Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Valentine Matching Game For Note Review

     I've been brainstorming again, and this game is the result of my musical musings. :) It started with one of my students who plays by ear, but has trouble connecting the notes on the piano with the notes on the staff.         I wanted to find a game that would help her, but that would also be useful and fun for all of my students.

     Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and Michael's had some ca-ute glitter foam hearts on 60% discount (already!)...well, that did it for me!

Here they are close-up- aren't they just chock full of eye candy?! I don't know about you, but I just love anything that glitters....I can't stop looking at glitter. :)

     I peeled the backing off of each heart and stuck them to a piece of heavy cardboard. I had originally intended to leave the backing on and use it to write on, but some of them were crinkly and didn't look so nice. So off came the backing!

     They are super-sticky, so I had no trouble getting them to stay in place. Next, I cut a square around each one, creating a game-piece look. (I tried cutting some out as a perfect heart shape, but it was very difficult and didn't leave much room for writing.)

     Here's how I marked the backs of the heart game pieces: I divided them into pairs and wrote the letter name on one heart, and the actual staff and note on the other. I chose to use "bass" for all notes from bass C up to middle C, "middle" for all notes from middle C up to treble C, and "treble" for all notes from treble C to treble E.

     Here are a few pairs with one heart showing the back, and one heart showing the front. I made all three pairs of "Cs" with the double hearts (pink on white) as guide notes in this particular game.

     Here is how the game will look as the students are playing, although they will be playing with anywhere from 8-18 pairs, depending on their level.

Basically, they are a fun way to do flashcards in a matching game style!
Did you develop a game or worksheet for Valentine's Day? Leave a comment below and share it with me!


Posted by Leah@Piano Playground

Friday, January 27, 2012

12 Pianists, One Piano

This is completely amazing and delightful! Watch the whole thing and be inspired!

Posted by Leah@Piano Playground

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Piano: To Decorate Or Not To Decorate...

    ....This is the question!  But I think I've finally come to a conclusion on the best way to decorate my piano.

     Here's the deal- I teach some young children who in the past have been very distracted by all of my musical knick-knacks that lined the top of my piano. It wasn't cluttered- but that little pan flute just screamed to be tried out, and the little grand piano that rings when you push the keyboard- well, it was meant to be pushed!  Not just pushed, but pushed every 5 minutes!  And the old fashioned school bell- everyone wants to hear that sound again. You get the picture. 

     SO. I decided that a more abstract and less-appealing-to-the-childish-eye decor was in order. And you know what?  It's working!  Not a single child felt drawn to the top of my piano last week during lessons. 

Here's a peek at what I did:

I found this candle holder at Value Village for $3. It was exactly what I had in mind when I went to the store to look- I actually looked twice to make sure it was really there. 

     I found this candle at Wheaton's, marked down to just under $3. I had in mind a more beige shade of colour, but this works just fine since much of the other decor (and the wood of the piano) has brown tones.

     On the left I put a vase of pine cones leftover from Christmas, along with my wooden baby grand and one of  the inspiring wood blocks I got at a craft show for $1.

     On the right is another inspiring wood block, and a lantern that I've had for ages but still love. That lantern has graced many places in our home since we've been married.

     Intertwined around my decor is some greenery- I was actually looking for ivy, but couldn't find it, (except for the starter vine growing on my kitchen windowsill!)  And wound throughout the greenery are some clear twinkle lights, which create a wonderful glow, especially at night. (Who said that twinkle lights are just for Christmas?)

     I'm pleased with the results- a homey feel above the keyboard, making the piano one of the most inspiring places to be in our home (if you're a pianist). :)

Teachers, do you decorate the top of your piano(s)?  Pianists, what do you have on your piano to inspire you as you play?

Posted by Leah@Piano Playground

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Exam Results....

     Many of you know that I took my advanced rudiments exam on the 9th of December. It's been one long month waiting for the results. I almost didn't want to look- scared!! But I did, and this is what I saw:
95- First Class Honours with Distinction

     I'm dying to know what I missed- probably something I'm going to kick myself for! But I'm also soooo happy with the results.

     THANK YOU to all of you who have cheered me on in this endeavour. Now on to music history!

Posted by Leah@Piano Playground

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Homemade Alpha-Gems for Notespelling & Chord Building

     There's nothing like making a teaching aid to jump-start motivation for a new teaching term!  I've had the supplies to make these gems ever since Joy posted about the ones she made.  They were really quite easy and fun to make!

I started out with a bag of floral gems from Michael's. They have a flat side and a convex side.

     I simply typed up the letters of the piano alphabet on different colours of cardstock, and printed them off.
     Then I traced a gem around each letter and cut out the circles.
    I tried using craft glue, but found that it kind of "glumped" when it dried, and the outlines of glue could be seen through the gem. So I opted for a tiny ring of super glue around the edge of each gem, which dried quickly and invisibly!

I made 2 sets of the music alphabet, to facilitate both treble and bass review games.

     The only downside is that the gems are too big for the piano keys. However, they are perfect for my large dry erase grand staff.  And I can envision them being used to build chords....and inversions....Next up is to make a sharp and flat set so that we have every possibility of chord- even dominant and diminished 7ths!  Oh, the fun!

     Did you make any teaching aids over your holiday break?

Posted by Leah@Piano Playground

Friday, January 6, 2012

We Are Now Dot Com!

    The new web URL is as follows: www.mypianoplayground.com  All of the posts should automatically re-direct. However, in the process of re-designing and changing the name of my blog, I'm quite sure I lost some followers when the feed address changed.  So spread the word in blogland!  And regular posting will resume very soon!

    Happy New Year to all!  And here's a little musical humor for you....

Posted by Leah@Piano Playground