Tag Archives: lessons

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!


Summer Lesson Fun

Summer Lessons are in full swing and my students are working on advancing their music theory knowledge, technical skills, and sight reading skills…not to mention few fun lesson additions like our SUMMER LESSON CHALLENGE.

Students can choose a challenge from any of the clothespins- but they MUST do the challenge if they pick it. Challenges can include naming and playing all 88 keys on the piano, playing scales prestissimo and staccato, or even sight reading Happy Birthday. Two of the clothespins have a prize of NO HOMEWORK for the week!

“Oh, but I LOVE homework in the summer!”, said no one ever.

Awards Recital Fun

More Upside Down Week Adventures


Caroline and I played a Mozart duet composed to be played rightside up and upside down!!



Tommy played his recital piece upside down


Emily did a great job identifying intervals and writing the size upside down!


Emily and I played the Mozart duet sitting on opposite sides of the table using the same copy and a two-sided keyboard on the iPad! She was upside down and I was rightside up!


Aaron did a great job with upside down intervals


Noah wrote his letters upside down and he’s not even in Kindergarten yet!!


Tommy read the upside down sign, upside down!! (oops! I forgot the word “down” ! haha!)

It’s Upside Down Week!


Isabelle does some music theory upside down- first she turned the book upside down, then she had to write the letters upside down!!


Josie worked on a music quiz by reading AND writing the answers upside down!


Josie plays her lesson assignment upside down! Great job, Josie!!

May Studio Happenings


This is how we sight read in my studio. (Hands together and NO peeking!) Great job, Sarah!! My students have to read between 150 and 200 lines of music to receive the studio Sight Reading Trophy.


Aaron did a great job transposing at his lesson. He picked all the best keys out of the key bag too: f# minor, a-flat minor, A major, C-flat Major, and B-flat Major. Show me a 3rd grader who can do that!! Way to go, Aaron!!


Quintin (shown on snare drum) not only finishes his 4th year of piano, but has also completed his career in the Belvedere Elementary School band on percussion. But thats not the end for him! He will be continuing piano and percussion into Middle School this fall! Way to go, Quintin!!!


Colleen has been accompanying at Belvedere Elementary for a few years now and the chorus director Mrs. Supko (far left) sure will miss her now that she’s graduated!


Oops, I forgot to change lenses on my camera, but Annabelle and Colleen are accompanying for the Severna Park Middle School chorus concert. Annabelle has been accompanying since 5th grade and she will continue as she enters high school in the fall.


Colleen is rehearsing for her Senior Recital scheduled for THIS Saturday June 4 at 1:00pm at St. Margaret’s Church Annapolis.

Ready for the School Year!


New Practice Chains


Welcome Back!


Updated Assignment Sheets


New notebook covers


“Key” Chains


…And some new projects!

Summer Lesson Fun


Colleen gets ready for a fantastic 7 weeks!


Josie learns to count eighth notes!


Emily spells some pretty tough minor scales (with some very cool key-toppers)


Student of the Month- May


Congratulations Caroline!

Congratulations to Caroline, my May 2015 Student of the Month. Caroline is on her 5th year of lessons with me- and my how time flies!

Caroline has been working hard all year and has made such tremendous progress!  This month she is not only performing “Katherine” by Stephen Chatman for our Awards Recital this Friday, but she will be doing her first accompaniment piece for the Jones Elementary 5th graders as they sing “Katy” for their graduation and head off to middle school.

Caroline will have her picture on the Studio Wall of Fame and receive a $10 Music & Arts gift card to buy some fun music to play at home or anything else she wants.


Here is Caroline starting lessons in with me in 2010.

Want to be student of the Month? Here is what you have to do:

Have a lesson rating of 5 for each week of the month.
Have perfect attendance for the month.
Have an encouraging spirit toward other students.
Have a positive attitude in lessons and look ahead in your piano materials.

UpSide Down Week

It’s UPSIDE DOWN WEEK and all of my students are having fun tackling their assignment completely upside down! 

When my students come in for their lesson the first thing notice is Pandora playing CHRISTMAS MUSIC….

Once they sit down, they write the following musical symbols upside down:

  • Repeat Sing
  • Flat Sign
  • Treble Clef
  • Quarter Rest (not so easy….)

Then they complete a note-reading worksheet where they not only write their name on it upside down, but they turn the whole page upside down, turn the bass clef into the treble clef and the other way around. Then they write the correct letter…upside down, of course.

