Category Archives: Games

Time for Back-to-School and Halloween

Over the summer all of my students completed 5 one-hour lessons to keep up their technical skills, theory, and sight reading which get them ahead of the game for the new school year. They were all SO ready for September piano lessons and back-to-school! Right now they are busy with school activities and homework but they all make time to practice for their lessons. After all, music is an equal part of their educations- if Math isn’t optional, neither is music! Just look back to the ancient Greeks and their educational systems- we still base our education on these subjects today: grammar, rhetoric, and logic, geometry, arithmetic, MUSIC, and astronomy.

This year, our piano hands are becoming filled with stars (see photo)- each star represents one year in piano. My students are dedicated and have been studying with me for years! I couldn’t be more proud. This year we are working on memorization skills- our “practice” beads have been traded in for “memorization” beads. Every time my one of my students memorizes a page of music, they receive a bead for their chain…and the chains are growing already- WOW

October is time for Halloween party music, so each year we take a lesson to go “shopping” for a piece. This means that I play through a number of  Halloween songs and the student gets to choose which piece they want to play at the party. I think its a tie between this and Game Week for my students all-time favorite lessons of the year!

I know it feels too early for Christmas, but not in the piano studio! Some of my more advanced students have already been preparing their Christmas pieces for a couple of months- it going to be a great concert this year; bell choir, percussion ensemble, Jazz Christmas songs, as well as our favorite traditional Christmas pieces. Stay Tuned!


Creepy Halloween Games


Sarah was this year’s first ” 2014 Skull Master” First she places the skulls on the correct piano key, then has to put them back on the tree–only naming them as enharmonics!


Delaney had to pick a key, based only on the number of sharps and flats. Then she made the key signature in both clefs with some creepy halloween characters. Finally, she had to pick a card with a scale degree, and name that scale degree of the key she was in.


The Halloween Key Signature and Scale Degree Game.


Grace completes her game and becomes a “2014 Skull Master”!


The October Pumpkin Patch Game.


Claire had to first pick a creepy card and place a pumpkin on the correct piano key. When she was done with the first half of the game, I called out the names of each note. She transferred that note from the pumpkin patch on the keyboard to its correct place on the music staff.


Part one of the “Skull Master” game!


Molly is a “2014 Skull Master” !


Grace is a “2014 Skull Master” !


We’re not done yet…there are more creepy halloween games to go!


Scary sharps, flats, and naturals.


The “Tree of Skulls”.


Creepy Rhythms!


Yummy Candy Corn Game!


Spooky Intervals


The musical pumpkin patch.

Fall Book Bash Fun

Olivia got to do her very first Fall Book Bash today!

Olivia got to do her very first Fall Book Bash today!


Fall Book Bash Cards (52 in all!)

Fall Book Bash Punch Card

Fall Book Bash Punch Card

Piano Key Chains

IMG_6709_2This week my students all made a new “Piano Key” Chain. They keep their key chain in their new tote bags and use them in lessons. The key chain itself has the student’s name and another cool piano design on the back chosen by the student. I picked the Circle of Keys for my key chain. The punch cards are fun because they are the same size and shape as the grocery store membership cards on Mom’s key chain.

Also on the key chain are:

  • A memorization BONUS bead punch chard
  • Our Fall Book Bash Punch card
  • A full set of mini Travel Flashcards
  • 14 Practice Strategy “chips”

This week my students are beginning to learn important practice strategies one by one. These strategies not only help them practice a regular lesson book piece, but can get them through the tough technical passages in their music that could stump any pianist.

Two of my students will be traveling this Labor Day weekend and will already be using their travel flashcards in the car.  Two students will be taking on the challenge of memorizing a piece for next week for an extra 3 bonus beads on their practice chain. And one student has already completed a “Fall Book Bash” activity. Fall book bash activities take place when a student has completed a lesson book song and is ready to do something fun and crazy with that piece. They do this by randomly choosing a card from a a deck of cards each with a crazy musical instruction on how to play that song. What ever the card says the student has to do!

