Joy and Amy Talk About Music Learning Theory

Greetings!

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

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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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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!

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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A group selfie taken during our snack break.

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Then, it was time to share our compositions.

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It was fun to hear each student’s piece.

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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It is exciting to see our compositions taking form!

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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!

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Composing is hard work. ;)

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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.]

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