Monthly Archives: March 2012

An Easier Version of Easter Bunny

Easter Bunny

I promised yesterday that I would post a shorter version of Easter Bunny. This version came about when I realized that I wrote the original too difficult for my preschool student. While the version I posted yesterday was great for another student, teaching preschool children often requires short songs that repeat. She was so happy to get this, just in time for the Easter bunny!

Be sure to set your printer orientation to landscape when you print this version.

One of the reasons I wrote this tune was to give students a little extra practice with the 4th finger. Beginners often get the 2nd and 4th fingers mixed up. It takes even longer for preschool children to get the concept. I have a bag of plastic rings in all kinds of cute shapes that I bought from the dollar store. She chose a color and put a ring on each 4th finger. That made the biggest difference in her ability to enjoy playing this little song. Here is a picture of the rings on finger 3. You can see how it helps to put the rings on finger 4 as they play this piece.

If you want some even easier seasonal music on the black keys that can be used at a student’s first lessons, check out my left and right hand versions of Hot Cross Buns. The left hand version is here. Children who celebrate Easter enjoy learning about the tradition of  hot cross buns. I have also posted some sacred pre-reading and level 1 versions of hymns suitable for the Easter season. You can look at them in the music section of my website,


Filed under Easter, Pre-reading, Preschool Music Resources

A Fun Pre-Reading Easter Bunny Song

Easter Bunny

I wrote a little song about the Easter Bunny in several different levels of difficulty. This is the first version. It is suitable for young beginners who are comfortable with the thumbs on the white keys. I have an 8-measure version in landscape orientation and I will post that tomorrow. I also have an on-the-staff version for students in their 2nd method book (Level 1 in most methods, Level 2 in Hal Leonard)  that I am working on. This is the reason I like to self publish. I can customize music for different levels.

To help students who get their hands mixed up, I like to highlight the right and left hands with 2 different colored highlighters. If you have never done this in their lesson book you will be surprised how helpful it is. Students enjoy picking out the colors and that adds a little motivation. (Try to find a set with purple. It’s very hard to come by!) We all have students who focus on one hand and need some extra help to get them together. Some students always get the left and right hands mixed up, as well as some adults, such as me! Simple songs like this can really help that problem before they move on to reading on the staff.

Blogging is a spare time activity for me, and I have not had time to post all the spring time material I’ve made. Sometimes things sit in my files for years before I have time to modernize, revise, and post it. Thank you for all your suggestions, and thanks for understanding! I really appreciate and have learned so much from my readers and the blogging community.

Do you find it helpful for me to highlight the hands like this? Leave a comment if you do. You may remain anonymous!


Filed under Easter, Holiday Music, Pre-reading

Flashnote Derby – a Great App for iPhone and iPad

If you have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, there is an excellent app available to help students learn note names, Flashnote Derby. After using it for quite a while now, I have decided this is the perfect iPhone or iPad game for piano teachers because it is easy to set up and play and my students love it. Plus, it really works, and makes drilling notes a lot more fun.

Screenshots used with permission

In order to play the game, select the notes you want to work on. You can select one note, or up to 34 notes, shown above. The notes are fun to select. Just touch the notes you want to use and they change color as they are selected. Touch the “gear” icon and you can select how many flash cards you want to use in your game, and the speed they will be shown. Touch the “thumbs up” icon and the race begins. As 2 horses race across the screen, one flash card at a time is shown above the horses. Students select the name of the note at the bottom of the screen. At the end of the game there is an opportunity to review the missed notes. If the student gets enough correct answers, he wins.

For my beginning students I select 2 notes, usually middle C and G, and 10 questions, at the slowest speed. Beginners always win a game this easy and this give them the confidence to want to play more. I add more notes gradually over a period of weeks, often corresponding to the notes they are learning in their method book. It is very easy to change the level of difficulty for the next student.

The horse racing sound track can get annoying, so I often turn the sound off on my device. I wish there was a way to turn off the sound in the game. I also would like a way to start over if I make a mistake when I first select the settings. [Ed:There is a way to start over. I am embarrassed I didn’t know it!  This is from Luke Bartolomeo, the developer:

I just wanted to mention that there is a way to stop a race in the middle if you find that you used the wrong settings, or have made the drill to difficult or too easy for a student. Once the race has started, tap the screen on either side of the actual flashcard, but not on the flashcard itself. A red X will appear in the upper left portion of the screen. Tap the X and the drill will immediately stop and return you to the settings screen.

Thanks so much, Luke for clearing this up.]

Flash Note Derby was designed by a music teacher and I think that is why I find it so successful in my studio. The developer emailed me recently with news of an update that features a dozen instructional video lessons about the grand staff, as well as a way for teachers to create custom drills for their students and send them to students by email.

This app works on the iPhone 3 and 4, iPod touch, and iPad. It seems like every student I teach now has at least one of those in the family.

This app is only $.99 in the Apple iTunes store, and at that price it is a real bargain.

You can read more about it at the website:  http//

Disclosure: I receive no compensation for my reviews and the ideas are my own. The screenshots are used by permission.


Filed under Music Reviews, Teaching Aids, Teaching Business

Color the Egg Puzzle

Color the Egg Puzzle

Today I am posting a black and white puzzle to identify notes around middle C. I plan to use it as a coloring sheet to send home in their binder because I don’t have time to do this at a lesson. However, I think students might enjoy cutting it out after they color it. With Mom or Dad’s help they can put the pieces back together as they name the notes.

Another way to use this printable is to make it a game for a group lesson. Cut out enough puzzles for the students who are playing and put the puzzle pieces in a bowl. Students draw puzzle pieces one at a time and try to be the first one to put the egg back together. If they draw a note they already have, they have to put it back. Students can stick the piece down with double-sided tape. This game requires the teacher to do a lot of fine cutting, which my hands doesn’t seem to like nowadays! But it would reinforce matching skills that would be helpful for beginners. If you want to do this, email me and I’ll send you a color version you can cut out.

I use inexpensive double-sided tape that is a lot less messier than glue, so you might want to pick some up.


  • To reinforce note names around middle C
  • To enjoy a seasonal activity


  • All elementary age children who have learned the notes around middle C


  • Worksheet
  • Crayons (brown can be substituted for pink)

If cutting out and using as a puzzle, you need these materials:

  • Double sided tape or glue
  • Scissors
  • Colored construction paper as the background to stick down the puzzle

I have received so many nice emails and comments lately. Thank you so much! Sometimes my readers find mistakes and let me know about them. I appreciate that, too, because I am not a very good proof-reader!

Coming up soon are several new Easter bunny songs for primer and elementary students. Subscribe to this blog if you want to be notified when I post new material. Simple click on the subscribe button above. You will remain anonymous.


Filed under Group lesson ideas, Holiday Activities and Worksheets, Note Identification, Teaching Business