Before my music college days, I was a homeschooler. Now I am honoring my alma mater as I homeschool my own children, so I know a thing or two about the homeschooling movement. More than anything else, the materials on this website are inspired by my desire to make it easier for parents to create a musical environment for their children in the home setting. Homeschoolers often have multiple children at different ages and abilities, as well as different interests.
Sometimes getting a child started in music is the hardest part. Sometimes a child just needs to approach music from a different angle. Different children thrive on different learning approaches. Many parents know that music education is important, but struggle to make it a core subject alongside traditional subjects they are more familiar with, such as math and reading. Others simply want to create a music learning environment for "eclectic" or "unschooling" learning. If any of this describes you, I believe the materials on this website will be a real treat. Let's take a closer look.
Don't forget the youngest homeschoolers! Traditional rhymes like Pat-a-Cake are a fantastic way to engage tiny children in song. They use gross motor skills learn poetry and learn more about the big, unfamiliar world all in one fun activity. I love finger plays! The best collection I have found was written by Emilie Poulsson and Cornelia Roeske and is now in the public domain.
We have created videos for each of the 18 Finger Plays to help you learn them. There are also color-coded melodies and printable crafts and activities to go with some of the songs. Some more ideal for early elementary, but others, like "Baby's Ball", are absolutely perfect for babies.
The early learning enthusiasts will be interested to know that "Beginning Rhythm", with its oversized rhythm cards, was inspired by Glenn Doman's "How to Teach Your Baby to Read", as well as many elements of our "Solfege Train" program. I begin using these materials with my own children when they are old enough to walk and do simple puzzles.
I love preschoolers! Many of our products are ideal for young, beginning musicians whether they are preschool aged or early elementary. We have an entire article dedicated to using these materials with preschoolers. The cliff notes? Start with "Beginning Rhythm", "The Solfege Train", our Nursery Rhyme crafts and activities, and go on to early piano.
While our preschool suggestions will be great for any young beginner, the elementary years are a fun time to expand their musical horizons and encourage them to explore other instruments in addition to piano. It is also a time to learn (or solidify) basic music theory skills such as reading notes and becoming more proficient with rhythm. Here's a closer look just a few of the materials we have to offer.
Our Ukulele mini-course is taught by Brooke Palmer. She put together 21 lessons for us, teaching everything from simple chords to more advanced strumming techniques. We are really excited about this course. She's a great teacher and her videos are fun to watch. You can learn more about Brooke on her facebook page.
While I still plan to create a recorder course some time in the future, our family has been fully enchanted by the ocarina, and we think you will be too! These instruments come in a variety of fun shapes, including specials for Zelda, Mario Bros, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Pokemon fans. Our family's ocarinas all come from STL Ocarina. We have created special flashcards and color-coded tablature for 10 songs and plan to add more to this collection soon. This instrument is so fun!
Mother Play Songs
Froebel's Mother Play songs is a collection of 46 music videos featuring songs about music from Froebel's classic Kindergarten curriculum. There are songs about nature, homesteading skills like feeding chickens and milking cows, and classic childhood games like guessing foods as you taste them and playing pat-a-cake.
There are also musical settings to poetry by great authors like Robert Louis Stevenson. It's great repertoire for children! Childlike themes with art-song qualities.
Admittedly there are not as many materials on our website that are ideal for middle-school homeschoolers. For beginners, our ocarina, ukulele and piano courses are certainly age appropriate, and we are working on creating more advanced theory videos this school year, although this collection is in it's infancy.
Our Christmas and Irish piano collections have early-intemediate songs that were written with this age group in mind.
Some of our "Adventure Pack" materials will be especially appealing to young adults. Our piano chord wheel and some of the card games are a great place to start.
There are also a lot of fun stand-alone activities in the members area, such as the Lego Piano Build-a-Scale activity and origami projects that will be appealing, as well as our Boomwhacker songs and rhythm pages.
While our materials geared towards high-school level music education is very sparse, we can provide tremendous value to youth who are looking for ways to develop their entrepreneurial spirit. Soon these older homeschoolers will be on their own and they'll need a way to support themselves.
From my own experience, I can tell you that teaching piano during high school and college was a great job to have. It was flexible, paid better than other entry jobs offered to teens, and fueled my passion for early music education.
One of the best parts of being a member is that while you are a member, you can print off our printable and share them with your students. A high-schooler teaching piano lessons can offer to provide their students with sheet music printed from our site. (You may not sell our materials). Our "Beginning Rhythm" and "Solfege Train" each come with an e-book with tips on how to teach the materials. There are fun activities and crafts to enhance what they can offer as a babysitter.
