by Katherine Fisher

Hello again! We apologize for the long hiatus. Julie and I have been immersed in the logistics of moving this summer and are only now recovering (just in time for the teaching year to begin!). My family and I sold our home in the late spring and bought another that was a better fit for our pianos. We were looking for a dedicated studio space for our two grands. In our previous home, we were not able to practice at night due our open floor plan and two sleeping children. I know many musicians have said they were able to train their children to sleep through practicing, but no such luck with mine! They tend to wake easily. Our new home has a walk-out lower level that is perfect for teaching and practicing. The kids love it as well- there is plenty of room to run around. This is the only space I can imagine where the pianos co-exist peacefully with a running puppy and scootering children.

Julie moved to Connecticut last year and rented for a time before purchasing a home. She is delighted with her find- an older home “with character.” Although I haven’t yet visited, it looks charming from the pictures. One thing she loves about it are all the “nooks and crannies” and unexpected places to explore.

As you may have noticed from our home page, we recently released our Level 3 Sight Reading & Rhythm Cards. I have tested them for some time and absolutely love teaching with them. They are perfect for students who are beginning to learn the basics of key signatures. I enjoy the fact that I can correlate theory, technique and sight reading in a easy and systematic way.

For example, the first unit of the cards only contains examples written in the keys of C Major and A Minor. Before teaching the first card, I introduce the scale, inversions, and cadence in these keys. I also have students practice common patterns in both keys (Alberti Bass is one example) before starting the first card. When students begin reading the example, they already have a strong grasp of the key. Before playing, I also ask them to analyze the chords (if applicable) and mark them on each card. This makes the reading process more streamlined and sets students up for success. For your convenience, each card contains a spot for the student to fill in the key and also presents an analysis question. You can view sample cards here.

Each unit of the cards contains a new key set and also reviews the previously introduced keys. By the time students are finished with the Level 3 Sight Reading Cards, they will have a strong understanding of the major and minor keys through two sharps and two flats.

We look forward to hearing your questions and feedback about the Level 3 Sight Reading & Rhythm Cards. Have a wonderful beginning of your teaching year!