Fall Book Bash Punch Card

Fall Book Bash Punch Card

It’s been a great first week of lessons- everyone is hard at work and 3 students even received the highest lesson rating this week of 5+1 (thats 5 regular beads plus 1 bonus bead on their practice chains).  Boy, we are going to have really long practice chains this year!!

I have the best students ever and these key chains are really shaping up already to be a  wonderful learning aid for them all.

iPad Games…Not just for people anymore!

Ipad apps are a favorite among my students.

Recently during Game Week, several students got to play a variety of games.

Here are some favorites:

Evelyn plays Simon

Evelyn plays Simon

Caroline plays NoteWorks

Caroline plays NoteWorks

Julia plays Flashcard Derby

Julia plays Flashcard Derby

Allison plays Key Signature Quiz

Allison plays Key Signature Quiz

Joseph plays NoteQuiz Bass

Joseph plays NoteQuiz Bass

Mady plays Music for Little Mozarts

Mady plays Music for Little Mozarts

Lizzy plays Game for Cats

Lizzy plays Game for Cats

Hey…wait a minute!

Studio Happenings

It’s a busy time this week It’s not only Game Week, but several students are preparing for the Baroque Concert on March 10.

Colleen is working on her Baroque pieces.

Colleen is working on her Baroque pieces.

Megan practices her Baroque pieces.

Megan practices her Baroque pieces.

Our concert is taking place at Reynold’s Tavern in historic downtown Annapolis.

The studio harpsichord will travel to Reynold’s and the students will perform Baroque era pieces for the audiences as they enjoy Afternoon High Tea.

Game Week is in full swing and here are some more FUN highlights!

Sarah and I played Rhythm Round up--she creamed me in 4 out of 5 different games we played!

Sarah and I played Rhythm Round up–she creamed me in 4 out of 5 different games we played!

Sarah and I played Crazy Keys

Sarah and I played Crazy Keys

Cindy plays Enharmonic Snap

Cindy plays Enharmonic Snap

Megan plays the apple picking game.

Megan plays the apple picking game.

Game Week Highlights…so far


Vangi finds the major/minor chords

Caroline and I play Steps/Skips

Caroline and I play Steps/Skips

Julia plays Falshcard Derby on the ipad

Julia plays Falshcard Derby on the ipad

Allison names the major and minor keys

Allison names the major and minor keys

Addison and I play the Funny Farm Game

Addison and I play the Funny Farm Game


Note Bingo!

Quintin plays Snowman Skips and Steps

Quintin plays Snowman Skips and Steps


Maddy matches the notes to their rests

Maddy works on Bass clef ledger lines

Maddy works on Bass clef ledger lines

Maddy speeds through Easter Egg Vocabulary Match-up

Maddy speeds through Easter Egg Vocabulary Match-up

Julia and I play the Interval Garden Game

Julia and I play the Interval Garden Game

Claire and I play Spooky Intervals

Claire and I play Spooky Intervals


Evelyn plays Simon on the ipad

Evelyn and I play the What's Missing Rhythm Game

Evelyn and I play the What’s Missing Rhythm Game

It’s Game Week!


Its game week! And that means all my students will have tons of fun at their lessons this week while they do nothing but play musical games that reinforce musical note reading, keyboard geography, time signature counting, triad inversion, key signature identification, and a whole host of other fun musical activities. This is a wonderful opportunity to work on a deeper understanding of the concepts that my students need to progress and REALLY fun way to learn!

