Upcoming Programs in Ohio and Beyond

ohio mta logoSome months back, I submitted a proposal to speak at the Ohio Music Teachers Association (affiliated with MTNA) 2014 state conference.  I was thrill to learn it was accepted!  

If you live in Ohio, you may want to consider attending this conference even if you are not a member of OhioMTA / MTNA.  This year, it is being held in Wilmington College on October 16-18, 2014.  The main speakers will be Louis Nagel and Julie Jaffee Nagel.  It’s going to be a great conference!  Learn more here

Here is the info about my session:

Albums for the Young: A History & Overview of the Genre

Influenced by the emergence of children’s literature in the 18th century, Robert Schumann composed the groundbreaking Album for the Young Op. 68, a set of piano pieces intended for children to play. This presentation will discuss the circumstances that influenced Schumann to publish his Album for the Young and the extent of his influence on later composers who composed in this new genre. Attendees will hear samples from well-known and little-known collections of music for children and will receive a handout with a list of Albums for the Young by various composers.


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On November 14, I will be giving the same session for the Cleveland Piano Teachers’ Organization.  CPTO is an independent association that sponsors monthly meetings and other events for the benefit of the member teachers and their students.

CPTO has let me know that they welcome non-member teachers to attend their meetings as guests if desired — they only ask for a $10 donation to help defray the cost of sponsoring the meetings.  If you want to learn more about attending as a guest, please contact me and I will connect you with the folks behind CPTO.  I would be thrilled to see you there!


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One more piece of news: I was recently asked to give a presentation during the the 2015 MTNA National Conference in Las Vegas!   The conference runs March 21-25.  My session is part of the “Young Professionals Track” on Pedagogy Saturday (which is the best day of the conference, IMO, albeit optional).  Here is the title and 35-word description of my session:

Harnessing the Power of the Internet: Blogging and Social Media for the Musician

Joy Morin shares her story about starting a blog at ColorInMyPiano.com. Learn how you can harness the power of the internet to promote connection, interaction, and engagement for your cause.

I would be thrilled to see you at any of these events!  Please let me know if you will be there because I would love to meet you afterwards.

Looking for programs for your local association?  Learn more about my workshops on my personal website here.

Posted in conferences, what I'm up to | Tagged , | 4 Responses

Studio Trailer Video

If you are like me, you are beginning a new school year of teaching this week!  I enjoyed a two-week break prior to this week, which provided some much-needed time off as well as some time to focus on some fun side projects that have been on my to-do list.  Let me tell you about one of those projects.

One of my adult students has a background in video.  He sold me a used copy of Final Cut Pro, which is a program kind of like Photoshop except for video files.  There is a huge learning curve involved with learning how to use Final Cut Pro, as I discovered.  I decided to create a “studio trailer” video of sorts, showing various photos of my students to give a sense of what my studio is about.  It’s not a perfect video, but I am happy with the results and enjoyed learning the basics of video editing through this project.  I posted this video on my studio website and facebook page for my students/parents to enjoy.

Note: You might notice that this video shows my old house, before our recent move twenty minutes away.  I still need to collect more photos that show the new house/studio.  Maybe I’ll make another video a year from now.  I decided to think of this video as celebrating the past three years living and teaching in Ohio.  End of one era, beginning of the next! 

Interested in creating your own studio trailer?  You don’t have to learn Final Cut Pro.  Here are the steps:  Read More »

Posted in technology | 12 Responses

Google Hangout Episode #6

Before I talk about the Google Hangouts, I want to update you about the last giveaway:

Piano-Pronto-Prelude-book-300x300A 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.

Posted in technology | Tagged | 1 Response

Google Hangout and other Internet Happenings

Hello, readers!  A few random updates:

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.

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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!

Here is a link to all of the previous Google Hangouts so far.

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.

Posted in technology | Tagged | 2 Responses

Piano Pronto “Prelude” Book with Teacher Duets – Giveaway

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.

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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:

  • Piano-Pronto-Prelude-book-300x300It 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.

Posted in giveaways, repertoire / methods | Tagged , | 139 Responses

Google Hangouts #3 and #4

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:

See you Friday!

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Watch this Google Hangout Discussion about Piano Methods

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.

More later!  :)

Posted in professional development, repertoire / methods, technology | Tagged , | 7 Responses

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“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

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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.

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PDF Updated for 2014-15: Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment

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:

Record of Payments Received

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.

To download, visit the Printables > Studio Business page and scroll down to the R’s for “Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment.”

To read a little bit more about business-related topics, check out last year’s post here.

Posted in studio business | Tagged , | 2 Responses

Tomorrow: Watch a Live Video Chat discussion for Piano Teachers

2014-Piano-Teacher-Institute-logo-2Hello, friends!

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.

Hope to see you there!

Posted in piano teacher institute | Tagged | 5 Responses

App Review: SproutBeat for iPad

sproutbeatlogoA 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.

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Read More »

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New Studio Room Set-Up

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.  :)

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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!

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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.

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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.

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We still have plenty of boxes to unpack in the garage, but at least my studio looks put-together!  :)

Posted in what I'm up to | Tagged , | 8 Responses
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