Piano Lessons For Very Young Children

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Student books in 5 different categories are available now in both digital and hardcopy.  There is now “To the Lake”, “Outdoor Adventure”, “To the Farm”, “Country Carnival” and two levels of “Rockstar Rally”.

  • Ideal for students ages 4 and up.
  • On the staff from the start
  • Music is a mix of familiar tunes and original pieces
  • Multi-key approach
  • 18 songs that can be learned by note or rote
  • Clean easy-to-follow pages (great for special needs students!)

 

 

Two levels of Roadtrip! are currently available in Piano Maestro.

Register for Roadtrip!  Students (ages 4-5) are scheduled for half-hour lessons with their parents present.

Piano For Very Young Children

RT_Front-cover

Student books in 5 different categories are available now in both digital and hardcopy.  There is now “To the Lake”, “Outdoor Adventure”, “To the Farm”, “Country Carnival” and two levels of “Rockstar Rally”.

  • Ideal for students ages 4 and up.
  • On the staff from the start
  • Music is a mix of familiar tunes and original pieces
  • Multi-key approach
  • 18 songs that can be learned by note or rote
  • Clean easy-to-follow pages (great for special needs students!)

 

 

Two levels of Roadtrip! are currently available in Piano Maestro.

Register for Roadtrip!  Students (ages 4-5) are scheduled for half-hour lessons with their parents present.

RoadTrip! for Younger Students

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From the Piano Pronto website

Roadtrip! is a primer level method book for very early beginners ages 4 and up. The multi-key approach offers eighteen songs that are easily taught by note, rote, or number allowing student to master basic music fundamentals while creating a musical memory book that becomes a keepsake item to commemorate their maiden voyage into piano lessons.

18 songs: Non-position based; black key pieces; R.H. & L.H. only pieces; on-staff reading only
Also features: improvisation activities; ear training; composition; teacher duets

 

There will be 4 books in this series, when it’s finished.  The second one, Roadtrip! Outdoor Adventure is available now and I have copies at the O’Connor Music Studio.  Also planned are Farm Adventures and an Outerspace Adventure.

What this means for the O’Connor Music Studio – younger beginners will be able to get a great start to their musical lives.  Previously, I’ve only accepted students starting at age 6.

Starting with the new school year, interested parents can enroll their students from the age of 4.

Register for lessons here: http://ocms.mymusicstaff.com/Register-for-Lessons

Why is Theory Important for Piano Students?

Music_Theory

 

Students at the O’Connor Music Studio know that music theory is always a part of lessons.  I strongly believe that theory is needed so that students understand what they are playing and why.

To me, theory work is just as important as playing.  A firm knowledge of musical structure makes playing everything easier.

Music knowledge learned through piano lessons transfers easily to other  musical activities.  Students in Fairfax County Public Schools, students learn to play recorder.  Students are sometimes surprised to learn that they already know all the notes – from their piano lessons!

When you sing in a choir, harmonize with Sweet Adelines, play an instrument in your school or community band/orchestra, join your church’s handbell choir (note:  Pender UMC has an excellent Handbell program), teach yourself guitar – theory will help in every instance. By learning to read, write, and understand this musical language, many more musical opportunities will be made available the rest of your life.

Most piano methods come with a theory book that matches page by page what concepts are being learned in the lesson books.  I actually recommend that students do the theory first when they get home, while the concepts are still fresh in their minds.

If the student is not in a piano method, I’m starting to use the Theory Time series.  Book One covers music alphabet, introduction to keyboard and staff, stem rule, steps & skips on a keyboard and staff, repeated notes, dynamics, treble clef lines & spaces, bass clef lines & spaces, quarter note & rest, half note & rest, whole note & rest, dotted half note, bar lines, double bar line, measures, time signatures, rhythm drill, vocabulary, ear training and a review test. Free ear training videos for each ear training exercise are hosted on the Theory Time YouTube channel. The Grade One workbook is appropriate for beginning 1st, 2nd or 3rd grade students. This workbook includes 51 pages, 13 lessons and 8 Fun Sheets.

