Piano Recital Program Template #4

On Saturday, my students performed at our annual Spring Recital.  (I know it is not technically Spring yet — just wishful thinking!)  We had a great day and I’m so proud of my students and their hard work.

Here is a peek at this year’s recital program:

DSC_20140317_093319 web_1

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iPad App Review & Giveaway: MMF Piano Primer

app MFF piano primerMaking Music Fun’s Piano Primer – $1.99 for iPad only.

Many of you are perhaps familiar with the Making Music Fun website, which contains a variety of free worksheets and sheet music.  MMF created Andrew Fling has recently released his first iPad app, which is essentially a digital version of his Piano Primer PDF.

From within the app, students can read from the 19 pieces of sheet music, listen to recordings of each piece, and easily view a “Note Name/Keyboard Chart.”

MFF piano primer screenshots

A note about the pedagogy of this primer:  It uses the Middle C Reading Approach.  It begins with on-staff note reading with the thumb on C.  In all of the pieces, students play in C position.  Keyboard layout, rhythmic elements (rhythm values and time signatures), staff/keyboard correlation, and fingering are briefly taught during the four-page introduction.

Although I would not use this app as a core method book with a beginner student (due to its pedagogical approach), I do think the pieces from the app have practical use as supplemental pieces.  My only complaints about the app itself is that (1) one cannot print the music from the app, and (2) page numbers are missing.  I plan to download the PDF to my GoodNotes app so that I can conveniently print during the lesson.

I love the idea of having music available for students to play within an app, especially with recordings of the music so readily available within the app.

Disclosure: I received a free download of the MFF app but I was under to obligation to write a positive review.  I always write my honest opinions!  

Andy has offered two promo codes for a giveaway.  Leave a comment on this post to enter — tell me about your Spring Recital plans if you have them!  (My Spring Recital is tomorrow!)  The winner will be randomly drawn on Wednesday, March 19, 2014.

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iPad App Review: Piano Carnival

Check out this awesome, recently-released iPad app:

app Piano CarnivalPiano Carnival Interactive E-Book – FREE for iPad only.

This app was created by Sonya (a friend of mine) and her sister Elizabeth Schumann.  Piano Carnival is an interactive eBook that contains delightful illustrations, reads the poetry aloud to the view, and plays videos of the Schumann sisters playing Saint-Saens’ music “Carnival of the Animals.”


Here is a quick video that demonstrates what this delightful app can do:


This trailer video gives some background into the app’s creation.  Sonya and Elizabeth have also created a companion page on their website that contains lesson plans and more resources related to Carnival of the Animals.  Be sure to take a look at all of the resources offered there!

It is exciting to see more apps released that take advantage of the full capabilities of the iPad!

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March 2014 Piano Party: Master Class

My students are currently preparing pieces for a local Ribbon Festival as well as my studio’s annual recital.  (I always hold my Spring recital in March or April — I think May gets too busy!)

In order to help prepare them for these events, I decided to ask my friend, Loretta, to give a master class for my students during our “Piano Party” group class this month.  Loretta and I became friends during grad school while earning our pedagogy degrees.  She currently runs a multi-teacher studio in Lansing, Michigan.

Loretta loved the idea and asked if I would give a master class for her students in return.  It turned out to be a great exchange and a very positive experience for all of our students!

Here is a group photo of me with some of Loretta’s students after our master class:

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Celebrating 5 Years!

carlitos_BalloonsFriday marked the five-year anniversary of Color In My Piano!  I meant to write this post on Friday, but I have been preparing tax documents all weekend instead.  I finished gathering all of the paperwork yesterday and am bringing it to our CPA today.

Enough about the unpleasantness of taxes!  Let’s celebrate five years!!

Have you ever wondered why I chose the name “Color In My Piano?”  Here is the story:  The phrase was coined when, during my senior year of undergrad at Hope College, I was required to write a lengthy essay which reflected upon the past experiences of my life and summed up my current worldview.  Not surprisingly, much of paper focused on my beliefs about music and the role of the piano in my life.  I believe music is much more than a series of notes strung together.  It is a powerful force that can influence our emotions, encourage, heal, and energize.  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.

In case you are interested, below is a run-down of the history of the Color In My Piano blog over the past five years.   Read More »

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“Meet the student where they are, not where you are, and not where you want them to be, but where they really are.”

– Frances Clark

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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Sale Reminder

Just a quick reminder:

There are only THREE days left to shop during the February 20% sale, in celebration of the 5-year blogiversary of ColorInMyPiano.

