Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“The child should love everything that he learns, for his mental and emotional growths are linked. Whatever is presented to him must be made beautiful and clear, striking his imagination. Once this love has been kindled, all problems confronting the educationalist will disappear.”

–Maria Montessori


I love this quote from Maria Montessori. It encourages us to be deliberate about choosing material for our students. It encourages us to present that material in a way that makes it BEAUTIFUL and CLEAR to the student, provoking their imagination. We would do well to remember that the child’s mental and emotional growths are linked. Montessori suggests that when we kindle the child’s interest and love of learning, other educational problems will melt away.

What learning material (concepts, music books, pieces, etc.) do you love using with your students, and why? How can we present it in a way that is beautiful and clear to the student? How will this help us kindle the child’s interest and love of learning?

Performances, Technology, Videos

Tutorial: Combining Videos to Create an “Piano Duet” Video

Back in May, I shared about how I organized a virtual recital for my students. In that post, I briefly mentioned how I combined two videos to create “duet” videos for a couple of my students. Today, I’d like to share how I accomplished this “duet” video magic, so you can try it for yourself if you’d like!

First of all, here’s an example of what I’m talking about. In this video, you’ll see a beginner student playing the rote piece “I Love Coffee” (from the Shaaks and of Piano Safari method fame), accompanied by me playing the teacher duet.

Below, I will share the steps for how to create and combine a student video and a teacher video to create a “piano duet” video. This technique is similar to that used by many YouTube musicians — you’ve probably seen the type. Even if you already know how to do this, I hope perhaps you’ll gain at least a helpful tip or two from this post!

Step 1: Acquire Student Video

The basic process is that one person records their video first, so that the other person can use it as a guide (using earbuds) while recording the second video. The first person’s video determines the tempo throughout the piece, which the second person must follow and match.

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Teaching Piano

Piano Pouches: Something Fun for New Online Students

What happens when you are teaching lessons online and your student needs a new music book? My tuition fee includes the cost of books/materials, so I am accustomed to handling the acquisition of books for students as needed. Since we’ve been online, it’s not quite as simple as handing the book to the student!

So, here’s what my approach has been. (1) If the student lives nearby, I can do a porch drop-off. (2) I can mail the books to them. Or, (3) I can order the books online and have them shipped directly to the student’s address.

When mailing a package or doing a porch drop-off, it’s fun to include some kind of surprise for the student along with books! I’ve been raiding my studio prize box to find some fun, mailable items.

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Teaching Piano

Piano on the Patio! Quarantine Teaching Adventures Continued…

Hello, friends!

How are your lessons going? I imagine many of you are continuing to teach online, while some of you have returned to in-person lessons — depending upon where you live, among other factors.

Currently, my lessons are still online, using FaceTime/Zoom. I have 15 students who are based in Northwest Ohio (where I lived before moving last December). I am teaching them online until I feel it is safe to resume teaching at the small studio space I was renting.

I also have two Michigan-based students, so far. When the quarantine arrived, my husband and I changed our original plans in terms of marketing my piano studio after our move and childcare for our baby daughter, Aria. When things become more “normal” (whatever that means!), I will at some point begin more actively seeking new students. For now, I’m okay with the change in plans and am content with my current home life and teaching life!

My little “treble maker” is 7 months old now!

Earlier this summer, I saw a few Instagram posts from piano teachers who thought to offer “porch recitals” or “patio lessons.” Inspired by this out-of-the-box thinking, I decided I’d like teach lessons for my two Michigan students outside on my back patio for a time or two, just for fun. So, I started closely watching the weather forecasts.

It’s been a hot summer, but last week I finally saw an opportunity. The weekend weather was supposed comfortably in the 70s. So, I emailed my two Michigan students. They loved the idea!

And so, last Saturday, we had in-person outdoor lessons on my back patio. And it was wonderful! It was nice to be face-to-face and enjoy the beautiful weather as well. I hope to do this again a time or two before the winter weather hits.

Do you have a portable instrument and an outdoor space for something like this? In this blog post, I’ll share some ideas and a to-do list in case you’d like to try something similar yourself!

My “piano on the patio” setup!
Continue reading “Piano on the Patio! Quarantine Teaching Adventures Continued…”
Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“Our care of the child should be governed, not by the desire to ‘make him learn things,’ but by the endeavor to always keep burning within him that light which is called intelligence.”

