2016 Studio T-Shirt

Look at what arrived in the mail recently! I love how our T-shirts turned out this year.

2016 T-shirt selfie w

Since 2012, I’ve ordered studio T-shirts each summer as a gift for my students. It’s a fun way to show appreciation for being a part of my studio and build camaraderie among my students. And it’s good marketing, too.

Just for fun, here’s a peek at the designs from past years.  Read More »

Posted in studio business, what I'm up to | Tagged , , , , | 10 Responses

Fall 2016 Online Course – Piano Teacher Institute

2014-Piano-Teacher-Institute-logo-2

Just sending out a quick email today to announce that registration for the upcoming Fall 2016 session of my Piano Pedagogy 101 online course will be available this Friday (July 29) at 9am Eastern time.

Are you wondering if this online course is right for you?


“Joy Morin’s pedagogy course is an excellent learning tool for new piano teachers or teachers wanting to refresh their pedagogy knowledge.”

–piano teacher in Canada


Here is our calendar for the upcoming session.

  • Week 1: August 29-September 4
  • Week 2: September 5-11
  • Week 3: September 12-18
  • Week 4: September 19-25
  • Week 5: September 26-October 2
  • Week 6: October 3-9

Read More »

Posted in piano teacher institute, professional development | Tagged , , , | 2 Responses

Join me at the 2016 OhioMTA and IndianaMTA Conferences

IMG_1914Happy Monday!

If you live anywhere near Ohio or Indiana, I would love to invite you to join me at a couple of upcoming conferences for music teachers this Fall.

First of all, I’m pleased to say that I will be presenting a session during the IndianaMTA state conference, held Friday, September 30 – Saturday, October 1, 2016 at Goshen College. My session will occur on Friday at 2:30pm. Here is the title and description:

Schumann’s Big Bang: The Ever-Expanding Universe of Piano Literature for Children

Discover new repertoire for engaging your students as we explore the profusion of piano literature for children composed after the example of Robert Schumann’s Album for the Young, Op. 68.

Registration for the full conference is $80 for IndianaMTA members and $95 for non-members. Registration information is available here.


I will also present a session during the OhioMTA state conference occurring November 3-5, 2016 in Kent, Ohio. My session will be on Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 10am:

Play More To Play Better: Building Musicianship Through Games

Discover fresh and vibrant games that will engage and challenge your students. During this session, we will learn how to best choose or create music games that will inspire, activate, and spark memorable learning moments.

Registration for the full conference is $100 for OhioMTA members and $120 for non-members. Registration information is available here

I would love to see you!

To learn more about my workshops, visit joymorin.com.

Posted in what I'm up to | Tagged | 1 Response

2016 Music History Camp

This week, I held the second of two summer music camps for my students. I always hold a music history camp each year, and we call it “Music History Blast From The Past.”

20160711_11-57-28 w

Here is the description for the camp:

Music History Blast From The Past
July 11-14, M-Th from 10am-noon
Back by popular demand! This camp gives students a glimpse into the lives of four great classical composers. As we study each composer’s childhood and career, students will learn about the music, fashion, art, and architecture of the time. Every year, students are fascinated to find that they can relate to the life stories of composers who lived hundreds of years ago. In the long run, having this broader context of music history enriches later years of piano study, especially when playing classical piano literature. Each day, students will take home a crafted scrapbook page about that day’s composer. For students ages 5-14. Previous musical background preferable, but not necessary.

Seven of my students registered for this camp this year, plus I had a high school student volunteer as my helper.

For this camp, I always use my Great Composers and Their Music lapbooking curriculum. Each day of camp, we study a music style period (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern) as well as a particular composer from that time period. This year, we learned about Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and Prokofiev.

20160713_12-04-16 w

As I informed my students on the first day of our camp, the goal of the week is to be able to listen to an unfamiliar piece of classical music and identify the style period (or, at least, take a good guess). This is the same goal that my college professor had for us during the first semester of music history class. Younger students can do it too!

20160711_10-53-49 w

Here, my students are cutting and assembling their lapbook about Bach. Meanwhile, they are listening as I tell the story of Bach’s life and music.

20160711_10-54-51 w

We also discussed the general characteristics of the music from each style period. I used material from my Eras of Music History Kit for this. 

Photo - collage

Each day, we had a listening quiz game where we listen to pieces from a YouTube playlist with the goal of identifying the style period we hear. My students got pretty good at this by the end of the week. 

We had a great week!

20160712_12-00-05 w

To read more about the general lesson plan I use for this camp, click here

Posted in music camps, music history | Tagged , , | 1 Response

Giveaway Winners: Note Rush app

13246163_248194038873284_8983692676277542062_oI am pleased to announce the two randomly-chosen winners of the promo code giveaway for the Note Rush app.

  • Rick
  • Irma Khouw

Winners, please check your inbox for an email from me.

The rest of you — I’d definitely recommend visiting the app store to purchase Note Rush. As I mentioned in my full review, Note Rush has quickly become my favorite app for piano teaching.

Hope you are having a wonderful week!

