A couple of years ago, I shared 3 winter songs I had written for my beginner piano students. Today I have 2 more to share with you!
I had actually forgotten about these pieces and was delighted when I found them on my computer.
I'm a Wooly Sock
I'm a Wooly Sock is a versatile early elementary song written for the treble staff and in pre-staff notation. It can be used in piano lessons, guitar lessons, ukulele lessons, voice lesson, orchestra string lessons and wind instrument lessons.
What I love most about this piece is that the lyrics were written by my student - with a little help on some of the rhymes :)
Snowflakes on My Tongue
This may be the most fun piece I've ever written. I know I said something to that effect about The Smelly Elf, but I believe it to be even more true of Snowflakes on My Tongue!
This piece came about, like most of my compositions, from the needs of a young student. She wanted a piece that was not only played, but also acted!
I hope you and your students find as much joy in these pieces as my students and I have!
This month on my YouTube Channel (did you know I had one?), I'm going through a mini-series about organizing your studio for the new year.
The first video is a tutorial for my budget/income and allocations worksheet that I created just for my music school.
Celebrate Thanksgiving in your studio or classroom with this multi-level early elementary song.
I wrote Thanksgiving for a beginner student who wanted to play a Thanksgiving piece for our upcoming Fall Recital.
Here are some things to know about the piano solo Thanksgiving!
The middle section does not contain lyrics so students can reflect on what they're thankful for and write their own lyrics!
The smallest note value in Thanksgiving! is the quarter note.
There is a short section where the hands will play together in the grand staff version which can be taught by reading to add a little fullness. This can be left out for students who are not ready for hands together playing.
The pre-reading version can be played on piano, guitar, ukulele, orchestra, mallet percussion, wind instruments, and can be sung.
Here's what's included in the file:
Get your studio license copy of Thanksgiving! and download it immediately!
I had many titles for this blog post...
New Practice Log for Music Students...
Stop Fighting With Your Students Over Practice...
Oh No, Not the "P"Word!...
...but I went with "How I Got My Music Students To Practice Everything I Assigned" because that was the driving force behind today's resource.
My Students' Practice Problem
My students would always do really well in their lessons and would have a strong understanding of the concepts, techniques, and pieces. What they didn't always understand was exactly what to practice and how to practice it when they got home.
We all know what happens when kids don't know what to do. They do Nothing!
Okay, to be fair, a lot of them tried their best, but they wouldn't consistently complete everything.
So, I started looking around for some practice logs that I could use to write out their lessons.
My Practice Log Problem
I've tried dozens of practice logs over the years none of them fit my or my students' needs. They were either too complicated for my young learners, required a lot of paper, required a lot of ink or required a lot of extra prep work on my part.
I wanted something simple, economical, effective, and fun. So I created my own!
Simple and Economical Practice Logs
Each page contains enough space for you to write as much or as little for your students. It has room for the date and a place for your students to track their practice.
If you print front to back, a single page fits a full month of practice logs in black & white, saving you paper and ink!
These practice logs can be printed bi-weekly, monthly, or annually depending on your needs.
Effective and Fun Practice Logs
I don't know about you, but I have students who will "practice" the piece that they're best at or will focus so hard on mastering 1 piece that they neglect everything else.
I make a point to emphasize the statement that is written below each tracker: "Color in a _______ (the image changes weekly) each time you complete ALL assignments."
If they don't complete EVERYTHING, they can't color the image. And if they do, they'll be reminded about how to use the practice log at their next lesson.
Do you use practice logs with your students? What have you found to be the most effective way of having your students track their own practice? Let's keep the conversation going in the comments!
If you haven't added composing activities to your music lessons, you should absolutely give them a try!
Composing helps students understand theory better, gives them a creative outlet and even encourages them to practice. I've heard first hand from parents that the most stubborn practicers will race to their instrument every day to practice "their song". In fact, I've heard "Miss Christie, can we start with MY song?" more than once in my lessons.
Our Newest Composing Book!
Composing Through The Year is an annual composing book that has composing activities for the seasons and holidays.
There are some favorites - You're the Best Dad!, an updated version of My Valentine's Song and The Smelly Elf - along with some new songs for your students to create and explore.
How Can I Use the Book in My Lessons or Classes?
Each of the songs can stand alone as their own composing activity or you can use them all at once. The pages can be used as slides, on the iPad or tablet, or they can be printed.
