Christmas is my favorite holiday! I love snowmen, reindeer, candy canes, and even Santa.
But I also like celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. I couldn't find any music games that did that, so I created my own!
The Shepherd's Adventure is a fun game where students answer musical questions to help the shepherds get to baby Jesus.
It's the perfect combination for the Christian families in your piano studio!
And my students love it! Even my cat, Penny, had fun getting in on the action! (She's such a cute, little troublemaker!)
This digital download includes a series of printable PDFs. I like to print mine on metallic card stock. For player game pieces, I'll use candy kisses or even my Iwako animal erasers.
You'll get boards and cards for 3 different games. There's even a bonus practice chart that fits the theme!
Students can work on:
There are cards for every level, including pre-reading. And I've tossed in some fun word cards as well. Here are a few examples -
All games are designed for 2 or more players. It's perfect for you to play with one student in a private lesson or with multiple kids in a group class.
Click here to buy it for just $3.00!
(And coming soon - Bethlehem Bingo and Wise Men Flashcards!)
(Note: Some of links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.)
#2 Are you doing the same thing week-after-week?
You might be the type of person who loves routines, but this can spell disaster for piano students.
I learned this the hard way.
About 5 or 6 years ago, I taught a high school boy who played the piano beautifully, but gradually I saw him lose interest. I spent months changing up his songs, but eventually he stopped taking lessons.
Shortly after that, I read The Dynamic Studio by Philip Johnson and realized what I was doing wrong. I was working to change one aspect of this student's lessons. I should have tried more. (Visit this post to read more about how this book was life-changing for me.)
How I wish I could go back and do things differently!
The good news is that I've changed my teaching style and so can you. Best of all? You’ll benefit as much as your students!
Take it from me. I’m a HUGE fan of routines, but when I determined to jazz up my lessons each week, I had a lot more fun teaching!
This doesn’t have to be a big deal. Here are some simple ideas:
Personally - I think it's much better than the book I bought last summer - If You Ever Want to Take a Piano to the Beach, Don't! This is an "okay" book that will get some laughs, it's just not my top pick.
There are lots of games that only take about 5 minutes, are educational, and fun! Teach Piano Today has several listed here.
Here’s one that my kids like. It’s from Joy Morin at Color in my Piano.
And of course, there's the game I created - The Shepherd's Adventure! You can read more about it here.
You could have a performance club, technology club, composing club. Get creative and see what works for YOUR kids!
If you’re losing students - definitely take this question to heart and challenge yourself to change things up. This could be the very thing that stops the revolving your in your studio!
It will likely help bring you more students as well!
.....to be continued next week!
Read Question #1 here.
(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.)
A new piano teacher recently contacted me because she’s losing students and she’s not sure why. I suggested that she ask herself several questions over the Christmas break.
My plan was to put these in one post, but it got so long that I decided to divide it into a series. It’ll be much easier to read if I focus on one question at a time!
#1 - Do your students FEEL successful?
A couple years ago my son was in a speech club, which he was NOT happy about. And who can blame him, right? Most people hate speaking in public!
One night we listened to a speaker share tips on how to give our children more confidence. My biggest takeaway was when she said that “we all need a little victory. No one wants to do something they think they’re not good at.”
That was a huge lightbulb moment for me. It applies to everything! Speaking in public, playing on sports teams - and yes, even piano lessons.
We ALL want to feel successful and if your students don’t, it could be the very reason they leave your studio.
Ask the Right Question
We’ve all had students who are “stalled” in our eyes and yet they’re thrilled to come to lessons every single week. We don’t need to worry about those students!
It’s the other students we need to be concerned about - the ones who feel like they’re doing a bad job. Those are the students who quit taking lessons. And if a lot of your students who fall into that category, you studio could definitely suffer.
In fact, Philip Johnston devotes an entire chapter to this in The Dynamic Studio. Instead of asking “Is Julia progressing?” and then doing a quick assessment, Philip suggests that teachers ask an entirely different question: “How can Julia tell she’s progressing?”
Make Progress VISIBLE
Fortunately, there are lots of ways we can help our students see their progress! Here are a few practical ideas:
At first, it might seem overwhelming to think about doing this, but I think you’ll find the opposite is true.
With a little focused attention, you can easily help your students see their progress and this could very well stop the revolving door in your studio.
How do you help students celebrate their success? I’d love to hear your ideas!
(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.)
Candy canes, wise men, and reindeer - oh my!
Hurray! The holidays are upon us and there are so many simple ways to jazz up your studio for the season.
Let’s dive right in!
Inexpensive Gift Ideas
Sheet Music Popsicle Ornament I couldn’t love this more! It’s lovely, easy to make, and sure to produce lots of smiles. This was a hit at my Christmas Camp!
Star Music Ornament This will look so pretty on a Christmas tree and best of all - it's super easy to make. It's another great choice for a Christmas Camp.
