The courage of living is - to take risks, to fail, to get up, and to try again. Try again differently.
Hello, it's Miss Donna here, sharing her thoughts!
I'm super excited to introduce you all to the new Happy Keys 3.0. We are now a Piano School that specializes in beginner's piano lessons and beyond and mentoring future students who will become the leaders of our next generation.
I've had the privilege to learn a lot over the 18 years of teaching experiences...and I can't wait to share my knowledge. Teaching has always been my passion but what gets me more excited is seeing the changes in the families and the children's lives. In addition, I'm honoured to have worked with a handful of families for over 5 years and up to coming up 10 years! Isn't this a dream for teachers? It sure is.
As I sit here to share my current thoughts, I welcome all new prospective families and students who would love to bask in the energy of growth, personal excellence, and dedication. The arts has played a huge role in my life and I know having a teacher that really is my mentor has changed my life. I often think of my piano teacher and how daring she was...to be more than just a piano teacher.
I too, wish to be daring, and to my inner circle of friends, I probably am the most out there person. I personally believe that if you truly wish to learn something, you can. And, when it's time to find a teacher, then it's time to look far into the future and see if you can see your lives with them. When we start piano, our parents are our main mentors, along with our teachers. But, as we get older and move into pre-teen era, someday, that teacher may become your child's mentor as their prefrontal cortex develops well into their early 20's. And, as I look back in my life.... the times that I've excelled was when I had a mentor or mentors. Thus, I believe, we excel when we have mentors or coaches in our lives. I now see how paramount it is that I jump into the legacy that I am creating... as my student's evolve and grow...what will they need? The basics of piano will be mastered in no time and what truly is left is a gift of a lifetime of enjoyment. And, that lifetime of enjoyment will crossover to their social lives, their inner lives, and their families and friends...like a ripple effect.
I've been learning the piano since I was 9 years old and I've dedicated 18 years of my life to teaching and growing as a teacher as I am also passionate about researching pedagogy and psychology. This type of dedication and passion is most likely what makes me unique and in a world where most people look for instant results...it can happen too! However, piano is like no other activity. Yes, you can learn a song in a month and guess what? That's just the beginning. Why? There are always steps to getting better and as we evolve as a musician, we will notice even more the subtle nuances. The life-long journey of learning to play any instrument or any art is not only a dedication to the craft but a dedication to oneself. We want to play better, sound better, and ultimately achieve our highest level of playing...and it gives great joy to our parents and grandparents. Playing the piano is like reading books... you don't just read one book in your lifetime. Maybe you do? Well, then it's time to find some new books and jump right in! It's surely can be an adventure if you have the courage to get started.
I wish for everyone to grow, evolve, and to find their own path to personal excellence in 2022. There's a lot happening in the world and it's more important than ever that we contribute our energy to the world by creating love, kindness, and peace. How do we do that? First, we may want to begin with ourselves...and music such as playing the piano is one way to find that love, kindness, and peace within.
Choosing the right piano size and type can make a huge difference in a student's beginning piano journey. Starting with the most adequate instrument will not only allow any new student to play but also to explore, to create, and to enjoy playing the piano.
How do I know what piano to get and where to buy? Today, I will talk about three different types of pianos to help you get started!
And, do you need an expensive piano to get started? Not necessarily.
Eventually, when you do go further into private lessons and classical music, then yes it would be wonderful to move forward with an acoustic piano. However, it is not necessary when you are beginning to learn piano because there are great options for you to get started now.
#1: Acoustic Piano
Acoustic pianos are ultimately what you want to get and ideally, the sooner the better. There are upright pianos and grand pianos with various sizes and heights.
The acoustic piano produces the most beautiful sound tonal quality as it is made out of real wood and unique polish and/or resin.
You can feel the vibrations as it contains real strings and hammers, create nuanced musical responsiveness through the quicker fast actions, and create unlimited dynamics or musical colours/sounds/textures.
What are a few things to consider?
Who is this piano great for?
What brands are trusted?
What if I find a piano on Craigslist for free $0 or under $300?
Recommended keyboard to purchase?
#2: DIGITAL PIANO
This is what I would recommend for all new beginners.
Why? Because, we don't know if our kids will want to keep learning piano in the long run.
This is especially true for parents who have never learned the piano before and for students who are currently in multiple afterschool and weekend activities.
We want to make sure the piano will be accessible, convenient, and ultimately used.
Digital keyboards come in all shapes and sizes. The piano keys can range from 66 to 72 to 88 and with various functions such as a built in metronome, recording, multiple sounds (i.e., violin, organ, drums) and some even play their own songs and light up.