–Maria Montessori


I love this quote from Maria Montessori. Learning outcomes are important, but MORE important is keeping that light called intelligence burning brightly in our students! How can we avoid snuffing out that light? What can we do to nurture interest, curiosity, and inquisitiveness in our students?

Thoughts to share? Leave a comment on this post here.

Giveaways

Giveaway Winners: Wendy Chan’s “Music Escapades Shoppe” Teaching Resources

Congratulations to our three randomly-selected winners: Lavinia, Kjersten, and Faith! Winners, please watch your inbox for an email from Wendy arriving very soon.

Thank you all for entering! I hope you’ll consider browsing Wendy’s beautiful teaching resources if you haven’t already. Click here to visit her shop.

Happy teaching this week!

Giveaways

Last Chance: Enter the Giveaway for Wendy Chan’s Teaching Resources

Hi there! Just wanted to send a quick reminder that the deadline for entering the giveaway for Wendy Chan’s Music Escapades Shoppe teaching resources is tomorrow, Sunday, August 30, 2020 at midnight (Eastern time).

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on the giveaway blog post (click here) sharing either (1) a teaching tip or resource which has been a go-to for you recently, or (2) which resource you’d love to have from Wendy’s shoppe and why.

The THREE lucky winners will be randomly chosen and notified by email on Monday. Good luck, all, and have a great weekend!

Sheet Music

NEW SHEET MUSIC: Where the Train Tracks End

Hi there!

I’m pleased to announce that a new piano piece is now available in my shop! If you’re looking for something jazzy and fun for mid-intermediate level students, you might be interested in checking out this piece.

It’s called Where the Train Tracks End. This piece is in rondo form (ABACA) and the key of B minor. It opens with finger snaps over a descending bass line, which leads into the syncopation and laidback vibe of the main theme. The B section consists of flashy-sounding patterns that race up the piano, while the C section is upbeat with a walking bass line. There is an opportunity to improvise towards the end of the piece. This three-page piece is perfect for recitals as well as for personal pleasure.

Watch the video to take a listen!

I composed this piece a few years back as part of a “Pedagogical Commissioning Project” organized by my Ohio-based colleague, Andy Villemez. The project brings working composers in direct conversation with music teachers and their students. Each student is paired with a composer who writes a piece based on the student’s current technical and musical abilities, personality, and interests. I wrote the piece Where the Train Tracks End specifically for a student named Brielle in Durham, NC.

Interested in purchasing the sheet music? It’s available in my shop as a PDF download. There are both Single User and Studio License options available, both of which come with an MP3 audio recording. View Where the Train Tracks End in my shop here. I hope it’s a piece your students would enjoy!

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Giveaways, Reviews

Review & Giveaway: Wendy Chan’s “Music Escapades Shoppe” Teaching Resources

Years ago, I remember meeting Wendy Chan and her Music Escapades Shoppe. Well, recently I reconnected with her and learned about the relaunch of her online shop! I was pleased to chat with Wendy again and check out her resources.

When we chatted, Wendy asked if I’d be interested in reviewing any of her teaching resources. I replied that I’d definitely be interested in her Grand Staff Magnetic Dry-Erase Board. She, in turn, sent me not only that, but three of her other teaching resources as well. How generous! Pictured below are the four items she sent.

In this blog post, I will share my personal thoughts and photos about each item. Please continue reading, and be sure to learn how to get a discount code and enter the giveaway at the end of this post.

1. Grand Staff Magnetic Dry-Erase Board

Wendy’s Grand Staff Magnetic Dry-Erase Board has been quite useful during my recent teaching, especially while teaching online right now due to Covid-19.

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Studio Business

Freebie: Lesson Attendance Sheet Updated for 2020-21

Just a quick post today!

I just finished updating one of the studio business forms from the Printables page for the 2020-21 school year.  It is called the Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment PDF.  I do not currently use this form myself anymore, but every year I receive requests from teachers asking if I would update it for the upcoming school 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.

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Download it below or on the Printables > Studio Business page.

  Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment (2020-21) (212.8 KiB, 31,165 hits)

P.S.: Here is a link to where I explain my more recent system for tracking payments received.