Games

How to Organize Your Games for Piano Lessons

Do you have a collection of games, flashcards, and props to use during piano lessons with your students? Are they organized so you can find things when you need them?

As you probably know, your teaching resources are only as helpful as your organizational system. When things are out-of-place or impossible to find (we’ve all been there!), those items unfortunately cannot do you — or your student — any good.

The key is to have a system in place where you always know where to find and put things. As the saying goes: “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” Your system needs to make sense to you, and it may be as unique as you are.

In this post, I’ll describe my method for organizing my teaching games/materials and share how you can set up a similar system if you desire. I hope you’ll gain some tips or ideas for how you can organize your favorite piano teaching resources to be readily at your fingertips!

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General, Reviews

Favorite Books I Read in 2022 (& 2021)

Happy 2023! The new year is here, which is often a time we use to think back over the past year and reflect upon the upcoming year.

While here on the blog I’ve often shared reviews of books on an individual basis, I thought I’d try a year-end post sharing a variety of favorite books from the past year.

In 2022, I made an effort to expand beyond my usual type of reading and try some books outside of what I’d normally choose. For me, this meant more memoirs and even a science fiction novel. I’m glad I explored, because I found some books I really, really enjoyed.

Something else different for me this year was reading almost exclusively in an e-book format. While in the past, I’ve been really into audiobooks and, of course, hardcopy books, this year I found the convenience of being able to read on my device using night-friendly settings to be a lifesaver. Being able to read without turning on the lights is nice when you are up late at night dealing with insomnia thanks to pregnancy or a newborn!

I purchased some of these books from Amazon as Kindle e-books. For others, I was able to take advantage of my local library’s apps for e-reading — Libby and Hoopla. I highly recommend checking out what your local library has to offer. Or, you can find these books at your favorite local bookstore or online shop.

Without further ado, here’s my list of favorite books from 2022…plus a few bonus favorites from 2021.

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General, seasonal / holiday

My 2022 Christmas Gifts for Piano Students

Do you enjoy giving some kind of small gift to your piano students at Christmastime? I do! I enjoy giving something small but thoughtful to make them smile. I try to come up with something different each year.

Note: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my blog!

This year, I was pleased to find some really lovely and affordable music-themed ornament options on Amazon. In fact, I could hardly decide which one to go with!

I ended up choosing the wooden sheet music ornaments pictured below, and am very happy with my decision. They are light-weight, but nice quality wood ornaments with a sheet music print and blackened edges. The package comes as a set of 24 ornaments with 8 different shapes: hearts, pine trees, reindeers, snowmen, bells, round ornaments, stars, and snowflakes. You must attach the strings yourself, but they are included.

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seasonal / holiday

Christmas Gifts for Piano Students, 2011-2021

Hello, teacher friends! Today, I thought I would make an update this flashback post sharing ideas for piano student gift ideas. Read on to see what ideas I’ve done in the past…and stay tuned for tomorrow, when I’ll share what I’ve planned for this year!

I don’t think it’s necessary to give your piano students gifts at Christmastime, but it’s a nice gesture if you feel so inspired! Some years, I’ve kept it pretty simple while other years I have felt inspired to take on a more time-intensive project. I hope you’ll enjoy browsing this post and perhaps gaining an idea or two to tuck away for the future!

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Studio Business

Freebie: Lesson Attendance Sheet Updated for 2022-23

I just updated one of the studio business forms from my Printables page for the 2022-23 school year.  It is called the Lesson Attendance & Payment Sheet PDF.  Even though I don’t personally use this sheet myself anymore (I now charge a monthly flat tuition rate), every year I receive requests from teachers asking if I would please update it for the upcoming school year. And I’m happy to do so! 

In case you haven’t seen this from before, here is how it works: Write your students’ names in the first column.  Each week, write the lesson date (in a month / date format) in the column for that week.  This is how you can track attendance.  The small circles in each cell are where you can write checkmarks indicating tuition payments.  Whether you charge by-the-week or by-the-month, you can place a checkmark by each paid lesson date.

Download it below or on the Printables > Studio Business page.

