Maggie George

Maggie George

With her husband Peter, Maggie George owned, operated and taught in a large music school/store in Trenton, Ontario, Canada, scheduling hundreds of students each week with up to 15 part-time teachers for individual music/art/drama lessons, summer camps and more. Having sold the business back in September 2013, they returned to their home country, England, where they now teach private lessons for piano, guitar and violin at their home in Ash Vale, Hampshire. Maggie says: “I just love teaching and couldn't give up that intensely emotional feeling of helping students to succeed in their musical journeys”. All teachers can surely relate. "Music Teacher's Helper is a sophisticated, powerful program for us as individual teachers to keep track of all our scheduling and invoicing, with a free website too. What a bonus!", Maggie says. Maggie can be contacted at www.maggiesmusic-ashvale.co.uk

Keyboard Ruler

Getting Creative – My Students’ Rulers

Learning and practicing scales at the keyboard can be relatively easy and enjoyable with the aid of some simple visual aids.  Yet music students often feel daunted with the learning of scales, chords and arpeggios, thinking that they are either difficult, unnecessary, time-consuming or irrelevant.

Difficulties for students are most often seen when first trying to cross fingers over/under for piano scales and especially when playing both hands together, trying to remember which fingers to use and which white/black notes and more.

Practising scales plays an essential part in developing skills with the sense of key and pattern acquired through familiarity, speeding up the learning of new pieces, developing aural awareness and increasing familiarity with the geography of the instrument.

From my perspective and personal background, I have always felt that scales, chords and arpeggios are very important for finger dexterity and a better understanding of analysis of musical compositions, particularly with regard to modern music.  Yet some teachers put technical exercises somewhat in    [···]

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Sight reading

Can you relate to this?

Do you have students who constantly feel ‘the need to look’ at their hands when sight reading and learning music on the piano?  Perhaps they try to memorise the music quickly before they have learnt it sufficiently, then make many mistakes when playing it because they have forgotten what is actually in the music?

Do these students also regularly lose their place in the music and therefore get annoyed with their playing?  The answer would be “Oh yes they do” in my experience.

I needed a solution that works well for me and my students in order to stop ‘the need to look’ at their hands.

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Playing a musical alphabet game is a great way to reinforce the concept of reading music. Younger piano students also love to do any activities ‘off the piano bench’, don’t they?

Alphabet Piano Game

Alphabet Game for Piano

Teaching the Musical Alphabet 

One of my favourite piano games helps my beginner students to learn the musical alphabet using a set of foam letter blocks.

I encourage them to trace over the letters, put the letter blocks in the correct order, place them one at a time on the piano keys (having picked them randomly from my bag) octave by octave – students see how the letters can be read backwards through the alphabet.  These are only a few of the ideas that could be used.

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