Cover image of Piano Parent Podcast: helping teachers, parents, and students get the most of their piano lessons.
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Education
Kids & Family
Music
K-12

Piano Parent Podcast: helping teachers, parents, and students get the most of their piano lessons.

Updated 12 days ago

Education
Kids & Family
Music
K-12
Read more

The Piano Parent Podcast is your one-stop shop for all things related to parenting a piano student. From practice tips to piano geography and musical terms, common studio policies to teacher and parent interviews, this is THE best resource to help you and your child make the most of piano lessons. Whether you are a knowledgeable musician or a complete novice, there is definitely something for you here.

Read more

The Piano Parent Podcast is your one-stop shop for all things related to parenting a piano student. From practice tips to piano geography and musical terms, common studio policies to teacher and parent interviews, this is THE best resource to help you and your child make the most of piano lessons. Whether you are a knowledgeable musician or a complete novice, there is definitely something for you here.

iTunes Ratings

34 Ratings
Average Ratings
31
0
0
1
2

Congrats

By pianoisfun98765 - Jul 09 2018
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Shelly, Congrats in the 100th episode! I enjoy listening every week! Cheers to the next 100!

EBONY AND IVORY (KEYS)

By Elizabeth Jennings - Apr 27 2018
Read more
She's hitting all the right keys with this podcast.

iTunes Ratings

34 Ratings
Average Ratings
31
0
0
1
2

Congrats

By pianoisfun98765 - Jul 09 2018
Read more
Shelly, Congrats in the 100th episode! I enjoy listening every week! Cheers to the next 100!

EBONY AND IVORY (KEYS)

By Elizabeth Jennings - Apr 27 2018
Read more
She's hitting all the right keys with this podcast.
Cover image of Piano Parent Podcast: helping teachers, parents, and students get the most of their piano lessons.

Piano Parent Podcast: helping teachers, parents, and students get the most of their piano lessons.

Updated 12 days ago

Read more

The Piano Parent Podcast is your one-stop shop for all things related to parenting a piano student. From practice tips to piano geography and musical terms, common studio policies to teacher and parent interviews, this is THE best resource to help you and your child make the most of piano lessons. Whether you are a knowledgeable musician or a complete novice, there is definitely something for you here.

Rank #1: PPP121__Helping_Students_Learn_to_Cr.mp3

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Jan 23 2019
45 mins
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Rank #2: PPP154: Don't say, "I can't. Say "I'll try." with Ruth Pitts

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Aug 04 2019
44 mins
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Rank #3: ppp055AboutPractice.mp3

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Aug 10 2017
31 mins
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Rank #4: ppp002.mp3

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Aug 02 2016
20 mins
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Rank #5: PPP144: Learn How Important Parents are to Their Child's Success with Judy Wilkins

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May 27 2019
32 mins
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Rank #6: PPP134: A Truly Inspiring Interview with Teacher, Leah Drake

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I e-met Leah online when her studio participated in the PIANOVEMBER Practice Challenge. She runs a vibrant studio, that is actually called Vibrant Valley Music Studio. She is active in her own pursuit of learning to teach her students. In fact, we were just able to book this interview before Leah heads to the MTNA Convention in Spokane, WA.

I love the name of her studio, Vibrant Valley Music Studio and I especially love her teaching philosophy, "Nurturing tomorrow's musicians through creativity, inspiration, and community."

Listen to the full episode here Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Debra Perez “Way Cool Keyboarding”

Bullfrog Jamboree by Mayron Cole

Jennifer Eklund’s Piano Pronto

FM Sheet Music

Teacher video recommendation

"Things and Wings" by Liz Story is one of the pieces that made Leah feel like an actual accomplished pianist. She still has this piece memorized and under her fingers to this day!

Other LIz Story pieces at MusicNotes.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-n8lpsiZkG8

Words of wisdom for parents of new piano students?

Take the time to find the right teacher.

It is worth all the time to interview many teachers. Don't just settle for the teacher who is most convenient.

You are embarking on what could be along and life-changing journey. The relationship with your teacher is crucial to the success of that journey. If you don't find the right person, it could end very quickly.

Connect with Leah Drake

Leah's studio Facebook page

Vibrant Valley Music Studio

Thanks for listening!

