There are quite a few places you can download and print free music note-naming flashcards. Anne Crosby's website and Susan Paradis' website come to mind, for example. However, I recently realized that…
Before I talk about the Google Hangouts, I want to update you about the last giveaway:
A couple of weeks ago, we had a giveaway for Jennifer Eklund’s Piano Pronto method and had a HUGE response of 138 entries! I loved reading all your responses about the Piano Pronto method, and I know Jennifer did, too. Here are the two randomly chosen winners: Lu and Anola. Congrats, winners! You will be hearing from Jennifer soon.
If you didn’t win, you can still get a great deal on the Piano Pronto books because Jennifer has extended her 20% off sale through the end of the month. Now is the time to stock up for the next school year! Visit PianoPronto.com and enter the “school20″ promo code.
Last Friday, I held Google Hangout Episode #5 (I decided to start calling them episodes so I can keep them straight!), which was about choosing student repertoire. Jennifer Eklund was a guest in the discussion as was Dr. Jason Sifford. This discussion was so fun. The topic is so appropriate, too, as we prepare for the next school year.
Jason, by the way, is one of the teachers behind the University of Iowa Piano Pedagogy Project: a project to record over 9000 piece of piano literature for students following the Iowa Music Teachers Association’s repertoire list for their events. This project is so great because it provides teachers and students with a variety of excellent reference videos. You can view and subscribe to the Piano Pedagogy Project’s YouTube channel here and visit their Facebook page here.
Below, I’ve embedded the video recording of Episode #5.
I have scheduled Google Hangout Episode #6 for this Friday at 11am Eastern time. Check out the event page here on Google+ and add it to your calendar. Please join us live or watch the recording afterwards!
Here is a link to all of the Google Hangouts so far.
Over the weekend, I made a brief appearance at MTNA’s GP3 2014 conference via Skype. (Thanks to Courtney Crappel and Andrea McAlister for asking me to share my thoughts about using apps in the piano lesson!) GP3 is a conference geared towards group piano professors and piano pedagogy professors.
The main message I shared was this: Apps are just another helpful teaching tool for our toolkit. In order to be able to use the tools properly and effectively, we have to first figure out exactly what that tool can accomplish for us and what role we want it to play in our lessons with our students. Some apps make my life easier as a teacher, some apps are useful during the lessons, and other apps are strictly for students’ at-home use.
On Friday, I’m hosting another Google Hangout at 10am Eastern. This time, the topic is choosing repertoire for students. As usual, you can feel free to watch it LIVE or afterwards on YouTube. I’ve embedded the player below.
I’m looking for another teacher interested in participating in the video chat — if you are interested, please contact me directly!
There is another (now past) Google Hangout (not sponsored by me) that you may be interested in watching: Irina Gorin (if you haven’t seen her YouTube channel‘s teaching videos, you HAVE to check it out) gave a presentation as part of conference held by Michigan State University and the Capital Area Music Teachers Association in Lansing, Michigan. Here is the link.
Remember when I blogged about Jennifer Eklund’s music last Winter? Today, I want to tell you a little bit more about her self-published piano method, Piano Pronto.
I haven’t been experimenting with the Piano Pronto books for very long yet, but already I can see some reasons why Piano Pronto is unique from the piano methods available from the major publishers:
It is an all-in-one book. Lessons introducing new concepts, prep exercises to learn, and simple theory questions to answer are all included within the book. This makes it easier for the teacher to supplement with a variety of types of music. Or, the method can even serve as the supplement to a different method!
It begins with on-staff reading. Some students do not need a period of pre-staff notation — especially older beginners or those who have learned staff notation at school.
It uses a huge variety of familiar folk tunes and classical themes. This allows students to use their ears a great deal as they learn to read music. It also can be motivating for students to be able to play tunes they are familiar with.
It does not shy away from teaching rhythm concepts such as eighth notes (taught in the Prelude book) or 6/8 time (taught in the Movement 2 book) early on.
It teaches key signatures early on (in the Movement 1 book).
It requires students to move around the keyboard early on (starting in the Prelude Book).
If you haven’t taken a look at Piano Pronto before, you can learn more by browsing the preview pages and audio samples on Jennifer’s website.
Being self-published has its advantages, including being able to interact directly with one’s audience. Jennifer manages an active forum on Facebook where teachers can ask questions and share success stories. A few weeks ago, I posted there to ask Jennifer if there was any chance that she would be releasing teacher duets anytime soon to go with her method books. Jennifer responded almost immediately and set to work writing teacher duets for the “Prelude” book. The eBook for those teacher duets is now available here! After purchase, you can print a copy from the PDF or load it onto your favorite score reader on your iPad.
In celebration of this new release, Jennifer has offered to sponsor a giveaway. Two randomly-chosen winners will receive a FREE copy of the Piano Pronto “Prelude” book and the corresponding teacher duets (U.S. winners will receive hardcopies while international winners will receive digital copies). To enter, please leave a comment on this post describing which unique aspect of the Piano Pronto method (from the list above) intrigues you the most! Enter by Wednesday, August 6 at midnight Eastern time.
Don’t forget to visit Jennifer’s Piano Pronto Discussion Group on facebook and request to join. There, you will find many other resources relating to Piano Pronto, including a transfer assessment guide and a guide to Jennifer’s supplemental music.
Update: Jennifer is running a rare 20% off sale from August 1st through August 5! Use the promo code SCHOOL20.
