Conferences

MTNA 2015 (2): Pedagogy Saturday, March 21

mtna 2015 conference logoPedagogy Saturday is usually my favorite day of the MTNA conference and this year was no different. It is always challenging to choose which sessions to attend. I started out attending the Advanced Piano/Teaching Artistry track, and then I switched over to the Young Professionals track after lunch. My own session, “Harnessing the Power of the Internet: Blogging and Social Media for the Musican,” took place during the Young Professionals track at 2:15pm.


 

8:00–9:00am: Teaching Demonstration No. 1: Master Class With Alan Chow

IMG_0304-0.JPG

The student performed Schumann’s Papillons quite musically and beautifully. Overall in his teaching demonstration, Alan focused on being more true to Schumann’s markings. For example, he suggested that the intro could be more rhythmically accurate, to capture the feeling of the dance. In addition, many of Schumann’s phrases are marked with a crescendo to the end. We must be true to those markings. We can take time when warranted, but perhaps not other times.

Alan’s teaching was full of wonderfully clear directives backed by justifications based on the score or the context of the piece. It was a pleasure to watch his teaching demonstration.

Continue reading “MTNA 2015 (2): Pedagogy Saturday, March 21”

Conferences

MTNA 2015 (1): Las Vegas

mtna 2015 conference logoOn Saturday, I returned from a trip to Las Vegas for the 2015 MTNA conference. It was wonderful: as usual, I learned so much and enjoyed connecting and reconnecting with fellow music teachers. There is nothing like attending a national-level conference to help refresh one’s inspiration and drive for teaching!

In past years, I’ve shared a great deal of my conference notes here on my blog. This year, I took fewer notes with the goal of being able to enjoy the conference more “in the moment.” But I do intend to share short summaries from a selection of the sessions I attended. As this year’s MTNA conference tagline states, “Don’t let what happened in Vegas stay in Vegas!”

Stay tuned!

Index:

Conferences

MTNA 2015 in Las Vegas

The 2015 MTNA national conference begins tomorrow! I’m so excited to have the opportunity to attend. My flight leaves later today and I’ll be staying with a piano teacher friend in Las Vegas.

mtna 2015 conference logo

I will be giving a presentation tomorrow, during the Young Professionals track of Pedagogy Saturday, at 2:15pm. My presentation is called: Harnessing The Power Of The Internet: Blogging And Social Media For The Musician.

If you have registered for Pedagogy Saturday, you should know that you are allowed to jump between the various tracks and attend whichever sessions you wish. There are many different sessions occurring at the same time, so I know it is challenging to decide what to attend!

If you are attending MTNA this year, I’d love to connect with you! Please feel free to send me an email via the contact form on my blog. Or please feel free to introduce yourself if you happen to bump into me. :)

Performances

2015 Spring Recital Photos

My studio’s annual Spring Recital was on Sunday. So proud of how my students played!

20150315_143733 SONY Spring Recital web

We held it at a local church that has a nice Yamaha. Even my youngest students participated, even if only with a simple duet.

20150315_141501 SONY_01 Spring Recital web

My husband was kind enough to take a photo of each student, which I emailed to parents afterwards.

20150315_141620 SONY Spring Recital web

As is our tradition, I gave each student a rose for their performance at the end of the recital.

20150315_145825 SONY Spring Recital group photo web

I’m sure many of you are preparing students for your own spring recitals. I wish you all the best in your preparations!

Just a reminder: The last day to receive 20% off anything in my digital shop ends tomorrow, Friday, March 20, 2015! You must enter the promo code in the shopping cart to receive the discount: 20OFF2015. If you want to plan summer camps this year using my curriculum or get your hands on the Ice Cream Intervals game, be sure to take advantage of this sale because it only happens once each year!

Performances

Sending Students to Outside Events

On Saturday, seven of my students played their recital pieces for a local Ribbon Festival held by my local MTNA/OhioMTA chapter. So proud of them!

IMG_2607

I’ve been sending students to this festival since I moved to Ohio three years ago. This is a non-competitive event — meaning, there are no winners. Students perform one piece by memory and are given a ribbon, a certificate, and a comment sheet from an adjudicator. The comments are always written in a positive, encouraging way, even if there are many suggestions for improvement. At this particular festival, students are awarded a certain color ribbon according to how many years they have participated in the festival. This certainly motivates students to come back each year!

I find it so valuable for students to participate in community events outside of my studio. It is good for students to have a goal to prepare for and become accustomed to performing in various settings. And it is always beneficial for students to hear other students play and get exposed to more music. When we prepare for outside events, we talk about hearing the performance through the ears of the audience/judges.

