repertoire / methods, Retreat

2017 Piano Teacher Retreat

Hello, readers!

I’m so excited to share with you some photos from the three-day Piano Teacher Retreat I hosted earlier this month.  

On Thursday the 17th, 12 piano teachers arrived for our retreat activities. They came from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Virginia, Ontario (Canada), …and even as far as Georgia!

Including my friend Amy Chaplin (who was in charge of delicious meals for us!) and myself, this added up to 14 piano teachers in “Piano Manor” — which is what my students and I fondly call my home studio. :)

My chief goal with my Piano Teacher Retreat was to create a professional development experience with no single “expert” to learn from, but instead with all attendees collaborating and sharing their thoughts and experiences, toward the goal of growing together to become better teachers.

Don’t get me wrong: I love conferences, but if we really want to create an experience that results in the greatest amount of learning, we need to create learning experiences that very closely replicate the actual desired skill or behavior.

To that end, this was not a professional development experience where attendees sat in their seats and passively listened. Nope. At Piano Teacher Retreat, everybody participates. :) All 14 of us kept busy through group discussion sessions, studying certain method books with a partner, and presenting our findings with the rest of the group. We were hands-on and interactive!

Continue reading “2017 Piano Teacher Retreat”

Retreat

2017 Retreat | Piano Method Mining: Uncovering Nuggets of Wisdom From Method Books.

Hi there!

Today, I just wanted to share a little bit more regarding the retreat for piano teachers I’m planning in August 17-19, 2017.

The topic our retreat will be centered around is: Piano Method Mining: Uncovering Nuggets of Wisdom From Method Books.

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE looking through piano method books — both old and new — to see what wisdom I can gain from each approach.

Just look at the beautiful color art of these two old piano methods! I can’t help but drool. ;)

This is the corner of my studio where all my piano method books live.

During the retreat, you’ll have the opportunity to share your own insights as we pore through a variety of piano method books published through the decades. We will all benefit from collective wisdom through combining our knowledge and experiences. I can’t wait!

Here’s the full description of the event:

Retreat at Piano Manor is a three-day experience for piano teachers to getaway in order to connect, ask questions, share, and become better teachers for our students. Together, we will explore the wisdom from piano methods beginning with early treatises and concluding with piano methods published in the 21st century. You will share your insights and teaching experiences with the rest of the group, and work with fellow attendees to review certain method books in-depth. While at “Piano Manor,” you’ll also enjoy relaxing downtime and deliciously healthy food planned by my foodie friend, Amy Chaplin of PianoPantry.com.

At the end of the three days, you will have knowledge of the range of available piano method books, both old and new, and how to choose among them to match your students’ needs and desires. You’ll be equipped with the knowledge and confidence to try new method books of your choice, to increase your range of options and keep your teaching fresh. You will know when and how to supplement a method as needed, so your students develop musical skills without undue effort. Using this knowledge and skill set, you can create custom-tailored curriculums designed to nurture happily progressing students in your studio. Retreat at Piano Manor will leave you feeling inspired and connected, with newly formed friendships and fresh ideas for your teaching.

If you are interested in attending the retreat, read more here and then please be sure to join this special email list. The registration information will be sent out within the next week or so.

If you can’t attend the retreat, don’t worry: I’ll be sharing highlights in weeks ahead — of both the preparation process as well as the actual retreat activities. Watch here on the blog as well as my facebook page for updates!

Announcements, Professional Development, Retreat

Announcing: Piano Teacher Retreat, August 17-19, 2017

Hello, friends!

I’m very excited to invite you to attend a retreat for piano teachers taking place at my home studio this summer.

Retreat at Piano Manor is a three-day getaway for piano teachers to connect, recharge, share, and learn from each another. During this unique experience, you will have opportunity to contribute and benefit from collective wisdom during group discussions, projects, and even relaxing downtime. While at “Piano Manor,” you’ll also enjoy deliciously healthy food planned by my foodie friend, Amy Chaplin of PianoPantry.com. Retreat at Piano Manor will leave you feeling inspired and connected, with newly formed friendships and fresh ideas for your teaching.

Our topic of focus is Piano Method Mining: Uncovering Nuggets of Wisdom From Method Books. I’ll be sharing more details very soon about what we will do during our group retreat experience.

Retreat at Piano Manor is happening August 17-19, 2017, at my home studio in northwest Ohio. I hope you’ll consider being a part of this!

More details are available at: pianoteacherretreat.com. The full schedule and registration will be posted soon. In the meantime, be sure to join the email list to receive details in your inbox as they become available. 

Thanks for reading!

Announcements, Conferences

2016 IndianaMTA Conference

Over the weekend, I attended the Indiana Music Teachers Association‘s annual state conference at Goshen College. I was honored to have the opportunity to give a presentation during their wonderful event.

