Supersonics Piano Christmas!


Daniel McFarlane has been ringing in the wild bells and arranging a bunch of FUN Christmas music you should really check out!

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Dashing through the Snow, Ring the Bells, Rebellion, Falalalalalala and Jingle Jangle… Each one is an interpretation unlike any other. If your students gravitate towards the different and exciting possibilities with some well known carols, they will enjoy any of these new intermediate-advanced arrangements. Click here to view and listen to the selections.

While you are visiting Supersonics Piano, don’t forget that the 30% off Halloween special is coming to an end on the 31st! Click here to view the spooky selections. And just a little tip: The Spooky and Creepy Crawlies Challenges will be taken down so you won’t be able to buy them anymore after that, so grab them while you can. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

*NEW* 3 for 2 offer!

For the next two weeks if you purchase or upgrade any two studio-licensed products on Supersonics Piano you will receive a third one for FREE! Read more here.

Don’t forget to join the Supersonics Piano Discussion Group to stay up to date on specials and when new pieces are released!


Be sure to ‘Like’ FPSResources on Facebook and follow FPSResources on TpT to stay up to date on giveaways, reviews and other music resources!


ASMTA Conference: Enhance your Teaching: Learn the Secrets of the Brain

Somehow this post got “lost” in my draft folder. But it’s never too late to share some notes from a presentation right? I hope you are able to get something from it as it’s been awhile since I attended this presentation last June. When it comes to the brain and music, there is always some interesting things we can learn… enjoy!

Presenter: Robyn Meahl

Why Science?

Offers a new lens to examine your teaching, reaffirms currently teaching process

Offers new teaching practices,methods backed with evidence.


What happens in the brain when we learn?

Brain myths- static, unchanging, use only 10% of brain, male and female brains are radically different, ages 0-3 are more important years for learning- all not true.


Learning cycle models:

Sense-Integrate-Act (hear a rhythm, clap and count, then play)

Act-Sense-Integrate(playing, hearing and correcting)


Important factors:

Motivation-No intrinsic motivation rewards centers in the brain are not activated.

Spacing- spread it out to insure maximum retention

Reflection- stop and reflect


Active learning- auditory and motor regions in brain are linked. Movement reinforces musical understanding.


Teaching application:

Get students moving as much as possible, clap or step to rhythms, play on drums, games and role playing.


Create a learning addiction:

-Learning is emotionally colored

-Positive impressions

-Negative impressions


It carries over (ie: parents attitude affects child’s)


Successful learning experiences causes the brain to release dopamine. Hormone release when experience pleasure.


Teaching application:

New formats and info- Change things up.

Exciting engagement- creativity and humor

Reinforcement- return to concepts, find different ways to teach the concept.


Flow state- match skill level with appropriate challenge

Too difficult- frustration, anger, shut down

Too simple- boredom, careless errors, disinterest

Within reach- flow- clicks


Set small goals on the way to the destination.


Learning is more successful when material is personally meaningful (like jazz- give them jazz)


Allow students to make learning choices- repertoire, styles, projects


Create curiosity-

-Spark interest in a topic before introduction

-Make advancing intriguing, rather than stressing.

Adjustable across all ages

-Mystery- investigation




Myth- you either got it or you don’t- wrong


Studies show- talent does not exist


Exceptional cases: Mozart’s education began in infancy. Long period of rigorous training.

Cultural differences: African children- earlier motor skill development. (when raised in different area’s the are “normal”)


Every student is equally deserving of our time and energy. Best indicators of success: Time spent practicing, Parental and teacher encouragement.


Environment- all children are “talented”. She gave example of when she was with one teacher she was the talented student, when she changed teachers she was no longer the “talented” student and performance tanked.


All deserve the same amount of effort and encouragement.


We can’t expect the same results from every student.


Multiple Intelligences-










Interdisciplinary activities- math can help music, music can help science, etc….


Teaching applications- studio projects, now students interest, incorporate other fields into lesson material.


Praise- Tradition says you are so talented, smart, good musician… (more harm then good)

If something goes wrong they feel defeated

Address effort. You listened so well this week, you played well because you worked so hard. Talk about accomplishments…


Intrinsic- learning addiction

Extrinsic- ‘candy’


Flow state- in absence of fear/stress. info doesn’t get there if student is stressed out about the info


Lessons need to be safe places where they don’t fear failure.


Video games- instant feedback


Have individualized achievable challenges

Frequent feedback en route to a goal

Break final goals into stage (level)


Automaticity- you can’t think of every note, but focus on the bigger details, musicianship.

Performance script- Musicianship, form, harmony, constructive guideposts


Listening Skills

Myth: critical listeners are increasingly rare.


Novice listeners have stronger emotional experiences with music.


They are more likely to continue.


Teaching application-

Create playlist, concert trips, listening guides, projects…


Enhance your practicing-

Stress mindfulness

Improved engagement



Habit formation

Self Compassion


Enhance our teaching


Wider variety of tools

Better understanding of student

More patience


Share info with parents

Share info with students

Incorporate info about the brain into lessons

$2 Tuesday!

Instead of “Tech Tuesday” it’s $2 Tuesday today! Today only, over on TpT one of my new games is on sale for 50% off!


The Turkey Lurkey Musical Math game covers addition, substraction, multiplication and division! A great way to review rhythms and applying it to math!

Another one you might enjoy in November is Turkey Scales!

Check out all the musical goodies offered by teachers by going to TpT and searching for $2TuesdayMusicFlashSale.

Be sure to ‘Like’ FPSResources on Facebook and follow FPSResources on TpT to stay up to date on giveaways, reviews and other music resources!

Group Made Fun: Christmas Lessons and More!