Posted in giveaways | Tagged | 6 Responses

Review & Giveaway: Note Rush app

13246163_248194038873284_8983692676277542062_oToday, I am so excited to introduce to you a brand new app for music teachers called Note Rush. As I have been experimenting with this app during beta testing, I soon discovered just what a useful tool this app is for my students. Note Rush has become my favorite app for piano teaching.

Note Rush is a note reading app that is simple, intuitive, and fun. Unlike other note identification apps that present a note and require the user to name the note by letter name, Note Rush “listens” using the iPad’s microphone to identify whether the user is playing the correct piano key. It’s so important for students to learn to associate staff positions with the corresponding piano key in the correct octave, and Note Rush encourages this!

IMG_0418

The app automatically calibrates to the piano, allowing the app to be useable even if the piano may be slightly out-of-tune.

IMG_0422

Allowing you to choose from a variety of levels — covering various ranges of notes in treble clef, bass clef, or the entire grand staff — the app is customizable to the user’s ability.

IMG_0415

Because the rounds are timed, students are invited to repeat the rounds to try to improve their times.

IMG_0414

The three themes appeal to a wide range of students while not creating a distraction through too many options.

Note Rush collage

Tell your students to buy this app instead of a box of flashcards. Note Rush is available in the App Store for $3.99 USD. Be sure to visit the Note Rush website and like their facebook page.

Note: I bought this app. As always, my reviews contain my honest opinion.

The Note Rush developer has kindly offered two promo codes for a giveaway! For a chance to win a free download of Note Rush, leave a comment below before Tuesday, June 28 at midnight (Eastern time) sharing your favorite aspect of Note Rush. Two winners will be randomly chosen and contacted the following day.

Posted in reviews, technology | Tagged , , , | 98 Responses

2016 Composition Summer Camp: Day 4/4

[Click to view Day 1Day 2, or Day 3.]

On our final day of camp, students reviewed the drafts of their composition that I had updated and printed from Finale the previous evening. We made small tweaks and reprinted as needed.

20160616_10-39-54 w

Students took turns using the piano and keyboard to practice their compositions, so that they could perform them for the group.

20160616_10-44-38 w

A group selfie taken during our snack break.

20160616_11-05-53 w

Then, it was time to share our compositions.

20160616_11-11-47 w

It was fun to hear each student’s piece.

20160616_11-25-42 w

There were a number of other games and activities we used throughout the week, but I mostly wanted to highlight the process of guiding all ten of my students to complete a composition by the end of the week. It wasn’t easy!

What helped was to create daily goals and clearly communicate those goals along the way. I was proud of how the students rose to meet the challenge.

Here are a few of the resulting compositions.

Isabella M - Friendship w

I used guiding questions to help the students figure out how to dictate the rhythm and properly notate their compositions.

Ariana A - The Dance Off w

I made very little critique of the student compositions. The goal for this four-day camp was to experience the process of expressing something through the piano and writing it down. Honing of their compositional skills can occur during later opportunities! I have no doubt that this group of students will be composing more pieces down the road, sooner rather than later, at which time we can spend more time on refinement during their private lessons.

All in all, I couldn’t be happier with how the week went and with the resulting compositions!

Elise A - Shooting Star w

Posted in composition, music camps | Tagged , , | 1 Response

2016 Composition Summer Camp: Day 3/4

[Click to view Day 1 or Day 2.]

The goal for Day 3 was to have our compositions basically finished by the end of the day. With that in mind, we spent time discussing form (AB, ABA, through-composed, etc.) as well as various aspects of proper music notation.

My cat, Coda, loves to help my students with their compositions.

20160615_10-36-31 w

It is exciting to see our compositions taking form!

20160615_10-51-38 w

Halfway through each day, we enjoyed a snack outside on the patio. On this particular day, one of my students brought in a birthday snack to share: homemade ice cream sandwiches!

20160615_11-10-38 w

Composing is hard work. ;)

20160615_11-34-55 w

That evening, I updated each student’s composition in Finale and printed nearly-completed drafts for students to work from the following day.

[Click here for Day 4.]

Posted in composition, music camps | Tagged , , | 1 Response

2016 Composition Summer Camp: Day 2/4

[Click here for Day 1.]

On Day 2 of our composing camp, our goal was to get a good amount of our pieces composed and written down by the end of the day.

We used the piano or keyboard to improvise until we found music we liked.

20160614_11-00-22 w

Then, we started writing it down on staff paper.

20160614_10-53-27 w

I had two stations arranged: my piano and my keyboard with headphones.

20160614_11-16-02 w

Students worked at the table and then took turns using the piano/keyboard.

20160614_11-01-20 w

I went from student to student, helping them as needed.

20160614_11-00-52 w

Hard at work, yet having fun!

20160614_11-18-49 w

It’s exciting to see the compositions taking form.

20160614_11-25-33 w

That evening, I took it upon myself to enter each student’s composition so far into Finale. I printed these drafts out for students to work from the following day.

[Click here for Day 3.]

Posted in composition, music camps | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

2016 Composition Summer Camp: Day 1/4

As mentioned previously, this week is the week: it’s composition camp for my students and me!

