Reviews

Review: “Pianist” Magazine

A few months ago, one of my adult students introduced me to a wonderful UK-based magazine called Pianist. As a piano teacher, I couldn’t be more pleased that my student found this magazine.

My student Patsy and I, holding a few issues of Pianist magazine. This lovely lady lights up my life! 

I reached out to folks behind Pianist magazine to request a few back issues so I could write this review. They generously agreed. I’m excited to share with you more about this magazine today!

My student has been so enjoying reading the articles in these magazines and learning pieces included in the issues. 

Continue reading “Review: “Pianist” Magazine”
Practice

Practice Strategy: Video Game Start-Overs

Have you ever had the following problem?

Every time you get to a certain spot in a piece, you make the same error. It could be, for example, an incorrect fingering, an incorrect rhythm (like adding a pause or rushing through a rhythm), or an incorrect pitch.

Every time it happens, you recognize the error has happened. In fact, you probably knew in advance that it was going to happen. Right after it happens, you try again — starting at where you made the error, but making the correction this time — and continue the piece. 

The deeper problem here is the fact that this entire process repeats itself every time you play the piece. The trouble spot persists, even though you already know how to play the passage correctly.

I’ve encountered this problem in my own practice, and have observed it in my students, too. 

How do we combat this problem? How can we solve those stubborn “trouble spots” for once and for all? 

Continue reading “Practice Strategy: Video Game Start-Overs”
Teaching Piano

Wanting To Play The Part: Motivation and Turning Points for Students

When I was a kid, I participated in a play called “Tea For Felicity.”

I was a shy, introverted kid. I wasn’t exactly “actress material”.

However, I did want to be part of this play.

I auditioned, and somehow won the part of Felicity’s best friend.

My mother sewed me a Colonial era gown, complete with gathered sleeves and a white bonnet. I practiced and memorized my lines. I attended rehearsals, and helped paint the sets. 

There was one problem. 

I didn’t speak loudly enough onstage for my lines to be easily heard easily from the audience’s perspective. The play director asked me to speak out more. My mother coached me at home, letting me know I still wasn’t speaking loud enough. When I tried, I could deliver a louder rendition upon being asked. But the next time I read a line, I reverted to my normal volume. 

Continue reading “Wanting To Play The Part: Motivation and Turning Points for Students”
Piano Teacher Institute

Announcement: Upcoming Session of my “Excellence Piano Teaching” Course [Fall 2018]

Hello friends!

I’m excited to share that I am preparing to offer another session of my 6-week online course Excellence in Piano Teaching soon! The dates will be October 8 through November 18. 

Have you always wanted to take a piano pedagogy college course, but haven’t had the opportunity? Or are you looking for a refresher of the pedagogy instruction you received during college, to put new energy into your teaching? 

If this sounds at all interesting, please make sure you subscribe to the separate email list here. That way, I can email you more about the course over upcoming days. 

Thanks for reading! 

Studio Business

Lessons Learned From Relocating & Rebuilding a Piano Studio Business

Nearly a year ago, while attending the 2017 Indiana Music Teachers Association state conference I had the opportunity to chat with friend and fellow blogger Daniel Patterson (of GrowYourMusicStudio.com). We were talking about studio marketing, and I shared with him a story about what I had learned from rebuilding my studio from scratch after relocating to Ohio back in 2011. He was intrigued by my story, and invited me to participate in a recorded video conference sharing my experience.

Here is that video!

Studio Business Advice with Joy Morin

Today’s short video is a “case study” of two teachers…They both lived in the same town. They both started their studios at the same time.But after a year or two, one was making more money in their teaching studio.Why?That is the topic of today’s video with my friend, Joy Morin (of the Color in My Piano blog). Click below to watch this 9 minute video:

Posted by Grow Your Music Studio on Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Here’s a few points you’ll gain from the video:

  • 0:40 How I marketed my studio, because I couldn’t rely only on word-of-mouth being in an unfamiliar area. 
  • 2:30 Why I’m glad I trusted my instinct when it came to setting my tuition rates. The big lesson learned: It may not be wise to assume that having low tuition rates will result in gaining new students more quickly. 
  • 5:00 What it was like in those early months, waiting for my studio to grow. I did the marketing I could, but I needed to be patient until my studio grew to my benchmark goals. 

Your turn: What was helpful from Daniel’s and my conversation? What lessons have you recently learned from experience as a studio owner? 

Feel free to visit Daniel’s facebook page to watch more of his video conversations. 

General

Freebie: Lesson Attendance Sheet Updated for 2018-19

I have just finished updating one of the studio business forms from the Printables page for the 2018-19 school year.  It is called the Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment PDF.  I do not currently use this form myself anymore, but I still receive requests from teachers are using it so I am 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.

