Mes: septiembre 2014

Make your own big magnetic staff board


I’ve always wanted one of those big magnetic white boards  with a  music staff. They are expensive, however, so for years I’ve been planning on making my own. Recently my daughter moved and gave me an almost brand new 3’x 2′ magnetic board!

I’ve been using the magnetic board at every lesson to teach how to place sharps and flats on the staff  in order to construct key signatures.  All of my students have said it is so much easier to learn them this way. It’s also a great way to show beginners stem direction, and even learn note names. It is a lot faster and more fun than using a worksheet, too. This has been so helpful in my studio that I can’t imagine why I waited so long to actually make it!

I thought about using a marker to draw the staff lines on my board, but I was afraid I would mess it up.  Instead I decided to use 1/4″ art tape, also called drafting tape or artist tape. [Disclosure: This link to my Amazon store is just to show you art tape, and the current price is less than what I paid for mine at a craft store. Please buy it where you find the best price.] I think wider tape looks too big for the size of my notes. I wanted my lines to be about the size of a line I would draw on the board, if I had steady hands! (más…)


Planning Piano Lessons for Your First Blind Student

Ray CharlesYou have just gotten off the phone with a parent who will be bringing a child who is blind for piano lessons. You have heard of famous blind musicians, perhaps you have even been aware of an accomplished young person receiving a scholarship from an affiliate of a teacher’s organization you belong to. Your common sense as a person and a teacher tells you that regardless of whether a child is sighted or blind, children are children. What you know about the piano and teaching and encouraging practice applies to everyone. You also know that as different as each sighted individual is from another, so, too, will all blind children have their individuality. You can look forward to being open and creative in finding best ways for working together. You think of the activities of a lesson-the scales, the books of pieces, etc. What can you expect-demand–to be the same? What will be different? Will you be able to teach all the music skills you normally do, or will you need help? Is there any danger of doing something so completely wrong that the damage will be irreparable?

The answer to this last question is, probably not. If you stick to the standards you have as a teacher, emphasize posture, proper fingering and playing habits, if you demand that everything is learned thoroughly and not played too fast or carelessly, and, most of all, if you build on the child’s love of music and keep a pleasant atmosphere where he or she has an enjoyable time when with you, then whatever time you and the child spend will be time spent well.

This article will discuss preparing for the first day and beginning lessons after that. We’ll then talk about ideas for directions you can go from there, and some resources. Please know that you do not need to feel alone with this. Even if you are out in the boondocks, as thankfully many of you are to reach children who happen to live out there too, you’re just a phone call or e-mail away from someone with experience who can help you along. (más…)