Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

whitby quote

“For teachers to become better teachers, they must become better learners.”

— Tom Whitby

Feel free to download and share this quote or image.

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Celebrating 7 Years of Blogging!

cropped-Color-In-My-Piano-favicon-icon.pngGreetings!

Guess what: February 28 marked the seven-year anniversary of Color In My Piano!

At this time each year, I like to reflect upon the time that has passed since I started blogging and teaching and recognize how things have grown and changed. I hope, whether you are a longtime or a new follower of Color In My Piano, you will enjoy reading the brief history below.

If you are short on time, please feel free to skip down to the overview of the most recent year.

The First Year

On February 28, 2009, I wrote my first blog post: a welcome and brief statement of purpose. I found my inspiration largely from Natalie Wickham’s Music Matters Blog and Susan Paradis’s Piano Teacher Resources, whose resources I found tremendously helpful and inspiring for my piano teaching. At this point, I was running a successful piano studio of about 20 students out of my parents’ 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 new look.

The name “Color In My Piano” 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. Read More »

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2016 Blogiversary Sale Starting Now

Guess what: next Sunday, February 28, 2016, is the 7-year blogiversary of the Color In My Piano blog. Wahoo! :D

In celebration, I am running my annual 20% off sale on everything in my digital shop. The sale will run for a month, starting today, Monday, February 22 through Saturday, March 19, 2016. Please enter this promo code during checkout to receive the discount: 20OFF2016.

What will you find in my shop?

My favorite Ice Cream Interval Game

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A variety of rhythm cards

Rhythm Cards, Levels 1-3

My composer lapbook PDF series, Great Composers & Their Music

Beethoven both

The Eras of Music History PDF kit…

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There are also a few camp curriculums (So, You Want To Be A Composer? and Music of the World), and more.

View the Shop here. Thanks for looking!

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Recommended: Daniel Patterson’s New Blog

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I recently connected with an Indiana-based piano teacher named Daniel Patterson who is creating a valuable resource for piano teachers: a site called GrowYourMusicStudio.com. Daniel is dedicated to helping teachers attract quality students and make a comfortable living doing what they love.

I’ve read and reviewed Daniel’s first ebook and I consider it highly recommended reading. Click here for the PDF download: The Piano Teacher’s Ultimate Facebook Guide.

Daniel’s first blog post can be found here. You’ll definitely want to subscribe to the email list so you will be notified about new content.

Be sure to check it out!

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Piano Pedagogy Seminar with Carolyn Miller

On Saturday, my local MTNA/OhioMTA chapter — the Northwest District OhioMTA — sponsored a piano pedagogy seminar with composer and teacher Carolyn Miller!

It was an honor to have her present for us. Her first session was entitled: “Matching Music to Inspire and Challenge Students.” She shared with us some helpful thoughts about choosing repertoire to suit students and demonstrated for us a variety of her compositions for students. Carolyn’s compositions are published with Willis Music, F.J.H., and others.

20160130_105452 NW OMTA seminar

Next, Carolyn led group discussion on “Why We Teach Music.” This session was particularly encouraging and rejuvenating to us as teachers!

My friend, Susan West, and I helped Carolyn demonstrate a number of her piano duet compositions.

20160130_113440 NW OMTA seminar copy

Partway through the day, we went to a local restaurant and enjoyed fellowship and conversation over lunch. Here is our group photo with Carolyn before lunch.

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During the third session, we learned about Carolyn’s series of books called: “Sportacular Warmups“. The Sportacular Warmups books were created after the example of the A Dozen A Day books (also published by Willis Music), but have a sports theme integrated throughout the exercises in a clever way.

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We wrapped up the day with a masterclass. Four student participants performed pieces written by Carolyn.

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It was a wonderful day. Carolyn was a gracious and engaging speaker. Teachers who attended remarked that they enjoyed the sessions, the information, and the fellowship with other teachers.

Thanks goes to Carolyn Miller and my fellow members of the Northwest District OhioMTA for a successful day!

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

robertson quote

“Music should never be harmless.”

— Robbie Robertson

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App Review: Musiclock

Musiclock appI’m excited to write this app review, because it is one of the most well-designed and useful apps I’ve come across lately!

Musiclock is a $2.99 app for iPad and iPhone that provides a variety of backing tracks intended to be used while practicing scales or improvising.

The first step is to select a scale. The scale choices are: major, major pentatonic, minor pentatonic, natural minor, melodic minor, harmonic minor, blues, and dominant bebop.

IMG_5067 Read More »

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Sheet Music Christmas Ornament — Gift Idea for Piano Students

Christmas is nearing! Today, I’m busy making sheet music ornaments as gifts for my piano students.

I found this idea from this blogger, thanks to Pinterest. In the video below, I describe my own take on her sheet music ornament idea. (Sorry about the camera angle — it’s not the best, but hopefully you get the idea.)

Materials:

  • Old sheet music paper
  • Jute twine
  • Black pony beads
  • Scissors
  • Hole puncher
  • Ruler

For each ornament, I cut 12 pieces of sheet music into strips measuring 1 inch x 6.5 inches, and then punched holes at each end of the paper. I cut a length of 30 inches of jute twine, folded it in half, knotted it to creae a loop, and added beads and knots at various places along with the sheet music (as described in the video). The last step is to gently pull apart the paper around to form a circular shape. I love how it turned out!

