Ear Training

Image: Curwen Hand Signs So I’ve decided that I’m going to include ear training in my lesson plans. I’m about 2-3 weeks in with all of my students (I only have 7 students right now, but I’m bracing myself for September, which is when I expect to be overbooked with lessons).

I’m not necessarily going to make my students sing solfege (or use Curwen Hand Signs), but I am going to make them identify intervals and chords. I may even incorporate dictation exercises later on.

My logic is this: I did not have this training incorporated in my early years and if I had, it would’ve made my life a lot easier when I got into college-level music classes. Also, I believe that was one of the biggest things missing in my training that inhibited me from making music on my own for so long. A huge part of my distress came from my inability to sit down at a piano and “just play.” I couldn’t understand how I could spend so many years with my instrument and not be “fluent” with it. Learning music is like learning a language. I could read and recite, very very well, but I couldn’t write or speak impromptu or in conversation. My teachers never put any emphasis on these skills and it turned out later on that those are the skills I prized most (probably because they were hardest for me to achieve).

I want to be the teacher who gives her students foundations for musical expression in all directions. I am not going to be in their lives forever, but I have this opportunity to prepare them with a skill set and experience of my choosing – I want it to be a broad and thorough and interconnected time of preparation.

Along these lines, check out this site. It’s not the most beautiful site, but I’ve been quizzing myself all morning and I think I’m going to incorporate it into my daily warm-ups.


Incredibox, Screenshot from Online Music App


Wow – so fun! And what a great app to let kids play around with to get them excited about music. It’s a good simulation too to introduce the concept of layers in a recorded mix and/or group project.

It has great graphics too, great aesthetics.

Untraditional Classical Piano

Pianist Rudolf Budginas, Guitarist Kenny Lee Lewis, and Steve Miller Band

Found this video through my piano teacher’s facebook, I guess she knows him! What a cool performance!

If you need any help convincing a child that piano is FUN or COOL or whatever… this is a good video. Skip to the 4:40 area, the Liszt stuff is pretty flashy and the following Brubeck (5:15) is just cool and sultry – and they’ll get to hear Lewis jam a bit on the guitar.