To share your thoughts:

To help out the show:

  • leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews help other piano parents and teachers find the show.
  • Subscribe on SpotifyiTunesPodbean, or your favorite podcast player. 

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Mar 18 2019
1 hour 1 min
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Rank #7: ppp001.mp3

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Aug 01 2016
17 mins
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Rank #8: ppp012.mp3

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Sep 21 2016
18 mins
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Rank #9: PPP132: How to Build Chords and Inversions

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In Episode 130 I gave you a list of ten songs that are perfect for playing along with YouTube videos (I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from that episode! Thanks for letting me know it was helpful for you). 

It occurred to me while recording that episode that I haven’t really talked about building chords and their inversions on the podcast.

Build by counting piano keys

Many piano kids may be familiar with chords that are grouped by their shape.

Major Chords with all white keys: C, F, G.

Chords with a black key in the middle: D, E, A.

Chords with black keys on the top and bottom and a white key in the middle: Db, Eb, Ab.

But what about chords that don’t fit in those groups?

You can find the notes you need by counting piano keys - all keys, black or white.

For Major chords, start with any piano key. This becomes the ROOT of the chord. Today, let’s use B.

From the ROOT, count up four piano keys (C, C#, D, D#) D# is the fourth piano key up from B. D# is the middle note of the chord. In terms of intervals, it is a third above B so we will call it the THIRD of the chord.

From the ROOT, count up seven piano keys (C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#) F# is the seventh piano key up from B. F# is the top note of the chord. In terms of intervals, it is a fifth above B so we will call it the FIFTH of the chord.

Since we counted up 4 piano keys to get to the D#, we could use a shortcut of only counting three more keys from D# to get to the F#. I counted from B to reinforce the fact that the chord tones get their identity from the ROOT.

For minor chords we still select a ROOT and count up seven piano keys to find the FIFTH. The difference between a Major chord and a minor chord is the sound of the THIRD. The THIRD of the chord determines the type. From the ROOT, count up three piano keys (C, C#, D). D is three piano keys up from B so D is the THIRD or middle note in the B minor chord.

Changing that one note from D# to plain D changes the whole mood of the chord. That sounds like me on certain days, one little thing can make my mood change from happy to sad. The good news is one little thing can change it right back, too!

Build by using the scale

I discussed building scales using the Circle of Fifths in Episode 013: Magic Wand, part 1

Build a Major scale using whole steps and half steps (Whole step is two piano keys, black or white, half step is moving to the next piano key)

W  W  H  W  W  W  H 

 2   2   1   2   2   2   1

Once you have the correct scale degrees, you can start to build chords or triads by combining every other note of the scale.

For example, 

Why inversions?

Inversions allow us to transition quickly between chords, and often using an inversion can add a different nuance to the chord.

Sounds better to our ears. More cohesive and less choppy. The common tones between chords help our ears transition from one sound to the next.

If you think of a choir, the voices don’t want to jump around, they want to find the closest chord tone to help their voice move up or down efficiently.

The snowman visual for inversions on this page is cute.

Invert chords to play melody on the top, build the harmony underneath. When you play a tune by ear, start with the melody, add the bass as a foundation, then fill in harmonic chord tones to add richness to the arrangement.

A fun bonus and a challenge

On March 4, 1963, the Beach Boys released their second album, “Surfin’ USA.” The title song on the album is in the key of Eb Major and uses Eb, Bb, and Ab. The pattern goes like this:

Bb |Bb | Eb | Eb |Bb |Bb | Eb | Eb |

Ab |Ab | Eb | Eb |Bb |Ab | Eb | Eb |

I challenge you to use the tools I’ve shared with you today to figure out which piano keys you need for each of these chords and find the most efficient way you can use those chords and their inversions to play this song. 

Once you can play "Surfin' USA" on your own, try playing along with the Beach Boys on this YouTube video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDb303T-B1w

Thanks for listening!

To share your thoughts:

To help out the show:

  • leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews help other piano parents and teachers find the show.
  • Subscribe on iTunesPodbean, or your favorite podcast player. 
Mar 04 2019
33 mins
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Rank #10: PPP153: What is 'perfect' anyway?