It's never too early to learn self-employment skills and music lessons are a great way to add a little extra family income in your spare time. Our website is filled with fun activities to help high-homeschoolers get started, and if you reach out to me, I would love to mentor you/them through the process.
You deserve to know, straight up, that all I have to offer at this point is primarily targeted for beginners through early intermediate levels, most of it ideal for beginners. Fair enough, it is what it is.
Before I became a Mom, I was a poor college student, not starving because I lived with my parents, and paying my way through school through summer work and a modest piano studio. I loved teaching piano, and it was from my years in the trenches compelled me to improvise and create my own materials. Those students were my first guinea pigs, their parents the first brave souls to give my eclectic ideas a chance to test the waters. So, piano teachers, I love you and hope I can provide you with something to make your job a little more enjoyable and productive.
There are three broad categories of piano teachers my site is best suited to aid:
Let's take a quick look at how I can help each.
Regardless of how ready a very young student is for formal lessons, I would not want to spend a 30 minute period with a preschooler on the bench. No matter how gifted, I would strive to engage the child with hands-on, off bench activities. I would be singing with the child to help them develop their inner, musical ear. I would spend roughly half of that piano lesson playing at the piano, and spend the other half doing other activities. For more information on how our materials are best applied for preschoolers, take a look at "Preschoolers- Where to Begin".
You are rocking the method books you are using, not really interested in shaking things up. What you would really like is something fun to pull out of the hat when your student starts spacing out during the lesson- wishing they were somewhere else. Something to reengage the student who starts to fidget. Something hands-on, off the bench to keep things interesting. Every piano teacher needs a tool box.
Well, I'll tell you upfront, our full membership is probably not the best deal for you. No, I would point you to our "Adventure Packs". Most notably (no pun intented), #2, "Teacher's Friend" will suit you best. 5 activities devoid of our color-coding system, designed especially with piano teachers in mind. Our number one printable, the one more people have shared, commented on, asked about, is our "Piano Chord Wheel". The "Crafts and Games" Adventure Pack is also a great, generic collection. Perfect for any music teacher's toolbox, regardless of the instrument you teach.
You know, of all of the things on our website, the thing that makes us most unique is the way we use color to teach relative pitch. There are many music programs that associate color with specific pitches, and that's great. In fact, we absolutely love a few such programs, such as Little Musician, Preschool Prodigies, and Piano Wizard. Not to mention the fun we have sword-fighting with Boomwhackers! Certainly color-coding music is anything but new.
Even so, we do have something new to add to the table, and that is applying color to RELATIVE pitch. "C" is not always red here, "Do" is, as used in a movable-Do setting. So if you are living in a country where the violins are tuned to "La", not "A", do yourself a favor and steer clear of our system because it's going to be confusing. Sorry about that. Can't cater to everyone, hope you'll understand. Of course, you could adapt the system by simply referring to the colors as scale degrees if you feel inclined. 🙂
However, if you DO tune to "A", Movable Do is going to rock your world. Your piano students will be able to transpose their songs into any key. How? Simply by sliding the insert to reflect the new key, matching the colors as they play. My children have been able to do this as young as 3, and as a result NO key signature intimidates them. Instead, black and white keys are regarded as equals, they are able to tackle both head on. Helping them put their fingers in the right place is easier. They intuitively put their fourth finger on B-flat when I slide the insert to F-major, their third finger on F-sharp when the insert is in D.
While I do start my own children with simple nursery rhymes in C-major, "My First Piano lessons" takes several new keys head on. And they do it! Lesson two finds the left hand playing in E-major. Am I out to torture tiny new minds? Certainly not! The truth is, "Do-Ti-La" in E-major is very ergonomic for a young child. The combination of white and black notes helps them keep their fingers in the right place.
I don't hit them up with all these different key signatures as a means of cruel torture- I do it because I don't want my students to grow dependent on "C" major. Throughout the process I introduce flash cards and in time, as they learn to read music they become less dependent on the colors. In the meantime, while they are learning to read, I teach them to "speak" fluently by using color.
Right now, our color-coded library is still rather small. We will be adding new music in the coming months, but right now our color-coded piano library consists of three collections: "My First Piano Lessons", "Ten Christmas Songs", and "Irish Music". There are plenty of other melodies in our color-coded system, such as the Finger Plays and our 10 Counting Games and Activities, but these three collections are ESPECIALLY arranged for piano.
