Friday, December 7, 2018

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Holidays in music studios and classrooms can be joyful, hectic and unfocused!   There's no better way to help kids re-focus then to make lessons fun and entertaining. This year, take some of the stress out by playing...Oh, Christmas Tree! - an exciting board game where players identify notes on the grand staff to earn tree decorations.

This is the perfect game to play for a group activity or during a lesson right before a recital when you want to add a bit of joy to all the nervousness.

Players start with a "closet" full of storage cards that feature boxed decorations, knotted lights and other items necessary to complete their trees.  As they identify grand staff notes and work their way up the decorated tree on the game board, players collect the Tree Trimming cards to complete their Christmas trees.

Here's a sample of Storage Cards (outlined in red) with the coordinating Tree Trimming cards.  Who wants tangled lights?

Oh, Christmas Tree! comes with a game board, three decks of cards and playing instructions.  Simply print, cut and PLAY!!

This month we're putting the game ON SALE!  Our Christmas present to you!

Just click on the button below to purchase the game!
Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Accidentals Happen!

Looking for a fun way to review accidentals with your students?   Figuring out which "black" key to play can seem very confusing at first.  This exciting game not only helps students to recognize flats, sharps and naturals, but also to locate them on the keyboard.

Accidentals Happen is a board game that challenges students to name accidentals, play accidentals and name enharmonics.

We've included the game board, game cards, spinner, keyboard and full instructions to put together and play the game.

The "accidental's happen" theme is reinforced with fun caution spots on the game board that have your students issuing challenges to other players!
For added fun, we found these cute pots in a craft store.  We painted them to simulate orange caution cones and marked them with note values to make game pieces.

This game has been very effective with our students to solidify and find the correct notes in their music.  You can find Accidentals Happen! by clicking the Birds of a Feather tab above or click on the Lulu button below.  Because it's new, we've put it ON SALE!
Buy this e-book on Lulu.
We hope you find it helpful with your own students!

Thursday, October 4, 2018


We know you love a value and we've started a new series that will do just that for you!

TRIPLETS - Note Value Edition is a bundle of three games and a large set of note AND rest value flashcards.  Each game uses only the flashcards you want to use with a student so they are perfectly tailored to your students skill level.  In addition, there are some specialty cards unique to each game.  The highlight, however, is the flashcards.  Who knew flashcards could be SO MUCH FUN?!

The three games included are "Give & Take", "Rows & Columns" and "8 to Win".  All three games are completely different, but still help to build the same concept - identifying/learning note and rest values.

We tried to tailor the games so they would fit any age level and I'm happy to report, they did just that!

I played one of the games with one of my five-year-old students and with one of my older teens.  Both of them loved it!  How often can you use one or one set of games for EVERYONE in your studio?H

Not to mention that this file contains a "boat-load" of flashcards that you can use in numerous other ways.  Have your students build measures based on a time signature.  You build the measures with missing notes and have them identify them.  Use the pack of flashcards for your summer camps for all kinds of games!

Here's a quick look at each game:

Another nice perk?   Three games fit in one pouch for easy quick storage! If you need to review note or rest values with any of your students, just pull out this one bag and you have three options for games and all the flashcards you could possibly need!

You can find TRIPLETS - Note Value Edition for sale by clicking on the Birds of a Feather Tab above or click the Lulu button below. AND...we're putting it on sale for the rest of the month!!!!  Happy October!

Buy this e-book on Lulu.
And watch for more editions already in the works!

Monday, September 17, 2018

5 UNEXCITING items I wouldn't want to teach without!

Funny title, right?  Well, there are a few "not so exciting" but really helpful things that I use every week and sometimes every day!  I could post about other really cool, colorful & fun items (and maybe I will later!) but I thought I'd share my unsung heroes today!  These items I would NOT want to be without!  So without further ado...

1.  SHARPIES  Ok, so these might be a bit exciting!  My students LOVE to chose 2 each week that I use to write out their assignments.
In fact, I have some students who will remember their assignments better and check the assignment page more often if I have them write out them out.  Often times that also means a couple of pictures to fill the page!

I'm sure you're wondering why I use two with each student, but it's pretty simple.  Using one just wasn't enough for them.  My students often asked if I would use more colors so now we just go with it!!

Many of you may email assignments, but if you're using pencil or pen, why not give these a try?  I promise your students will love it!

2.  CONTACT PAPER  Now this is definitely not exciting, BUT...I use this stuff ALL. THE. TIME!  I have a laminator that I use, but often I prefer to use contact paper.  It's especially helpful when I need to laminate game cards or flashcards.

With contact paper there are NO extra edges you have to worry about like you do when you use a laminator.  The edges are just as clean as a regular deck of cards.

My favorite brand is Duck Brand Peel & Stick.  I've used several other brands I find this one to be MUCH easier and clean to use.