In case you didn’t have the chance to watch the video from last Friday’s Google Hangout, here it is! Our guests were Susan Paradis and Susan Hong. We discussed a variety of topics — mostly philosophical things like teaching philosophies, goals for students, the role of the teacher, types of students, and conducting the first or “interview” lesson.
This Friday, we will talk about piano technique for beginner students. Remember, you can watch it LIVE from 11am-noon Eastern time, or you can watch the video recording on YouTube afterwards. Here is the event page, where you can request an invitation and submit questions. If you are interested in participating live in the videochat, send me a message directly to let me know!
Below, I’ve embedded the player where you will be able to watch the live feed on Friday:
Whew! I feel like I have so much to share, but not enough time to share it! ;)
Last week, I held a summer camp for my piano students called “Practice Tips & Tricks.” It was a fun week. For my birthday last month, my husband gave me a projector. (Yes, I’m a techno-geek!) It was wonderful to be able to have a large visual to use during camp! I hope to share more details about all this later.
On Friday, I held another Google Hangout this time talking about piano methods. You can watch the video here. We did encounter some technical difficulties unfortunately — I apologize about that! Thanks for bearing with us during this experiment. :)
I have another Google Hangout scheduled for this Friday at 11am Eastern time. Please visit the event page here to get all the details and feel free to submit questions for us to discuss in advance.
“For the teaching is only of whither and how to go, the vision itself is the work of him who hath willed to see.”
– Plotinus, Greek philosopher
Every Wednesday brings Words of Wisdom here at the Color in my Piano blog in the form of a musical quote or joke, intended to bring inspiration or humor to the middle of your week. Have suggestions? Send me a message here.
I have just finished updating one of the studio business forms from the Printables page for the 2014-15 school year. It is called the Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment pdf. I don’t currently use this form myself anymore, but I have received a couple of requests from teachers who used it last year so I was happy to update it again this year!
In case you haven’t seen this, here is how the form works: Write your students’ names in the first column. Each week, write the lesson date (in a month / date format) in the column for that week. This is how you can track attendance. The small circles in each cell are where you can write checkmarks indicating tuition payments. Whether you charge by-the-week or by-the-month, you can place a checkmark by each paid lesson date.
In case you are curious, the form I currently use for tracking tuition payments each month is this one:
This form works great if you charge a flat monthly rate. I print one of these sheets every month and put it into my 3-ring binder. I write the month/year in the blank at the top and then fill in all of my students’ names. As I receive monthly tuition payments from each student, I record the date, amount, and check number. Under “reason,” I write “September tuition” or whatever the case may be. Later, I enter these payments into a separate Excel spreadsheet along with my expenses for the month.
I’m so pleased to tell your that the first session of the Piano Teacher Institute is currently underway with 10 registrants! We are having a great time getting to know each other and discussing this week’s topic: Business Sense.
Tomorrow (Friday), the current course registrants and I will be videochatting via Google Hangout from 11am-12pm Eastern time. You are thrilled to be able to invite you to watch our discussion both LIVE or afterwards from the YouTube page here.
Do you have questions that you would like to see us address during the Hangout? Please visit the event page here to submit your questions now.
A fantastic new iPad app was recently released. I am so pumped about this one!
I am a huge fan of Eik Siang Mar’s website, FunAndLearnMusic.com. She has a huge variety of free music worksheets that are both visually attractive and educationally effective. I have some of my favorite worksheets downloaded on my iPad. I like to be able to print them from my iPad during the lesson to send home with students, targeting a new concept we just learned. And, once in a while, I ask students to complete the worksheet digitally during the lesson on my iPad by “writing” on the worksheet.
Now, this process is about to get a whole lot easier! FunAndLearnMusic has released a companion iPad app called SproutBeat. The app allows view to all the worksheets from FunAndLearnMusic, organized by category.
The free version of the app allows you to download 25 of the worksheets. Purchasing the full version of the app for $19.99 gives you access to ALL of the worksheets, plus any worksheets released in the future. Eik generally adds new worksheets every Tuesday.
As promised, I have a few photos to share of my studio room with the piano moved in!
But first, here are a few scary photos of my piano being moved. :)
Moving the piano out of the old house was a relatively simple process, but getting it into the new house was interesting. The piano movers decided the piano would not make it around the bend in the front entryway of the house, so we went around to the back of the house. The piano BARELY fit under the deck’s gutter system, but it made it!
I still need to shop for curtains, as well as a rug and chairs for the waiting room area (in front of the fireplace). I’m using the chairs you see below until I have the time to shop for something else.
I bought my rug from Menard’s and the desk and bookcases are from IKEA. I LOVE how everything looks so far! This room turned out far better than I expected. It is amazing what a little paint and elbow grease can do.
We still have plenty of boxes to unpack in the garage, but at least my studio looks put-together! :)
The last two weeks have been such a blur! My husband and I are fully moved into our new home and have begun the process of unpacking and getting settled. Last weekend, our priority was getting the piano studio room painted because my piano was scheduled to get professionally moved yesterday. Here are some photos of the room’s transformation!
In my last blog post, I shared a couple of photos of the room, but here are a few more BEFORE shots for comparison. When you enter the front door, you can take the stairway downstairs that leads straight to the piano studio room.
Last Saturday, I held the last Piano Party (monthly group class) for the school year. Our theme was to talk about the piano as an instrument: how it makes sound, types of piano, why the piano must be tuned, etc.
Here is a simple worksheet I used at the beginning of class to kick things off:
I allowed students to work alone or in groups to complete this worksheet. I told them they could get up and go to the piano to answer the questions if needed.
I think this worksheet would be a fun activity for a private student’s first lesson as well!