There are many ways to vary the ornament: perhaps cutting smaller strips of sheet music, cutting the paper with fancy-edged scissors, using a different type of bead, etc.

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Thanks for watching. All past broadcasts are here: ColorInMyPiano.com/live/. To watch future broadcasts live, download the free Periscope app (for iOS or Android), search for @joymorinpiano, and hop online on Mondays at noon Eastern time. Hope to see you next time!

Do you have suggestions about what we could discuss in future Periscopes? Please submit your ideas by clicking here. I appreciate your input!

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Christmas Piano Duet Recommendations

Hello, friends!

My piano teacher friend, Susan West, and I have been busy practicing a selection of Christmas duets in order to perform them for a handful of local events during this December. Susan was kind enough to join me for today’s video to share a peek at the books we are using this year for our duet repertoire. Check out our favorite duet books and listen to our live performance of Norman Dello Joio’s O Come All Ye Faithful arrangement in the video below!

2877961Here is the list of piano duet books mentioned in the video:

Do you have Christmas duet recommendations for us to consider for next year? Please leave a comment below!

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Thanks for watching. All past broadcasts are here: ColorInMyPiano.com/live/. To watch future broadcasts live, download the free Periscope app (for iOS or Android), search for @joymorinpiano, and hop online on Mondays at noon Eastern time. Hope to see you next time!

Do you have suggestions about what we could discuss in future Periscopes? Please submit your ideas by clicking here. I appreciate your input!

Posted in broadcasts, repertoire / methods | Tagged , | 9 Responses

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

gandhi quote

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

— Mahatma Gandhi

Feel free to download and share this quote or image.

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Teaching Tool Review: Wright Way Note Finder

wright way note finderWhen I am teaching piano, one of the teaching tools I use frequently is the Wright Way Note Finder (find it on Amazon). I love this tool because it is useful for building a stronger sense of staff-to-keyboard correlation in students in just a few minutes’ time during lessons.

Watch the video below to learn more about how I use the Wright Way Note Finder during lessons. In this video, I also describe what I consider to be the four steps that our minds go through when decoding music on the staff during sight-reading:

  1. Recognizing the note’s location on the staff (e.g., treble clef line #2).
  2. Audiating (hearing in your mind’s ear) the approximate pitch (how high/low is this sound?).
  3. Correlating the note to a specific key location on the keyboard (e.g., the G above Middle C).
  4. Knowing the name of the pitch (e.g., G or sol). This step is not nearly as important as the other three steps; yet, in practice, we and our students tend to overemphasize the importance of the note names. This step is not crucial during sight-reading.

I like to use the Wright Way Note Finder to help the student improve steps 1-3.

Where to find the Wright Way Note Finder and similar tools:

  • The Wright Way Note Finder costs about $12 on Amazon.
  • Alfred Publishing offers a similar tool called the All-In-One Flashcard for about $8. As the video on Alfred’s website shows, the tool is two-sided with letter names printed on one side. And the quarter note can be flipped upside down so that the stem is pointed the proper direction.
  • Slide-A-Note is a similar teaching tool, sold for about $7 at slideanote.com, that shows a sideways printed keyboard for the intent of further building the student’s sense of correlation from staff to keyboard.

Thanks for watching!Wright-Way Note Finger vintage

All past broadcasts are here: ColorInMyPiano.com/live/. To watch future broadcasts live, download the free Periscope app (for iOS or Android), search for @joymorinpiano, and hop online on Mondays at noon Eastern time. Hope to see you next time!

Do you have suggestions about what we could discuss in future Periscopes? Please submit your ideas by clicking here. I appreciate your input!

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2016 OhioMTA Conference

OhioMTALogoLast week, I attended the Ohio Music Teachers Association state conference, held November 12-14 in Columbus. As always, my teaching batteries are recharged after enjoying three days of excellent sessions and wonderful conversation with colleagues. Our OhioMTA conference committee did a fantastic job organizing and running the conference this year.

I’ve created a summary of the conference below, in case you are interested in seeing what our state conference is like! During various sessions of the conference, I used the Periscope app to grab 5-10 minute highlights (those of you already on Periscope might have caught some of those!). Please enjoy watching those clips below.

Warning: Lengthy blog post ahead! :)

2015 OhioMTA Conference

THURSDAY November 12, 2015

1:00-1:50 Dr. Cecilia Yuhda and Dr. Ewelina Boczkowska. Chopin’s Mazurkas: A Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration. This session was a great way to kick-off the conference. The two presenters shared all about their collaboration as pianist and musicologist to study the Chopin Mazurkas.

2:00-2:50 Dr. Ya-Liang Chang. You Are Not Alone: Duet Repertoire that Ignites Studio Teaching and Enhances Collaborative Learning. We gained many duet repertoire ideas from this session.

3:30-4:20 Dr. Christopher Durrenberger. Get into the Action: Piano Technology for Pianists and Pedagogues. This session was both entertaining and informative! We learned about five different aspects of the piano action that any pianist can understand and identify issues regarding.

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