NEW!!  “Mellow” Jingle Bells Duet for a primer/beginning level student + teacher.

As a fun project with some of my older and more advanced kids we have been harmonizing and adding the left hand part.  It’s a good way to work some theory into learning this duet.  Once finished make sure you have the Primo part played up 2 octaves higher in order to avoid collisions.

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Download Jingle Bells Duet Sheet Music HERE!

Jingle Bells Duet ~ Music by Jennifer Eklund

NotateMe by Neuratron for iOS and Android Devices

Get the App HERE (iOS & Android links)


NotateMe_iOSShotJust a quick announcement.  I was so excited today when I saw a link shared by former Sibelius developer Daniel Spreadbury about a new music notation app called NotateMe now available for iOS and Android devices!  This is the first app of its kind that allows you to hand write music on a phone or tablet and have your handwriting is converted to standard music notation.  The app has been developed by Neuratron, the makers of Photoscore and Audioscore.

The app is being offered at a discount price right now.  The instructions are thorough and from what I’ve heard the developers are very responsive to interface issues.

Here’s what you can do with the NotateMe app:

– Quickly and accurately enter music notation with your finger or stylus, on a tablet or smartphone. *TIP: After playing with the app for a while I would HIGHLY recommend buying a fine point stylus.

– Write music anywhere/anytime!  So far, I’m really impressed with the intuitive nature of this app.

– IMPORTANT: 4 inch (e.g. iPhone 5) or larger screen RECOMMENDED for best results.

– ALSO IMPORTANT: Handwritten music varies significantly from person to person and we are continually improving NotateMe’s ability to recognize as many styles as possible. As such we are currently offering NotateMe for half price to encourage users to email us examples of their handwritten music from within the app.

– Simple, intuitive interface with little to distract you from your creativity – similar to writing with pen and paper, but with instant playback, editing and a printable score at the end!

– Email MusicXML and MIDI files of your scores to friends or other musicians. Open in other apps and desktop notation packages.

– Write music for solo instruments (including voice and piano) or ensembles from string quartets and choirs to full orchestral scores. Includes support for transposing instruments.

– NotateMe recognises a wide range of music symbols, including notes (with solid, open, and slanted noteheads), flags, beams (even cross-staff*), leger lines, multiple voices per staff, chords, rests, accidentals (natural, sharp and flat), articulation marks, augmentation dots, ties, slurs, triplets, duplets, hairpins, clef changes, key signatures. Barlines, clefs and time signatures are added automatically.

– It works while you write – the printed score updates automatically without you needing to stop and wait.

Here’s a demo video:

Fresh back from NCKP last week and it was a fantastic conference with many amazing, dedicated teachers in attendance. As I returned to teaching this week I had a great “lesson” with one of my little girls that not only was a great lesson for her, but an important reminder for me that I want to pass along.  I want to encourage all of you to strategically do NOTHING.

My student “Katie” is a hard-worker, but not a ‘natural’ talent.  She enjoys playing but has been stuck at some typical late-beginning stumbling blocks.  We were working on a little piece called “Someday” that I wrote which emulates a lot of current pop music.  As much as she was excited about the piece, there were still many elements that posed a challenge, particularly hand positioning shifts and using fingerings.  Much to my surprise at our lesson on Tuesday she had mastered the piece, the hurdles were cleared, and she was so proud of her accomplishment that she wanted to play the piece a second time for me just to prove that it wasn’t an ‘accident.’

My instant reaction in my head (other than joy and a bit of relief) was, “fantastic, you’ve got this down, now we can move on to a new piece!”  BUT, I stopped myself.

I took a moment to ‘gut check’ why that was my instant reaction.  Why did I want to immediately put a new challenge on Katie’s plate after this huge accomplishment in her learning process?  So I didn’t.  This was a case where my own goal-driven nature could have put a damper on this student’s feeling of pride for her achievement had I pushed her forward into new repertoire.

So I did NOTHING.  Well, actually, I did do something.  I praised her for her accomplishment and excellent practice skills and told her to take the week to *enjoy* playing the piece now that she has it down pat and to play some older review pieces that we picked out together.  She was delighted to hear she could have a week enjoying playing pieces she already knows without the worry of ‘working’ on new material.  We also did a little walk-down-memory-lane and talked about the ‘problem spots’ that she felt frustrated over and what she did to remedy these issues.

We tend to always be looking forward in piano lessons, worrying about the current stress, how hard the current piece is, and so often, we forget where we came from and what we’ve already overcome.  We also took a look in her assignment book at what we were working on a year ago to date and laughed about how she used to think those pieces were ‘hard.’ I encourage all teachers to do this often, especially on days when the ‘it’s too hard’ monster comes out to play.

Piano teachers are in a tough spot because, by nature, we are extremely goal driven people.  First off, most of us have studied for many years, we know the formula for progress and success and it is natural that we want to impart this knowledge on our students in the hopes of them being as tenacious as we are.  Secondly, we are driven as business people and entrepreneurs.  Whether we say it out loud or not, we feel that the success of our students is a direct reflection of our skill level as teachers.

Both of these points can get us into hot water.  We may be driven to succeed in music, but for the general population of hobbyists, us getting frustrated with their lack of commitment can be utterly exhausting for both parties.  And as with Katie’s situation, our own goal-driven nature that wants to push forward can put too much stress on the student instead of letting them revel in their current ‘win.’ Chances are your students will be more welcoming of new challenges after you give them a week or two of breathing-room.

On the business side, I often have gotten stuck in the mindset that we must explore something ‘new’ at each lesson so that my ‘customer’ feels like they are getting their moneys worth.  It is essential to always get back to the core of our job as music teachers: to teach a lifelong love of music and sometimes this means just letting your students have a week of free-time to play the pieces they enjoy instead of always inviting a new struggle to the party.

I told Katie when her mom asks what she did in her piano lesson this week to smile big and tell her proudly, “I did nothing! Wanna hear some songs?”


Impressions: Suite for Piano Solo

Four lyrical solos for intermediate level students.  Listen to full audio below and preview the sheet music via the link.


LISTEN: Falling Leaves, Composed & Performed by Jennifer Eklund

LISTEN: Dreamweaver, Composed & Performed by Jennifer Eklund

LISTEN: Fading into Twilight, Composed & Performed by Jennifer Eklund

LISTEN: The Reawakening, Composed & Performed by Jennifer Eklund

Impressions: Lyrical Solos for Piano by Jennifer Eklund

New Solo for Early Intermediates

“Falling Leaves” by Jennifer Eklund (SHEET MUSIC HERE)

LISTEN: Falling Leaves, Composed & Performed by Jennifer Eklund

Falling Leaves - Piano Solo by Jennifer Eklund