Thursday, April 29, 2010


Welcome to those of you visiting from The Teaching Studio blog! Please take a look around, I hope that some of my ideas and resources can be a help to you. 

(And, to those of you who haven't visited The Teaching Studio yet, go check it out- it's worth your time! Just click the image above, or the link in the right sidebar.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Quick Little Student Inspired Idea

Forgive my neglectful blogging lately - I'm currently dealing with lots of semester-end stress and I am more than a little swamped. However, please rest assure that come May 1st, there will be lots of new blogging material to read, and some fun printables! WooHoo! Meanwhile, I shared this brilliant idea I had (well, maybe not brilliant, but I was pretty pleased with myself) on the Faber Piano Adventures Forums the other day, and thought that it might be of use to some of you, too!

First, some background: right now I am currently teaching one of my four (almost five) year old students to read notes on the staff. We've been working our way through the note names on the staffs - but not using any books, simply activities. Here's the breakdown of how I taught her the space notes of the treble clef over the course of three weeks:

The first week, we cut strips of paper and glued them down on a sheet of paper to make a staff-  then we labeled all the notes. This particular student enjoyed getting to color and decorate her poster. Whatever works!

The next step was a stroke of sheer luck, and I can't take all of the credit for it, as my student was starving, but I didn't want to waste lesson time giving her a snack. Note: Normally I don't feed children during their lessons, but this student comes right after dance class (therefore she's pretty hungry) and I babysit her on a more than regular basis, so I made an exception!

Anyway, what did we do? We wrote the notes on my whiteboard staff as a reference and we used pretzels to make a staff and chocolate cheerios for the notes. She had to name the notes before eating the cheerios.

Then, the following week, we used the same pretzel and cheerio activity but, as we played the game, I erased one note name from the white board at a time until she could name every single note. 

It worked like a charm! She now knows all of the spaces of the treble clef, and so now we'll start with the lines at her next lesson!

Has anybody else ever created an activity for a student on a whim?

Thursday, April 8, 2010


No, I'm not hosting a giveaway (yet.) But there are quite a few going on right now, and I thought I'd compile a list! Go enter!

Anya @ Notes of Joy is giving away a set of Bea's Keys.

The Teaching Studio is giving away the picture book A Winter Concert

MckMama is giving away an iPad (no, she's not a music teacher, but the iPad is worthy of posting. Believe me.)

I think I'm missing one or two, but I can't for the life of me remember where or what they are. If you know of them, please leave a comment and let us know!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Thought for the Week - March 29, 2010

The artist is not a special kind of man, but every man is a special kind of artist.
- A.K. Coomaraswamy

Friday, March 26, 2010

LEGO Bricks and Music Lessons?!

Have you heard about the Lego Smart Creativity Contest? I just heard about it today from a homeschool discussion board, and (though I never thought about using LEGO products in my lessons before) I think I foresee them making an appearance at upcoming lessons. I mean, how cool does this idea (taken straight from the website) look:

LEGO My Music- Rythm Study
LEGO Smart Creativity Contest Entry (SEPTEMBER WINNER!)
By Paula Augustine, Home school mom and private music instructor

Steps: 1. Give each group of 2-3 students a LEGO Smart Kit. 2. Give them 3-5 minutes to work together and line up their bricks into a rhythm composition. 3. Let each group share their rhythm composition and explain what each brick 'symbol' meant. They will need to work together to decide how to organize the bricks into length is to be played and be able to play it together when finished. I had one group use some colors as rests! Another group used dotted rhythm patterns.
Lesson Learned: The students learned to work together, work creatively, and how use symbols to communicate with the class.

Anybody else interested in entering the 2010 contest? Just visit their website here to pre-register. (The first 10,000 get a free mini LEGO kit!) I think my students and I will definitely be able to come up with some creative activities... and knowing how creative some of y'all are, I have no doubts that your ideas will be equally as great!

Leave a comment if you decide to participate, too!