This year, I modified my incentive program slightly to incorporate "musician survival skills". These are the areas that we as teachers and performing musicians know are necessary: aural skills, sight-reading, chording, transposition, improvising, technical skills, and practice frequency. They are also the areas that most students either gloss over or ignore.
Thanks to my colleague Katrina for this link www.findpianoworks.com. This extensive database of piano music was developed by friends and colleagues of Katrina's. It was recently presented the MTNA conference in Denver and it was received very well.
(c) 2008 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.
Thanks to my student Leah for these links:
- http://my-piano.blogspot.com/ (a good site)
- http://m-piano.blogspot.com/ (a good site)
Just two more sleeps before the end of the school year. I, like my students, can't wait. However, I do have seven summer students for July, which works out to eight more teaching evenings. With the exception of one student who is preparing for a theory exam, the rest get to enjoy a more leisurely musical exploration next month. I promised them that we will do plenty of pop songs, improvising and composing (with some finger warm-ups thrown in).
All students will have summer assignments, which consist of playing pop, movie, country, praise & worship and jazz songs, composing and improvising to their hearts content. I paid dearly for not touching the piano in the summer when I was their age. I gradually caught on that this was not a good thing (starting from scratch each year is a painful experience for everyone involved). Now, I stress the importance of keeping their skills up, but also encourage them to have as much fun as they want at their instrument. And yes, we teachers expect the students to have a more relaxed practice routine. Relaxed, but still consistent.
The exam students do have to start on their technical requirements and exam repertoire. If they work hard at it over the summer, then they don't have to work as hard during the school year.
Here are some music games for the students to goof off with over the summer:
(c) 2006 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.
My weakest areas as a piano student were the aural and sight reading tests. One year when I was in high school, I “forgot” my Four Star Sight Reading and Ear Tests book for two months’ worth of lessons. Elizabeth Mahaffy, my teacher at the time, got so fed up that one day, she sent me home to get the book.
|Four Star Sight Reading and Ear Tests: Book 1 (Daily Exercises for Piano Students). By Boris Berlin. Edited by Scott McBride Smith. For Piano. Ear Training and Sight Reading. Four Star Sight Reading and Ear Tests. Elementary (Level 1). Book. 48 pages. Published by The Frederick Harris Music Company (FH.4S1)|
(1) ...more info
My students don’t get away with that since I’ve kept all my Four Star Sight Reading and Ear Tests. I bring them out for the forgetful students or sometimes, I have them pick out a song by ear and add the chords.
There are a multitude of online resources for students who need extra work in this area. Here are a few of them:
If you would like to purchase the Four Star book series, check out my affiliate links below:
© 2006, Musespeak™, Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.