Author Archives: Susan Paradis

Back to School Calendar and Post Cards

Calendar-2015-16

Scheduling Calendar 2015-16

I remember when Arlene (a wonderful piano teacher/judge) showed me her studio calendar. It had dates on the sides and her piano studio schedule typed in the middle. I had never seen a calendar quite like this so I set about making one. By putting this calendar on the cover of my students’ binders, I solved the problem, once and for all, of remembering when events were scheduled.

I also added something that is one of the smartest things I ever did. I put in a “Deadline to be Memorized” date. If you have ever sweated it out before a student performance and the piece is still not memorized, you know what I’m talking about.

So I have a firm memorization date and it has really taken a lot of stress out of festivals and recitals.

Some teachers have asked me if I let students play in my recital if they don’t have their music memorized by a certain date, and the answer is yes, I do let them play!  There is always some kind of work-around: a back up piece, using the music, or playing a duet. My students know I am really big on back-up pieces. But for events such as festivals where parents pay money and students get a grade, I’m firm about the memorization deadline.

Today I present my 2015-2016 academic calendar. It is designed for you to print, re-insert it into your printer and using you favorite word processing program, typing your schedule of events and holidays for each month.

Set margins about 2 inches on each side and about 1.5″– 2″ from the top. After printing, insert it in the clear cover of their binder. For good measure, email a copy to parents.

To save ink and paper,  type and print your schedule on blank paper and hold it under my calendar in a bright window. Then you can see how well your typing will fit. Adjust your layout as necessary and save if you want to use it next year because I usually use about the same margins.

I made this to be an ink-saving design, with just a little color to make it fun. I drew everything, including the pattern on the border. The color you see on the screen will not be the printed color. Mine looks dark navy blue when I print it. Blue on a monitor is hard to match on desktop printers. If you’re a member of MTNA, don’t forget the discount at Office Depot/Office Max.

I’ve also included some printable post cards to remind parents when lessons resume.

I make this calendar every year, and once your students get used to it, they will always want one!

 

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Filed under Teaching Aids, Teaching Business

Birthday Surprise

Special Birthday Song

Special Birthday Song

I wrote this for a student to learn to play for his brother’s birthday. You can use this with any beginning student. I decided not to put finger numbers in the “staff” version so that you can use what ever position you wish to start on. Also, the pre-reading version can be played on the black keys. If you have a young beginner with a summer birthday, this might be a fun song to print!

Isn’t it kind of sad when our students get too old for this kind of thing? Sad, and happy, too, because we can introduce them to a whole new world of music!

I originally drew the illustrations for a birthday game I posted a few years back. Click on the title below for the free download. This game has two levels, so you can play it with more than just beginners. It’s a fun game and it doesn’t have to be their birthday to play. It might be fun to use if you’re having a summer piano camp. The game is  a big file, and it may take a while to download.

Celebrate Birthday Game

 http://www.susanparadis.com/celebrate-a-birthday-game/

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Filed under Elementary Music, Pre-reading, Preschool Music Resources

Piano Adventures® Player

 

Piano Adventures® Player is copyrighted by Dovetree Productions, Inc.

Piano Adventures® Player is copyrighted by Dovetree Productions, Inc.

During TMTA Elizabeth Gutierrez announced that the Fabers have a new iPad and iPhone app, Piano Adventures Player, to go along with their piano method, Piano Adventures. This is a free app, with in-app purchases for more music. [Disclosure: I am not associated with Piano Adventures and I was not compensated in any way for this review. The opinions are my own.]

This purpose of Piano Adventures Player is for students to play pieces from the Piano Adventures method books with high quality musical accompaniments. The accompaniments are lots of fun to play along with.

When you open the app, on the top of the left hand side there is a menu where you can select an individual level of Piano Adventures. So far, there are 4 levels in the app. Each level includes 3 free pieces from the book.

Once you are in a level, select the tab “Get More Songs” and you are taken to a page where there is a $4.99 in-app purchase for the accompaniment tracks for the Method, Performance, and Technique books of that level.

Piano Adventures Player is easy to use with your acoustic piano. Select your level, set the tempo, and start playing along with the accompaniments. I like the visual representation of the count-off so you know exactly when to come in. You do not need any other equipment but a good set of speakers is nice.

If you have a MIDI keyboard or piano, there are 2 other ways to play along with the accompaniments:

  • In the Follow Mode, the accompaniment will follow along with the student’s tempo.
  • In the Wait Mode, the accompaniment will wait until the student plays the correct notes.

In order to connect your iPad to a digital piano/keyboard, you will need Apple’s iPad Camera Connection Kit. I connected mine with my old MIDI In and MIDI Out cable with a USB plug on one end. If you are new to this, I do not advise you to buy these cables without someone to help you.  Also, there are different iPad camera connection kits, and you need to know which one your iPad uses before you buy.

There are more features in this app, such as the ability to set loops, adjust balance, parts, and a keyboard view with light up keys. I’ve probably left something off!

Piano Adventures Player is a wonderful addition to piano pedagogy. I hope that more methods will consider this approach to accompaniments, now that CD’s are becoming obsolete.

For more information about this app, go to http://pianoadventures.com/player/

If you’re in San Antonio this weekend, June 27, 2015, come to Elizabeth Gutierrez’ Piano Camp for Piano Teachers. Elizabeth has some great sessions planned, and I am presenting a session that will walk you through how to use this app and a lot of other good ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under iPad Ideas, Music Reviews, Teaching Aids

Fun With Frogs: Easy Notes on the Staff

Fun With Frogs Easy Notes on the Staff

Frog Notes on the Staff

Frog Treble and Bass Notes

I hope you didn’t give up on me posting the final set in the Fun With Frogs series. I was out-of-town several days, meeting all the wonderful teachers at the Texas Music Teachers Convention.   The Texas convention is huge and there was so much going on. I lost my iPad containing my presentations, found it, lost my iPhone, found it, and walked and talked a lot.

It was so exciting that my friend and teaching colleague Elizabeth Gutierrez won the TMTA pre-collegiate teacher of the year!

Speaking of Elizabeth, my next presentation is in San Antonio where I will speak at her Piano Camp for Piano Teachers. I’m going to open the iPad on-screen and show you how to use it. Elizabeth has some great sessions planned, like how to teach technique after the elementary level, the best classical pieces, and how to teach secure rhythm. Her students play so beautifully and polished, so I am looking forward to that.

Today’s post has piano worksheets for the notes around middle C position for young beginners. Print these sheets or open them in your iPad.

If you like these, you will probably like the others in the Frog series. These are all free downloads, because I just like to share!

Learning Piano Keys

Beginning Rhythm

Finger Numbers and Left/Right Hands

Frogs in Flip Flops – This 12-measure song uses only two notes, F and C. There are words and a teacher duet.

Below is something I did with my student to help him remember treble F. We had a lot of fun with Mr. Frog!

Mr Frog Learns F

 

 

 

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Filed under Group lesson ideas, iPad Ideas, Preschool Music Resources, Worksheets