Whether or not your children will have access to a piano over the break, here are some ways to keep their piano chops fresh and engage their brains in music!
1. Piano Maestro app for iPad
This app is completely free for you to use when you accept my invitation via email. Piano method books are integrated into the app as levels or “chapters” for students to complete in a fun, video game setting.
2. Music History
Most of our focus in private lessons is on performance, theory and technique skills, which leaves little time for learning about the history behind the art. But learning about music history can make a student’s private lesson experience even richer and more meaningful. Spending time over the break with a music history book from the library, workbook, or documentary is a great way to make the most of our time off.
3. Field trip to the music store
If you or your child have never been to the music store and have some time off over break, make a trip over the break to get a glimpse of just what all the music world encompasses – it really is amazing how many books, instruments, accessories, and odds and ends go into the making of beautiful music in all the different performance areas. Window shopping is free! My favorite place to find sheet music is Luyben’s Music on Main Street in Kansas City. While you’re there you could even take a drive through Country Club Plaza to see the Christmas lights, just a couple blocks away. There’s also Meyer Music, with locations in south Overland Park, Blue Springs, and North Kansas City. Another store, R.E.W. Music, has locations in Lenexa and Olathe. (P.S. These stores would all have great stocking stuffers for your kids in piano lessons.)
4. Classical music listening
A love of music just isn’t complete without a familiarity with the classics – and there is so much to love about classical music! Whether it’s turning the car radio on to NPR or going to a concert at the Folly Theater or Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, there are many ways to embrace the classical music tradition. If you’re not sure where to begin, I’ve created a set of YouTube playlists organized by period to make your listening experience a breeze.
Too often we instrumentalists neglect to use our singing voices. But singing is one of the best ways to build your musical ear. Over the break, take time to sing carols with family or friends, put on music in the car you can sing along to, or for more of a challenge: try sight singing a new hymn or piece of sheet music with a vocal line that you’ve never heard before (without playing it first on the piano!).
To be surrounded with the joy that music brings – that is my Christmas wish for every student. Have a peaceful, happy break!