In the shop, you will find PDF’s of Rhythm Cards, the Prompts for Composition e-Book, and the “Great Composers & Their Music” lapbooking curriculum — perfect for group classes or music camps.

You will need to enter the following code during check-out in order to receive the sale price.  This sale won’t be back until next year, so plan accordingly!  Copy the code below and then click here to visit the shop.


The code will expire on February 28, 2014.

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About Running Summer Music Camps/Workshops

Are you thinking about holding any camps/workshops during the summer months?  Here are some great reasons to consider holding camps:

  • It allows you to reinforce concepts or cover topics that are difficult to cover during private lessons.  E.g., music history, rhythm, improvisation, composition.
  • It is a great way to build camaraderie among your students.
  • It allows you to have a different/lighter teaching schedule during the summer if you desire.
  • It creates the possibility of increasing your income during the summer months. Read More »
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Red Leaf Pianoworks

2014 Red Leaf Pianoworks Ohio flyer copyI love the internet.  Without it, I would have far fewer friends and contacts in the piano teacher world, wouldn’t you?

A few months ago, I connected with Canadian piano teacher and composer, Martha Hill Duncan.  She stated that she would be in my area in February during her husband’s sabbatical and so I asked if she would be willing to give a presentation about the music of Red Leaf Pianoworks at my home.  She said yes!

If you aren’t familiar with Red Leaf Pianoworks — It is a group of Canadian composers who collaborate to promote their self-published piano compositions. They have a website here and you may have seen them in the exhibit hall at conferences such as MTNA or NCKP.

Martha talked about the composers behind Red Leaf Pianoworks and demonstrated samples of their music for us.  It was fun to learn a little about each person and get a taste of each person’s unique musical voice.

  • Janet Gieck
  • Rebekah Maxner — (Remember my review of Rebekah’s book, “Madge’s Notebook“?)
  • Martha Hill Duncan
  • Beverly Porter
  • Susan Griesdale
  • Teresa Richert
  • Joanne Bender
  • John Burge

One of the things I noticed as I was listening to the pieces was how teachable the pieces were, while at the same time requiring students to get out of the typical five-finger positions that many American piano methods promote.  I am always on the lookout for supplemental books that get students moving around the keyboard more.

Martha and my colleague try out a piano duet.


We had a lovely morning.  Afterwards, Martha, her husband, and I went out for lunch.

photo (6)

Be sure to check out the Red Leaf Pianoworks website here.

One of the questions I asked Martha was whether the Red Leaf Pianoworks has considered selling individual pieces as a PDF download from their website (and with the license for unlimited studio use — I love that!).  She said they haven’t talked about it much but may consider it for the future.  If this is something you would be interested in, leave a comment below to give Martha some feedback about this!  I’m sure they would appreciate hearing from teachers.

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“The word ‘listen’ contains the same letters as the word ‘silent’.”

– Alfred Brendel

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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Field Trip to the Faber Piano Institute

Did you know that the authors of the Piano Adventures method, Nancy and Randall Faber, live in Ann Arbor, Michigan?  Did you know that the Faber Piano Institute in Ann Arbor is only an hour away from where I live?!

My local MTNA chapter, the Wood-Ottawa Counties OhioMTA, organized a field trip for us to visit the Faber Piano Institute last Friday.  We had a fantastic time.  The Fabers and their staff were most welcoming and hospitable.


The Faber Piano Institute is located in a building that previously was a library.  They created smaller rooms for teaching studios in one half of the building.  There are around seven teachers who give lessons at the Faber Piano Institute.  Read More »

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

A few piano teachers have sent me photos of their piano valentines.  It is so fun to see the creative variations that each teacher came up with!

Photo from Leia Sharma:

Piano Valentine - Leia Sharma

Photo from Barrymond.  She says: “I cut and pasted a top flight poster board on a paper to provide a firm base. Then I used black and pink sharpie to make it a bit colorful. I had a lot of fun making it!”

Piano Valentine - Berrymond

Photo from Tracy Capps Selle:

Piano Valentine - Tracy Capps Selle

Photo from Susanne Gavel.  It looks like she printed on both pink and red paper.

Piano Valentine - Susanne Gravel

Photo from Jennifer Lorys.  She gave chocolate to the kids and wine to the adult students!

Piano Valentine - Jennifer Lorys

Happy Valentine’s Day, all!

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