Practicing vs. Playing

Practicing vs. Playing

I recently talked with my students about practicing and playing the piano. I wanted to find out if the students just work on the assignments that I give them each week or do they also spend just some fun time at the piano during the week.

It was about 50/50 who just practiced their lesson and never just played for the fun of it and those who practiced their lesson and also spent time just playing.

Continue reading

Helping the Hands Feel Comfortable

Many students I have worked with have a period of time when they are trying to physically get comfortable with their instrument. Whether it is piano keys, guitar strings, or clarinet/trumpet/etc. keys there are ways students have to use their hands to maximize their comfort and relaxation.

Continue reading

Arranging Songs for Guitar (The Christmas Song)

I spent some time this weekend arranging the first half of "The Christmas Song" for a student. He is thinking of playing it for recital this year. It was a very fun challenge!

Music App - Guitarist's Reference

One of my go-to apps for guitar students when we are talking about theory is "Guitarist's Reference." I mostly use this with my more advanced students to relate chords and scales together. It is available online at www.guitaristsreference.com and in the Windows app store, the Apple app store, the Amazon for Android app store, the Chrome web store and on Google Play.

Continue reading

Choosing the "Right" Time for Practice

One of the many practice tips we give to our parents is finding the "right" time for practicing. There can be many factors in this - time of day, attitude of the student, other activities going on in the home during practicing. So what is the "right" time?

Continue reading

Having a "Heart-to-Heart" With Students

Teachers - has there ever been a student of yours who seems to be going nowhere, or worse - de-progressing? And it is a student with ability - you can see it during the lesson. They can play music - and play it very well, in fact! It could be an issue with practicing, motivation, self-confidence - a number of factors. Sometimes it helps to have a nice "heart-to-heart" discussion with a student to see what is going on with them.

Continue reading

Hooking Practice to a Specific Daily Event

So I have recently gotten back into the habit of practicing after spending several months updating our website. My practicing "trick" to make sure I have a daily practice time is something we suggest to our students all the time - hook your practice time to a specific daily event!

Continue reading

Back Into the New Year

Well I finally feel like I am back in the swing of things by the 2nd week of the year! Lots of new songs to arrange for students for potential recital pieces, lots of new students to prepare for. The changes throughout the year sure keep a piano teacher on her toes!

Continue reading

Composing "Articulationally"

Composing with articulation in mind is natural for many students. Especially if their song is telling a story. Making sure to include that articulation in writing down the song is important for the teacher so the student can really see how their articulation sounds are communicated to others. They will also learn to pay more attention to the articulations when they learn new songs.

Our Favorite Composers/Books

  • John Williams
    John Williams has been composing music for movies for such a long time! Many of the students enjoy playing the music from "Star Wars" and "Harry Potter," two of his most loved musical scores.
  • Melody Bober
    Melody Bober is such a popular composer with our students! We think it is because she is from Minnesota. So she knows what Minnesotans like in their music!
  • Frederic Chopin
    Chopin is Elizabeth's favorite composer for the piano. In fact, he composed ONLY for the piano. It is no wonder many of her more advanced students enjoy playing his music also!
  • 1