Halloween Group Lessons

Happy Halloween! My Halloween Festival was last week. Feel free to stop by the studio blog to see pictures: http://www.foxxpianostudio.blogspot.com

This week in the studio I held group lessons so I didn’t have to teach today. Last year for the first time in a very long time I decided for some weird reason to hold group lesson a different week which meant I had to teach on halloween. Never again! I like Halloween just as much as my students and frankly I just didn’t like teaching on Halloween. So if I didn’t like it, you can bet my students would not want to come that day either.

I thought I would share what we did in group class this week.

First, as students arrived I had them do the first two workbook pages of their Piano Olympics book. We will be continuing in this book throughout the year at group, Christmas camp and in lab.






We then played a game of I Have…. Whooo Has?, a fun rhythm game created by Melody Payne. With this game students need to put on their careful listening ears and listen out for the rhythm that was clapped.The nice thing is several of my piano students were familiar how to do this game because they did a different version (non-music) at school. You can find more details about this game in the Plucky Pianista blog store hereIMG_5316




On to rhythm dictation. Aimee with O For Tuna Orff blog created these great Halloween rhythm dictation slides (quarter and eighth note patterns) and these slides (adding 16th’s).

Students were first shown the first slide…


Then I had them use Wendy Chan’s rhythm flashcards that I won in her giveaway last August to figure the rhythm out. After they were done dictating the rhythm with the flashcards I showed them the answer…


THEN I played the rhythm on the piano with different accents and they added the strong, medium and weak flashcards that are also included in this terrific rhythm flashcard set. These flashcard sets are absolutely stunning and high quality. Included in her blog link is a video showing all that is included in the set and how you can use them with students. Be sure to check it out.

The pictures below will show students using Wendy’s rhythm flashcards dictating from the Halloween slides that were shown.






After rhythm we moved on to notes. First I had each group put together the candy corn note match puzzles created by D’Net Layton. I timed each group on how fast they could correctly put them all together.





Our last group activity was to play Don’t eat Pete! I had a candy note worksheet in my files (I think it was created by TCW but I could be wrong – so if you recognize it and know where it came from, please comment). We put 5 candy corn candies on top of the candy corn notes and chose one to be “Pete”. Someone would leave the room when Pete was chosen and when they came back they were to guess which one was Pete (and hopefully choose him last). For example they would say “Is treble G Pete?” and so on and if middle C was chosen as Pete, everyone would say “Don’t eat Pete!” and their turn would be over. Yes, they got to eat the candy corn that wasn’t Pete. Of course, that was their favorite part!







The Piano Bench Mag subscription winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway and contributed with ideas you would like to be included in The Piano Bench Mag! There were some wonderful ideas that I would love to see implemented.

Without further adieu, our 5 winners for the 3-month subscription are:


Geri Miller


Penny Lazarus


Congrats! Be sure to check your email for download details and enjoy your subscription! The first issue of The Piano Bench Magis free to everyone so be sure to check it out!

Tech Tuesday: The Piano Bench Magazine (and giveaway!)


I am excited to introduce you to a new piano teacher magazine created by Karen Gibson (editor/publisher) called, The Piano Bench Mag. The Piano Bench Mag is available by download on iTunes to your iPhone or iPad. The magazine will then sync to your NewStand app.

The first issue of The Piano Bench Mag has come out this month and is full of holiday ideas for the piano studio.

Inside the first issue you will find:

  • Find a Treasury of Holiday ideas (different website resources for you to check out!)
  • Giving Back- My Studio and Operation Christmas Child
  • How Charlie Brown Helped my Career
  • App Review- Master in a Minute
  • 5 Alternatives to the December Recital
  • Jazz Up Your Christmas Carols!

I am looking forward to seeing what future issues will hold. Next month the main topic will be on Technology.

Subscription rates are 1 issue for $1.99; 6 month for $7.99 or 1 year for $11.99.

Karen has offered 5 lucky readers of FPSResources a 3 month subscription to The Piano Bench Mag out for FREE!

To enter please comment on what topics you would like to see written in The Piano Bench Magazine. Deadline to enter is Saturday, October 26th 10:00pm (mountain standard time).  (*Winner MUST respond within 72 hours of announcement or another winner will be chosen*) The winner will be announced on this blog and on the FPSResources Facebook page by Sunday, October 27th. Be sure you subscribe to the blog and on our Facebook page so you don’t miss out seeing if you are a winner! Good luck!

NoteBuster WINNER!

I really enjoyed reading all the fun things everyone does with their students to help with note reading.

We have a winner for a free copy of NoteBuster! Congratulations to….