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

  Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment (2018-19) (199.8 KiB, 26,527 hits)

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

Reviews

Book Review: The Art of Gathering, by Priya Parker

Upon reading the title of this book, you might be wondering why this book is being reviewed on a piano teaching blog. That’s a great question! The reason boils down to this: this book applies to piano teachers as much as anyone else, and to me it was SO good that I wanted to share it with you here. :)

Gathering is universal — yet taken for granted — and can be so meaningful when done well. I feel confident that upon reading this book, you will, like me, find multiple ways to apply it within both your personal life and professional life.

In her book, author Priya Parker draws upon her expertise as host, event facilitator, conflict resoluter, and consultant to present a number of principles for gathering. The first principle she discusses is the most important: knowing the purpose of your gathering. From there, Parker discusses how your purpose will help you determine who to invite (and exclude) from your gathering, what venue to choose, and how to make the event transformative and memorable for those in attendance.

In this book, you’ll learn how to greet attendees, open gatherings, end them, “prime” attendees for the event before the date, and ensure the gathering is unique, effective, and fun for all in attendance.

The Art of Gathering is chock-full of fascinating stories from Parker’s experience exemplifying her gathering dos and don’ts. I found myself relaying many of the stories from the book to my husband. In turn, he kept asking if I was done reading the book so he could start reading it. :)

Parker’s advice was inspiring to me as I considered the variety of gatherings types in my own life — from my recitals, my studio “Piano Parties”, music camps, MTNA chapter general meetings, board meetings, gatherings with my family, dinners with friends, etc. I feel better equipped with things I can do to help gatherings be memorable and enjoyable for all involved. This book arrived in my life at an especially relevant time, as I am serving on the conference planning committee for the OhioMTA‘s 2019 state conference and also midst preparations for my upcoming second annual Piano Teacher Retreat at my home.

I “read” this book by listening to the audiobook using the Audible app (an Amazon company). I love Audible, because it enables me to read many more books in a year than I would without it. However, as much as I love audiobooks, I must tell you The Art of Gathering is so good you might want to consider buying a hardcopy (Amazon link) to mark up and reference again.

I recommend The Art of Gathering to anyone interested in learning how to facilitate gatherings to make them matter.

* * * * *

Interested in a trial subscription for Audible.com? Here’s a special link for a trial that will give you two free audiobooks.

Special shoutout to Seth Godin for recommending this book on his blog

Announcements

In The Shop: “Notes To Self” Wall Art

It’s here! I’ve been hinting about this on instagram all week. I’m so excited to today share with you a project I’ve been working for the past few months.

Inspired by a project I saw at my town’s local university campus, I decided to create something similar for my piano students. I call it the “Notes To Self” wall art.

Those who approach the “Notes To Self” wall art are encouraged by the sign to “Take one to-go, for you or somebody else!”

The quotes and sayings were chosen with positivity and encouragement in mind. They’re fun to admire, and it’s fun to pick out one to take with you. My students are enjoying this!

I drew all of the quotes and sayings myself by hand — but the designs have been digitized so they can be printed out directly onto the sticky notes using the template shown below. Easy! (Learn more about the template here.)

These “Notes To Self” sticky notes are a great way to promote positivity and camaraderie among your students. Continue reading “In The Shop: “Notes To Self” Wall Art”

Printables

Free Printable: Sticky Notes Template

Did you know there is a way to safely send sticky notes through your inkjet printer?

I learned this piece of information a couple of years ago, thanks to Pinterest! Although I found plenty of free sticky notes templates available online, I decided to create my own user-friendly version.

Just imagine of all the things you could create by printing on sticky notes. :D

I recommend using the “Super Sticky” Post-it notes instead of regular Post-it notes, so they will last longer. Here’s a link to a package of “Super Sticky” Post-it notes in my favorite color set. :)

And here’s where you can download my free template (Microsoft Word document) so you can print whatever you like onto sticky notes. Let me know what awesome things you create!

  Sticky Notes Template (44.2 KiB, 877 hits)

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Download the Microsoft Word template.
  2. Print page 1 of the document to create your template sheet.
  3. Affix six sticky notes onto the template, on the printed boxes.
  4. On page 2 of the document, add your own text/graphics that you would like to have printed onto the sticky notes.
  5. Place the template sheet in the paper feed tray of your printer so that the printing will appear on the correct side — that is, onto the sticky notes. For most printers, this means placing the templates face-down with the top edge of the sheet away from you.
  6. Now you are ready to print page 2 of the document and enjoy your printed sticky notes!

Here’s an example of something awesome I made using this template. :)

Check out the “Notes To Self” Wall Art Kit here!