Leonie Thompson

Melbourne Piano Teacher and Pianist

Teaching Resources

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Sources of Free Sheet Music Online

Posted by leonie.thompson on May 21, 2014 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (1152)

Here is an ongoing list of the best online resources for free sheet music (and recordings) to print and play.




These will help teachers, students wanting more, and the self taught musicians. Please comment below if you know of any more!

SIGHTREADING Adventure Board

Posted by leonie.thompson on July 24, 2012 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (11)

The more new music you read, the better your sightreading will become!

And having good sightreading skills means you can read more new music and learn your music faster (by speading up the long note learning process). Think of it as a key to unlock any music you've ever wanted to play!

SO! Why not turn sightreading into a game!

I made a sightreading board, which I have with me in students' lessons. After pin-pointing what aspect of reading music they need to practice - like note naming, interval distance, patterns, shapes, repititions etc - I'll draw a pathway of notes with a treasure chest at the end. Once they finish with no mistakes and unlock the treasure chest, they get a prize from my incentives box.

The level of difficulty can be managed too: Chose the treble or bass clef, or both! Chose to test single melodic lines, melody with accompaniment, chords and inversions, or transcribe a Chopin etude!! All levels benefit from this.

Below are the instructions to make your own!


  • 2 x A4 sheets of paper
  • 2 x A4 card board sheets (or bigger if possible)
  • Clear contact (the kind you protect school books with)
  • Ruler
  • Permanent Marker
  • Whiteboard Marker
  • Sticky Tape


  1. Sticky Tape the 2 A4 pages together, long ways / landscape view.
  2. Attach the cardboard behind this pages to reinforce them.
  3. Take the Ruler and Permanent Marker and Draw 10 equally spaced lines, with a double gap between the middle lines (you are currently creating the lines and spaces of the grand staff. The double gap is important).
  4. As carefully as you can, completely cover the front of the newly drawn music lines with the clear contact. You can wrap the contact all the way around if easier. I find lying the contact sticky side up on the floor is easiest, then lay the music face down and smooth over to avoid those annoying wrinkles.
  5. Use the Whiteboard Marker to START DRAWING! A treble clef and Bass clef is a good place to start... Or an invention maybe?
  6. A tissue will easily wipe the board clean for the next person.

Have Fun!

Leonie x

Ongoing BOOK LIST to inform and inspire

Posted by leonie.thompson on July 24, 2012 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (0)

I am creating a list of music-related books that I've read, or plan to read. I will continue accumulating good reads, so please keep checking the blog!

Reading about pianists and composers is so inspiring - It's almost like getting to know them as a friend (well, almost). You can experience music as much more than practice each day. Reading about the composers, the musical periods, the music itself, and those astounding concert pianists (who are so interesting to learn about) will provide you with another world of music; a world that's rich in history and people and events and drama. It gets addictive.

Piano Lessons - Anna Goldsworthy

Wild Harmonies - Helene Grimaud

Am I too loud? - Gerard Moore

Among Friends - Geoffrey Parsons

An Exacting Heart - Jacqueline Kent

Try Whistling This - Andrew Ford

The Last Master (a fictional biography of Beethoven I / III) - John Suchet

Passion and Pain (a fictional biography of Beethoven II / III) - John Suchet

Passion and Glory (a fictional biography of Beethoven III / III) - John Suchet

Australian Pianists - Martin Comte

The Inner Game of Music - Barry Green with W. Timothy Gallwey

Elementary Training for Musicians - Paul Hindemith

An Exacting Heart The story of Hephzibah Menuhin - Jacqueline Kent

Music For Piano A Short History - F. E. Kirby

Essay on the True Art of Playng Keyboard Instrument - C. P. E. Bach

to be continued...

Rhythm Activity

Posted by leonie.thompson on July 20, 2012 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (3)

This is an activity you can print and cut out, to play on a table or spread out on the floor.

The semibreves go for 4 beats, minims for 2, crotchets for 1, and quavers for 1/2. All values are depicted by their size, so each bar of 4 beats can be tested by measuring it with a 4 beat semibreve card.

How many levels high can you make a tower, if it can only have 4 beats on each level?

How many different combinations are there if you start with one quaver?

Find a partner and challenge them to a race - make up your own rules (for instance; no minims allowed, make 3 bars of 3/4 time!)

Clap back the rhythm you create! Maybe you can make a tune to go with it!