Flashcards come next- they are presented upside down but the student plays the actual note on the piano.

Lesson assignment pieces are played upside down for an upside down sticker.

Our theme song this week is the “Upside Down” Song.


If buttercups buzz’d after the bee,

If boats were on land, churches on sea,

If ponies rode men and if grass ate the cows,

and cats should be chased into holes by the mouse;

If the mammas sold their babies to others for half a crown,

If summer were spring and the other way around, 

Then all the world would be upside down.



Olivia decided the best way to read the sign was upside down!


Cole is doing his flashcards upside down.


April plays her lesson book assignment upside down!


Lesson book cost $8.95. Look on Zoey’s face when I let her know she’s playing this song upside down…..priceless.


Josie breezed through her upside down flashcards–Great Job!!


Quintin sight-read the “upside Down Song”.

Belvedere Spring Chorus Concert


Colleen prepares to play at the student assembly.


The students are ready!



The parents arrived for a 7pm performance.



Great job, Colleen!!


Game Week! Day Four


Leave your books at home…It’s GAME WEEK!



Claire and I played “Something’s Missing”


Molly and I played “Paddle Scales” – she won!


Aaron and I played “Piano Steps & Skips”. He beat me TWICE!!


Game Week! Day Two


Leave your books at home….it’s GAME WEEK!



Sarah and I played a Key Signature and Scale Degree game.


Caroline and I played Rhythm Pizza


Annabelle and I played the Scale Shaker Game. (She beat me!)


January Student of the Month

Congrats Colleen!

Congrats Colleen!

Congratulations to Colleen, January Student of the Month. Colleen has been working amazingly hard all year!

Recently, she was the accompanist for the 4th and 5th grade Chorus at Belvedere Elementary and she has been working tirelessly on her audition material for Interlochen’s International 6-week Summer Piano Program. I am so proud of her and the work and effort she puts into all of her performances.

Colleen is now ready to begin her pieces for the Baroque Teahouse at Reynold’s Tavern, the June Awards Recital, and her final solo Senior Recital next year! WOW!

Colleen is a Junior at Severna Park High School and is working on her 7th year in piano lessons with me. When Colleen isn’t playing piano she likes to…..no, Colleen is always playing piano!! 🙂

Colleen will have her photo on the wall of fame for the rest of the year and she will also receive a $10 Music & Arts gift card to spend on fun music or anything else she wants.

Want to be student of the Month? Here is what you have to do:

Have a lesson rating of 5 for each week of the month.
Have perfect attendance for the month.
Have an encouraging spirit toward other students.
Have a positive attitude in lessons and look ahead in your piano materials.

Halloween Party/Recital

We had a great time!!!

Candy Corn Game

Quintin was totally up for this yummy challenge yesterday.

Quintin was totally up for this yummy challenge yesterday.

In no time at all, he had mastered the Candy Corn Flashcard game! Great job, Quintin!

In no time at all, he had mastered the Candy Corn Flashcard game! Great job, Quintin!

They look ready for Halloween!

They look ready for Halloween!



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

Halloween Party Fun

Welcome to the party!

We all had a great time at the Halloween party yesterday. Everyone played wonderfully- what a joy to have so many talented pianists in one room! I took tons of photos and you can see them all here:


September Student of the Month

Congratulations to Annabelle for being my first student of the month for this school year!

Annabelle has worked hard and earned a lesson rating of 5 each and every week this month. She follows her assignment exactly and even works ahead. She is practicing her competition pieces and her Halloween and Fall at the Mall pieces. She is in rep class and works hard to be sure she is practiced and ready for class. This past summer she also attended the Baroque Class. She is an encourager to her sister Caroline and always has a positive attitude in lessons. She is a model student and has earned this award.

Annabelle will have her photo on the wall of fame for the rest of the year and she will also receive a $10 Music & Arts gift card to spend on fun music or anything else she wants.

Fall Book Bash

This fall, several students are focusing on their lesson books in order to work through them quickly progress to the next level. This is the “Fall Book Bash” created by Wendy Stevens (Composecreate.com) Once they have successfully completed a song in their lesson book, they choose from the Fall Book Bash cards that I created and are challenged to do something fun with the song. This could be simply playing the piece with the damper pedal or re-playing the song with the music completely turned upside down! You never know what challenge awaits until you pick your next card!