I've been using contact paper for years and although it may seem intimidating to work with, I find it easy and quick!  In fact, if you'd like me to do a video showing how I use it, just let me know in the comments below.

3.  PAPER TRIMMER  A lifesaver for your hands!  I use a trimmer whenever I want to cut out straight edges.  So all those cards I just covered in contact paper?

Cutting them out with a paper trimmer makes them a breeze!  Even through card stock (I use 110 lb.) and two layers of contact paper, my trimmer cuts through everything with very little effort.  Of course, having a sharp blade is necessary so if it takes more pressure or more passes to cut through, replacing the blade fixes that problem instantly.

If you want me to add a demo using a trimmer as well as the contact paper, just let me know in the comments below.

4.  LABEL MAKER  With a studio FULL of stuff (music, games, etc.) keeping organized is really important.  I don't want to waste any time during a lesson trying to locate something or a piece of something to use with a student.  Using a label maker helps me find things easily and it looks so much more professional!

I use this model and love it!  Using "chain print" allows me to make lots of labels at once without wasting a lot of the label cartridge so despite a lot of use, those cartridges last me quite awhile.

It's also really easy to use different sizes of labels or different colors (even clear!).  I keep my label maker in a clear plastic container with the power cord and the labels all together making it easy to grab it from storage and move it to my work surface.

5.  MOUNTING PUTTY  Ok, this stuff really is the unsung hero for me especially this year.  I've used a ton of it year after year to put up my practice incentives.  It works great, comes off easily and can be reused year after year.  A little goes along way and it's inexpensive!
I even use it in my home to keep pictures from tilting on the wall.  Everything just stays in place so well.  But, if you want to use it to temporarily stick something up, it easily does that as well.  In fact, with many of my practice incentives, I've used this stuff on the back of my students' game pieces.  Each week when they move their game pieces there is no worry about a mess or ripping anything, especially if game boards are laminated as well.

Notice how all of these things tie together?

These 5 items may seem unexciting, but to me they are coveted!  They make my life easier and allow me to get more done in a shorter amount of time!

What UNEXCITING items do you use that you might consider sharing with us?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

What's New? Wednesday!

For many of you, summer is coming to a close and you're getting your studios and classrooms ready for the fall kick-off!  We thought we'd make it a bit easier to decorate by offering festive Nautical Musical Flags!

These flags add such a whimsical, colorful look to any room.  There are 12 different flags and each one fits on one 8.5" x 11" piece of card stock.  They are set up with a tab at the top so you can tape them over string to hang or if they will be seen from both sides, you can glue two back to back.

I strung these all over the studio last year and it really set the stage for a festive year.  The flags  also offered a very visible example of musical terminology by providing a unique set of flashcards!

We've put the Nautical Musical Flags in our shop. Just click on the Birds of a Feather tab above or directly from the Lulu link below to get yours!

Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Download immediately.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Last Day of the SALE!

Saturday, June 30, 2018 is the LAST DAY of the SALE on all Practice Incentives and Can You Reach 100?  Studio Challenge!!  Take advantage of the sale and get your studio ready for an exciting new year of great practicing!!

You can read the recent post about using practice incentives here.  To purchase a practice incentive for your studio, simply click on the Birds of a Feather tab above and scroll down!

We hope you enjoy a great year!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Why use a Practice Incentive?

I've used Practice Incentives with my students for many years.    Guess what?  They work!  I've had great success with using them to the point that I started developing my own based on listening to my students ideas and interests.  So here's a look at why I think they're valuable...

*  It's FUN for your students!
*  It's MOTIVATING if you have the right one!
*  It creates PARENTS who pay on time!
*  It's a great MARKETING TOOL!
*  It keeps you FOCUSED as a teacher!
*  It helps with RETENTION!

Let's elaborate a bit more...
FUN - If you want your students to be excited to come to lessons to the point that when they arrive, they immediately run into your studio, choose a practice incentive!  Why not make happy students before they even start to play for you!

MOTIVATING - If you want your students (and I mean the majority of them!) to come to lessons well-prepared, choose a practice incentive!  If you have the right one, it will excite them to practice!

HAPPY PARENTS - If you want your parents to be almost as happy as your students to the point that they are happy to pay you, choose a practice incentive!  Since I've started using them, I have almost NO trouble collecting monthly tuition - even with rate increases!

MARKETING TOOL - If you want to market your studio without putting out a ton of money, choose a practice incentive!  Let your parents AND your students do the work for you!  When they're excited and happy, they'll be sure to tell others!

FOCUSED TEACHING - If you want to stay focused on your plan for the year, choose a practice incentive!  Once you've figured out what you want your students to learn during the year, a practice incentive can help you implement that!

SUCCESSFUL STUDENTS - If you want your students to succeed through great practicing, choose a practice incentive!  It works, folks!