  Lesson Attendance & Payment Sheet (2022-23) (137.3 KiB, 34,951 hits)

Printables, Technique

Freebie: Technical Requirements Charts for RCM’s 2022 Piano Syllabus

Have you heard? The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) has recently released the newly revised 2022 Piano Syllabus for their practical examinations. They are also releasing new editions of the wonderful Celebration Series piano literature collection (available soon). What exciting news for piano teachers!

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Conferences

2022 MTNA Virtual Conference Recap

A couple of weeks ago, I joined a few piano teacher friends to virtually attend the 2022 MTNA Virtual National Conference from March 26-30, 2022. Although I definitely prefer in-person conferences over virtual conferences, I have to say that joining up with some buddies to watch the sessions together was a really excellent second option!

My friend Amy Chaplin (of PianoPantry.com) was kind enough to offer to host us in her home…and even cook for us! The rest of our crew included Christina Whitlock (of The Beyond Measure podcast) and Janna Williamson (intermediate repertoire guru offering a fantastic YouTube channel for piano teachers).

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Reviews

Music Notation Software Recommendations for Teachers and Students

I’ve recently had two questions from fellow piano teachers come through my “Ask Me Anything” form asking for advice regarding music notation software. Thinking there might be others of you out there wondering about the same thing, I thought I would publish my answer in today’s blog post!

Introduction

Once upon a time, the two main options for music notation software were Finale and Sibelius — plus a free open-source software called Musescore. Nowadays, we also have online-based software as well as apps for phones/tablets to consider.

While I can’t claim to be familiar with ALL of the options available today (especially the variety of apps out there), I am happy to share my experience and personal recommendations below. If you have additional recommendations, I hope you’ll share them with us in the comment section of this blog post!

Let’s get into it. I’ll start by recommending what I consider to be good starting points for students or teachers who are newly interested in composition and/or music notation software. Then, I’ll get into what I recommend for serious or experienced composers who wish to invest in professional-grade software.

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Announcements

A Bit of News to Share…

Aria’s shirt bears the latest news around here: we are expecting baby #2! It’s another girl, and the due date is early September. <3

We’re thankful for this gift! And I’m feeling happy to move beyond the first trimester symptoms (for me, fatigue and nausea)! 🙂

I had originally been planning to offer a session of my online course for piano teachers, Excellence in Piano Teaching, this summer (see institute.joymorin.com), but I’ve decided to put this on hold for now until after baby. Sorry to anyone who was hoping to take it this year! If you’re on my email list, you’ll be sure to receive any updates about when the next offering will be.

Despite dealing with first trimester symptoms, I’ve tried to prioritize keeping up work on a particularly exciting project which I hope to be able to share more about in the upcoming months. I won’t say more at this point, but I hope your curiosity is piqued and you’ll stay tuned! 😉

In the meantime, I’ll still be blogging here-and-there. I also invite you to follow along with my occasional personal updates and everyday photos HERE on Instagram!

Thanks for reading!

Giveaways

Giveaway Winners & 20% OFF Sale Continues

It’s time to announce the thirteen randomly-selected winners of our giveaway celebrating ColorInMyPiano.com’s 13th birthday. Congrats goes to Benjamin, Phyllis, Lynn, Emily, Karen, Lori, Debbie, Susan, Naomi, Renee, Elizabeth, and Valerie! Winners, please check your inbox for an email from me.

Everyone else — thank you so much for entering and THANK YOU for the thoughtful comments! It made me smile to hear about which resources have been your favorites over the past few years.

Here’s hoping to many more years talking about piano teaching here at ColorInMyPiano.com!

PS: Don’t forget — my once-a-year 20% off sale continues through March 31, 2022. Enter the promo code 13YEARS during checkout to receive 20% off all items in the shop! Take a peek here. I hope you’ll find something for you and your students to enjoy. Thanks for supporting my work!

Giveaways

What could YOU win? (March 2022 Giveaway)

Just a friendly reminder to enter the giveaway before time runs out! As part of our celebration of ColorInMyPiano.com turning 13, YOU could win any item of your choice from my shop. 13 winners will be randomly selected on Monday, March 7, 2022 — so enter now!

What could you potentially win? Well, here’s a quick highlight in photo form:

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