OPEN GAME HERE and to name notes and know their value, OPEN HELP SHEET HERE

Have fun!

Online Music Games

Posted by leonie.thompson on July 20, 2012 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (11)

Interactive music games are great for younger students. They can have fun playing a colourful game whilst learning important musical concepts, like note naming, rhythms, key placement, time signatures and more.

Below are a few FREE games I found online (some would look like fun if I were 5 again!)

Test yourself!

How did you go?

  • NOTE NAMING in the TREBLE CLEF - This is a fun (and bright and colourful) click and drag game, testing knowledge of treble clef notes. See what words you can make.

  • NOTE NAMING on the entire GRAND STAFF - After chosing which notes to be quizzed on (try the 'select all' button), students are then being timed and need to name the note appearing on the grand staff... This is a great one for those with a keen sense of improving their Personal Bests!

  • PIANO KEY recognition - This is a VERY IMPORTANT one for every pianist. So, the sooner it's conquered the more easily sight-reading will come, and the quicker music can be learnt.

  • TIME SIGNATURES and bars - This game is a free compose game, with play-back functions to LISTEN to what you compose! The trick is, you must know how many beats fit in each bar.

  • RHYTHM! - I highly recommend this one for young students as it not only developes their sense of pulse and rhythm, but it trains the ear to listen, retain, and repeat small sections of rhythm as accurately as possible. It also helps them to recognise small discrepencies in the different rhythms, important in their own piano playing.

  • RHYTHM reading - This game differs from the one above in that students READ (not listen to) the rhythm and then tap it out.

  • RHYTHM writing - This is a rhythm dictation game, where student get to move the correct notes onto the music. Start easy to build confidence and an understanding of how the game works, then move up to medium etc.

Thanks to www.classicsforkids.com and www.emusictheory.com

Leonie Thompson performing Grieg Piano Concerto with Orchestra

Posted by leonie.thompson on July 18, 2012 at 5:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Very exciting news!

SAVE THE DATE 1st September 2013 - 2:30pm


SAVE THE DATE: 1st September 2013 @ 2:30pm


I'll be performing my first concerto with orchestra, am very excited, and would love you to come along....



George Wood Performing Arts Centre

Yarra Valley Grammar School



Saint-Saëns Danse Macabre

Grieg Piano Concerto Op 16

Soloist: Leonie Thompson

Ravel Pavane for a Dead Princess

Bizet L’Arlésienne Suite No. 2


The Maroondah Symphony Orchestra is a community orchestra based in Ringwood, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

(Find out more here: http://www.music.systemsolve.net/maroondah/)


Their Musical Director is Willem van der Vis, who is well known in Melbourne as a conductor, teacher and cellist.

(Check out more here: http://www.music.systemsolve.net/maroondah/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2&Itemid=4)

The Concerto has 3 movements: Allegro molto moderato (A minor), Adagio (D flat major), Allegro moderato molto e marcato - Quasi presto - Andante maestoso (A minor → F major → A minor → A major).

Interestingly, this is the only concerto Grieg ever wrote, and is definitely one of the most popular among the piano concerto repertoire. It is passionate and highly expressive, filled with distinctive melodies and warm harmonies. A Norwegian composer, you can hear Grieg's interest in folk music; the opening flourish is based around a motif which is typical of the folk music of Grieg's native country. And imagining those impressive mountain ranges in Norway is easy listening to this concerto.

More details on venue, contacts, tickets and full program to come...

You can also keep a close eye on this event using my facebook events page:


Duets are FUN

Posted by leonie.thompson on July 15, 2012 at 4:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Duets are a great way for friends or siblings to share their piano skills together, or parents to get involved with their childrens' interests. It's always encouraging and fun for students to play duets with each other.

As an added bonus, it aids in developing their aural skills in listening for the beat, listening to and playing together with their partner, and can lend to musical discussion on what dynamics they might use in their duo and why, etc.

Here are a few to try FREE from Making Music Fun:

Another place to find duets of ranging difficulty is here.

And to inspire you, watch this wonderful youtube video below performed by Olga Kharitonova and Igor Machlak (teachers at Melbourne University). Watch their communication throughout - they are perfectly in sync with one another...



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iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/hungarian-dance-no.-1-in-g/id391228135?i=391...

CD available at http://www.leatham.com.au/lm200/lm200.htm



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