2014 Keyed Up Piano Camps

Mrs. Carpenter led us in some really fun music games!
Mrs. Carpenter led us in some really fun music games!


Discovering the keyboard!
Discovering the keyboard!


June has come and gone, but we have fond memories of our first Piano Camps.

Mrs. Carpenter, Mrs. Peterson and Ms. Williamson had fun too!


Discovery Camp was for beginning pianists where they learned that every finger has a number and a purpose, beginning rhythms, and playing simple songs on the black keys and music alphabet.

Discovery Campers fishing for the music alphabet ducks!
Discovery Campers fishing for the music alphabet ducks!
Rhythm Cup Fun!
Rhythm Cup Fun!
Outside keyboards: a fun way to practice reading skills!
Outside keyboards: a fun way to practice reading skills!


Can you hear the giggles?



Rhythm Twister

Kaleidoscope Campers learning about the inside of the Piano from special guest, David Floyd.
Kaleidoscope Campers enjoying Rhythm Twister and learning about the inside of the Piano from special guest, David Floyd.

Kaleidoscope Camp was for the late elementary to early intermediate piano student.  They enjoyed several special guests and a trip to tour Strait’s Music Store.








Ultimate Piano Challenge

There are seven piano lessons and one Piano Party until our Spring Recital !!  This is our ultimate Piano Challenge and the most fun!  As we approach this part of our Piano Year, I encourage you to reflect on your musical journey thus far.  What prompted you to seek piano lessons – to buy a piano or keyboard – to commit to daily practice ?  Have you had any surprises along the way?  Where do you want this journey to go?  I’ll be talking about these ideas during our lessons in the weeks to come.

Don’t forget that playing piano can make you smarter, develop your concentration, discipline and coordination, and builds your self-respect, confidence and poise.  But most of all, piano is fun!  Our Winter Piano Olympics was proof of all of these things!  Today I’d like to feature 2 videos created by Yui and Michael for the Olympics.



Piano Olympics News Report

The Winter Piano Olympics are in progress.  As of today we have 4 Gold Medal winners, 7 Silver,  3 Bronze and many participants.  The last day for our Challenge Events is February 23 so I expect our numbers to rise!


Coral was our first Gold Medal winner!  Congratulations Coral!  Here she is with her collection of Piano Toys to build her piano hands.
Coral was our first Gold Medal winner! Congratulations Coral! Here she is with her collection of Piano Toys to build her piano hands.

Anna also has completed 5 events to win the Gold!  Here she explains her Piano Box for the Piano Hands Event.

Yui plays scales, chord progressions and arpeggios in 3 keys for the Scale Triathlon.
Yui plays scales, chord progressions and arpeggios in 3 keys for the Technique Triathlon.
James gives a piano lesson to his brother for the Piano Master Event.
James gives a piano lesson to his 5 year old brother, Michael, for the Piano Master Event.  Michael is now practicing his homework assignment.
Jakci gives her friend Megan a piano lesson for the Piano Master Event.
Jakci gives her friend, Megan, a piano lesson for the Piano Master Event.

Going for the Gold!

Piano Winter Olympics are going strong! As you work towards your Gold Medal challenge, here’s some help from YouTube.

For the Note Symbol Relay:

And to help you with the Symbol Relay:

The Challenge of the Olympics

Let the Games begin! I hope everyone is ready for the challenge of the Piano Olympics and has selected their Events!

Many of you are already familiar with the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics being held in Sochi, Russia. To qualify for the Olympic Games is the ultimate goal for the majority of athletes. Many years of commitment and training are required to achieve such a goal. The athletes that qualify will become Olympians, whether or not they win a medal.

Here are a few videos that will hopefully inspire you to challenge yourself for our Piano Olympics.

Angels We Have Heard on High (Christmas w/ 32 fingers and 8 thumbs) – ThePianoGuys

Coldplay – Paradise (Peponi) African Style (ft. guest artist, Alex Boye) – ThePianoGuys
Recorded on Red Stone mountain near St.George Utah.

Coldplay – Paradise (Peponi) Behind The Scenes – ThePianoGuys

Winter Piano Olympics

We all recognize that motivation and focus does not stay consistent over time. A child’s lack of motivation on a particular day (“I don’t want to practice!”) is not a signal that piano isn’t the right activity. We just need a boost!

Are you ready for a boost? Our newest challenge starting now and coinciding with the Winter Olympics in Russia, is our own 2014 Piano Winter Olympics!! We are starting this week and ending with the Russian Olympics on Feb 23rd.

Here are the events and what each student can do to go for the “Gold”, “Silver” or “Bronze”!

COMPLETE 3 events for the Bronze!
COMPLETE 4 events for the Silver!
COMPLETE 5 events for the Gold!

