Author Archives: Susan Paradis

More Pre-reading Music Bundle

Beginners Music-Set2

Pre-reading Music Set 2

The set I’m posting today has 5 more pre-reading pieces. Several of these pieces are about back to school. Two have never been posted or shared on my website, so today is their debut! The other ones I’ve posted before, but I’ve revised them to portrait orientation to use in binders.

One of the new ones is The Golden Rule. If you notice any similarities to Red Light, Green Light,  or Right Hand, Left Hand, and other pieces I wrote, well, it is on purpose.

You see, I had little 4-year-old who just loved Red Light, Green Light. For an entire year he played it over and over. So I started writing new lyrics and drawing different art using the same notes in order to expand his “repertoire.” Of course he loved those, too.

Here’s the run down of today’s bundle.

  1. It’s October is the easiest of the set.  There are no notes,  just left hand finger numbers. I wrote it to give one on my students more experience in “floating” down the keyboard.
  2. Snail, Snail is a traditional children’s song and is the only one in the set I didn’t write. Brace the 3rd finger with the thumb and drop into the keys. Moms and Dads, don’t let your child poke at the key or play with stick fingers.
  3. Play The Golden Rule with firm finger tips and alternate between the left and right hand. The yellow section is hands together.
  4. T-Ball is for fingers 2, 3, and 4 on CDE. Keep the hands in a rounded position, drop into the keys, and keep that thumb forward, not dangling off the keys. It’s fun to wrap their fingers around a ball to show a nice rounded hand position. I have some mini promotional sports balls that I’ve collected over the years. They are good for little hands.
  5. Back to School is the twin to T-Ball. It uses CDE only, with fingers 2, 3, and 4, and is a great way to start learning the names of the white keys.

If you like these, check out my other post with 5 different pre-reading pieces.

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Pre-Reading Music for Young Beginners Bundle

 

Beginners Music

Pre-reading Bundle Set 1

Summer is winding down, school is starting back, and for piano teachers that often means new piano students. I remember when I was a classroom music specialist.  I had a guitar and students would wildly raise their hands to request their favorite songs and bob up and down with excitement. Children love music. So when piano students sit on my bench, I try for that same kind of enthusiasm. But piano is a lot harder for children, no doubt about it. What can I do to make them as enthused about piano lessons as they were when I pulled out my guitar for a sing-along? And can I share my ideas with other teachers around the globe? That is why I started this blog.

If you’re looking for some pre-reading music to use with your beginners, here are some old favorites of mine. They were originally made in landscape orientation, which allowed me to make the score larger. I’ve updated them, because parents kept telling me how hard it was to play sideways pages in a binder. I agree! So I am gradually revising all my pre-reading pieces from landscape (sideways) to portrait view. It takes a lot longer than you may think, which is why it is a gradual project. It is almost like starting over because I have to resize everything before I move it around.  But it is so much easier to use in a binder that it’s really worth it for my students. And in the spirit of sharing, I’m offering these to you, too.

If you want to see the landscape versions, go here to my old site, scroll down, and click the page numbers at the very bottom.

These pieces can be used at the first lesson, depending on age and ability,  and are appropriate for ages 4 to 7. All of them are on the black keys, which means students do not have to know the names of the keys. Only fingers 2, 3, and 4 are used. The two easiest ones are What the Robin Said to the Worm and What the Worm Said to the Robin.

The five pieces in this set are:

  • Red Light, Green Light – color coded to show which hand to use.
  • What the Robin Said to the Worm – No notes on this one, only finger numbers.
  • What the Worm Said to the Robin – This is the partner to the previous piece, using two fingers.
  • Hot Cross Buns – 2 pages, one for each hand on the black keys.

If you have some pre-reading favorite of mine that you would like me to re-do in portrait,  post the name of the piece in the comment section here, and I’ll put them at the top of my list!

Please follow my terms of use. I own the copyright. You may print these for private piano teaching or personal use. They may not be sold or redistributed by any means, including file sharing or posting on the internet. 

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Practice Plus App Review and Giveaway

 

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It’s been a while since I have heard from the folks at Dynamic App Design, who made Metronome Plus, my favorite iPhone and iPad metronome app. Well,  they sent me this great new app that has just been released and now I have a new favorite. I found it easy to use, with music teachers and students in mind.

Let’s face it, I don’t have a lot of time at a lesson to fiddle around with an app, trying to remember how it works. Maybe if I were a 5th grader it would be easier.