The Irish and Christmas songs (10 each) each have a video tutorial and range in difficulty from easy to early intermediate.
Beyond these songs, the color-coded system can easily be adapted for any piano curriculum IF the parents or piano teachers are willing to take the time to color the music with a box of crayons. Do it while you watch a movie! This is exactly what I have done with my own children, what I did for my piano students before devoting my musical endeavors to this website to give me more time with my growing family. It doesn't take that much time, and the benefits are so worth it.
My favorite piano method is John Thompson (nothing wrong with loving another series like Faber or Bastian, etc!). This method does move quickly, however. Faster than most, and even in the first primer, students will be playing in different keys, needing to stretch their pinky for new notes, and by the end of the First Grade book, they will be moving their hands around on the keyboard several times. This brought on tears of frustration to my students before I started color-coding. My time with the crayons has really eased these transitions, making them exciting instead of daunting.
Color coding a new piano book can be done all at once or one or two songs at a time as the student gets to them. I personally did the book all at once. I start with the red crayon. If a song is in C major, I color all of the C's red. If it has one flat, I color all the F's red. Two sharps? All of the D's red. Then I'll go through with an orange crayon and color the D's, G's, and E's, respectively.
I find that this approach is a more time-constructive way of getting an entire book done than coloring one song at a time because I don't have to spend as much time looking for the right color and my eye gets better at spotting the notes I need to color because I don't switch things up as much. You can even go through and color all of the "C's" red for C-major songs only, followed by the other key signatures if that's easier for you.
Certainly color-coding the music yourself is less convenient and this approach isn't for everybody. But it works and my students have done very well with it. It's great for right-brain learning, younger children, and especially students with special needs. These three categories seem to really love color. In time, our color-coded library will grow and expand for our wonderful piano teachers. In the meantime, the sky is the limit on how you can apply this approach if you have the movable-Do insert and a box of crayons.
When I first began creating music products, it was very young children I especially had in mind. It was while my oldest son was a toddler and I was reading everything I could get my hands on regarding early learning. They call it "first child syndrome"- that time when you FINALLY become a parent and become obsessed with making everything just right. Maybe you were able to escape this dreaded condition, but I didn't. And I wanted to get my child's music education off to the right start. As a result, my first product was "Rhythm for Preschoolers", which later was updated and expanded to become our number one best seller, "Beginning Rhythm". This is a great place to start!
Rhythm is a basic skill, but mastering this aspect of music early is essential to fostering overall musical growth. Too often a heavy focus on reading notes leaves rhythm in the cold, but in our home, this is where our musical journey begins. The oversized rhythm cards are especially engaging and attractive for little ones. There are plenty of activities and a suggested teaching sequence to help you get the most out of these materials.
Next, learning to sing in solfege is a very useful skill that will translate well to playing an instrument later on. "The Solfege Train", as well as some of our supplemental solfege activities will really help with that. Here is my recommended sequence with preschoolers in mind.
2. Learn to sing the major scale in solfege and familiarize your children with the colors that we use. There are lots of solfege games in the supplemental activities to help. "Rainbow Castle" under "Board Games" is a popular choice.
3. Learn to sing the same nursery rhymes in solfege. "The Solfege Train" has these nursery rhymes written out in solfege to help you, and there are other songs in our "supplemental activities" that will help you.
4. After they are comfortable singing the nursery rhymes, introduce playing them on the piano. Use the color-coded piano insert. This can be as simple as an invitation to learning. It doesn't have to be formal lessons if you're not ready for that. Simply having the color-coded insert on the piano along with sheet music for songs they already know is a fantastic invitation for learning. Play them yourself with enthusiasm and celebrate if they decide to try it too. You can help them by going through the song as they play, pointing out the notes one at a time until they finish. Celebrate when they do!
5. When they have learned a few songs in a "for fun" setting, and if you feel they are ready for something more formal, go through "My First Piano Lessons". These songs have video lessons to help you know where to place the hands and know how each song should sound.
This is such a fun age! I feel like the best approach to learning is to make it as fun and playful as possible. While this is true for any age, it is especially important for preschoolers.
Definitely check out "The Solfege Train". The "Solfege Circles" are my kids' favorite music activity- we put them on the floor and they sing while they hop around from one note to the next. We also put the solfege on the staircase and they sing the scale as they walk up and down the stairs. There are many videos and activities in our members area that are well-suited for preschoolers.
