Friday, March 17, 2017

My Teaching Style

Stay tuned to find more information on what a typical lesson looks like and what my teaching style is!🎶

Saturday, December 17, 2016

All About Practicing

How often should a student practice at home? And what can parents help out with?

Every student should aim to practice five to seven days a week.
Practicing everyday teaches responsibility, patience, and discipline.

Each weekly lesson only lasts 30 minutes.
30 minutes is the perfect time frame for students ranging anywhere between 5 years to 15 years.
However, practicing 30 minutes every day can become overwhelming for some students, which might cause discouragement and even lead to students disliking music.

This is a chart I created which shows a student's age and a good practice time frame.

One way a parent can help is keeping their piano player accountable in daily practicing.
Encouraging and even praising seemingly small accomplishments will boost a student's esteem and inspire them to continue to practice.

An easy and efficient way to make sure a student will practice is to set a timer and place it on the piano for student. Many times, students will continue practicing past the required time.
This is usually a very happy day for parents :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Can my Five Year Old Play Piano?

So many times parents think that their child has to be able to sit perfectly still, or maybe at least pass Kindergarten. However, much like preschool, learning piano is a head start for little fingers. 

I began learning piano when I was six years old. By then I was already learning how to read and write. One thing I remember about piano lessons then, is that my instructor had review/memory games once in a while. These games made me look forward to lessons and made me want to pay attention during class.  

 A child has about the attention span of approximately how old they minutes! For example, a seven year old, has an attention span of about seven minutes...and so on. 
 I am currently teaching a 5 year old, spunky girl! In order to keep her attention on piano lessons and not her stuffed animal, I need to make things more interesting and put lessons into sections. 

What are some of the pros of having a little one play piano? 
I am aware that 4 and 5 year olds have a short attention span, but it does not bother me at all! Challenges give me an adrenaline rush and I find it fun to research how to teach effectively. 

My Piano Students Will Learn....
1. Mathematical Lessons
  •     Yes; understanding music is easy when you know math. Kids who have never been to school, will have an early start in math through music!! In order to read music, in the first lessons, students will learn all about whole, half, quarter, and eighth notes. 
  • Fractions                                                                                                                                                             Sometimes a student will not understand at first (it took me a few years until I grasped the concept), so I usually use Legos or even food for visuals. :) 
  • They learn beats, keeping a rhythm, and recognizing patterns 
2. Opposites 
  • Most kids are between 4 and 5 when they begin learning opposites. In lessons, they will learn the opposite between: high and low, loud and quiet, playing and resting, long and short, etc... 
  • In order to make this fun and easy, students will learn terms in a unique way (with voice fluctuations) 
3. How to Express Themselves 
  • Music is another way to express oneself. It's very important to not simply play a piece, but to play it with feeling. Many times after playing a big piece, you feel like exhaling because you put so much emotion into playing. I encourage students to not only play, but to really get into the music. 
4. To Refine Discipline 
  • Self- Control                                                                                                                                                                Yes, this is a big one for kids who love moving around! However, they always seem to concentrate while playing their "Piece". Younger students love performing in front of parents and they know that playing is serious when it's in front of an audience ;) 
  • Patience                                                                                                                                                            Practicing a song takes lots of patience, hard work and dedication (this is why parental involvement is vital). There will be times when a student will not pass a song after one week of practicing, and this will honestly be discouraging for them, but it will teach patience and determination. 
  • Self-esteem                                                                                                                                                                        I give constructive criticism, but never make it seem like a bad thing; it's just part of learning. However, I would rather turn negative feedback into a positive change that helps them. I dislike negativity, so I try very hard never to make a student feel like a failure. Instead, I praise the good and explain how the rough parts could improve for the next week! 
5. Motor Skills 

  • Correct piano posture is something I am always stressing!
  • Students also learn how to develop coordination. 

I hope this answered a lot of questions, and also got you excited about having your kindergartener begin lessons! If you have more questions, please feel free to leave a comment or send a message!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Books, books, and more books...

So what kind of books will your child be using?
This post explains the books that most students go through and why I use them. 

Every single week of lessons, I drill students using color coded flashcards.
In order to make learning flashcards fun, I like to include games or examples on the piano. Sometimes I'll even bring toys or food to show further explain music theory. 

Depending on age and how advanced a student is, also depends on the books used. 

Music for Little Mozarts

Little fingers begin with *Music for Little Mozarts* 
Preschoolers and Kindergarteners alike enjoy learning music with 
Mozart the Mouse and Beethoven the Bear. 

Alfred's Basic Piano Library 
Lesson Book-Level 1A 
This is a fun learning book for Early Elementary Children. 
It breaks down concepts and uses many visuals that help a child understand more clearly. 

Alfred's Basic Piano Library 
Theory Book-Level 1A 

Along with the lesson book, this book is excellent in thoroughly explaining theory.
Its colorful pages are filled with many worksheets for a student to work on.
Each page is explained very clearly and geared to beginning piano players.

Alfred's Basic Piano Library
The more a student practices and passes songs, the faster he finishes the book and faster he moves to the next level book.

Teaching Little Fingers to Play

Yes, this is where my blog title comes from! It's just so fun and explains what I do! 
This book is good for elementary/beginner students. 
Perferable students who know a little basic theory, fingering, timing, and posture. 

Teaching Little Fingers to Play Disney Tunes

This book is a classic! Little fingers love playing famous Disney tunes.
These infamous songs are simplified, yet make students feel like a talented musician!

A Dozen A Day

Just like sport players exercise before a big game, musicians must warm up their fingers before a 20+ minute practice. These books start at the very beginning and gradually become more challenging.

John Thompson's Modern Course for the Piano 

This book is for more advanced beginners. If a student knows piano theory, timing, fingering, and posture, he will usually begin with this book. It's a great book that gradually teaches new piano concepts and is a wonderful stepping stone book.
This really is an introduction into classical music and finger techniques.


As the student advances, the books become harder and students have a choice of what they would like to continue learning i.e. Classical, Disney, Recital pieces, Hymn Playing, and Accompaniment.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Lesson Information

If you are like most new parents looking into piano teachers, you most likely have questions about lessons, price, even the type of books your children will be using.
 In this post, I've put together important information regarding piano lessons. 

  • Sonata Studio is located in Colusa,  California 
  • I teach Beginner and Intermediate piano lesson
  • Weekly 30 minute lessons 
  • $50 for a month of lessons. Pay at the beginning of the month (I've found that students will come for lessons if they have already paid for them) 
  • Parents have the option of buying music books through me or on their own (click here for a post about the books we use) 
  • I stress and encourage proper piano posture, fingering, timing, and theory.
  • In my opinion, no age is too young☺  However, some children are not ready to play piano until they are older (more about *playing at a young age* later).
  • Parents are allowed and encouraged to sit in during lessons (I believe parental involvement is very important) 

I hope most of your questions were answered in this post! 
If not, feel free to comment below or contact me through email:

About Me...

My name is Cindy Garcia and my desire is to teach children piano through private lessons that will bring the love of music into your home. 

I am just an Elementary Education Major with hopes of starting a piano teaching business. 
When I was six years old, I began playing piano and since the very beginning, piano took a special place in my life. While in college, I was able to take music theory and music performance classes. 
I  am very grateful for parents who realized the importance of music and paid for years of lessons. 
My desire to not only teach children to play music, but to instill in them a love for music.