For adults and more advanced students, I have a copy of All About Music Theory: A Fun and Simple Guide to Understanding Music which can be used as a review or a “try before buy”.

Stop procrastinating and go do your theory!

Backwards Practice?

Found on Pinterest

Found on Pinterest

So often transfer students will come to me and play a piece they’ve been working on.  When they make a mistake, they’ll stop and start the piece all over again instead of correcting the mistake on the spot and moving on.

If they do this at home in practice, they’ll have played the beginning part many times more than the ending – or they may have never gotten to the ending at all!

The infographic above shows a way to get around this problem.  It’s also great for memorizing pieces during recital preparation.

Similar to this are some pieces in the early pages of beginning method books.  Lines 1, 2 and 4 will be identical with only line 3 being changed.

If a student plays this over and over all the way through, he’s learned line 1 three times better than line 3.  I always suggest practicing line 3 by itself several times to help counter this problem.

Roadtrip! Preschool Method Book Released

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Roadtrip! Released…

Kris Skaletski and Jennifer Eklund are happy to announce that, Roadtrip!, the first book in our new preschool method book series, is officially for sale! Student books are available now in both digital and hardcopy. The teacher guidebook, with comprehensive lesson plans and multiple teacher duets for all 18 songs, is available digitally now. Hardcopies of the guidebook will be available next Wednesday, July 29th.

  • Ideal for students ages 4 and up.
  • On the staff from the start
  • Music is a mix of familiar tunes and original pieces
  • Multi-key approach
  • 18 songs that can be learned by note or rote
  • Clean easy-to-follow pages (great for special needs students!)

BONUS: The soundtrack is FREE in the introductory selling period! You can hear all the music and see the insides of the student book and teacher guidebook on the website. Full-time fun ahead!

Show me the Roadtrip! Student Book

Coming Soon for Younger Students!

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This new method book is at the publishers right now.  I’ve already downloaded the Teacher’s Guide and I’m liking what I see.

From the Piano Pronto website

Roadtrip! is a primer level method book for very early beginners ages 4 and up. Students master basic music fundamentals while creating a musical memory book that becomes a keepsake item to commemorate their maiden voyage into piano lessons.

18 songs: Non-position based; black key pieces; R.H. & L.H. only pieces; on-staff reading only
Also features: improvisation activities; ear training; composition; teacher duets

What this means for the O’Connor Music Studio – younger beginners will be able to get a great start to their musical lives.  Previously, I’ve only accepted students starting at age 6.

Starting with the new school year, interested parents can enroll their students from the age of 4.

Register for lessons here: http://ocms.mymusicstaff.com/Register-for-Lessons

 

Why Work on Music Theory?

Music_Theory

 

Students at the O’Connor Music Studio know that music theory is always a part of lessons.  I strongly believe that theory is needed so that students understand what they are playing and why.

To me, theory work is just as important as playing.  A firm knowledge of musical structure makes playing everything easier.

Music knowledge learned through piano lessons transfers easily to other  musical activities.  Students in Fairfax County Public Schools, students learn to play recorder.  Students are sometimes surprised to learn that they already know all the notes – from their piano lessons!

When you sing in a choir, harmonize with Sweet Adelines, play an instrument in your school or community band/orchestra, join your church’s handbell choir (note:  Pender UMC has an excellent Handbell program), teach yourself guitar – theory will help in every instance. By learning to read, write, and understand this musical language, many more musical opportunities will be made available the rest of your life.

Most piano methods come with a theory book that matches page by page what concepts are being learned in the lesson books.  I actually recommend that students do the theory first when they get home, while the concepts are still fresh in their minds.