And, with a surge in online piano lessons in 2021, most are looking for a digital keyboard that will help them get started and learn a new skill.
With digital keyboards, the sound tonal quality is stimulated and the touch sensitivity and weight of the keys will depend on the manufacturer and or model. This can vary drastically.
There are no vibrations felt as the sound is emitted by the speakers and the creation of nuanced musical responsiveness and dynamics will depend on the the software of the program which does compute a longer sound when depressed. Again, this will depend on the manufacturer and or model. And, some models do an impeccable job at mimicking the acoustic piano.
The great thing about digital keyboards is its ability to have an headset so this is ideal for students who may live in apartments or with a lot of family members around. And, there is MIDI input/cable which allows various educational apps and additional tablet features to be connected.
What are a few things to consider?
Who is this piano great for?
What brands are trusted?
Can I resell the digital keyboard?
Where should I buy digital keyboards?
Recommended Digital Pianos to Purchase
Recommended Budget Friendly & Portable Digital Keyboards
#3: Keyboard Piano
Keyboards are meant to be for building interest and having fun. They are a great introduction for kids and beginners. Having said this, I would not recommend them as a tool for practicing for the long run as they are meant to be an introduction to learning and playing on the piano.
Let's paint this scenario...This would be compared to buying finger painting which is ideally a fun first learning experience for toddler ages to explore, create, and play! But, if you want to create a watercolor painting by creating intricate details, adding lines/textures, using various paint mediums, and etc... you might want to consider getting paint brushes and perhaps invest in watercolour paper to create the desired effect. This would be comparable to upgrading to an acoustic piano.
What I can tell you is that...keyboards eventually can or will damper our fingers if used for years. I've seen this in students over the years and it is difficult to reverse and they get frustrated. Ofcourse, this is my personal opinion and overtime it robs us of our musicianship potential.
Students develop the habit of depressing the piano keys in such a uniform "one" touch sound because the keyboard itself doesn't allow for variations in tonal quality and the makeup of the keyboard is inherently plastic.
Students need to adjust the volume button in order to hear the dynamics, the nuanced musical responsiveness are unreproducible, and the enjoyment decreases as time goes by because students can hear the difference between their keyboard and their teacher's piano or digital keyboard.
And, another word of caution is the tension that builds up around the wrist area as there is no weight for that to distribute and so students who continue further into piano learning will create sounds such as stomping on the piano (even though they are playing all the right notes).
For students who are learning and exploring, I would say keyboard pianos are a great way to start learning the piano as they are building their fine motor skills are this time and the keyboard is a friendly way to explore, create, and play!
I recommend getting a piano keyboard for online group piano lessons as these keyboards are portable, budget friendly and has all the functions for beginners to get going for the first year or so. And, I would highly recommend you consider getting a digital piano or better yet, an acoustic piano as you continue learning the piano when you can!
What are a few things to consider?
Recommended keyboard to purchase?
My final thoughts are to begin learning with any keyboard but to upgrade as soon as you can and/or able to. Look for a second hand digital keyboard and go with a trusted brand! A trusted brand will allow you to resell and make some money back and give you and/or your child the right tools to begin exploring, to creating, and to playing the piano for enjoyment and for enrichment.
And, if not, a digital keyboard is still the recommended piano to purchase for all beginners.
If you need help with finding a piano for you and/or your child, feel free to comment below and I can let you know my thoughts. I can read up on the specifics and hopefully help you and others to finding the ideal beginner piano and/or keyboard for you!
Please note that I am not affiliated with any of these piano brands.
Thank you parents and students for a wonderful VIRTUAL piano recital! This would not have happened with everyone's efforts and I am so thankful for this opportunity to showcase our student's learning, growth, and talents!
You can view our recital performance in our NEW Youtube page here! Hope you all enjoy! I'm looking forward to what 2021 has to bring and I'm super excited to share with you some new projects. Take care and stay safe!
#1: CAMERA ANGLE
#2: BE READY
#3: PERFOMANCE ETIQUETTE
#4: LIGHTING & SMILE
We want to see your beautiful smiles and enjoyment when playing. This means you want to look into the following:
#5: HAVE FUN & PATIENCE
You may need to re-film several times since being on camera can be challenging and nerve-wracking. But no worries, this just means we have an active imagination and it's not a bad thing. And, since you are filming from home, you can film as many times as you wish! So, be prepared to have patience when filming. It might be a one-take wonder or it might be 20 takes later.
See this activity as something fun and involve your child in creating the holiday atmosphere by letting them choose their outfits, background props, and encouraging them to keep going. Have fun!
Good luck everyone~~!!! It'll be a fantastic experience.