When I use this book with my students, I print out the activity page to use during the first lesson of the month. Then at the end of the year, I'll print the monthly cover on the back side of their composition, print a cover on card stock and bind it all together. Then I present each student their own songbook at the spring recital.
Another great alternative is to use the book for a composing camp! You can have the students compose a couple of pieces each day and then spend time practicing them or adding embellishments or percussion. The options can go as far as you and your students imaginations can carry them!
What Students Can Use Composing Through the Year?
The goal with this book was to include a variety of composing styles while making it accessible to students of every age. That's why I made a pre-reading and a grand staff version of each song in the book.
Most of the activities are geared toward elementary age students, but can also be tailored for teens and adults.
Included in each download:
Want to get your hands on both versions? Purchase the bundle for added savings.
I hope these resources will help you incorporate composing in your lessons, classes and camps!
Do you already have your students compose in their lessons? What are your favorite composing activities? Let me know in the comments!
Several years ago I was approached by one of Tim Topham's assistants asking me to contribute an article to their newly started Inner Circle.
I immediately agreed to it. I loved the idea and was grateful for the opportunity to contribute.
I had learned so much from Tim through his blog and podcast. I knew I had a lot to share with other teachers & entrepreneurs and thought it would be a great way to give back.
Here's the thing though, I never wrote the article. I kept putting it off saying, "I need to do this for my business first, then I'll get to writing".
At the time, I was in the middle of starting up my brick and mortar music school and I was so bad at time management.
I mean really bad.
And being that bad left me overwhelmed, over-worked, and unproductive. So, no article.
Now I'm kicking myself so hard for not finishing. Tim has grown his small blog into a full-blown music teacher's aid empire and I wasn't able to contribute.
So here are 3 lessons I've learned about procrastination:
Procrastination isn't worth the potential regret
Yup, I seriously regret not getting an article to them.
Who knows who could have been inspired, who's business could've been changed or what doors it could've opened? None of us will ever know.
It's a truly terrible feeling to be selected for something special and to let those people down because you procrastinated. I don't wish it on anyone.
Procrastination is a time sucking monster
"I'll do that after I start/finish this" sounds innocent enough, right? WRONG!
If you're procrastinating on something, you're going to be thinking about it while you're doing absolutely everything else.
That will slow down your progress on your current project and eventually everything will either come to a halt or you'll completely give up on whatever it was you were procrastinating and
Procrastination is an anxiety producer
This is the biggest lesson I learned. When I procrastinate anything, I feel anxious.
That little voice in my head starts whining - yeah, she whines, it's worse than yelling - and she won't stop until I do the thing I've been putting off.
Once I do it she's happy again - like a little kid finally getting that ice cream they so desperately wanted - but I don't feel better. I feel drained and guilty for letting it get that far.
Have I learned my lesson about procrastinating? Sure.
Have I mastered it and completely stopped procrastinating? Nope.
Will I continue to work on it? You bet!
I recently got my second vaccination shot and I'm not going to lie, it hit me hard. I was out of commission for two full days and still feeling off the third.
I'm glad I did it, but that's not what this post is about. Today, I'm talking about chicken soup.
Not just any chicken soup. Belize chicken soup.
What's so special about this Belize chicken soup? I'm so glad you asked!
A few years ago my husband and I visited Ambergris Cay in Belize. Our flights and ferry ride over weren't the easiest and we had a few other complications with our travel that left us feeling pretty drained and kind of punky. Thankfully we had our whole vacation to relax and get our energy back.
That first night finding dinner was a challenge. Neither one of us knew what the food was like and we weren't looking for anything adventurous, yet.
We walked down the beach to this little beachfront cafe and decided to give it a chance. To say we enjoyed our meals there is an understatement because we went back 4 more times on our trip!
I ordered fish tacos, but my husband went for their chicken soup. I kid you not, he was a new man after eating that soup. His energy was back. His discomfort was gone. It was magical.
That ended up being his favorite meal of the entire trip. (Yes, he ordered it a couple more times and so did I!)
When we got home from that trip, we couldn't stop thinking about the soup and wanting to go back just for that soup. Since that wasn't an option, we started searching for recipes.
It took a little time, but I found this recipe on a blog a few months after our trip. I don't remember which blog I found it on, but the one below has our modifications to the soup to make it more like the one we had in Belize.
Before I got my second shot, I decided to make some of this soup knowing that I would want something comforting. I hope it brings you and your family as much comfort as it brings me and mine!
Belize Chicken Soup
Heat dutch oven over medium heat.
Brown the chicken in batches. (do thighs first) Return all chicken to pot.