Everyone will receive recognition for their participation. An Event Sheet will be given at this week’s lessons.

Choose from the following events.

1. BEST LESSON CHALLENGE – complete 3 best lessons
2. PRACTICE PERSISTENCE – practice 7 days in a row
3. TECHNIQUE TRIATHLON – scales, chords and arpeggio playing
4. FREESTYLE COMPOSITION – compose a brand new piece you can play
5. MEMORIZING MARATHON – memorize 2 pieces on your level
6. YOYO CHALLENGE – Learn a piece on your own
7. PASSIONATE PERFORMER – perform a recital for 3 people
8. SIGHTREADING SLIDE – sightread for your teacher at 90% accuracy
9. NOTE RELAY – complete note flashcards or worksheet in 1 minute
10. SYMBOL RELAY – complete symbol flashcards or worksheet in 1 minute
11. VIDEO RIDE – watch 2 videos from my blog and write a review
12. VIDEO MASTER – make a video to promote piano playing and practice
13. PIANO MASTER – give a piano lesson to a family member or friend
14. MUSIC MASTER – analyze a new piece of music on your level
15. PIANO HANDS – create a new game or toy basket for piano hands

More details at your next lesson! Good luck everyone!

Building Finger Independence and Dexterity

Building dexterity and finger independence

After fracturing my finger this summer, I was very worried about getting the strength back into my hand and fingers. But a few sessions in Physical Therapy has helped me to not only begin to get my hand strength back, but given me ideas on building our piano fingers. As the physical therapist pulled out toys for me to play with I became very excited to start our own basket of piano toys!

Before you begin exercising or playing a sport, it’s a good idea to do warmups to prepare your body and muscles. Even singers do warmups to prepare their vocal cords. So let’s use the 5 minutes before your lesson to warm up your hands and fingers with some piano toys! I will alternate the toys weekly so you won’t get bored with them. Perhaps you might have some suggestions for another toy to add to the basket.

One of the fun finger building activities is the rubber band trick I’ve been showing you at your lesson. Here’s a video to help you master that trick and add another part to it. Have fun building dexterity and finger independence with the piano toys!

Piano Dreams

My parents bought our piano when I was in 6th grade. It was an upright piano that had once been a player piano with a mirror at the top. I spent many hours playing and practicing in the family living room – this was a room that was separate from the rest of the house with doors to close it off so that I could play without bothering anyone. Some of my favorite moments was practicing Michael Aaron’s “Victory Bells”, and Chopin’s Funeral March full of big chords and sounds! I have many happy memories of learning to play the piano!

One of my first dreams for piano playing was to be a church pianist. I thought it would be very fun to play while people sang – and to play music that people enjoyed hearing at church. I still remember as a teenager playing the piano in Sunday evening services – I was scared and excited! I was mostly scared of missing the flats and sharps found in most hymns. I most certainly played some wrong notes and missed some flats and sharps – but it was fun!

Victor Borge was a pianist, conductor and comedian born in Denmark and living most of his life in America. But first and foremost, he was a pianist! He began piano lessons at age 2 and performed until his death at age 91. In 1968, classical pianist Şahan Arzruni joined him as his straight man, performing together on one piano a version of Liszt’s Second Hungarian Rhapsody, considered a musical-comedic classic. This is a pianist who knew how to have fun with his skill and music.

“Nothing happens unless first a dream.” Carl Sandburg

When did you first wish that you could play the piano? What inspired your dream to be a pianist? What kind of pianist are you in your dream? This will be the theme for the October blogs.

Valentina Lisitsa is a Ukrainian born and classically trained pianist who now resides in North Carolina. She is among the most frequently viewed pianists on YouTube. She started playing the piano at the age of three! She almost gave up on her dream of a career as a concert pianist when she first came to the United States. Valentina posted her first video on YouTube in 2007 which revived her dream and today performs around the world. Watch Valentina Lisitsa play “Hungarian Rhapsody No.2″ by Franz Liszt.

As I challenge you with scales, chords, technical exercises and music – my dream is that you will find the fun in mastering the keyboard.

Piano Advice from Bugs Bunny

There’s so much to think about when you play the piano -
Posture – back, shoulders, elbows, arms, wrists
Hands – dome shape with strong joints
Eyes – reading music
Right Hand – Left Hand – Treble Clef – Bass Clef
Line Note – Space Note
Counting the Beats
Dynamics: P, MP, F, MF, SFZ
Tempo – fast, slow

And the list goes on!

As you watch Bugs Bunny or Tom and Jerry, we see that people enjoy the piano in many creative ways. Yes, practicing piano is very important, but don’t forget to have some fun and adventure while you are there!