So, You Want To Be A Composer?
June 13-16, M-Th from 10am-noon
Throughout this camp, students will experience the joy of creation while composing their own music: from the energy of the initial creative urge, following the path of their personal inspiration, then settling it all into a captured vision. By the end of the week, each student will take home an illustrated copy of their composition, printed using professional music notation software. In addition to individual work, students will get to take part in group-based improvisation and composition throughout the week. For students ages 5-14. No previous musical background necessary.

As it turned out, ten students — all current piano students of mine — registered for this camp.

On the first day of camp, our goal was for each student to (1) chose a subject for their musical composition and (2) draw an illustration.

20160613_10-54-58 w

It is so fun to see what each student chooses and how they choose depict the subject matter through their drawing.

20160613_10-58-36 w

Later in the day, each student took a turn improvising at the piano inspired by his/her drawing. This allowed us explore and experience the process of expressing through sound.

20160613_11-33-48 w

The rest of the group provided feedback about how the improvisation made them feel or what the music reminded them of.

20160613_11-33-18 w

This is good preparation for Day 2, when we will start formulating the structure of our compositions and writing them down on staff paper.

That evening, I scanned each student’s illustration so that it would be ready to digitally insert into Finale software later in the week.

Stay turned for more photos of our camp week! [Click here for Day 2.]

Posted in composition, music camps | Tagged , , | 2 Responses

On Establishing A Daily Habit (Practicing the Piano or Otherwise)

Establishing A Daily HabitFor a long time, I have identified myself as someone who is terrible at remembering to take my daily multivitamin pill.

I wanted to do better. I believe in the benefits of taking multivitamins, and I wanted to take them daily.

I was motivated, but I just couldn’t seem to do it each morning.

So, I started experimenting with putting my multivitamin bottle in a certain place in the house that might help me create a daily habit of taking my multivitamin each morning.

First, I put the bottle in the kitchen on the countertop, in plain sight. I hoped that seeing the multivitamins when I came into the kitchen for breakfast would serve as a good reminder every day. This worked for a little while, but I didn’t like having the bottle sitting out. I like having clear countertops. And I didn’t want my multivitamins sitting out when having visitors, so I tended to tuck the bottle out-of-sight on those occasions…which caused me to forget the next day.

Next, I tried putting the multivitamin bottle in the bathroom, near my toothbrush and other getting-ready-for-the-day items. This didn’t work, either. The problem was that it wasn’t convenient to get a drink of water for swallowing the multivitamin. I had to find my water bottle (which tends to travel all over the house with me) or go to the kitchen for a glass. Because it wasn’t convenient enough, I ended up skipping my multivitamin most days.

Then, I tried putting the multivitamin bottle in the kitchen pantry, on the shelf just below the cereal boxes. I tend to eat a bowl of cereal every morning, so I thought this would be a good place. And I liked that the bottle was out-of-sight instead of out on the countertop. As it turned out, however, my eyes did not always see the multivitamin bottle there in the pantry. There were too many other cans and bottles in the pantry.

So, what finally worked? How did I successfully create a habit of taking my multivitamin pill every morning?

I put the bottle in the cupboard, next to the cereal bowls. Why did this work? This works because I always take out a cereal bowl every morning, so I can’t miss seeing the bottle. Being in the cupboard means that the bottle is never in plain sight or in-the-way on the countertop. Getting a glass of water is easy, because the glasses are within arm reach and so is the sink. I am reminded to do it each day, and it is convenient. 


This experience made me wonder: What other behavior changes can I make in my piano teaching or in other areas of my life? How can I apply what I learned about my new multivitamin habit to other habits?

How about this one: How can I help my students become consistent practicers?

We piano teachers tend to cite a lack of motivation when it comes to students failing to practice regularly. But what about when the problem isn’t a lack of motivation? Many of our students want to practice, but there are barriers preventing it from occurring daily.

Remember, in my case with the multivitamins, I wanted to take them but it wasn’t convenient enough and I didn’t have a sure way to remind myself to do it in the first place.

Instead of focusing on motivating our students to practice, what if we helped our students brainstorm and implement practical ways to eliminate the barriers that make practice difficult or inconvenient? What if we helped them come up with effective reminder systems for daily practice? How can we help students create their own opportunities to achieve “small wins” on their way to establishing new habits?

Please share your input in the comment section below.

Posted in improving as a teacher, practicing | Tagged , | 10 Responses

Check Out Composer Sara Tomlinson’s Music

paper airplane coverGood day!

Today, I am so happy for my friend, Sara Tomlinson, who recently was accepted into Jennifer Eklund’s Composer Community through PianoPronto.com. Please take a moment to listen to Sara’s piece “Paper Airplane” via the video below.

Paper Airplane is a flowing, intermediate-level piece in the key of Eb. You can preview the digital sheet music and purchase via digital download here.

To receive notifications when Sara’s other compositions became available, please like her Facebook page or join the email list at her website.

Posted in repertoire / methods | Tagged , | Leave a comment
css.php