Piano Team

For years I thought it would be fun to have an Ensemble group that comes once a week in addition to their piano lessons.  Finally four years ago I decided it was time to give it a try. 

Piano Team is a group of students learning, playing and performing together using team work skills.  Students learn to play in ensembles as well as enjoy playing with a midi accompaniment.  Students share in both fun and responsibility in a piano “club” environment. Students focus on rhythm skills, improvisation and ensembles.  And when we have some time, theory games are a bonus! 

Piano Team meets once a week for 45 min. in addition to their regular piano lessons.  Throughout the year, Piano Team prepares for performances and adjudication evaluations.

One thing that I like to do for student’s that are thinking about joining Piano Team is to hold a Piano Team Preview class in the summer.  We use the Hal Leonard Ensemble books and the midi accompaniment that goes along with them. 

Each week when it’s time for the piano team students to leave, I always hear “already?”  We have lots of fun in Piano Team!

Tell me, do you have a piano team or club of some kind in your studio?

FREE Halloween Music

Several years ago I had an abundance of beginners in my studio and not enough early elementary Halloween music for students to learn for the Halloween Festival.  So I wrote 6 early elementary pieces (all in A minor, middle C position).  I hope your beginning students enjoy them as mine have over the years!

Freaky Fright-day

Monster Stomp

Halloween Party

Halloween is Finally Here

Rolling Pumpkin

Halloween Howl

Halloween Festival

One of my favorite events that my students and I look forward to each year is Halloween Festival.  I dress up in costume for the occasion as do the students and even some family members get in on the fun.  I encourage siblings and even parents to dress up, last year I had a few mom’s that did.  Loved it!  Halloween Festival is held in my home, I break it up into 3-4 groups that are about 45 min. apart.  This gives us about 20-25 min. to play and about 20 min. for goodies afterwards before the next group comes.  I decorate the house inside and out.  Last year I struck gold when one of my neighbors a couple blocks down were selling all their outside Halloween decorations. 

Halloween Festival is a relaxed party atmosphere.  The kids play a couple pieces and I try to do some kind of game to mix it up and get everyone involved in the fun.  My favorite game is the Halloween Pass Along Game.  I had found something for a baby shower and loved the idea so I took the idea and made one for Halloween.  I’ve done this one the last couple years and it is a hit.  I read the lines in between performances.

Another fun game I have done in the past is fact or fiction.  You can easily google for these online and have the audience guess if what you are telling them is fact or fiction.  One other one I’ve done before is a Halloween trivia.  For example, how much does the largest pumpkin weigh?  This is just some fun things to get everyone involved in the Festival.

An easy game while everyone is having refreshments is “Guess how much candy is in the jar.”  Each family can write down their guess on their entry form and stick it in the bowl.  The family that has the closest guess takes the jar full of candy home.  You can download my entry forms and sign here: Halloween Candy Jar 

For refreshments, I have each family bring goodies to share with everyone.  When I first started doing this I went all out and bought subs, chips, drinks, etc… but hardly anyone ate these and just ate the goodies.  I had so much leftovers!  So the next year I just made a macaroni salad, chips, veggie tray, etc… but again everyone went for the goodies.  (Any leftovers of refreshments I have, I give to the students the following week.) Now I provide water and then make a sherbert/7up drink which everyone loves and looks forward to.  I always have at least one student that asks if I’ll have my yummy drink there. 

Coming soon… Halloween Music


One of my student’s favorite DVD’s is ANIMUSIC

ANIMUSIC is animated virtual instruments performing in a very creative environment.  It is fascinating to watch and the kids absolutely love it!  Rhythm, Pitch, Melody and Harmony are just some of the things students can experience through these DVD’s. 

ANIMUSIC supports and encourages teachers to use their DVD’s in their classroom and studio’s.  They have made Teacher Guides available to download for free.  I created worksheets for my students based on those teacher guides that they can do during their lab time while they watch ANIMUSIC.  Feel free to download my Animusic Worksheets for free.  This is for ANIMUSIC 1, I recently purchased 2 last year, but haven’t made worksheets for it yet.  ANIMUSIC is currently working on a 3rd DVD.

Tell me, have you showed ANIMUSIC in your studio?