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Jul 29 2019
35 mins
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Rank #11: ppp040YouTube_2.mp3

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Apr 28 2017
33 mins
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Rank #12: ppp047BonnieKrax.mp3

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Jun 08 2017
30 mins
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Rank #13: PPP128: Keep a Video/Audio Journal of Your Child's Musical Journey

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In recent episodes, I've alluded to the idea of keeping a video or audio journal of your piano kid's musical progress. This is a way for them to see their growth as a musician. In today's show, we will talk in more detail about the advantage of keep a video journal as well as  the practical details like equipment and storage.

Great Learning Tool

The primary reason to video your child is for them to learn from the experience. When we are playing or reading music, our minds are so focused on that activity that we can stop listening to the music we're making.

Having a separate recording gives students a chance to hear themselves as the audience or judge will hear them. 

In their imagination, they may have had a bigger contrast in dynamics or tempo or other musical elements but the reality of the recording tells them how accurate they really were.

Sometimes, in their imagination, students think the whole performance was flawed. They focus on mistakes or missteps they made while playing and think the entire performance was terrible. Listening to the recording from a more objective perspective allows them to realize they performed very well, in spite of a stumble or two.

Consistency

Like all things, there is more value in keeping a video journal if you are consistent with your recording schedule.

Set a reminder on your phone to make a recording every month of whatever music your piano kid is currently playing. You will come to treasure these videos as they show your child growing physically as they also become more skilled with their music.

When preparing for a piano event, record their piece early so they can listen and critique their own playing. Record again in a week or two to let them see the progress they've made in a short time and notice more fine tuning that can be done.

As the date of the event gets closer, make a recording of a mock audition or recital performance. When your piano kid knows they are being recorded, they feel similar emotions to the "real thing". They might experience a surge of adrenaline, sweaty palms, racing heartbeat.

Put under this stress, their brain could become distracted and make careless mistakes in the music. It's better to do this in practice and learn how to deal with those jitters now than to experience them for the first time during the event.

Equipment and Storage

Really, there is no need for fancy equipment. Use what works and what is handy. Most of us have better quality cameras on our phones than whatever video cameras we used to video my wedding 30 years ago!

There is also no need for editing, though, with your child’s consent, you might work on a video project to post socially. Apple's iMovie and Windows Movie Maker are fairly intuitive (especially for our kids these days) and there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube to help you learn how to edit and create nice looking videos with titles and closing credits, etc.

As for storage, don’t just leave videos and audio clips on your phone. How many times has your phone died and you couldn’t recover the data? There are tons of journal apps to use but they could have the same potential problem.

My top choices for longer-term storage are:

  • YouTube private channel 
  • iCloud storage -  OneDrive, Dropbox
  • Old school DVD or flash drive or external hard drive.
Share with your teacher

I love to receive videos from my piano parents during the week. The video may be of an accomplishment made during practice that week or my student may have a question about part of their assignment.

I'd much rather my students ask questions during the week than go a full week either not practicing or practicing the wrong way.

When I receive videos of students playing at church or school or a family event, I get to share in the joy and success the student has made.

Thanks for listening!

To share your thoughts:

To help out the show:

  • leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews help other piano parents and teachers find the show.
  • Subscribe on iTunesPodbean, or your favorite podcast player. 
Feb 04 2019
25 mins
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Rank #14: ppp000.mp3

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Aug 01 2016
11 mins
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Rank #15: ppp028.mp3

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Jan 16 2017
45 mins
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Rank #16: ppp051TeacherRecap.mp3

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Jul 14 2017
27 mins
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Rank #17: ppp025.mp3

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Jan 16 2017
34 mins
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Rank #18: PPP129: "Lord of the Chords" Game Developer, Jonathan Ng

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A few weeks ago I got an email from Sanette Brems, a piano mom in my studio. Listen to Sanette's parent interview with me on Episode 019. In her email, Sanette said, "I saw this and immediately thought of you!" The link in the email took me to the Kickstarter page for a new music theory game called, "Lord of the Chords". Their website declares that they are the "geekiest, punniest music theory game in the world".

Lord of the Chords Kickstarter Page - click here

I love puns and really love games that help my students learn and use music theory so I did a little research and was able to contact the developers of the game. Jonathan Ng, one member of the development team, responded to my email and we set up our interview within days and now I am pleased to share that interview with you!

