Behind the Scenes: Phase 2!

Getting ready for Phase 2 for our QUEST and thought I would share a little “behind the scenes” picture.


If you missed the sneak peak of phase 1, click here. Getting exciting!

I’m leaving for Vegas tomorrow to attend the TpT conference this week. I am looking forward to that, but it means that Phase 2 will have to take a little intermission while I’m gone. Stay tuned!

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

A Sneak Peak of this Years Practice Incentive Program!

It’s the 3rd week in the #TpTChallenge and this week is Make Your Masterpiece! I gave a little spoiler when I was on The Modern Musicians Show with Colin Thomson the other day so I thought I would give even more today!

As most of you know I have been diligently working hard on this years theme. I still have a couple weeks to polish it off, but I am just so darn excited I can’t WAIT until lessons begin!

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This year students will be going on a story-based quest where they will complete challenges along the way. EVERYTHING you will need – challenges (ranging from technique/artistry to notes, rhythms, scales, etc.), games, stories and videos will be included! I also made a couple different options available so if you don’t necessarily want to follow the challenges I set up you will also have the freedom to set your own.

What sets this program apart from anything else I have done (besides being CHOCK FULL of goodies) or anything I have seen that is out there is I threw in some augmented reality! I am just finishing up the printable and will be starting on prepping for the video’s/augmented reality portion. I should have this all done mid-July, just in time for fall lessons to begin. (I don’t know when school starts for you guys, but in AZ we start early August!)

I’d love to hear what you think of it so far! I predict it is going to be a student/teacher favorite!

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

4th of July FUN: Day 1

I’m participating with Amy Abbott from Music a la Abbott (Thanks Amy!) along with some other fabulous music teachers on a fun 4th of July event this week! Each day until the 4th look out for something new.

Today we are kicking it off with a freebie! Be sure to grab those freebies TODAY because some of them will no longer be free tomorrow. You can find all these fantastic freebies by searching “July1stMusicFreedomFreebie” on TeachersPayTeachers.

As you go through and download, please be sure to follow each store. This will alert you whenever any of them add a new resource (paid or free) to their store.”

I decided to create a freebie to help students learn and remember the word’s to the United States National Anthem. Enjoy!



In other news… I’m also excited to announce that I have reached 500 followers on TpT! And you know what that means! I have a celebration in store. However, because I am diligently working hard on my new practice incentive program I will need to do a belated celebration. This celebration will only go out to my followers in their inbox on TeachersPayTeachers so if you aren’t following yet, you have time to do it now! Follow here. Once it goes out, it only goes to current followers.

Have a fabulous 4th of July week!

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

Summer Camp Highlights

I made a summer camp highlight video so my piano parents can see what their kids learned at camp. I thought I would share it with all of you as well.

This year I wanted to really focus on performance skills. These included: Conducting, Accompanying, Performance, Technique and then some fun creating iBands.

I used the following resources for this camp…

Conducting Basics

Accompanying Basics

Rhythm ClapBacks 

Technique Trainer


Musical Words

iPad Ensembles (In addition to using a couple of these ensembles, I also had students improvise. In addition I used regular existing music from to create an iPad ensemble)

Wii Music (We used the Mii Maestro Game where they practiced their conducting skills. So fun!)

When I first was planning this camp, I wasn’t sure how well what I had planned would work with all ages. I have students as young as 5 participating and as old as 18years old. The first group that participated was my “hurry out of town” kids. Which meant it would be a mix of ages. It turns out the mixed ages group ended up being a real nice group as most fell in the ages between 8-12 years. The other sessions were either K-5th or 6th and up. So it worked out well. Then for my K-5th groups I adapted a little bit by adding a little more rhythm activities for them. All in all I’m super pleased with how this camp went!

I hope you enjoy the video!


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

COMING SOON! A new incentive program that is unlike anything you have seen before! Stay tuned!

Free book by Jerald Simon!

Jerald Simon has an awesome promotion going on right now but only through the end of June so be sure to act now!

Jerald is giving away a FREE PDF book to prepare for the 4th of July. You can read a past review I have done of “Jazzed about 4th of July” here.Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 11.33.36 AMYou can click on this link to download the book and listen to the MP3s of Jerald playing the pieces:

Since he is giving this book away for FREE, he just asks if you do, download, please do the following 3 things:
1. Like his Facebook page here.
2. Subscribe to his YouTube page to watch new “Cool” piano tutorial videos here.
3. Share this information with anyone (piano teacher or piano student) who may be interested in playing fun, jazzed up arrangements of patriotic piano solos (all in the key of C – except for the last piece -all are intermediate level)

“Thanks, everyone! Have fun with these! Jerald Simon”

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

Review: Sight Reading Academy


Do you have your students sight read everyday? Colin Thomson has created an effective Sight Reading resource for students called Sight Reading Academy.

As Colin was preparing his audition at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music studying music composition, he would spend countless hours prepping the 3 pieces he was going to perform. While he definitely worried about the sight-reading portion, he put almost no time into preparing for it, considering it impossible to really prepare for sight-reading. He shared with me that he showed up, played his three prepared pieces, and they all went quite smoothly.

Then… a professor handed him one page to sight-read. He knew it was coming, so he nervously took it and started in. About halfway through the second line the professor stopped him and said, “Colin, do you want to take a quick look at the key signature, and try again?” He had been reading it in a completely incorrect key.

He continued to share, “Considering how intensely I had prepared for the audition, this was a bit of a traumatic experience for me. I started back in, and fumbled through the piece. I honestly don’t really remember anything after that. But thankfully, I was still excepted to the school, so the story has a happy ending! But ever since that time, I have wondered how a student is supposed to prepare for sight-reading? Does one have to own a library of music, in order to have access to new music for every day of practice? How can a student effectively practice sight-reading, as well as the disciplines (like looking ahead in the music) that play such an important role in sight-reading?