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My session was called, Schumann’s Big Bang: The Ever-Expanding Universe of Piano Literature for Children. It was so fun to share my research and discuss the huge range of music we piano teachers are fortunate to have available to us.  Continue reading “2016 IndianaMTA Conference”

Music Learning Theory, Professional Development

2016 GIML Training (3): Wrap-Up Post

[See previous post: 2015 GIML Training (2): A Great First Week]

On Saturday, I returned from a fruitful and enjoyable two-week stay in Brookline, Massachusetts, receiving Piano Certification training through the Gordon Institute for Music Learning. I am still processing everything I learned, but am excited to begin sharing about the experience with you all.

As I mentioned in the last post, we were in class from 9:00am-4:30pm each day. It was like being back in school!

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Our teachers for this course were Marilyn Lowe, Jennifer Fisher, and intern Janna Olson.

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Marilyn is the author of the Music Moves for Piano method, the only piano method to-date that is based on Edwin Gordon’s work.

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We spent class time listening to lectures, discussing learning theories, and participating in movement and singing activities.

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In the evenings, we studied and read from Dr. Gordon’s tome, “Learning Sequences in Music.” Eating cannoli made the studying even sweeter.

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Each day, we were assigned to compose a melody in a particular mode (major, harmonic minor, dorian, phrygian, etc.). The following day, we shared our melodies with the group.

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Between the two weeks of training, we found time to explore Boston.

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Here we are exploring the Harvard campus in Cambridge.

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And here is a group of us enjoying dinner at a classmate’s home nearby. (Thanks for hosting, Rachel!)

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Here I am with Marilyn, after receiving certification.

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And here I am with my travel buddy, Amy Chaplin of PianoPantry.com.

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By the way, Amy and I used Airbnb.com to find a place to stay during the course. This was our first experience using Airbnb, and I can happily say it was a positive one. We stayed in a third story of an old Victorian home. Our apartment was absolutely perfect for us. I definitely intend to use airbnb for future trips. (Want to check it out? Use this link to receive a $30 travel credit.)

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Here is a group photo of our entire class.

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In upcoming weeks and months, I look forward to incorporating what I learned into my teaching. Stay tuned for more on this.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the blog post that Amy just posted with her own summary of our experience in Boston.

Happy weekend, friends!

Update: Read more about Music Learning Theory (MLT) here

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!

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”

improving as a teacher, Professional Development, Technology

Clavier Companion Nov/Dec issue: The Future of Piano Teaching

1622601_818136588208658_571019086351640113_nHave you seen the latest issue of Clavier Companion magazine?

The Nov/Dec 2014 issue marks the beginning of a series called “The Future of Piano Teaching.”  In this issue, you’ll find twelve short musings written by various pedagogues about their thoughts on the future of piano teaching.  These short musings will be followed by a series of longer, more in-depth articles in future issues.

I was proud to submit one of those short musings (you’ll find it on page 29) alongside my colleagues, including fellow bloggers Leila Viss, Mario Ajero, Jennifer Foxx, and Wendy Stevens.  My longer, follow-up article will be published in a future issue.

Not subscribed to Clavier Companion?  It is an outstanding, forward-thinking magazine for piano teachers.  Tell your family you would like to receive a subscription as a Christmas gift.  Request access to an issue free here.

Conferences, improving as a teacher, Professional Development

Forum Q&A | Attending Conferences

The last Forum Q&A post was about assignment notebooks/pages for students.  It was wonderful to read all the great responses!  Click here to read the comments, and click here to read my follow-up where I share my method of tracking assignments.

Being able to attend state and national-level conferences is one of the many benefits of being a member of MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) and other professional music organizations.  I am a firm believer in the importance of ongoing professional development for piano teachers (and any teachers, for that matter).  So, today’s Forum Q&A is all about conferences!

To you, what is the most valuable part of attending conferences?  What tips do you have for making conference attendance more affordable and feasible?  If you haven’t attended conferences regularly/before, what’s holding you back? 

Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Conferences, Professional Development

The Achievement Program Teacher Information Session

Yesterday, I attend a Teacher Information Session for The Achievement Program (TAP) held in Ann Arbor, Michigan (about an hour-and-a-half north of where I live).  Ever since TAP was first announced in March at the 2011 MTNA Conference as a collaboration between the Royal Conservatory and Carnegie Hall, I’ve been interested in learning more about the program and what it has to offer.  The sessions I attended at the MTNA Conference and the NCKP were helpful, but I have to say that attending this 3-hour workshop provided much more insight into the program.  Today, I’m sharing my notes with everything I learned about TAP!

Dr. Andrew Hisey was our presentor.  He began the workshop by giving a brief look at the history of TAP and how this collaboration came about.  Then he talked about the goal of TAP: to connect people coast-to-coast with a common language and share the celebration of accomplishments.  TAP can help people (non-musical or not) recognize certain levels of achievement that our students have reached.  TAP in this way can also help unite independent music teachers across the nation.

The syllabuses for TAP are available as a free download on their website as pdfs.  The Piano Syllabus normally costs $20, but they gave away free hard copies at this session to all attendees.  The current syllabus was revised in 2006.  They revise the syllabus every 7 years to vary the repertoire (about 70% of it stays the same).   Continue reading “The Achievement Program Teacher Information Session”