Practice+ is a music practice app for musicians, teachers, and students.  All the fine features of Metronome Plus are here, but much more has been added.

Here is the exciting part that is such a helpful practice tool. Let’s say I have a tricky spot I want to speed up gradually. Usually I have to set my metronome, play it, go back to the metronome, reset it, and play again.

Now, I can set the metronome to the number of measures I want to practice and to increase the tempo after each play-through.

I tried this out with a section of music I am working on.  First, I set the starting metronome tempo to 80. Then in the top left box, I set the measure numbers to 2. In the middle box, I set the number of clicks I wanted the metronome to increase after each play-through loop.  The first time it was 80, the second it was 81, etc. I could have set it to increase more after each loop.

The box on the right shows how many times you have played the loop and what tempo range you used. The metronome speed is easily changed using the big plus and minus signs on each side of the metronome.

The loop practice feature really raises a metronome app to an entire new level!

Another extra is the recording feature. A teacher can record a tricky passage and email it to the student.

It also has a tuner, which will come in handy for piano students who play a band or orchestral instrument.

This app is $3.99 in the app store. Trust me, (having observed someone develop an app), it takes months to write the code for an app, and I think the price is very reasonable.

To learn about more features in the app, go to http://dynamicappdesign.com/practiceplus/
The iTunes link is here.

Today, I am happy to be able to give away this great new app to 3 lucky winners! [The contest is over!]

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below by Saturday, August 23, at midnight CST. The winners will receive a code to redeem the app from the Apple iTune store. I will email the code to the winners after the deadline. Be sure you are using a valid email address when you comment.

This app requires iOS 7.0 or later. It is compatible only with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. If you’re not sure what iOS version you are using, go into Settings>General>About>Version.

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Grand Staff Binder Covers and Using Binders in Music Lessons

Covers for Student Music Binders

 Binder Covers

The front and back covers of binders are valuable real estate for learning. I noticed when I started incorporating theory information on the binder cover, they learned it easier because they see it all the time. Well, that is, if they practice they see it all the time! :)

It is well worth the few extra dollars to buy your students the kind of binder that works the best in your lessons. In my studio, the cost of the binder is deducted from their book and activity fee. However, some teachers include the price in either a registration fee or build it into the tuition fee.

I use one inch binders, and I buy the more expensive  “Clear Cover Heavy Duty” binders made by Avery. (I’m including a link to Amazon for those of you who can’t get to a store.) These are often a lot more expensive, but you can get them at the big box stores in the Back to School section for a few dollars this time of year. The thing I really like about this particular binder is the “one touch” open and close. It easily opens with one hand and I do not need to take the binder off the music rack to open it.

I print my assignment sheets on both sides, and I punch holes in both sides of the page. Then all I have to do is turn the page over to reuse it. All that page hole-punching is a lot easier since I bought an electric hole puncher  on Amazon. I’ve had it now for 3 or 4 years and it’s still going strong. It punches about 15 pages at a time. My advice is to keep it cleaned out and if your paper is thicker, such as card stock or 24 pound, put in less than recommended. My assignment page is a free download. The early childhood one is here.

The binder covers you see today match the design I posted two weeks ago. I have some students who are too young for key signature charts, so I use the grand staff binder cover instead.

Included in today’s PDF printable are:

  • A front cover with the notes of the grand staff labeled for students who are too young for a key signature chart.
  • A black and white version of the same staff.
  • The grand staff in landscape view with the notes labeled.
  • The grand staff in landscape without the note names so students can write them in.
  • The grand staff in landscape in black and white.

The version of the landscape grand staff  is similar to the one I posted last year, but it uses less ink. I laminated it and made a poster out of it but it also makes a nice binder cover. The unlabeled one is great to put inside a clear sheet protector to practice writing note names with a dry or wet erase marker. It also works on an iPad. If you don’t know how to print one page from a multi-page PDF, please see my FAQ.

When I decided to switch over to using binders, I was a little worried it would be too cumbersome and a lot of trouble. Now I have it down to a science and it works great. Teachers have a place to add Picture Scales, (legal) music downloads, and theory sheets. The pocket on the front makes a great place to store sheet music. Many teachers add a small yearly charge for the cost of ink and paper.

[Disclosure: If you buy something from my link to Amazon, I make a few cents to support the expenses of maintaining this website, so thank you for your support.  However, I encourage you to check out prices to find the best buys in your area. I absolutely do not link to something unless I have it myself and I think it is a good price.]

 

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