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Showing posts from May, 2011

How to buy a piano

The following is a primer that I give to parents of beginning piano students.  When parents do not follow this advice, they tend to spend buckets of money and have an unsatisfactory buying experience.  Please use this to help your students have good experiences with beginning piano!

Buying a Piano

DON'T! There are so many kids who take piano and drop it after a few lessons, that there are hundreds of pianos available for free throughout Massachusetts. Wait until you've taken piano for a few years and develop a devotion to it before you invest the thousands you'd need for a great piano or keyboard. Here are some tips.

Go to Piano Adoption's website.  There you'll find free pianos in every state!

See the piano and feel the keys under your fingers. Make sure that the touch of the piano is comfortable. Make sure that the keys have the same volume at every key for the same amount of pressure. Broken strings, felt on hammers, and other small repairs can be fixed by a pian…

Literature in the Music Classroom #2,

*This series of posts is authored by Orff Master Teacher, Linda Ahlstedt.  See the foot of each post for her bio and contact information.


Children love stories, they love to be entertained and they like to use their imaginations. Using children’s literature and storytelling in the music classroom is a fantastic way to encourage improvisation, theatric expression, a sense of rhythm and rhyme, while having some good old fashioned fun. Many of the books that are conducive to the music classroom are stories with which the children are familiar, and acting them out brings them newly to life. The incredible twists you can add in music class are just icing on the cake. For a list of literature for the PreSchool-Grade 2 Classroom, see the post dated May 16, 2011.  

Grades 3-6
Possum Come a Knockin’ by Nancy Van Leer (add instruments for characters and act out)

Fortunately/Unfortunately  by Remy Charlip (great story to teach Do based pentatonic “Fortunately” and La based pentatonic “Unfortunately”)

Literature in the Music Classroom #1, Pre-K-2

*This series of posts is authored by Orff Master Teacher, Linda Ahlstedt.  See the foot of each post for her bio and contact information.


Children love stories, they love to be entertained and they like to use their imaginations. Using children’s literature and storytelling in the music classroom is a fantastic way to encourage improvisation, theatric expression, a sense of rhythm and rhyme, while having some good old fashioned fun. Many of the books that are conducive to the music classroom are stories with which the children are familiar, and acting them out brings them newly to life. The incredible twists you can add in music class are just icing on the cake. For pre-school, kindergarten, first and second grade students, select stories with lots of rhymes, numbers or letters. Choose stories in which the students can provide sound effects. In stories with cumulative or repeating  characters , particular sound effects or instruments can represent a character. At first you should guide …

Orff Performance of the Month

This is classic Orff.  Dance, music and poetry are incorporated in a joyful performance that was child-generated.  The teacher's youtube channel is here.  Enjoy!

Faith at Work

The other day some tween girls sought me out to ask about my cross.  I bought it at a pawn shop in Boca Raton, Florida some 15 years ago.  I love my cross.  It reflects my Orthodox Christian faith.  (I'm hoping that it is not the only thing about me that reflects my faith.)  The girls showed me a symbol that, they said, is associated with witches in Salem.  Our school is near Salem, Massachusetts, so I'm not sure if the symbol is concerning the famous witches of the past or the Wiccas of the present.

I explained to the girls that is was NOT a sign of witchcraft, but something quite opposite.  It is a sign of the cross of Christ.  I explained the details of the cross.  The top bar represents the sign that read, "King of the Jews", etc.  The girls thought that crucifixion sounded pretty gory and I agreed.   My officemate broke into the conversation and said, "you should say that some people believe that this happened.  The bible wasn't written for 100 years af…