Add onion & garlic. Sweat for 5 minutes.
Add water to cover. Add habanero, consommé, and cilantro. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Add carrots and potatoes. Simmer for another 15 minutes.
Add more cilantro right before serving, if desired.
Serve with coconut rice.
All of the ingredients should be roughly chopped. It's a chunky and hearty soup!
We use water, but chicken stock will also work.
Malher's comsommé can be purchased here. Yes, it MUST be this brand, otherwise it won't taste right. Yes, it's a big jar, but trust me, you'll use it all and if you need ideas just hit me up!
Stab the habanero a few times, but unless you like it Extremely spicy (like you can't taste anything else level spicy), don't cut it!
We use Yukon Golds, but any potato will work for this recipe.
Mothers' Day is right around the corner and I have a composing activity that you can use in your lessons TODAY!
Typically, my students do all the composing in my composition activities, but I changed it up with one student.
We were working on the music alphabet and intervals.
I gave her the starting note of a line and then had her identify the next note based on the interval we discussed (it was skips that day).
By the time we were done, she could quickly and easily name the skip up or down from any note!
"I Love You Mom!" comes in 4 versions: pre-staff reading, treble clef, bass clef, and grand staff.
This adorable composing activity is sure to warm the heats of all the moms in your studio!
Students can compose using finger numbers, fret numbers, or the music alphabet.
The song can be played on the black keys or white keys of the piano or on any string you're working on for guitar, ukulele, or orchestral string instruments. It even works with wind instruments.
You can also use solfege to compose the song with your vocal students and have them sing it on the syllables as well as with the lyrics!
Click here to get your copy of "I Love You Mom"!
Hi there, remember me?
It's been a little while since we last spoke. Over a month in fact.
My last post was about our 1 year anniversary and I was super stoked to release that one...along with the myriad of other ideas I had to share. I had grand visions of what this year would bring for the blog.
Then reality hit me hard at work and in my personal life, and it's taken me a while to get back up and recover from the beating. If I'm being completely honest, I'm still a bit bruised.
See, I'm not what one would call a natural writer. I have plenty of thoughts and ideas to share, but the process of putting them into coherent sentences and paragraphs that anyone would understand takes quite a lot of effort and time. The latter of which I'm sorely lacking.
From concept to release, a single post takes me 4 to 6 weeks to complete and while putting the effort in isn't the issue, keeping up with a 1 to 2 post per week schedule is a challenge.
A huge challenge.
Far bigger than I ever anticipated.
I began planning and writing for this blog 4 months before actually starting it. I had the first month of posts completed before hitting publish on the first one and another 2 weeks worth in process.
I honestly thought I could keep up with the schedule. Sadly, that hasn't happened.
I don't know whether it's because of pandemic fatigue or because it really is too much to run an online shop, a brick & mortar multi-teacher studio, 2 separate social media accounts over 3 platforms, and have a church job. Whatever the reason, I've come to the decision that I need to pivot.
Knowing when to pivot isn't as obvious as one may think. It's also not always the easiest decision to make.
Being the teacher I am, I thought I'd share some things I've discovered. Here are signs that it may be time for you to consider pivoting in your business.
It may be time to pivot if/when:
So here we are at my pivot point.
I will continue to post here, just not as frequently and with no set schedule.
I will continue to bring you awesome, quality resources for you and your students.
I do hope you understand that this wasn't an easy decision for me and that you'll be willing to stick it out with me while I figure out what this business will become.
I don't know when my next post will be, but I will continue to add resources and music to my store so be sure to follow me there.
You can also follow me on Instagram, I'll be sharing about new resources and life stuff over there more regularly.
Until next time my dear friends, stay awesome!
It's Music With Miss Christie's blogiversary! Woohoo!!
And wow, what a year it has been! The twists and turns of 2020 were not on my radar when I started, but I think they've helped shape my mindset for the future.
So today, let’s recap the last 365 days by the numbers:
Total Posts: 57
Total Pieces/Songs: 12
Most Popular Piece/Song: The Smelly Elf
Total Resources: 39
Most Popular Resource: Llama Hear Ya Play: Accidentals
Are you surprised by any of this information? I was!
I didn't realize how many posts I wrote this past year. Pretty good for someone who's not really a writer and fought starting this blog for years. Don't worry that story is coming soon! :)
Thank you, friends, for making the adventure of this past year so much fun!
I’m so grateful for each and every one of you and am excited for what this year holds for us all!