Your online piano teacher.
If you are wanting to make piano recital practise fun, check our my FREE recital preparation BINGO activity! Click on the photo to download instantly.
Get prepared to start piano lessons in January!
This FREE class is for YOU and your child if you have these questions in mind...
》Do piano lessons online work? How does it look like? I don't know how to play but I want to learn too.
》I have a piano/keyboard sitting at home. My child likes music and seems to be interested in the piano. Is this the right program for him/her? When should I start my child with piano lessons?
》My child cannot sit still yet but I want to know if they might be ready for piano lessons. He/she loves music and I know how to play a musical instrument. I can support them.
》I tried teaching my child how to play but it is challenging. I need help and I think I need lessons?
》We are busy but I want them to get started on an arts activity as they are in a lot of sports. I think piano will help them learn to focus and express themselves. How will online piano lessons help with this?
》I'm not sure when Covid-19 will be over...and I want them to learn something because I cannot homeschool them on every subject. Can this piano program provide a sound educational experience?
》My child loves online learning. We want a teacher who is fun, engaging, and understanding. They also like interacting with other kids. I want to try a group class and I love music! I think January will be a good start.
》I am looking for in-person lessons but am willing to try online lessons. Let's see how it goes...
》 I don't know how to play the piano and I want to learn too so I can support my child. Will I get support in helping them to learn at home?
》I am looking for flexibility and convenience as I work shift work. How can this work? How much homework is involved?
》My friend's child is learning online so I am interested in getting them started in piano lessons. I want them to learn the fundamentals and try online piano lessons.
If you have any these questions and more, please feel free to ask me during our Q&A session at the end of the group class or after the free trial session.
I'm now offering free trial piano lessons online to help you decide if this is a great choice for your child and your family. The programs are for ages 4 to 6 and 7 to 11. Depending on the # of students interested, I will create openings as my availability opens up too!
I cannot wait to meet new students online and help you begin your musical piano learning journey! If you are the only student registered, then you will still receive a free trial class from me!
Learn more about my group programs here:
🎄🎁 Oh what fun! MISS DONNA'S BITMOJI INTERACTIVE HOLIDAY PIANO ROOM! 🎹🎅🤶🎶
Parents, friends, and colleagues, looking for fun free activities leading up to the holidays?
🌏 Parents and teachers, there are lots of fun activities that I've curated for you and your kids/students. I've spent several hours curating activities for everyone and you do not need to know how to play the piano only. Please like, comment, and share!!! Tag someone!
🙋🏻♀️ My vision is for you and your child or students to click around the room and do an activity together over the holidays. All art activities will only require pencil, crayons/felt, paper (any type) and occasionally glue, tape, and scissors. That's it!
Over 20+ activities related to music and art! 🎄Supporting creators online. 🎄
⭐SOMETHINGS you will find...⭐
• Frozen performance 🎶🎹
• Pusheen drawing ✏🎨
• Pokémon drawing ✏🎨
• The Child / Mandalorian drawing ✏🎨
• Grinch story listening 🎧
• Beethoven (Dec 16th - Birthday) 🎁🎵
• Read alouds Xmas Books 🎧
• Jingle Bells piano 🎅🎹
• Xmas Dance routine to learn 💃🕺
• Christmas Tree Orgami Craft 🎄
• And much more!
⭐ Be creative. Be committed. Be the best you! ⭐
💗 Follow us on IG @happykeyspiano
Click on the link below to download my interactive .pdf and click on all the holiday-like objects with fun activities that I've curated for you and your kid!
Get a 🆓️ copy!
Thank you for coming by! If you like this sort of activity, subscribe to my email listing and you will receive directly to your email box when I release the next one!
You can subscribe by going here: http://www.happykeysmusic.ca/subscribe.html
Stay safe and stay warm!
Tags: #christmas2020 #bitmoji #christmastree #pianoteacher #pianostudents #clicklinkinbio #downloadable #activitiesforkids #music #piano #art #fun #interactivelearning #virtualclassroom #homeschool #distancelearning2020 #artkids #musiclistening #freeactivity #yvr #music #piano #committed #fun #vancitybuzz #vancityhype #vancity #zoomlessons #onlinepianolessons #kidsfun #pianostudents #vancitykids #yvrkids #free #freebies #teacherfreebies #holidayactivity #curated #grinch #teachingresource #winter #freethings #holidayfun #falala
Hosting recitals are my most cherished and happiest times...
and while this year will surely be different due to Covid-19 and me teaching on my own again, I always want to bring and make the best experiences to my students and families.
Those who've been around me during this time know that I just love making gifts, coordinating the events of the day, and putting together a fantastic show!