One Minute Club

2012 One Minute Club Members

2012 One Minute Club Members

It’s that time of year again! It’s time for the 2013 One Minute Club! Several of my students are already practicing their flashcards and becoming faster and faster at them in order to pass all 6 levels. Each level must be played on the piano in under 1 minute to move forward to the next level. But it’s not just one level at a time….no way! That would be too easy…

Level 1- C’s

Level 2- C’s and F’s

Level 3- C’s, F’s, D’s

Level 4- C’s, F’s, D’s, G’s

Level 5- C’s, F’s, D’s, G’s, B’s

Level 6- C’s, F’s, D’s, G’s, B’s, E’s, A’s

To become a member of the One Minute Club, each student has to play Level 6 on the piano 3 times in succession in under 60 seconds. Once they do, they receive the following:

  • One Minute Club Membership Card
  • $3.00 Gift Card to Menchies
  • A special treat at the Double Scoop Recital
  • A special treat at the Award’s Recital

Our reigning champion is Vangi with 42 seconds …….will someone beat the record this year?


Teacher links:

Membership Card 

One Minute Club Practice

One Minute initiations 

OneMinuteClub Members

Don’t forget….


Annabelle waits for her turn to perform at the Maryland State Competition-2012

Students face so many split-second decisions when practicing their music. Should I play loud or soft? Staccato or legato? Heavy or delicately? Do I lift here or swing to end the phrase? Here is a two-note slur….oops, I forgot to count there!

Even more so for those preparing for adjudicated performance or competition. They have other things to worry about such as stage presence, overall rise and fall of the melodic line, hand positioning, overall musicality…….gosh, the list just goes on.

To help my students who are preparing for these types of events, we use cards in Rep Class for guidance. This reminds them of the many things they need to keep in mind when performing for a judge or for an audience.

Here are some tools we use in the studio to prepare for performance and competition.

Performance Practice

Practice cards

FlashCard Frenzy


FlashCard Frenzy will be our newest game this month!

Get ready everyone- The One Minute Club is BACK!

Flash Card Frenzy Cards

Student Choice

Claire finished her Fall Book Bash card and received “Student Choice”. We had a great time with her choice of a game day!

We played 6 different musical games during her lesson. Funny Farm was lots of fun...Claire beat me 5 out of 6 times!

We played 6 different musical games during her lesson. Funny Farm was lots of fun…Claire beat me 5 out of 6 times!

Scarey Rhythms

This week students are matchiing scarey halloween lyrics to rhythmic patterns. This ear-training exercise accomplishes two musical skills; understanding quarter, dotted quarter, and eighth note patterns, and using the ear to match words and syllables to each rhythmic pattern. Let’s see how everyone does!

I don’t know who wrote the lyrics, but Jennifer Fink at created the rhythm cards. Here is the link:

Creepy Enharmonics

Some of my students have really been enjoying this creepy Halloween game of skeletons where I show them a music flashcard and they pick a skull from the tree to place it on the corresponding piano key. The flashcards use only sharps, flats, double sharps, and double flats. When all the skulls are on the piano keys, the student must finally name each key using ONLY enharmonic names for each in order to become the Skull Master!

Halloween Flashcard Games

Sarah did a fantastic job on the Halloween Flashcards this week! She’s really been practicing a lot at home- good work Sarah!!

Flashcard Bowling

Gracie and I were doing flashcards this week and she helped me name this new game! Thanks Grace, I love it- and so will everyone else!!


Here’s how you play FLASHCARD BOWLING

1. Set the Metronome at 40 (or faster).

2. Set 10 flashcards up like bowling pins.

3. Begin by saying, “READY, SET, GO” to the click of the metronome. Then point ot each card in time with the metronome without stopping.

4. For every card successfully named in time, swip them away (like the machine at the bowling alley).

5. Then repeat the process for any missed cards- see if you can get a spare!

6. Line up 10 new cards and play again.


iPad Apps

A lot of parents ask me about the ipad apps I use. I intended to make a list of the good ones (there are so many out there!)  but then, Wendy from Compose Create wrote about this very topic in her blog, so I will post the link to her blog and you can see a FANTASTIC list of apps, a description, and their price!

Click Here for a list of ipad apps.

But here is my favorite:   Piano Notes Pro

Thanks again, Wendy!!

Scale Shaker Game

Rep Class is this Wednesday and we have lots to do! Including a new game! Better brush up your scales…..


Click on this link for the pdf file of this game——> Scale Shaker Game