Piano Pronto

I’m really excited to tell you about a piano method that you might not be aware of.  It is called Piano Pronto.  About a little over a year ago, I had bought a few Piano Pronto books but hadn’t had the chance to really look and play through them until I got a couple of transfer students this year that I really was stumped in what method I wanted to put them in.  So I brought out the Piano Pronto books that I had bought and began to play and explore what was inside.  The more I explored, the more excited I got about the books so I wanted to share what I found.

First a little background…

Piano Pronto is the brainchild of Jennifer Eklund who you can read more about here. The series start out with the primer book, Prelude that starts students reading on the staff right away.  After Prelude, the books advance through the Movement levels 1-7.  You can read more details about each level here.

There were 3 big things that made me really excited about this series.

First would be the music itself.  Jennifer is a talented arranger and uses many songs that students will recognize and be motivated to play.  Traditional folk songs and classical pieces are found numerous throughout each level in addition to her own compositions.

Second, the theory is not only built into the books but applies directly to the new piece that they are learning.  For example in the Prelude book for Ode to Joy there is a “Before You Begin” on the page prior where students will do or answer the following to their music:

-Find the eighth notes and circle them

-Write the correct letter names under the notes in measures 8 and 16.

-Does the repeat sign at the end of the piece take you back to the beginning?

-What is the tempo (speed) of this piece?

Third, would be the Pronto Prep section that students will work on before they learn the full piece.  Jennifer has taken the more difficult sections of the piece and has broken them into one line “exercises” if you will, before they even learn or look at the full piece.  I really like this because even though I may tell the student to practice difficult sections first at home, chances are high they just tackle the entire piece.  Piano Prep literally preps the student so they are more successful when it’s time to learn the new piece.  Love this!

Keep in mind Piano Pronto does move a little quickly, thus the Pronto…  So depending on the student you may need to supplement with other pieces if there is a concept a student is struggling with or needs more reinforcement.

Now for some of the supplemental materials that are available.  The Greatest Hit books are a compilation of favorites from books 1-4 and 5-7 that would make a great supplement for students that weren’t in the Piano Pronto series.

Jennifer has also created another supplement book with more to come.  The first one is on Beethoven.  It is designed for late beginning to intermediate level students. It features twelve individual lessons that teach students about the life and historical context behind some of Beethoven’s most well-known pieces.  The Mozart book is due to come out next week.

I would encourage you to take a look at the series.  If you go to the Piano Pronto website you will notice that you can peak inside many of the pages to get a feel for the books and levels.

Now for the best news!  Now through Labor Day, Jennifer has offered the readers on my blog a “Buy one Get one Free” “Free e-Book” of your choice (any book in the series or the Beethoven or Mozart book) with the purchase of another book (hard copy or eBook).  All you need to do is email her personally at:  jennifer@pianopronto.com and let her know your name and that you were referred from my blog and she will send you the book of your choice!  All hard copy books are now offered with free shipping within the U.S.

What are you waiting for?  Go check out Piano Pronto.  Pronto!

Music Teachers Helper Special

For years and years I looked at Music Teachers Helper and thought what a great program it was.  I even signed up for the free trial, tried out some features but didn’t really use it to its fullest since I could only have a few students on it for free.  Finally after years of doing research I decided to dive in all the way and subscribe.  A year and half later and I will never go back to the old way of doing things.  I just wonder why I waited so long.

After the initial data entry, Music Teachers Helper has saved me so much time.  I love the invoice feature and how I can give the options for families in my studio to pay online via PayPal, especially when they are coming up on the last day of the grace period before the late fee applies.  The calendar feature is wonderful and helps keep not only the teacher more organized but families as well.  You can even send reminders for lessons, special events, etc…  There is even a lending library feature that I have come to enjoy.  And every year come tax season Music Teachers Helper has it all, even travel expenses that it has made taxes so much easier.

Right now you can receive 20% off your first month’s subscription by clicking here:  Music Teachers Helper

There is no contract so if you decide it’s not for you, just cancel your subscription.

Some other things I really like about MTH is how quickly they respond to questions, listen to input and needs and implement them, the video tutorials and all the resources they provide to help make MTH work best for the music teacher!

Fall Kickoff and Summer Practice Prop Projects

This last week was the first week back to lessons from summer break and I decided to hold a Fall Kickoff.  This was the first time doing this and I LOVED it!  It was a great way to ease back into a schedule for both the students and I.  Here is the flyer I sent to parents to give you an idea of what Fall Kickoff is all about…   2011 Fall Studio Kickoff

At the Fall Kickoff students shared their practice prop projects that they worked on over their summer break.  This was a huge success!  In the past I usually did a practice incentive called Jammin’ In July where they kept track of their practicing minutes, etc… and then if they got the mystery minute (minimum of what I wanted to see) they would be invited to an ice cream social.  That was always fun but I wanted to try something different this year.  And once again inspired by one of Phillip Johnston’s articles from PracticeSpot.com to have students build a project when they practiced.  So I thought we would try it out.  This is now my new favorite and I wanted to share with you some of the projects students did.  Pretty much anything went!

I had students that built things adding one thing at a time to their project each time they practiced or accomplished a practice goal.  Clay projects, lego’s, friendship bracelet, felt family (little details like individual clothes) and even a hand model!

I had students create drawings, scrapbooks and a composition adding little details to their creation as they practiced or accomplished a practice goal.

It was so much fun to see the projects.   Some were very basic and others you can tell really took a lot of time and effort into their project.  I will definitely be doing this again!

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We have a WINNER!

Congratulations goes to Saundra who was the lucky winner to my 1st blog giveaway!  She has been notified via email and will be able to choose from the Magic of Music incentive program or the Nutcracker Christmas Camp. Enjoy!

Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry and take the time to read this blog.  I LOVED hearing everyone’s plans for what you are doing new this year in your studio.  There is some fantastic ideas.  May it be a successful year for all!

1st Giveaway!

Today is FPSResources blog 1st Anniversary!  Hard to believe one year ago this blog was born.  How time flies!

In celebration, I would like to hold my very first giveaway!  I will be giving away your choice between the Magic of Music Incentive program or the Nutcracker Christmas Camp.

Here’s what a teacher recently said about the Magic of Music program:  “My students were very motivated by the program. You did such a great job putting the program together. They liked the notebook and the fact that everything was altogether.  They new exactly how many points they had earned.  The bonus tricks were very motivating. They liked earning points and moving to the different levels.  I had prizes for them at each level.  They have already been asking me what we will be doing this school year.”

Here’s what a teacher said about the Nutcracker Christmas camp (she is planning on doing it this year):  “What a terrific resource this is!”

How to Enter: Leave a comment on something new you are doing in your studio this year.  Mention this giveaway on your blog, Facebook or Twitter and earn another entry.  Be sure to come back and make an additional comment of where you posted about the giveaway.  I will be using a random number generator to choose the winner.

Entry Deadline Date: All entries for this giveaway must be received on or before Friday, August 12th  to be eligible to win.

Winner Selection and Notification: A winning number will be generated using Random.org shortly after the Entry Deadline Date.  The winner will be announced on this blog on Saturday, August 13th.

Claiming Your Prize: Winner must respond within three (3) days of notification or forfeit the prize, in which case an alternate winner will be selected.  Your prize will be emailed to you via a pdf file.

GOOD LUCK!

***Don’t forget the last chance sale expires this Sunday, August 7th!