RETENTION - If you want to retain your students year after year, choose a practice incentive!  My students can't wait to see what the incentive is for the new year!  Why would they go anywhere else? do you choose one?  What should it include?  Here's a few points that I think are important:
1.  A practice incentive should APPEAL TO A LARGE AGE RANGE & SKILL LEVEL.  Practice incentives can sometimes appeal only to elementary age students, but if you choose the right one, it can appeal to even your high school students!
2.  A practice incentive should be FLEXIBLE, both in length and implementation.  You need to have the ability to make it work for you!
3.  A practice incentive should be COLORFUL & EYE-CATCHING!  When your students walk in your studio, they should immediately feel the excitement your trying to portray!
4.  A practice incentive should INCLUDE EVERYTHING YOU NEED.  Why spend the money on a practice incentive if you have to add more costs and time to add more items to make it work.

SO....What's keeping you from taking the plunge?

* COST to purchase or to print?
Pass those costs on to your students!  Include them in your enrollment fee, book fee, etc.  Believe me, once parents see what you're doing, they're happy to pay it!
* TIME to put together and implement?
If using a practice incentive adds retention,helps you market your studio and the cost is covered, isn't it worth it?  If you can implement it weekly in the first couple of minutes of a lesson, aren't happy, excited, motivated and successful students worth it?
* TOO MUCH WORK for you during lessons?
If you choose the right one and prepare it ahead of time, the work is done for you! keeps you focused!

SO....TAKE THE PLUNGE!  Here at Birds of a Feather, we're excited to offer several practice incentives that we have "tested" with our own students!  We know they work!  They are all teacher and kid-approved!  And we're continuing to add more!  Just click on the Teaching Resources & Camps tab above to see the incentives we have to offer.

THE BEST PART...for the entire month of June, all of our practice incentives and Incentive/Camp bundles are on SALE!  Choose one that you're excited about and watch the magic happen in your studio!!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Last Day of May Sale!!

Today is the LAST DAY of our May SALE on all Games and the Piano Flip Book! Take advantage of the 20% off now through tonight!

It's a great time to stock up for your summer lessons/camps and the start of your fall lessons!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What's New? Wednesday

Today, we have an exciting, interactive flip book for you and it's all about...JOHN WILLIAMS!

We wanted to introduce our students to this amazing composer & entertainer and wanted them to see another way that we interact with music in our world. It's all about the movies and the John Williams Flip Book walks your students through the process!

Each page flips up revealing a new activity from listening, to watching a movie or learning about the leitmotif!

Students learn about John Williams' life with this fun flip biography.  There is also a page with an accordion book showcasing his movies.  We've included a word bank for a listening activity and of course, no movie is complete without some popcorn!

Students are encouraged to watch a movie with music by John Williams and describe/discuss how the music affected the movie. We've also included a page to highlight all of his awards!

If you're wishing you could do just a little something different this summer, consider highlighting music in film and using this John Williams Flip Book to showcase some of your student's favorite movies!

Our students we're pretty excited that watching a movie was a part of lessons!  Why not highlight a different movie each day for a week and have your students discuss parts that were more exciting, scary, sad...just because of the music played?  Play parts of the movie without the sound, then replay it with the sound so they can see the difference.  Have them work in groups to research music in film.

Better yet, get your students working together to create their own "film" and add music to it that fits.  I once taught a middle school class at a local christian school and had the kids create a commercial, adding music to try to "sell" their product.  It's eye-opening and helps students appreciate the work it takes to make this happen and helps them "view" music in a whole new way.

So this summer, why don't you consider a movie theme?  You can purchase the John Williams Flip Book by clicking the Birds of a Feather tab above and scrolling down or directly from the Lulu link below!  Your students will love this change of pace and who doesn't love a good movie?

Buy this e-book on Lulu.
Download immediately.

Oh...and don't forget the popcorn!

Monday, May 28, 2018

And the Winners are...

And our two winners of the Piano Flip Book are......

Joan Smolinski who said...

My dad was also in the Navy and this is my first Memorial Day without him. He passed on Thanksgiving Day. One of his last good days was Veteran’s Day, and I was able to go with him to the celebration at the Assisted Living facility he was living at. He and my mom were big supporters as I started my piano studio. They were at every recital, helping with whatever I needed and video-taping the program. My mom passed a few years ago, and although Dad wasn’t up for the 75-minute drive anymore, he always asked about my students. Sorry for rambling on - I miss him very much.

and Lori Bolt who said...

My dad served in the Air Force post Korea, and my husband is a former Marine. He has brothers who served in various branches of the armed forces, as did his deceased father. I am so thankful for all who served and gave their lives for my freedom.

You can both contact me at and I will set you up with your FREE Piano Flip Book!

Keep in mind that the sale for the Piano Flip Book along with ALL of our GAMES are still ON SALE through 5/31/18.  

We will be having a SALE on all of our PRACTICE INCENTIVES during the month of June!  Lots of items to stock up on right now!

Happy Shopping!