Treble Clef Bookmark These are adorable AND each is individually wrapped in its own box. The cost breaks down to less than $2 per student. What a pretty keepsake!
Easy-to-Make Ornaments Check out Sara Campbell's post for the low-down on how to make these. My favorite is the glass globe.
The Shepherd's Adventure is a fantastic resource for just $3. It's for teachers who want to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Students answer musical questions as they journey to the manger. Whoever gets to Baby Jesus first wins! The digital download includes 3 different boards, game cards, and even a practice chart. There are cards for all levels and is definitely a hit in my studio!
Wise Men Matching Game is another game that celebrates the reason for the season. You can grab is for just $2!
Christmas Rhythm Match-Up This would be cute for a group activity. Divide the kids into groups and see who can get them all first
Snowman and Reindeer Games Everything Susan Paradis does is adorable. This is no exception.
Christmas Pieces Flashcards from Compose Create. See if your students can guess the tunes!
Christmas Charades and More by Melody Payne - The Plucky Pianista. Such a creative idea!
Nutcracker Bingo by Jennifer Foxx of Music Educator Resources. What a perfect theme for the holidays.
Snowman Bingo This has been a hit in my studio! Susan Paradis has several more games on her website, so make sure you check them out.
Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! arranged by Glenda Austin. I'll warn you - this one isn't free, but oh my word - it's totally worth the $5. I absolutely LOVE this arrangement!
Sleigh Ride Duet (1 Piano/4 Hands) Best arrangement EVER and totally worth the price of 5.99.
Three Ships from Teach Piano Today - I LOVE this and it's free!
The First Noel This is a unique version by Sally DeFord that you can download for free. You can also listen to it on her website.
Jingle Jangle by Danel McFarlane of Supersonics Piano. If you have more advanced students who need a fun challenge - look no more. This will be perfect!
Christmas For All Time Book 1 and Book 2 by Faber. Becki Laurent told me about these books last year and I'm SO grateful. The selection is AMAZING! Each book has over 2 dozen songs and the arrangements are lovely. Another nice thing? The books are jam-packed with so many songs that my students are able to use them for 2 years. You definitely get your money's worth here.
Christmas Classics Volume 1 and 2 by Jennifer Eklund of Piano Pronto. Each and every one of these arrangements is BEAUTIFUL!
Jazzy Jingles is great lovely book from Jennifer Eklund. There's a version 2 out this year!
Christmas Jazz, Rags, and Blues by Martha Mier. This is one of my favorite Christmas series of ALL time! (Martha Mier is my hero.) If you like the Jazz, Rags, and Blues series, then make sure you check out the Christmas versions. It’s available at 5 different levels, so you’re sure to find one that works for your students.
Premier Piano Course Music 2B by Alfred. This book has a delightful selection of songs and the arrangements are fantastic. Every year I find myself scooping up more to give out.
Various Christmas Songs Susan Paradis has several Christmas songs for free. You'll find several different levels, including pre-reading!
Boomwackers are a great way for students to play Christmas music together! My kids loved these last year at camp. Jingle Bells and Jolly Old Saint Nick were both a hit!
Practice Incentives and Challenges
Free Christmas Practice Charts I created 4 to choose from: Christmas Tree, Candy Canes, Smores, and one that's centered on the "reason for the season."
Christmas practice charts from The Practice Shoppe. Several cute ones here.
More Free Christmas charts by Meredith Strings. (This year I'm using the Christmas Tree and Catch a Snowflake pictured above.)
The Twelve Days of Christmas from Ear Training and Improv. A cute incentive to get your students practicing more and exposing them to new practice techniques.
Various Holiday Worksheets by Susan Paradis.
The Twelve Days of Christmas Coloring Sheets by Melody Payne - The Plucky Pianista. Coloring is all the rage right now, so this would be perfect for your students.
Nutcracker Music Activity Worksheets by Jennifer Foxx of Music Educator Resources.
For YOUR Christmas List
I love to wear these cute Treble Clef Earrings. They always brings smiles in my studio!
My Favorite Family Christmas books
(Full disclosure - these have nothing to do with piano, but I wanted to share what my family enjoys.)
Personal Devotion - These are great ways to focus on the true meaning of Christmas!
The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent by John Piper. I'm reading this one this year!
Jesus, Light of the World by Candace Crabtree. (She's one of the Upbeat Piano Teachers!)
A Book For the Whole Family (Read about our family tradition here)
Jotham Journey Trilogy by Arnold Ytreeide. I can't say enough good things about these books! My son and I have read them for YEARS!
It's a series of books for Advent. There are 4 in the series and you basically read one book each year. They’re FULL of adventure and excitement! Your kids will get to focus on the true meaning of Christmas in such a fun way. (My son is well into his teens and STILL loves these books. They’re THAT good!)
