Piano Studio Room Transformation

The last two weeks have been such a blur!  My husband and I are fully moved into our new home and have begun the process of unpacking and getting settled.  Last weekend, our priority was getting the piano studio room painted because my piano was scheduled to get professionally moved yesterday.  Here are some photos of the room’s transformation!

In my last blog post, I shared a couple of photos of the room, but here are a few more BEFORE shots for comparison. When you enter the front door, you can take the stairway downstairs that leads straight to the piano studio room.

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Worksheet: About the Piano Scavenger Hunt

Last Saturday, I held the last Piano Party (monthly group class) for the school year.  Our theme was to talk about the piano as an instrument: how it makes sound, types of piano, why the piano must be tuned, etc.

Here is a simple worksheet I used at the beginning of class to kick things off:

Piano Scavenger Hunt worksheet

I allowed students to work alone or in groups to complete this worksheet.  I told them they could get up and go to the piano to answer the questions if needed.

I think this worksheet would be a fun activity for a private student’s first lesson as well!

Download the free PDF by visiting the Printables > Worksheets page and scrolling down to “Piano Scavenger Hunt.”

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Moving Adventures

My husband and I have been happily renting this house for the past three years:

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This Spring, we decided we were interested in buying our own house.  We were pre-approved for a mortgage and started shopping.

Finding a house with a good space for my studio was a priority.  We found a great house in Perrysburg, Ohio, which is 20 minutes north of where we currently live.  It is not as charming on the outside as the rental house, but we hope to be able to increase the curb appeal.

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Piano Teacher Institute Update

2Since last week’s announcement, I have been spending every spare moment of my time writing the course material to be able to offer a six-week course this summer.  It is challenging work, but I’m having a blast.  I’m happy to announce that the Week 1 coursework is complete and Week 2 is nearly complete.

As I’ve been writing, I have also been revising the schedule of topics somewhat.  It is bound to change again as I continue writing, but here is how it currently looks:

  1. Business Sense — business structures, bookkeeping, taxes, marketing, and more.
  2. On Teaching and Learning — teaching objectives, learning styles, and developmental stages.
  3. Developing Music Literacy in Students — music literacy, music education philosophies, a history and overview of current piano methods.
  4. Piano Technique for Beginners — developing posture, hand shape, fingering, pedaling, and more.
  5. Finding and Choosing Repertoire — leveling, publishers, anthologies, editions and more.
  6. Lesson/Curriculum Planning — leading the lesson, making assignment sheets, effective practicing, and planning long-term for students.

I have received a lot of interest and feedback (thanks so much!), and the email list is still growing.  Allow me to answer a couple of questions that I have received:

> > > Why is registration limited to 10 people?  

As much as possible, I want this course to feel like an in-person group class — except better.  I know that I could certainly utilize a webinar format for the course, which would allow me to reach many more people at once.  However, I’m not interested in big.  I want to keep things small.  I want to be able to get-to-know each person who takes the course and work closely with them as they make their way through the material.  I want to be able to give detailed feedback on the assignments/projects and be able to have great small-group discussions.  Visit the institute.joymorin.com to learn more about the class format.

So, the first offering of this course will be open to the first 10 teachers who register.  I definitely plan to offer the course again in the Fall, and I will definitely re-evaluate at that time to decide whether 10 is still a good number.  (Registration will open sometime in May.  The cost has not yet been set.)

> > > Would you consider offering separate, per-topic courses?  

I am writing the course in such a way that the six weekly topics are co-dependent and flow into each other.  I do not plan to break-up these six topics, although that certainly does not mean that there will not be certain topics in the future that I could potentially offer as a stand-alone course.  We will see how things progress from here!

Thanks for your support, friends, during this new project!  Let me know if you have other questions I can answer.

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“If a child hears fine music from the day of his birth and learns to play it himself, he develops sensitivity, discipline and endurance. He gets a beautiful heart.”

–  Dr. Shin’ichi Suzuki

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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Announcing: Piano Teacher Institute with Joy Morin

I received nearly 300 responses to my survey about offering an online piano course for piano teachers.  I was so encouraged by your comments that I immediately began writing the course material to be able to offer a 6-week course this summer.  Thanks so much for your feedback!  I am SO excited about this endeavor.

Here is the official announcement:

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Here is how the online course will work:

  • Registrants will receive a username and login to the course page.  Each week on Sunday, new coursework is added to the website.  Each week’s material will focus on a different topic.  After downloading the PDFs, you can study the coursework from your computer or tablet.  Many supplemental PDF examples, forms, and other resources will also be available for download.
  • Completed assignments can be emailed to Joy if you are interested in receiving feedback.  All assignments are optional, allowing you the flexibility to decide how your time is best spent.
  • Every Friday during the course, you will be invited to participate in a live video chat via Google Hangout.  This is your chance to ask questions and interact with Joy and others who are taking the course.  (Non-registrants are invited to observe the Google Hangout occurring live from Joy’s YouTube channel, or watch the recorded video afterwards.)
  • A forum will be available on the website, allowing you to post questions or participate in discussions with other registrants at any time.

2014-Summer

This summer’s 6-week course is intended for piano teachers seeking to learn more about business topics, piano methods, pedagogy, and much more.  This jam-packed course is perfect for the new piano teacher as well as for the experienced piano teachers who looking to revitalize their teaching.  You won’t be disappointed!

