Professional Development

What We Can Learn From Considering One’s Ideal Piano Teacher Life

Last week, I asked: If you could somehow magically have the life of your dreams, what would your piano teacher life look like?

(Read the entire prompt here.)

Thank you for the responses you posted, both here on the blog as well as on facebook. I enjoyed reading them.

I pondered the questions myself, and even did a little bit of journaling on the topic. I found it very beneficial, and want to share some of my realizations with you. If you found it fun to ponder the previous set of questions, I’d like to invite you to join me in exploring the additional questions below.


As I journaled about my ideal piano teacher life, I realized I’m already doing many of the things that I would consider part of my dream life as a piano teacher. What a wonderful reminder: I’m already living the dream! At times, I need reminders to count my blessings and take nothing for granted.

As you consider your own ideal piano teacher life, ask yourself: Which of these things am I already doing? 

I’m happy with my current teaching schedule. There isn’t much I’d want to change about my teaching space. I’m happy to have a career I enjoy so much. I have much to be thankful for.


As you recall, the original prompt encouraged us to think big: If you could somehow magically have the piano teacher life of your dream, what would it look like?

I hope you journaled at least one thing that was completely outrageous. :) Continue reading “What We Can Learn From Considering One’s Ideal Piano Teacher Life”

Retreat

2017 Retreat: Schedule Now Posted

Just a quick post today to let you know that the Retreat at Piano Manor schedule has been posted on the retreat website here.

By the way: From now on, I’ll be sending registration information to the separate retreat email list instead of here on the blog. So, if you plan to attend, please be sure to join that email list!

If you can’t attend the retreat in person, don’t worry. Here on the blog, I will still be sharing plenty about the retreat so that you can experience it vicariously with us. Stay tuned!

Piano Teacher Institute, Professional Development

Fall 2016 Online Course – Piano Teacher Institute

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Just sending out a quick email today to announce that registration for the upcoming Fall 2016 session of my Piano Pedagogy 101 online course will be available this Friday (July 29) at 9am Eastern time.

Are you wondering if this online course is right for you?


“Joy Morin’s pedagogy course is an excellent learning tool for new piano teachers or teachers wanting to refresh their pedagogy knowledge.”

–piano teacher in Canada


Here is our calendar for the upcoming session.

  • Week 1: August 29-September 4
  • Week 2: September 5-11
  • Week 3: September 12-18
  • Week 4: September 19-25
  • Week 5: September 26-October 2
  • Week 6: October 3-9

Continue reading “Fall 2016 Online Course – Piano Teacher Institute”

Announcements

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. Continue reading “Celebrating 7 Years of Blogging!”

Conferences, improving as a teacher, Professional Development

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.

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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.

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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!

Announcements, Studio Business

Feature in “The Savvy Music Teacher” by David Cutler

This came in the mail yesterday:

The Savvy Music Teacher

The Savvy Music Teacher a brand new book that has just been released by Oxford University Press from author David Cutler, author of The Savvy Musician. I was excited to see the mention of my story and my blog’s shop on page 158 after being interviewed by the author a year ago! This book is going to be a great resource to help musicians figure out how to make a livable and comfortable living doing what they love.

Find the book on Amazon here.

Professional Development, Technology

Podcasts and Audiobooks for Piano Teachers

Earlier this week, I mentioned my guest appearance on Tim Topham’s podcast for piano teachers. Today, I wanted to tell you about a few other great podcasts and also talk about my latest indulgence: audiobooks!

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First, what is a podcast?

A podcast is a audio channel of sorts, often created by bloggers, with regular new episode updates. There are podcasts available on every topic imaginable, including piano teaching! Continue reading “Podcasts and Audiobooks for Piano Teachers”

Conferences

MTNA 2012 Conference | Session on Ethics for Music Teachers

Wednesday morning of the conference, I attended a session called “it’s More Than Just Being Nice” by Kathy Strickland, the Washington State Ethics Chair with help from Amy Grinsteiner.

Kathy covered a variety of topics about our responsibility as teachers.  Here’s some of her points:

  • Treat students with respect.  Don’t accept just the talented students.
  • Teach concert etiquette to parents and students.
  • Do not copy music!  It’s legal in the case of a one-time educational session (after which the copies should be destroyed).  But in most other cases, it is illegal.  And when teachers pass on illegal copies to students, we make them complacent in the crime.  Continue reading “MTNA 2012 Conference | Session on Ethics for Music Teachers”
Early Childhood Music, Group Classes, Music Camps

How I Lesson Plan for Group Classes

I’ve had a few requests lately from readers regarding more info about what kind of activities I do with my Homeschool Music Classes and Piano Readiness classes, so I thought it might first be a good idea to first give you a peek into how I lesson plan for group classes.  Although I don’t lesson plan for teaching private lessons, I do always make a plan for group classes.

At each class, we begin and end with a “Hello Song” and “Goodbye Song.”  Students like having this routine, and they are very good at reminding me about the songs if I forget about them!  I have the students tap the beat on their knees (as we sit cross-legged on our carpet squares) while we sing.  That way, I can tell if they are engaged even if they aren’t singing all the lyrics for one reason or another.

When I lesson plan the evening before the next day’s class, I try to include the following things:  Continue reading “How I Lesson Plan for Group Classes”

Early Childhood Music, repertoire / methods, Reviews

First Thoughts Regarding Faber’s “My First Piano Adventure”

As big of a fan as I am of Nancy & Randall Faber’s materials for piano students, somehow I’ve never had a chance to try out their “My First Piano Adventure” books — until now.  After trying out this book with a new 5-year-old student last week, I am wondering why in the world didn’t I check this out sooner?!

My First Piano Adventure is designed for young beginners, ages 5 and 6.  I suspect that 4-year-olds would also thrive using this book, and maybe even precocious 3-year-olds — but don’t quote me on that until I’ve had more time to test it out.

The Lesson Book comes with a CD full of fun songs and activities that teach the student about basic technique, how to make different sounds on the piano, and much more.  The CD alone is worth the price of the Lesson Book!!   Parents can play the CD at home or in the car so the student is hearing them all week long.  I bought my own copy to play during lessons — but I also plan to use some of the songs on the CD with my Piano Readiness Classes and Homeschool Music class because they are that good.  :)  Many of the songs involve some pretty creative activities for learning basic piano technique — which is great, because I am always on the lookout for finding effective ways to teach young beginners proper technique. Continue reading “First Thoughts Regarding Faber’s “My First Piano Adventure””

Forum Q&A's, improving as a teacher, Professional Development

Forum Q&A | New Year’s Resolutions for Piano Teachers

I’ve already blogged a bit about my New Year’s Resolution.  Now it’s your turn!

Our previous Q&A Forum brought about a great discussion about whether or not to lesson plan for piano lessons (and if so, how to feasibly do so even if you have a large studio).  Today, let’s start a discussion about what change you’d like to make in your teaching this year!  I think it’s important as teachers to continually be making little changes and looking for ways to improve our teaching.  It not only makes us better teachers, but it also helps keep things fresh for our students as well as ourselves.  :)

So, tell us:

  • As a piano teacher, what would you like to START doing this year?
  • What would you like to STOP doing this year?
  • What would you like to KEEP doing this year?

Comment away!