available Composer accounts and cost of statuettes: $_____

              Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Debussy, Grieg, Handel, Haydn, Liszt, MacDowell, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Schubert, Schumann, Tchaikovsky.


Filed under Cecilly's Games, Teaching Business