Here is the list of weekly topics I hope to cover between June 9 – July 28:

  1. Business Sense – business structures, bookkeeping, taxes, marketing, and more.
  2. Developing Music Literacy in Students – teaching objectives, learning styles, and a history and overview of current piano methods.
  3. Finding and Choosing Repertoire – leveling, publishers, anthologies, and more.
  4. Lesson/Curriculum Planning – leading the lesson, making assignment sheets, and planning long-term for students.
  5. More info coming soon!
  6. More info coming soon! 

The dates and topics are somewhat tentative and the cost has not yet been set.  Please stay tuned as the details continue to fall into place.  :)

Registration opens in May and will be open to only 10 teachers (I want to be sure to have time to give feedback to all the registrant’s assignments. I will probably offer the course again in the Fall if there is enough interest.).  Visit institute.joymorin.com to learn more and sign-up for the email list for the latest updates about this course and future courses.

Posted in piano pedagogy, professional development, what I'm up to | Tagged , , | 17 Responses

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“I was obliged to be industrious.  Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally as well.”

– Johann Sebastian Bach

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.

Posted in Words of Wisdom | Tagged | 1 Response

Mozart Lapbook Fun

Mozart lapbookA reader recently sent me the kindest email telling me about how her recent “Mozart party” went with her students.  They used the Mozart Great Composers & Their Music lapbook that is available in my shop.  It was so fun to read about how Mary’s Mozart lesson went!

Hi Joy,

The Mozart Party was a success!  We watched about 15-20 min. of a video Meet the Composers w/ Mozart, I played Rondo ala Turka, Mozart’s Twinkle Variations, (just three of them) and the Overture to Figaro for them…made some posters/listening maps to go along w/ pieces., and then it was “Scrapbook” time.  I used the term “scrapbook” rather than “lapbook”  just for familiarity’s sake.

There were 16 students, from Kindergarten through 7th grade!  They really enjoyed putting together their scrapbooks, and your suggestions were so helpful, especially “Pass out one page at a time.”  The older kids were quite independent, using the model I made as a guide.  Little ones needed more direction, but no one was lost or frustrated…as far as I could tell.  It took anywhere from 45 min. to an hour, just as you suggested, for everyone to finish.

Thank you again for putting this together. The entire package was thoughtfully researched and composed, it used a nice variety of “crafting” techniques (accordian folds and such), and my students enjoyed both the process and the product. Parents were pleased also, and I even received feedback that some grandparents were impressed!

Wishing you the best,

Mary

If anyone has questions about using this lapbooking curriculum for a group class or camp, please feel free to ask.  I’d be happy to answer your questions!
Mozart lapbook inside
Posted in music history | Tagged | 1 Response

Survey: Interest In A Summer Online Course for Piano Teachers

Greetings!

Summer is going to be here before we know it!  I have been spending time lately planning my summer lessons/camps.

And guess what:  I have also been contemplating the possibility of offering an online summer course for  piano teachers.  You all know how passionate I am about pedagogy and piano teaching.  And I love to share! :)

What do you think?  Would you be willing to give me some feedback about the idea?

If you are willing to help out, please complete the survey.  There are just eight questions, so it won’t require much of your time.  I appreciate it!

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2014 Spring Recital

This year at our Spring Recital, I decided to ask a friend to take photos.  I just received the photos from her and I love how this group photo turned out!

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MTNA 2014 (4) — Bruce Berr: Teaching the Emotional Aspects of the Form

Bruce Berr is the author of many well-loved articles featured in the Clavier Companion magazine as well as the American Music Teachers magazine (the magazine for MTNA members). His session described his method of teaching students how to identify form through hearing and studying the emotional elements in musical works. It was fascinating to see how form can be so clearly heard by paying attention to what Mr. Berr referred to as the piece’s “energyscape.”

Mr. Berr showed a diagram of layered slurs representing the micro and macro elements of form we can study: the sub-phrases, phrases, sections, and finally, the entire piece. It is important to get a large overview of the piece first. Attention to detail is crucial, but ought not be at the expense of seeing the big picture.

The energyscape is the found by paying attention to the energy levels (aka “temperature”) throughout a piece.  Sonata Form, for example, tends to have its own unique temperature pattern. Read More »

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MTNA 2014 (3) — Randall Faber: Ages and Stages: Adventures At All Levels

Sunday morning, I attended a wonderful exhibiter showcase by Randall Faber, co-author with Nancy Faber of the Piano Adventures method. Mr. Faber’s sessions are always wonderfully pedagogical and inspirational, and this one was no different!

Randall Faber: Ages and Stages: Adventures At All Levels

Mr. Faber began by discussing the “adventure” part of the Piano Adventure method’s title. “Adventure” comes from “adventura” which means “optimism; destined to be great.” Another related word, “advent,” means “anticipation or looking forward to something coming to fruition.”

Where are our students on the adventure? We can take the time to celebrate: “Wow, we finished the purple books and now you get to be in the red books!” Late beginner students can begin with the “Accelerated” version of the Piano Adventures books.

For young beginners, there is the “My First Piano Adventures” books. The focus of these books is play-based or “adventure” learning. Mr. Faber showed a triangle diagram with the corners marked: “fun, foray, and feedback,” which he called the “play” dynamic.

For some students, practicing is probably the least fun part of study — especially scales. We often think of technique as merely scales and finger movement. But technique in the Piano Adventures is about artistry and building larger physical gestures that support finger movement. Read More »

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