Listen to the full interview here A little of Jonathan's background

Jonathan started violin when he was eight years old but never felt a strong connection to the violin. By ten, Jonathan wasn't really enjoying the violin but his wise mother made him stick with it! (Way to go, Mom!!)

He took ABRSM exams from age 9-18, ultimately passing Grade 8.

He did not enjoy the music theory aspect of the exams; his goal was just to pass the exam. He didn't see music theory as the wonderful tool and language that he now recognizes it to be.

Jonathan also started learning guitar and began jazz guitar lessons. He says, "To really play jazz, you've got to know your music theory." Thanks to his jazz guitar teacher, Mr. Bay, Jonathan learned the rules of theory and how to use them to "play the game of music".

Jonathan shared the things he learned about music improvisation with his friend Jun Yu because he wanted someone to jam with. Jun Yu, a pianist, advanced to ABRSM Grade 8 as well but had a similar experience with dry music theory. Once he understood the way he could use music theory to make music with his friend, Jun Yu and Jonathan set out to find a way to replicate this knowledge.

How could they gamify music theory?

Read more about Jonathan's musical journey as well as the evolution of Lord of the Chords in this article on Medium.com.

Finally, another friend joined the Lord of the Chords team. Keith is an amazing illustrator and designer who had zero musical knowledge before working with Jonathan and Jun Yu. Through playing the game, Keith learned not only the rules of the game and how he could earn triads and steal his opponent's cards but he also learned elements of music theory.

This actually gave him an advantage in being able to explain elements of the game to others because he didn't have the "curse of knowledge".

Jonathan shows us how the game works.

https://youtu.be/l6rzPBjI12o

There are many ways to play

The basic game comes with 150 note cards and action cards in a beautiful three-dimensional box along with accidental tokens.

Students are limited only by their imagination in all the fun ways they can use the cards to play games. The more music theory they learn, the more they can adapt the game.

Booster packs will be available to add even more challenges and aspects of the game.

Support Lord of the Chords Kickstarter Campaign

Thank you, Jonathan, for sharing your story with us today.  I am truly excited about your new game and look forward to supporting your Kickstarter.

Piano Parent, if you would like to support Jonathan, Jun Yu, and Keith, check out their Kickstarter page at www.LordoftheChords.com.

Thanks for listening!

To share your thoughts:

To help out the show:

  • leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews help other piano parents and teachers find the show.
  • Subscribe on iTunesPodbean, or your favorite podcast player. 
Feb 10 2019
38 mins
Play

Rank #19: PPP146: Musical Mystery Opus 1, No. 1 "Wishful Thinking"

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Jun 10 2019
19 mins
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Rank #20: PPP131: Let Music Be Your Diary with Raphaelita Justice

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Click here to download this episode.

In this episode we learn

♫ How Raphaelita’s instructor, mentor, and lifelong friend discovered her when she was practicing at a local church one day.

♫ How Raphealita’s upbringing and the influence of her mother helped her become an excellent student.

♫ The difference between the casual piano parent who aims to broaden their child’s interests and knowledge versus the more stern piano parent who views piano study as a launching pad for additional opportunities for their piano kid in college and beyond.

♫ How Raphaelita uses WhatsApp to help her students stay motivated and practicing throughout the week.

One question I enjoy asking the teachers I interview is, "If you could spend time with any composer, who would you choose and why?" Without hesitation, Raphaelita gave me her answer.

The person Raphaelita most admires and would love to spend time with is her instructor and mentor, Veda Zuponcic. Professor Zuponcic is the Founding Artistic Director of the Northern Lights Music Festival in Aurora, Minnesota.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAK2p-H6gG0

Connect with Raphaelita Justice

For information about piano lessons in Raphaelita's Piano Academy go to Muse Piano Academy FaceBook Page  (Teachers may also contact Raphaelita for custom advertising videos.)

Thanks for listening!

To share your thoughts:

To help out the show:

  • leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews help other piano parents and teachers find the show.
  • Subscribe on iTunesPodbean, or your favorite podcast player. 

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Feb 25 2019
37 mins
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