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

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.

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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!

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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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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!  :)

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Piano Studio Room Transformation

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.

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Worksheet: About the Piano Scavenger Hunt

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:

Piano Scavenger Hunt worksheet

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!

Download the free PDF by visiting the Printables > Worksheets page and scrolling down to “Piano Scavenger Hunt.”

Posted in group classes, private lessons, worksheets | Tagged , , | 1 Response

Moving Adventures

My husband and I have been happily renting this house for the past three years:

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This Spring, we decided we were interested in buying our own house.  We were pre-approved for a mortgage and started shopping.

Finding a house with a good space for my studio was a priority.  We found a great house in Perrysburg, Ohio, which is 20 minutes north of where we currently live.  It is not as charming on the outside as the rental house, but we hope to be able to increase the curb appeal.

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Piano Teacher Institute Update

2Since last week’s announcement, I have been spending every spare moment of my time writing the course material to be able to offer a six-week course this summer.  It is challenging work, but I’m having a blast.  I’m happy to announce that the Week 1 coursework is complete and Week 2 is nearly complete.

As I’ve been writing, I have also been revising the schedule of topics somewhat.  It is bound to change again as I continue writing, but here is how it currently looks:

  1. Business Sense — business structures, bookkeeping, taxes, marketing, and more.
  2. On Teaching and Learning — teaching objectives, learning styles, and developmental stages.
  3. Developing Music Literacy in Students — music literacy, music education philosophies, a history and overview of current piano methods.
  4. Piano Technique for Beginners — developing posture, hand shape, fingering, pedaling, and more.
  5. Finding and Choosing Repertoire — leveling, publishers, anthologies, editions and more.
  6. Lesson/Curriculum Planning — leading the lesson, making assignment sheets, effective practicing, and planning long-term for students.

I have received a lot of interest and feedback (thanks so much!), and the email list is still growing.  Allow me to answer a couple of questions that I have received:

> > > Why is registration limited to 10 people?  

As much as possible, I want this course to feel like an in-person group class — except better.  I know that I could certainly utilize a webinar format for the course, which would allow me to reach many more people at once.  However, I’m not interested in big.  I want to keep things small.  I want to be able to get-to-know each person who takes the course and work closely with them as they make their way through the material.  I want to be able to give detailed feedback on the assignments/projects and be able to have great small-group discussions.  Visit the institute.joymorin.com to learn more about the class format.

So, the first offering of this course will be open to the first 10 teachers who register.  I definitely plan to offer the course again in the Fall, and I will definitely re-evaluate at that time to decide whether 10 is still a good number.  (Registration will open sometime in May.  The cost has not yet been set.)

> > > Would you consider offering separate, per-topic courses?  

I am writing the course in such a way that the six weekly topics are co-dependent and flow into each other.  I do not plan to break-up these six topics, although that certainly does not mean that there will not be certain topics in the future that I could potentially offer as a stand-alone course.  We will see how things progress from here!

Thanks for your support, friends, during this new project!  Let me know if you have other questions I can answer.

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“If a child hears fine music from the day of his birth and learns to play it himself, he develops sensitivity, discipline and endurance. He gets a beautiful heart.”

–  Dr. Shin’ichi Suzuki

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.

Posted in Words of Wisdom | Tagged | 2 Responses
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