Usually, we would also do a potluck, take a group photo, and socialize but this year we will be doing it online! And, I know it'll still be fun. In fact, we will be pre-recording all of our performances which brings in new challenges and experiences for students.
In spite of all the ongoing changes in the world, we will continue forward with recital traditions and keep music alive and well! Recitals are 5 weeks away and everyone is learning new songs.
I'm super stoked and this year...I look forward to sharing with you a few things that I'll be doing at the studio.
Have fun and stay safe!
Teachers & Colleagues...
The first is...our Holiday Recital Bingo Challenge! I really wanted to make it fun and keep everyone motivated. And, who doesn't like BINGO and collecting studio points?! Well, that is what the students are up to!
Teachers & Colleagues, you can download my free shareable copy to use with your students. Good luck and have fun!
Emma really has learned a lot from the first few lessons! We’ve both really appreciated the way you’ve organized the lessons and made them a lot of fun. - E. Foster (November 2020)
I am currently taking in a handful of new students for group piano lessons for ONLINE lessons only and I'm offering 3-week and/or 3-day trial lessons called "PIANO PARTY FOR KIDS!!!" where we are pretending it's everyone's birthday while getting an intro to piano lessons.
This program is co-created with the KeyNotes Group Piano Program which is a fantastic specialized piano program that is made specifically for group piano learning. These lessons are differentiated for all levels of beginner learners and incorporate storytelling, composition, and more! As a teacher, I always want to create an environment where kids who learn quicker can get a bit more learning and kids who need a bit more help to also be a part of the class and moving forward in learning.
Students are invited to join me on these 3 trial lessons first before joining on to the ongoing group piano program. During the trial lessons, there are no obligations to continue and it will give you a great idea if your child is ready for online learning and online group piano lessons. Students will receive a Piano Party workbook before the first day of class (to be printed) and during class online, we will play on the piano, learn terms, play games, sing songs, listen to music, composer a song, and more! Ofcourse, a party is not a part without birthday crowns, blowing out "pretend" candles, and singing Happy Birthday! No, it doesn't have to be your real birthday. It's a pretend birthday party.
I bring all my experiences of teaching in-person privately, in-groups, and online teaching to create a fun and engaging experience for all students who love learning. These group classes require parent engagement for ages 3-5 and on-the-side support for ages 6-11.
I've had a number of parents ask me for private in-person lessons and at the moment, please join my waitlist for private piano lessons and for in-person lessons. The next opening will most likely for 2021-2022. Hence, you're welcome to join me for a group online instead if you do not want to wait!
For more information on the piano programs, click here.
2 Minute Read >>>
A quick guide for families to set up their child for success when starting and transitioning into online piano lessons.
Having immediate access to a piano or keyboard is crucial to online learning success! Your child's interest will continue with a piano available to use.
You can start with an acoustic piano or an electronic keyboard and always upgrade later. If possible, place your piano away from noise and distraction.
#2: Technology & Programs
Will they use a laptop? A tablet? A webcam? How about Zoom? Google Drive? Or? Your teacher will let you know what programs or tools you need.
Take the time to review the programs yourself first before guiding your child on how to navigate. It will take time to adjust and explore these programs.
Remember, these are tools. They only work if you use them often.
Help your child feel prepared and capable by having all materials ready by their second lesson.
Materials can include lesson books, manipulatives and stationary goods
(e.g., a sharpened pencil, eraser, highlighter, and sticky notes).
Getting organized is key!
Check your internet wifi connection using Speedtest.net. Ensure your wifi speed is at least 800kbps/1.5Mbps for high quality videos.
Any issues during the first few lessons, your role will be to help your child troubleshoot internet connections and update software systems.
Kids can have a tough day and so can parents.
Modelling a willingness to learn, to persist together, and a positive outlook is integral for kids transitioning to learning something new.
Be consistent with your expectations, be flexible and work together to find solutions.
Mistakes are valuable as they help you learn faster.
Go for it!
Be present and available during online and offline lessons to support your child's learning, especially if your child is under the age of 11.
You will want to learn along to keep up with their learning, help facilitate the teacher's directions, and provide positive and encouraging reinforcements.
Younger children and most preteens are still learning about time and time management.
At the beginning of each week, go over with your child what their schedule looks like.
Block off piano practise time, review practise agreements and automate a lesson date reminder on your calendar.
They say new habits take at least 3 weeks to consolidate.
Start preparing now with these 7 steps and you will be well on your way to starting piano lessons online successfully! Keep going and be the best you!
Check out our group online piano lessons! It's a great start to learning piano.