If you are looking for a structured approach, follow the sequence I've recommended. Teach rhythm first or better yet, along with solfege. There is a smaller, less complete version of our "Beginning Rhythm" program included with the Solfege Train materials. Otherwise, simply explore our site and find an activity and have fun with it. I think that consistently doing musical activities and keeping things fun is more important than a formal curriculum at this age. Make music part of the learning environment. This will really set the stage for accelerated learning when it comes time to begin more formal lessons.
And by "music teachers", I mean those who teach music in a classroom setting. Obviously anyone using these materials with children is a music teacher to some degree.
While we do not have an out-of-the-box complete curriculum aligned with common core, we do have a lot of fun printables and activities, as well as some fun ideas on our blog. Best ages? Preschool and K-4. Here are some fun resources.
Oversized flashcards are smart for logistic reasons (such as helping the whole class see), but aside from that, they're just plain good fun. I've played relay races, spelling games, circle games and more with large groups of children, and they really love it. These aren't your run-of-the-mill lesson flashcards. They're 8.5" by 11", so you can print them on any printer and laminate them cheaply with an at-home laminator. (I bought mine for $26 on Amazon, and buy the laminating pouches at Sam's Club, 200 for $20).
Note and key signature flashcards are part of our Adventure Pack, "Teacher's Friend."
Giant circle and staircase solfege games are part of "The Solfege Train".
These rhythm printables are part of "Beginning Rhythm".
A bordun is a very simple, repeated accompaniment, usually made with the first and fifth scale degrees. They may be played together or alternated, with different rhythms as appropriate for the song. This is great for classroom use because the kids can all be involved by singing the melody, while children take turns being the one to play the instrument accompaniment. Because it is simple, even complete beginners will experience success. There are a number of nursery rhymes with bordun accompaniments in "The Solfege Train". There are also a few arranged for boomwhackers in our members area.
Sometimes you just need a little something to engage kids during the last 5 minutes of class. Or maybe something to warm their brains up and help them get ready to focus on their music. Our "Adventure Packs" are full of games and activities to help you make the most of your music hour.
We have a resources for a few instruments that are great for classroom use. Not only do they lend themselves well to the classroom setting, but they are relatively inexpensive as well.
While I still plan to create a recorder course some time in the future, our family has been fully enchanted by the ocarina, and we think you will be too! These instruments come in a variety of fun shapes, including specials for Zelda, Mario Bros, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Pokemon fans. Our family's ocarinas all come from STL Ocarina. We have created special flashcards and color-coded tablature for 10 songs and plan to add more to this collection soon. This instrument is so fun! The best classroom ocarinas are made of sturdy plastic, are in C major, and are about $10.
We have a collection of 14 songs arranged for boomwhackers that are especially ideal for classroom settings. The easiest ones are bordun accompaniments, as explained above. Then there are more complex accompaniments, simple melodies, and duets. There are also rhythm exercises that are fun to play on boomwhackers that harmonize well with each other. You can get a set of 8 boomwhackers on Amazon for $20.
The ukulele is a popular choice as a first instrument in classroom settings because it is fairly inexpensive and portable. Children learn about chords and harmony, and they can all sing while different children take turns accompanying the class if there isn't enough funds for every child to have their own ukulele. We have partnered with Brooke Palmer, who has created 24 ukulele lessons designed for the complete beginner. She'll spare your ears the pain of out-of-tune ukulele's as well with her special tuning episode. Even if you don't know how to play the ukulele yourself, you can learn with your students.
While our best printables and videos are in the member's area, there are a few resources on our blog that I don't want you to miss.
First off- one of my favorite activities to do with young children is to help them write and perform their OWN opera! Sound intimidating? It's actually much easier than it sounds. Children are very creative, and with a little guidance from their teacher (they WILL need guidance!), children can create and perform a masterpiece that is all their own. Learn more about the steps involved in our Children's Opera mini-series.
Another resource is our Giveaways section. Here you can see all of the giveaways we have done in the past, as well as a mini-review of what the product is and how I recommend using it. With few exceptions, these are products I shopped for and picked out myself, seeking for items that promote music education. I talk about the melodica, parachutes, story books and instrument sets. I know music teachers share my love for new ideas and ways of teaching, and many have a small budget to enhance their classroom. Check it out and get a few ideas. Maybe you'll even win something!
Also, don't miss our Videos page. This page has a nice sample of the kinds of videos you will fin in our members area, and will include our most recent videos as they are rotated through before becoming members-only material. Many of these videos also have accompanying printables that music teachers can print for all of their students.
Well, this concludes our tour. I hope this overview was useful. If you have any questions or requests, please don't hesitate to contact me! We are always looking for ways to better meet the needs and wants of our readers.