AMY SADLER  (Amy, keep a look out for your email…)

BUT WAIT!!! GOOD NEWS for everyone else! Steven Gross has generously offered all my readers some awesome discounts on NoteBuster. For the discount to work,  you will need to order from this link and then type in the following codes…

The coupon codes are:

20% off one book: PTXYJQZL

30% off two or more books: 4KKPKN5Q

The codes will be good until 10/31/2013 so don’t delay!

Review: NoteBusters

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Do you have students in your studio that struggle with note reading? When I received the book, NoteBusters in the mail my first thought was WOW!!! I was not expecting such a thick book. NoteBusters is a note reading drill workbook on steroids. I kid you not.

Developed by Karen Spurney and Steven Gross, NoteBusters is jam packed with 240 one minute exercises your student can do covering over 30 notes on the grand staff. The cover page is bright and fun and the inside layout is very clean and organized. It is divided into 6 sections adding more notes on the grand staff to drill. As explained on the website, “The first three sections cover notes that appear on the treble, bass, and grand staves. The final three sections cover notes both on and off the staff (ledger line notes). Each one-minute exercise contains 20-24 notes for the student to identify.” Included in the back of NoteBusters is an answer sheet for students to check their answers on their own.

Sample pages…

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The nice thing about this book is it can be used however you need and would like to use it. Want to use just one exercise each week? Or maybe as a class in a group setting? Or maybe you want to drill several pages at a time? Or perhaps you would like a resource for a little friendly note reading competition? Regardless what your goal is for a student, it can be done.

On the NoteBusters blog, Karen has created a 3 part series of video’s for note reading that students can watch before they begin NoteBusters (optional).

There is something to be said by repetition. By the time a student is done with NoteBusters they will have BUSTED their note reading problem away.

Steven has graciously offered to giveaway 1 copy of NoteBusters to a lucky reader of FPSResources!  To enter, leave a comment on what you do to improve note reading in your studio.  Deadline to enter is Thursday, October 17th 10:00pm (mountain standard time).  (*Winner MUST respond within 72 hours of announcement or another winner will be chosen*) The winner will be announced on this blog and on the FPSResources Facebook page by Friday, October 18th. Be sure you subscribe to the blog and on our Facebook page so you don’t miss out seeing if you are a winner! Good luck!


Disclaimer:  I received this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own. 


Congratulations to #16- Christine Bookman!

Christine you won the free registration to the MusicEdConnect.com online conference. Details will be emailed to you soon. Thank you MusicEdConnect.com! Enjoy Christine!

Now for those of you who didn’t win this time round, you have another chance to win on Joy Morin’s ColorinMyPiano blog. Click here to enter. Joy’s deadline is coming up midnight EST, Wednesday October 16th so don’t delay!

Also don’t forget right now you can register for MusicEdConnect.com online conference at a discount ($79 instead of $99) until October 31st.

Giveaway extended one more day!

I just got back from a fall break vacation. Tonight was going to be the deadline to enter for the online music teachers conference giveaway but since I need some time to “catch up” I’m extending the deadline 1 more day!

I didn’t have very much time before I left to really put my two cents about the conference in when I sent out the press release. So I wanted to explain a little more about what this is all about since I’m sure some of you might not be wrapping your brain around it.

Here are the top 3 benefits of registering for an online virtual conference:

1) NO travel expenses! (Airfare, lodging, food- all that can add up!)

2) The conference comes to YOU in the comfort of you own home, studio or wherever you decide to log in.  (This means you don’t even have to get dressed up! Watch in your pj’s if you want!)

3) You can log in WHENEVER is convenient for you! (While the sessions will be available to teachers live so you can ask questions at the end if you want, all the sessions will be recorded so you can watch on your OWN time if you can’t log in when it is live.)

So now you have a better idea what this is all about, go now and re-read the press release and enter the giveaway at this link! This is a $99 value! Deadline to enter is now tomorrow- Saturday, October 12th; 10:00pm Mountain Standard time.

You won’t want to miss out! Oh! And did I mention I am one of the presenters?! So excited! Hope you are too!

MusicEdConnect- A virtual online conference you won’t want to miss!


Register now for the MusicEdConnect.com on-line conference and

Make Your Students Shine!

MusicEdConnect.com is excited to announce the presentations for the 2014 on-line conference!  They have a fantastic line up of nationally-known presenters with awesome ideas to share.  You won’t want to miss this!

Join MusicEdConnect for live sessions, networking and exhibit hall February 5-8, 2014 or on-line for on-demand session videos, networking and exhibit hall any time after that date.

With their impressive lineup of nationally known presenters, you will learn from the best in the business without leaving your home or studio, or join on your mobile device from wherever you are in the world!