I always look forward to reading what the adjudicators write on the comment sheets. Usually, the comments either (1) confirm my thoughts about the piece or the student’s playing, or (2) give me ideas that I hadn’t considered before (which is great!). When the judges’ comments reinforce what I am trying to develop in my student, this is helpful to both of us!

Other benefits: It is good for students to learn to be open to feedback coming from sources other than the teacher. And when students receive positive feedback from an outside source, they are assured that the teacher is providing good instruction.

To sum it up: Sending my students to outside events has helped me become a better teacher.

There are many different types of community events and as I mentioned earlier, they are not necessarily competitive. If you do not currently send your students to outside events, I would encourage you to research what might be happening right in your own town!  I recommend checking if there is a local MTNA chapter in your area.  Other options in the U.S. include: National Federation of Music Clubs (NFMC), Piano Guild, and the Royal Conservatory of Music testing. Each of these programs offer unique benefits, so there is bound to be something that is right for you and your students!

Group Classes

March 2015 Piano Party

My studio recital is coming up, so my students and I have been busy with recital prep. This means we spend a lot of time during the lesson practicing the elements of good stage presence (practicing the bow, etc) and practicing run-throughs by memory. At almost lesson I’ve been teaching this week and last, I’ve been taking video with my iPhone so that we can watch, listen, and discuss afterwards. Having the video running helps the student get a little bit nervous and mentally rehearse what it is like to be at the actual performance.

At the March “Piano Party” (my monthly studio classes) I held on Saturday, we ran a recital rehearsal of sorts.

IMG_2555 Continue reading “March 2015 Piano Party”

Announcements

Celebrating 6 Years of Blogging!

carlitos_BalloonsFebruary 28 marked the six-year anniversary of Color In My Piano!  As previously announced, we are celebrating with a 20% off sale in my digital shop using the promo code 20OFF2015. The sale expires on Friday, March 20, 2015.

I know some of you have been following my blog since its inception, but many of you are new.  It seems appropriate to share a brief history of my blog as part of our blogiversary celebration.

The First Year:

  • It was on February 28, 2009 that I first conceived of this blog and wrote my first post: a welcome and brief statement of purpose.  I found my inspiration largely from Natalie Wickham’s Music Matters Blog and Susan Paradis’ Piano Teacher Resources.  At this point in my life, I was running a successful piano studio of about 20 students out of my parent’s home, and finishing up my Bachelor’s degree in piano performance at Hope College.  I graduated in May of 2009.
  • On July 9, 2009, I decided that I was enjoying blogging enough to go full swing: I came up with the title “Color In My Piano,” bought my own domain name and a year’s worth of web hosting, and gave the site a whole new look.
  • Have you ever wondered about the story behind the name “Color In My Piano?”  The phrase was coined when, during my senior year at Hope College, I was required to write an essay which reflected upon my life so far and summed up my current worldview.  Not surprisingly, much of paper focused on my beliefs about music and the role of the piano/teaching in my life.  In my life, I strive to keep my music-making and teaching from feeling like merely a job or a requirement.  I strive to keep “color in my piano” for both my students and myself.
  • Over the summer, my husband and I moved so we could attend graduate school the next year. In August of 2009, I started my Master’s degree in Piano Pedagogy at Central Michigan University.
  • As of February 28, 2010 (the 1 year anniversary), Color In My Piano had a total of 18,371 views and about 50 email subscribers. The record number of page views in one day was 425 on February 11, 2010.

Continue reading “Celebrating 6 Years of Blogging!”

repertoire / methods

Video: Elena Cobb’s Higgledy Piggledy Jazz

Isn’t it great when you find just the right music, for just the right student, at just the right time?

Back when I first reviewed Elena Cobb’s music in 2012, I had mostly beginner students in my studio having recently relocated to Ohio. Recently, I was pleased to have the opportunity to give Elena’s book of jazz-inspired early intermediate pieces, called Higgledy Piggledy Jazz, to my student, Emma.  Emma has really gone to town with this book — she loves the pieces and loves playing along with the backing tracks on the accompanying CD.

I asked Emma if she would like to take a video to share with the composer and she was thrilled with the idea.  I hope you enjoy Emma’s little wink at the beginning of the video…it pretty well shows her personality!

Check out the rest of the Higgledy Piggledy Jazz book at Elena’s website.

[Note: Emma and I are still working on being able to play those fast triplets loosely and easily. It’s a work in progress!]