Greetings from the Three Cranky Women! We're so excited to blog!

Greetings from the Three Cranky Women! We're so excited to blog!

Our goal is to keep our "teachers who love to teach" - you! - informed about our teaching materials. We'll also use this blog to give extra cranky hints on how we use all our materials.

We also want you to be a part of our blog. We
would love to hear about how you use our cranky materials to enhance your teaching - tips and creative ideas, surprises and successes - fun and useful things that you've experienced in your studio.

Keep tuned in!

The Three Cranky Women

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hi everyone!

After much hard work, the Accelerando 2 Theory Book and Teacher Guide have been released. It's a great book for teenagers, transfer students and older students. The Teacher Guide for this book has a huge amount of ideas for classroom activities that teenagers will eat up--in some cases, literally! Soon Energico will be out and our full set of early levels of the theory books and teacher guides will be complete and available--from Brillante to Con Brio.

Thanks to all our fans out there who have been such a great support. We're so excited to get these new books finished and into your hands. It will be time to think about the fall teaching schedule before we know it so let us know how the Theory Gymnastics series is working for you.

The Three Cranks

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Send us your video!

Check out our facebook page to see Diane Hidy's student's playing spoons.

Video you student's playing TCW games and we'll post it on our facebook page too!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Charlene had a great time teaching group lessons this week. Read on:

I held the first group lessons of the school year this past week. I ended up with 8 different groups ranging from two students to six students for their one hour group class. Groups were held in lieu of the private lesson, so I had three days of teaching and two days of “vacation”.

The highlight of the beginning group was the Kreative Keyboard game “Nautical Notes”. Students went fishing for fish (notes) with a fishing pole that had a magnet attached and fish that had flash cards attached to them with a paper clip. When they caught their fish, they were required to name the note and play it on the piano. They each received $1 in music money for naming the note and $5 for playing it in the correct location on the piano.

All my students are composing Halloween music for the Halloween recital. I took the opportunity to teach all my older groups about question and answer phrases and the different types of answer phrases. I made three different signs reading: Parallel, Embellished Parallel and Consequent. Each sign was then placed on the floor and students were in another room. I played a question phrase then an answer from the ear training section of the respective Teacher Guide (depending on the age of the group). Students then raced to be the first to stand on the correct sign!

We also did a great activity to review notes. (This is a good activity for students who really know their guideposts well and are expanding out to the other notes or need review on their notes.) I used only the guidepost note cards from the Teacher Flashcards and two markers. I took one marker and wrote "step" on one side and “skip” on the other. Then I took the other marker and wrote “up” on one side and “down” on the other. I had the students shake up the markers and toss them on the table. (For example, the markers may land on the table and read "skip - down"). Then I showed a Guidepost flash card and the students yelled out the name of the note a skip down from that guidepost note. (For example, if the guidepost note was Bass F, the student would answer “D”). You could play this with a large group by playing it relay style or around the world style.

We also reviewed notes by playing Note Nabber and Around the World using the Wacky Words "Wacky Walter" cards.

What a fun week!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What's going on with us

We hope everyone has been checking out the revised versions of our theory books--they look great and work even better now. So far we've completed Brillante, Spirito, Con Moto, Con Brio, and Accelerando 1 and each of their teacher's guide. Accelerando 2 is set to be released soon.

Right now we're working hard revising Energico. When we're done there will be not only be a bran new and improved Energico theory book, but a new teacher's guide with some great "Cranky Hints" for teaching Energico concepts to students. Each book's teacher guide also includes the answers to the pages in the theory books, ear-training examples to play, and two forms of the theory and ear-training tests along with answer keys.

We've also revised some of our games including Note Nabber, Wacky Words 1 and 2 (starring Wanda and Walter), Tapping Telephones levels A-E, Screamin' Match, Scale Scramble, Musical Spoons (Notes, Triads, Key Signatures), Primary Pounce, and Beat This! Even if you have the old version of these games you'll want to invest in the new, wax coated, professional-looking ones. Right now we're working on releasing The Kreative Keyboard and revising the Kreative Keyboard Collection (game book). Both of these are essential tools for any music studio.

Check out the "how to play" videos that we've posted on YouTube. Go to YouTube and search for threecrankywomen. You'll find two videos--one about playing Musical Spoons and the other about playing Primary Pounce. Charlene is staying busy making more videos.

You can order any of these materials at Go to to find a local or online music store where you can also purchase the materials.

Until next time. . . Happy Teaching!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

700 Club

This Summer I tried something that worked great to motivate my students to practice their technic. I called it the "700 Club". The students became members of the club when they had practiced a total of 700 scales, arpeggios, diatonic triads, etc. from their Keyboard Gymnastics technic sheets (these are available at I gave them two months to accomplish their 700. (I had them make tally marks in their lesson notebook.) All those who were members of the club got to come to what I called an "Ice Cream Pizza Party". I made large cookies (from frozen chocolate chip cookie dough) and topped them with ice cream. Then the kids got to put on toppings: chocolate, carmel, cherries, whipped cream--whatever they liked. We all watched a Veggie Tales movie while they ate.

I had 20 out of 29 kids qualify for the party! Some of the students did the bare minimum--700, but most were "over-achievers" and got as much as 2600. I was so impressed with their efforts that I decided to give a 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize to the top three. It was a race right to the end. The girl who won turned in her final numbers at midnight (email) on the day of the deadline. The 2nd place winner had 2340 (a teenage girl) and the 3rd place winner had 2142 (a 10 year old boy). I gave the winners a $20, $10, and $5 gift certificate to a local toy store.

But the best part was how much their playing improved. I now had students that could play cleanly and stay with the metronome like they had never done before. It was such an A-HA moment for them because they could see for themselves that it was possible.

I went online to a free certificate place ( and made them all a "700 Club" certificate to take home.

Try this in your studio any time during the year--I'll bet you like the results.


p.s. check out these blogs for some more fun ideas for your studio and information on how to implement the Keyboard Gymnastics achievement program in your area: and