What I’ve developed is meant to function as a sight-reading method book for teachers to use with students, and to allow students a never-ending stream of level-appropriate sight-reading material, as well as innovative video exercises to help them read ahead. I often consider how my own sight-reading abilities could have been transformed early on through the use of a program like this, and I plan to start a revolution in the extent to which music education focuses on one of the most practical skills a musician can have: sight-reading.”

Sight Reading Academy includes sight-reading exercises from levels 1-8. Here are some notation samples so you get an idea of leveling…

Level 1

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Level 2

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Level 3

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Level 4-5

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Level 6-7

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Level 8-9

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The Sight Reading Academy exercises does not give feedback or scores, it is simply a sight-reading tool. At first I wasn’t sure how I liked not having any immediate feedback for students, however I have had a chance to take some time with SRA. I quickly realized that when students are playing their pieces at home, they are not getting immediate feedback from me. They need to learn to listen and watch carefully. The purpose of sight reading everyday is to improve reading skills (not focusing on mistakes) and become more fluent in the language we call music.

When students learn how to read words and sentences in school, they are required to practice their reading daily. I really believe if we as teachers required a daily sight-reading assignment at home in addition to learning their pieces, our students would become much more fluent readers of music.

Sight Reading Academy has done all the work for teachers, all the assignments are done and ready for students to begin. An optional feature that will be coming eventually to SRA will be for students to opt in to receive encouraging emails when the assignment is complete with the next assignment waiting for them in their inbox. Stay tuned for that feature to be function-able.

Each level includes a video where tips and tricks are shared to help them with their assignment. Students receive positive reinforcement, reminders and tips along with their daily exercises.

Some of the exercises a student will see in a lesson are:

Quick Mem– seeing one measure at a time

ForeSightReader– practice reading ahead of the bar (memorizing as you are moving forward)

Blackout– blacks out the measures as you are moving forward

Some of these exercises, especially the foresightreader and blackout were a bit tricky for some of my students. But they quickly understood why it was important to read ahead.

“Sight Reading Academy is a way for musicians to get new, unseen, level-appropriate music in their email inbox every single day, and includes innovative exercises to help them read ahead. It is my belief that a considerable amount of time should be spent in sight reading exercise. The student who neglects this aspect of study will be woefully unprepared for many of the challenges that will come both during more advanced study and any further performing that may be done later in life. I have gone so far as to say that it is probably the most practical skill that a musician can acquire.” Colin Thomson

How it works for teachers:

The teacher account is always free. After you sign up with your account you can either signup your students or invite them to sign  up themselves. Either way you can track their progress.

Not sure if Sight Reading Academy is right for you? Colin is giving a limited time offer: Get your free teacher account and signup 1 student for a full month. Completely free. The limited time offer for the free student expires in 6 days so don’t wait to sign up for your free account and 1 free student. You can check it all out here, be sure to watch the video to really get an idea of what SRA is all about. And while you are there, you may want to take some time to read some articles on his blog.

2015 Summer Camp Plans

It’s that time of year! Time to prepare for summer! As most of you know I like to hold summer camp in my studio. It has created a win-win solution in my studio and allows both teacher and students a much needed break.

I’m really excited about our summer camp this year as I’m focusing a lot on performance. This is the flyer my families have received about camp…

2015 Summer CampI thought I would share a little more what we are doing in case you are looking for some ideas.

Years ago I did a conducting and accompanying basics camp. I decided it was time to revive this one so I’ve been putting the polishing touches on and am happy to announce that I just added Group Made Fun: Accompanying Basics in my store so it is now available along with Conducting Basics!

If you are doing a summer camp or workshop, I would highly recommend combing both Accompanying Basics and Conducting Basics in the camp as they both blend together quite nicely. To give you an added incentive to include both, I have discounted both of these Group Made Fun packets as a bundled price (Normally they are $12 each, but now $10 each) through the end of the month! You can view complete descriptions and some sample pages on each page. Click on pictures below.

Group Made Fun Accompanying Basics Cover Page

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Okay, back on track…

In Conducting Basics students will learn the basics of conducting (the file includes conducting posters), tips and tricks and of course lots of hands on experience. Do you have a Wii? Purchase Wii Music and use the Open Orchestra, found in the Jam Mode. Players will use the Wii Remote as a baton to conduct an orchestra. FUN!  I have a fun snack and craft in store as well for them. I always like to have some kind of snack and craft to break the camp up a bit.

In Accompanying Basics students will have hands on activities learning how to accompany soloists, choirs, stories/poems, instrumental and dance. They will learn page turning tips, the Be-Attitudes of Accompanying (includes teacher guide) and of course a fun craft and snack!


I wanted to do more because I really wanted to focus on ALL things performance. So we are going to really dive into Technique Secrets and making our Performances POP! Jackie Sharp’s new book, Technique Trainer (see recent review here) will come in really handy, especially her videos. We will be visiting Irina Gorin’s YouTube channel as well. If you subscribe to Piano Book Club, their recent book, My Piano Teacher Thinks She’s a Ninja will come in handy!

And then we will conclude the camp with iBand Ensembles! I did this years ago in a group lesson and have been wanting to bring it back! Susan Oglivy and Dennis Mauricio has created some fun iPad ensembles complete with background tracks! Check them out here. Students will be bringing in their iPads and Tablets. If they don’t have one, I have 3 available in the studio (actually 4 if my husband will lend me his).

If you had extra time, you can add Wendy Stevens Rhythm Cups (recently released Bk. 2!), create Boomwacker ensembles (check out this website with free boomwacker color coded songs) and more! (Tip: Always have more planned than you need) Performance Pizazz is what this camp is all about!

Happy Planning!

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