2016 IndianaMTA Conference

Over the weekend, I attended the Indiana Music Teachers Association‘s annual state conference at Goshen College. I was honored to have the opportunity to give a presentation during their wonderful event.


My session was called, Schumann’s Big Bang: The Ever-Expanding Universe of Piano Literature for Children. It was so fun to share my research and discuss the huge range of music we piano teachers are fortunate to have available to us.  Read More »

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Printable Chart for the Note Rush App

Ever since downloading Note Rush for iPhone/iPad (read my review here), my students and I have been having a blast using the app to improve fluency in corresponding pitches notated on the staff to the keyboard.

(By the way, did you know that Note Rush is now available for Android platforms?)

Just for fun, I started keeping track of each student’s best time for each Note Rush level using a clipboard and a blank sheet of paper. Pretty soon, I realized I needed a better chart. So, I decided to contact the developer to ask if I could create one that visually matches the user interface of the app. He agreed, and happily sent me the graphics and information I needed. (Thanks, Thomas!) Here is the result:

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Read More »

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Freebie: Lesson Attendance Sheet Updated for 2016-17

I have just finished updating one of the studio business forms from the Printables page for the 2016-17 school year.  It is called the Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment PDF.  I do not currently use this form myself anymore, but I have received quite a few 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.


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

  Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment (2016-17) (59.8 KiB, 19,056 hits)

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

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Joy and Amy Talk About Music Learning Theory


Back from our Boston trip for GIML training, Amy and I thought it would be fun and constructive to have a conversation to debrief, and at the same time create a video to share, about Music Learning Theory (MLT).

Here’s what is covered in our video:

  • 3:00 Who was Edwin Gordon.
  • 9:45 Who is Marilyn Lowe.
  • 13:25 What is audiation and how is it developed.
  • 22:00 How we each plan to start incorporating elements of MLT into our lessons.
  • 25:45 What resources are available for teachers who want to learn more about MLT.

Books mentioned in the video:

Just for kicks, here’s one more video. Amy and I had a bit of fun in the car on the drive back home from Boston playing the alphabet car game using MLT terms that we learned during the course. :)

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2016 GIML Training (3): Wrap-Up Post

[See previous post: 2015 GIML Training (2): A Great First Week]

On Saturday, I returned from a fruitful and enjoyable two-week stay in Brookline, Massachusetts, receiving Piano Certification training through the Gordon Institute for Music Learning. I am still processing everything I learned, but am excited to begin sharing about the experience with you all.

As I mentioned in the last post, we were in class from 9:00am-4:30pm each day. It was like being back in school!

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Our teachers for this course were Marilyn Lowe, Jennifer Fisher, and intern Janna Olson.

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Marilyn is the author of the Music Moves for Piano method, the only piano method to-date that is based on Edwin Gordon’s work.

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We spent class time listening to lectures, discussing learning theories, and participating in movement and singing activities.

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In the evenings, we studied and read from Dr. Gordon’s tome, “Learning Sequences in Music.” Eating cannoli made the studying even sweeter.

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Each day, we were assigned to compose a melody in a particular mode (major, harmonic minor, dorian, phrygian, etc.). The following day, we shared our melodies with the group.

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Between the two weeks of training, we found time to explore Boston.

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Here we are exploring the Harvard campus in Cambridge.

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And here is a group of us enjoying dinner at a classmate’s home nearby. (Thanks for hosting, Rachel!)

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Here I am with Marilyn, after receiving certification.

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And here I am with my travel buddy, Amy Chaplin of PianoPantry.com.

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By the way, Amy and I used Airbnb.com to find a place to stay during the course. This was our first experience using Airbnb, and I can happily say it was a positive one. We stayed in a third story of an old Victorian home. Our apartment was absolutely perfect for us. I definitely intend to use airbnb for future trips. (Want to check it out? Use this link to receive a $30 travel credit.)

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Here is a group photo of our entire class.

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In upcoming weeks and months, I look forward to incorporating what I learned into my teaching. Stay tuned for more on this.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the blog post that Amy just posted with her own summary of our experience in Boston.

Happy weekend, friends!

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2016 GIML Training (2): A Great First Week

[See previous post: 2015 GIML Training (1): The Adventure Begins]

I’ve had a great first week in Boston for the Piano Certification Course training sponsored by the Gordon Institute of Music Learning (GIML).

Here is a photo of Amy and I standing in front of Brookline Music School, which is hosting the training.

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Read More »

Posted in 2016 GIML, improving as a teacher, music learning theory | Tagged , , | 6 Responses

2016 GIML Training (1): The Adventure Begins

edwin gordonToday, an adventure begins: I am heading to Boston for two weeks to receive training in the Piano Certification Course sponsored by the Gordon Institute of Music Learning (GIML). The training is being given by Marilyn Lowe, author of the Music Moves For Piano method, and Jennifer Fisher.

This trip is possible thanks to an MTNA Teacher Enrichment Grant. If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you might know that I am a huge fan of Edwin Gordon’s work. Having the opportunity to experience this training means a great deal to me.

My adventure buddy is Amy Chaplin (of PianoPantry.com). We are driving well over 10 hours today from our respective homes in Indiana and Ohio.

I definitely plan to blog about our experience, but I am unsure whether I will keep up with blogging during the trip or if I’ll catch up after I return. However, I will definitely be posting some tidbits throughout the two weeks on Instagram or Facebook.

Interesting in learning more about Edwin Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT)? Check out this blog post or Tim Topham’s podcast episode with Marilyn Lowe.

[See next post: 2016 GIML Training (2): A Great First Week]

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2016 Studio T-Shirt

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

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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 »

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Fall 2016 Online Course – Piano Teacher Institute


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 »

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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. 

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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!

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

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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!

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