Halloween isn’t over yet and I’m already talking about Christmas! Well as you know teachers need to be ahead of the game so we are prepared!

Over 10+ years ago, I started what I call “Christmas camp” in my studio. For the first two weeks in December my students come once a week for 2 hours each day. I started doing this after being frustrated with all the no shows, cancellations and lack of preparation from my students during this month. I felt there was a better way to enjoy the holidays and allow my students to enjoy them as well. Now, I don’t want them to slack on their practicing so I also hold a practice contest during December and encourage them to play A LOT of holiday music and sight-reading during that month. After all, they only have a limited time they can usually enjoy those Christmas pieces. If you subscribe to the Piano Bench Magazine (highly recommended), you will find an article which will tell you a little more about my Christmas camps in this month’s issue. Be sure to check it out!

In short, Christmas camp is basically a longer group lesson. I usually have a theme in place. This year I’m totally re-vamping my Christmas Around the World camp and bringing it back since our yearly theme is a ‘space’ theme. I figured they tie together nicely. I’m currently working on all the updates right now and I have to say I am super excited to do this camp as it is better than ever! So keep a look out when that is available.

One of the new products I have started to make available for teachers is what I am calling Group Made Fun. These are group lessons, camps and workshops. You can use any of these however you like; so if don’t do camps, you can apply them to your group classes and so on. They are basically lesson plans, activities, games and even treat ideas that are totally done for you so it saves you a ton of prep time!

Because these are pretty time intensive to put together, it has taken me longer than I hoped to make them available. But I am enjoying the process of making them nice and organized and super easy for YOU to use with your students!

So far I have the following in my TpT store… (you can click on the picture to see more information)

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Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 10.37.34 AMAnd coming REAL soon is…

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Also coming soon…

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Be sure to ‘Like’ FPSResources on Facebook and follow FPSResources on TpT to stay up to date on giveaways, reviews and other music resources!

Halloween Festival 2014

Halloween Decor

Every year my students dress up in costume and perform a halloween piece in October. It’s one of our favorite events to look forward to! Every year I also like to put a little twist on the event and come up withsomething between the performance pieces. And let me tell you it is getting harder and harder to figure out new ideas. But this year I came across a Halloween Jokes “I Have, Who Has” Game that Tweet Resources created. PERFECT!


If you not familiar with how “I have who has” games work it goes like this…  Someone starts off with the question. Then everyone looks at their cards to figure out if they have the answer. So in this case being jokes, I started off with a joke, then each family looks at their cards. If they think they have the answer to the joke then they give the answer. Then everyone laughs and a performer performs! It is a great way to not only entertain during the event but to relax each performer before they go up to perform!

Afterwards I picked a students name from the pumpkin jar to see who won a treat. Then it was pictures, goodies and guess how many candies are in the jar time! A spooktacular time for all!

Here are a couple group pictures. If you want to see more pictures, just click here to go to my studio blog.


IMG_6592My families bring in treats to share, but I saw a cute fruit kabob pumpkin online and thought it would be an easy thing to do and would make a perfect center piece. Turned out super cute!

IMG_3483I dressed up as a Jedi music teacher who fights Rhythm Wars with Boomwackers. 😉



Are you doing something fun for with your students next week? You may be interested in some of these Halloween themed games…

Witches Brew: A Halloween Composition Game 

Witches Brew: A Halloween Composition Game

Boo! (A Rhythm Bump It Game) A fun 5-10 min. game to end your lessons with!

Boo! (A Rhythm Bump It Game)

Trick or Treat (A musical Hot Potato style game)

Trick or Treat: A Musical Game

Spider Scales Puzzle (Building major and minor scales)

Spider Scales Puzzle

Music Web-Mathsters (A board game using rhythm/math skills)

Music Web-Mathsters

Be sure to ‘Like’ FPSResources on Facebook and follow FPSResources on TpT to stay up to date on giveaways, reviews and other music resources!

Review Series: Music Teacher Store; The Whole Shebang: Theory Power Cubes

Today I am reviewing a product you can find in the Music Teacher Store called The Whole Shebang: Theory Power Cubes.

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 11.30.05 AMThe theory power cubes is a set of 14 alphabet blocks which include sharps, double sharps, flats, double flats and natural sides. The best part of this product is the 7 page booklet of ideas of what you can do with these cubes. Ranging from simple alphabet order to spelling intervals, chords and scales and more. I decided to use the cubes last week as a scale review with my students.

First we reviewed basic pentascale patterns.

Music Blocks

Then we reviewed full scale patterns. I loved that my student below decided to build his scale vertically instead of horizontally.

Music Blocks2

The wonderful thing about these cubes is they are very versatile. Not only can you do a ton of things with them with your students, but you can use them with any level and any age! You can check out details on The Whole Shebang: Theory Power Cubes here on the Music Teacher Store website.


Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 11.22.28 AMJune Christenson is the creator of The Whole Shebang: Theory Power Cubes. June has always loved music and knew she wanted to be a piano teacher since getting piano lessons for her sixth birthday. Now June has been teaching piano for over 50 years, giving her first lessons at the age of 14 and continuing to maintain a large private studio.

June graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Music Composite Secondary Education. To broaden her knowledge in teaching techniques, she has continued to attend music workshops and seminars around the country. She is certified in many programs including the Suzuki and Kindermusik methods.

June believes that music is a life skill.  “Music education is not the education of the musician, but above all, the education of the human being,” she says. June strongly believes that teaching goals should not only include music literacy, musical independence and a love of music, but also etiquette, poise, self-confidence, self-esteem, mental discipline and creativity. You can read more about June and her teaching philosophy here.