If the student is not in a piano method, I’m starting to use the Theory Time series.  Book One covers music alphabet, introduction to keyboard and staff, stem rule, steps & skips on a keyboard and staff, repeated notes, dynamics, treble clef lines & spaces, bass clef lines & spaces, quarter note & rest, half note & rest, whole note & rest, dotted half note, bar lines, double bar line, measures, time signatures, rhythm drill, vocabulary, ear training and a review test. Free ear training videos for each ear training exercise are hosted on the Theory Time YouTube channel. The Grade One workbook is appropriate for beginning 1st, 2nd or 3rd grade students. This workbook includes 51 pages, 13 lessons and 8 Fun Sheets.

For adults and more advanced students, I have a copy of All About Music Theory: A Fun and Simple Guide to Understanding Music which can be used as a review or a “try before buy”.

Stop procrastinating and go do your theory!

Practising Backwards

Found on Pinterest

Found on Pinterest

 

 

So often transfer students will come to me and play a piece they’ve been working on.  When they make a mistake, they’ll stop and start the piece all over again instead of correcting the mistake on the spot and moving on.

If they do this at home in practice, they’ll have played the beginning part many times more than the ending – or they may have never gotten to the ending at all!

The infographic above shows a way to get around this problem.  It’s also great for memorizing pieces during recital preparation.

Similar to this are some pieces in the early pages of beginning method books.  Lines 1, 2 and 4 will be identical with only line 3 being changed.

If a student plays this over and over all the way through, he’s learned line 1 three times better than line 3.  I always suggest practicing line 3 by itself several times to help counter this problem.

 

 

Piano Pronto

pronto

Some of you have noticed that I am switching your students (or yourself!) over to Piano Pronto and may have wondered why.

It was one of the first “method book series” to be integrated into Piano Maestro, so some of the songs have already been worked on using this iPad app.

I am in a Facebook group with the author/composer and many other participants have said that once their students have started in Piano Pronto, the students “forget” the other books at home or in the music bag.

So, a simple experiment was started here and the same thing happened.  Only the Piano Pronto book (Keyboard Kickoff) came out of the bag.

Then, another student got hooked, and another…

Even the young boys seem to love the duets, which are excellent at helping with counting and listening to other musicians.

A minor point but one that makes life easier for the teacher.  All books are $10.00 (plus shipping)  Other method books have varying prices in hard to find locations, some hidden in codes on the back.

Piano Pronto books can be ordered online at https://www.pianopronto.com/ and they are available at our local Music and Arts store in Oakton.  If something is needed fast, digital copies are available to print (or add to the iPad)

If you would like to look through any of the books, just ask!

From the composer, Jennifer Eklund, on Facebook:

Let me give you my fast 5 “things that makes us different from everyone else”:

#1 – On the staff reading day one (I take what I call a “total immersion” approach to note-reading/learning – watch the webinar for the full scoop)

#2 – Aurally pleasing music from very early on. I challenge you to find better and/or more consistently solid arranging in another method series. I don’t wait 2 years to introduce 8th notes. The tunes used in the series are strong and familiar and therefore we can get to more of the fundamentals earlier in the lesson process. Students practice with confidence at home because they recognize the melodies and therefore progress faster.

#3 – All-in-one integrated books (i.e. there aren’t 4 separate books per level the most you ever need is the method and maybe one supplement book)

#4 – The material is age and gender neutral. Clean layout with no illustrations to distract.

#5 – We start teaching how to *effectively* practice from the get-go with our “Pronto Prep” sections that pull out the difficult portions of pieces *before* a student learns the piece.

Other less important stuff:

#6 – The supplements are rooted in my “pop/jazz” background so while the method books are very “classically-based” the supplements are full of pop-style stuff that really creates well-rounded students

#7 – I challenge you to find more varied/interesting teacher duet parts.

#8 – I’m actively writing/creating new items constantly. I really listen to my customers and am writing to suit the needs of the market. If you need something and I don’t have it odds are I’ll probably end up filling your request.

#9 – I stay out of your way as a teacher. The material is extremely flexible. I wanted to give you a solid curriculum that is paced thoughtfully and you can augment the series with all the tools available in your toolbox. You will not feel restricted in any way by the material.

#10 – You can SEE and HEAR everything before you buy. There is NO guesswork involved with shopping with Piano Pronto.