Here's the order:
The books are broken down into sections of daily readings that lead right up to Christmas. If you want to read this year, you need to start on December 3, so get your book soon. It's available in both paperback and Kindle.
One note - I would follow the recommendation of ages 9 and up. Some parts could be frightening for young children.
But honestly, I can’t say enough good things about this series. I’m SO grateful that my son still enjoys reading them with me!
Christmas is my favorite season! If YOU know of great resources, please tell me in the comments. I'd love to hear!
(Note: Some of links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.)
A music conference right in your living room? Absolutely!
Whether you need help getting started with technology, building your studio, or adding group lessons - Upbeat Piano Teachers has a course for you.
You'll be seriously inspired!
Here are 7 reasons why you need to join our community:
1. One topic - MULTIPLE teachers!
Have you ever tried an idea that worked for another teacher, but not for you? It's SO frustrating! Upbeat Piano Teachers solves that problem.
We take ONE subject and interview numerous teachers from around the globe! After watching the videos, you’ll have TONS of ideas to try.
2. Each webinar comes with targeted resources from each guest.
Everything from assignment logs to editable registration forms to complete summer camp PDFs.
Each course is jam-packed with resources so you’ll be fully equipped on that topic.
3. You’ll get access to a minimum of 4 hours of interviews.
That's right - the Upbeat webinars are NOT quick courses.
Videos can be watched anytime, anywhere, on any device. Watch all at once or in smaller chunks. You decide what works best with your schedule!
Technology Boot Camp - 4.5 hours of interviews
Group Lessons 101 - 6 hours of interviews
Get More Students - 5.5 hours of interviews
4. You have LIFETIME access to the videos.
There's no need to panic that your access will expire because you get them forever.
Simply find the interview that fits your need and watch when it’s convenient for you.
5. Each webinar features BONUS resources.
In addition to all the video interviews, you'll get a slew of EXTRA resources from Supersonics Piano, Piano Pronto, Sara Campbell, Piano Bench Mag, The Plucky Pianista Melody Payne - and MORE! (Visit each course to see all the details.)
Technology Boot Camp - $50 in added bonus resources
Get More Students - $50 in added bonus resources
Group Lessons 101 - $100 in added bonus resources (!!)
6. You get access to our FB Mastermind group.
There's nothing like being surrounded with like-minded people!
The Upbeats are serious about growth of all kinds - whether it’s building your studio, increasing your income, or even creating your own products.
These teachers are going after their dreams and our Mastermind group will help you go after yours as well.
7. Each webinar includes a WORKBOOK to take you step-by-step through the course.
So you don’t just learn more - you actually take action! And of course, our FB Mastermind group will also encourage you to implement ideas.
8. You have nothing to lose because there’s a full MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE!
That's right! If you’re unhappy with the webinar for any reason, just let me know within the first 30 days and you can get a full refund.
I love being a mom and a piano teacher, but finding time for professional growth can be a challenge.
A challenge - yes, but not impossible!
Here are some quick ideas to help you find time to GROW! What would you add to the list?
1. Turn ordinary chores into conference time
Every week we're doing the laundry, right? Why not turn "laundry time" into your own personal conference? Folding the laundry and ironing (yes - I still iron!) will be a lot more fun if you're watching a webinar or listening to a podcast.
The same goes for cooking dinner. It's the perfect time to serve your family and get some great teaching tips while you're at it!
Another idea? Pop in some earbuds and listen while you're running around cleaning bathrooms. I do this all the time!
2. Exercise your body and mind at the same time
Several teachers have told me that they do this. One Upbeat Piano Teacher, Amy Thompson, even sent me a picture of her on her exercise bike. This made my day!
You can do this too! Whether inside or outside, we can all turn exercise time into our own personal conference.
3. Read 10 minutes every day
Reading is such a practical way to grow and the best part is that you can do it anywhere. Maybe it's while you're relaxing with a cup of tea between lessons or while you're waiting to pick up your daughter from dance class.
Consider this - By the end of the month, 10 minutes of daily reading adds up to over 5 hours of reading. That's HUGE!
Everyone can find 10 minutes! It's a matter of priorities! Join our free Upbeat Piano Teachers Book Club on Facebook for extra encouragement! (Right now we're reading The Savvy Music Teacher by David Cutler. I've learned SO much!)
4. Watch a webinar or podcast while getting ready for your day
This is a favorite of mine! I love listening to a podcast in the morning hours. It's a great way to get motivated and energized for all my students.
If you enjoy audio books - it's also a great way to sneak in some extra reading!
How do you make time to grow? I'd love to hear!
Did you see all of the Upbeat Piano Teachers webinars are open for registration!
You'll get help with -
Make sure you register soon. The code WELCOME10 will get you $10 off but it expires November 9th!
Hi there! I'm Tracy Selle. A Christian wife, mom, and author of 101 Piano Practice Tips. I'm also a piano teacher and founder of Upbeat Piano Teachers.