  • Hear from many amazing presenters and be re-inspired, motivated, and learn new tips and techniques to make your students shine!  View sessions here
  • Network with other teachers, both private and schools to gain new ideas from others and build friendships that last a lifetime. Visit the exhibit hall and learn about new products and services and conference promotions!
  • All sessions will also be available on-demand after the live conference dates so you can re-watch a session or view a session you missed.  While there is a time for each live session, you do NOT have to watch it on that date. All presentations will be available on-line until February 1, 2015.

Register now through October 31, 2013 for just $79! ($99 after October 31, 2013).

*MusicEdConnect.com is a division of Keys to Imagination LLC.

MusicEdConnect.com is giving away one FREE conference registration to one lucky blog subscriber from FPS Resources!  To enter, just leave a comment below and like FPSResources on Facebook. (Please mention your ‘like’ on your post) Deadline to enter is (was Friday, October 11th) EXTENDED to Saturday, October 12th 10:00pm (mountain standard time).  (*Winner MUST respond within 72 hours of announcement or another winner will be chosen*) The winner will be announced on this blog and on the FPSResources Facebook page by Sunday, October 13th. Be sure you subscribe to the blog and on our Facebook page so you don’t miss out seeing if you are a winner! Good luck! 


Review: Musical Moments

Ever since Recreational Music Making (aka RMM) has entered the piano scene I have been very fascinated with the whole idea. What started out as a more relaxed learning environment for adults have branched out to so many other possibilities! Today’s review is focusing on a wonderful RMM resource catered to adults. After Debra Perez and Will Bailey crossed passed in 2005 they joined forces and created some wonderful programs like Musical Moments. Musical Moments is a recreational music making program that includes a teachers manual of all the lesson plans already done for you.

Many times adult books pacing is way to fast. I have found that adults usually have less patience with themselves when they are learning something new. They expect that they will be able to catch on both mentally and physically quickly because, well they are an adult. But usually that is not the reality. Musical Moments has these adults in mind. The adults who always wanted to learn how to play or haven’t played in years and years and don’t remember anything. They want to take lessons for fun and because they can. They want this to be a recreational activity they can enjoy at home.

When I spoke with Debra on the phone she mentioned, “The foundation needs to be there so students can get playing while having fun, discovering music and have it be part of their life style.” Musical Moments teaches with the “Hear, Do, See, Label” format. Musical Moments sets a solid foundation with slowed down pacing.


Musical Moments includes 6 student books and includes a CD for each. Once the first book of Musical Moments is completed, the next book is Reflective Moments. Reflective Moments are exactly that, a reflection of the skills and concepts learned and experienced in Book 1. This allows the adult student to gain more confidence with what they have learned before moving on. Debra calls this the “joy of the journey” phase. Books 2 and 3 have the same concept with having the Reflective Moments book follow each leveled book before moving on.


Musical Moments Book 1 begins with student tips and musical wellness – which includes a shoulder exercise. It begins with a few off staff pieces and then the on staff learning begins. Open chords and basic full chords for the left hand are introduced in addition to basic lead sheet notation. In the beginning the name of the notes are included in the note heads but are gradually phased out.

Each book is built upon the 1st. When the reach Book 3 they are about a level 2 level in your “average” method book.

If you decide to use Musical Moments especially in a group setting (it can easily be used in a private setting), I would highly recommend purchasing the teachers manual. In the teachers manual it includes tips such as group piano setup, how to incorporate the HEAR, DO , SEE, LABEL format, successful planning, ideas for group teaching, technique ideas and so much more! And this is BEFORE the lesson plans! The great thing about the teachers manual is helping you feel comfortable teaching in an RMM environment. The lesson plans are totally done for you. It even includes questions to ask your students. Even if you decide not to use the Musical Moments student books, the teachers manual can serve as a teacher’s guide on how to implement group piano playing RMM lessons in general.


From the website: “Although 16 lesson plans are included in Teachers Manual One and Teachers Manual Two, the average class will not complete the books in 16 weeks. Be flexible as some classes will require 20-24 weeks. The order and sequence of the lesson plans are what help create a positive musical experience, not how fast you make it through the book.  As facilitators of Musical Moments, it is important that we honor the pace that is comfortable for each class.  Adult students will quit playing when the fun of learning is replaced with high expectations they cannot achieve.”

Musical Moments also has supplementary books such as Sacred Moments and Christmas Moments.

If you are not familiar with RMM or have heard the phrase but still don’t quite understand it, I would encourage you to take a look at the Musical Moments Philosophy here. I think it says it all!

Be sure to like Musical Moments on FB!

If you missed my post awhile back on teaching RMM to teenagers you can find it here.

Disclaimer:  I received some review copies of Musical Moments in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own.