Announcements

Register Now: Organize Your Life With Notion

Hello friends!

I’m so pleased to announce that registration is now open for the online workshop Amy Chaplin and I are hosting next month.

Amy and I have been working behind-the-scenes every week to plan a very special event for you and pass along our systems and methodologies for using Notion to make our lives easier as a piano teachers and music professionals. If you like the idea of getting the various areas of YOUR personal and professional life together into a centralized dashboard and digital workspace, please consider joining us!

To learn more about our online workshop and register, view our page with the details HERE.

(Pssst… Just so you know, a special early-bird discount is going on now. So, don’t delay! We hope to see you online March 8-9!)

Announcements

Check out Amy’s Podcast for a Deep-Dive on Evernote vs. Notion

Just a brief note from me today — I wanted to point you a Piano Pantry podcast episode that just dropped from my pal, Amy Chaplin. In this episode, Amy goes on a deep-dive comparing the two productivity apps, Evernote and Notion.

If you know Amy at all, you know that organization is a strength and passion of hers. She’s been a longtime user of Evernote as a tool to capture notes, ideas, and documents. As she describes in her podcast episode, when Notion came on her radar, however, she moved the majority of her Evernote content over to the Notion. In this episode, she also points out the main differences between Evernote and Notion and WHY she decided to make the switch. She also lists examples of how she uses Notion in her daily life.

Take a listen to Amy’s Evernote vs Notion episode (or read the transcript) HERE. And feel free to check out more episodes from her Piano Pantry podcast HERE.

Have a great weekend, friends!

PS: In case you missed it — I published my in-depth Introduction to Notion blog post last week. And Amy and I are working hard right now to prepare a special event: a two-day, online workshop where we help you build your own centralized digital workspace in Notion as a piano teacher. It’ll be held Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9, 2024, from 10:30am to 1:30pm Eastern each day. We are planning an AWESOME event with lots of bonus materials and Notion templates that you won’t want to miss. Please mark your calendar, and stay tuned for registration info soon!

Studio Business

An Introduction to Notion — A Customizable Digital Workspace to Organize Everything in Your Life

Do you find yourself using paper LESS and using apps MORE when managing your to-dos and projects?

I know I do! Although there are a few areas of life where I prefer paper, most of the time I prefer keeping things digital.

In fact, I’ll admit I’m a little bit of a nerd when it comes to following what new apps or platforms are available in the productivity and note-taking space. I find it fun to see what each one has to offer, and if it looks interesting enough I might even take it for a test drive.

In 2021, I revisited a platform called Notion and was blown away with its capabilities. I downloaded a few of their free page templates and started customizing them to my own needs, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Notion has become my go-to hub for keeping track of almost anything in my life, both personal and professional. For me, it has replaced other tools such as Apple Notes, Evernote, Trello, Airtable databases, and even Google Docs/Sheets/Forms in many cases. Notion is simple to use, yet can be incredibly powerful, flexible, and customizable.

In this blog post, I’ll tell you why you might want to give Notion a try, what it can do for you, and how you can get started with it. Perhaps Notion will become an all-in-one place for you to keep your life organized, as it has for me!

Continue reading “An Introduction to Notion — A Customizable Digital Workspace to Organize Everything in Your Life”
Announcements

Workshop Announcement: Organize Your Life With Notion, with Amy & Joy

Hello friends,

Just wanted to let you know about an online workshop by pal Amy Chaplin of PianoPantry.com and I are offering in a couple of months. We’ve both really gotten into using a program/app called Notion as a digital workspace to organize our lives and get things done. And we’re really excited to share all about it and help YOU get started with Notion, too!

We’ll have more details for you soon, but for now we wanted you to save these dates in your calendar. The online workshop will take place over two days, Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9, 2024, from 10:30am to 1:30pm Eastern each day. There will also be a bonus follow-up Q&A session a week later, on Friday, March 22. We are planning an awesome event, and you won’t want to miss this!

Stay tuned for more details, as well as my upcoming blog post sharing why I love Notion and how I use it in both personal and professional aspects of my life.

Happy Wednesday to you!

Announcements

Announcing “Incidental Music for Piano: 12 Extendable Pieces for the Young Silent-Film Pianist,” by Joy Morin

In a couple of my recent posts about silent film recitals for piano students, I mentioned my latest publication — a set of easy pieces for young silent-film pianists. But I didn’t give it the full announcement it deserved. So, here it is! Today, I’m pleased to tell you more about this collection of pieces I composed during the second half of 2023.

Continue reading “Announcing “Incidental Music for Piano: 12 Extendable Pieces for the Young Silent-Film Pianist,” by Joy Morin”
Performances

NEW: Printables for Your Silent Film Recital

As promised in my recent blog post about organizing a Silent Film Recital for your piano students, today I’m sharing a few printables/templates I created for my Silent Film Recital.

Here’s what I’ll share:

  1. A silent film recital program AND a multiple choice quiz featuring facts about Buster Keaton and silent films
  2. The “welcome” image I showed on the TV/projector screen before the recital started
  3. The recital invitation I created for students to invite their friends and family to the event.

Before I get into it, I should let you know that these templates were all created using Canva.com — my favorite resource for creating graphics or documents (e.g., worksheets, images for blog/social media, and much more). To access the templates linked below and edit them for your own use, you will need to create a free account with Canva.

If you haven’t used Canva before, you might be thanking me later for introducing you to it. It’s a fantastic resource for creating attractive documents and images for whatever purpose you might have in mind. Many of the graphic elements at your fingertips in Canva are free to use, but you can also purchase premium elements very affordably (think, ~$1 each) if you want to. (BTW, if you use my referral link to set up your free Canva account, you’ll earn a Canva Credit to get one premium item for free!)

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

1. Recital Program & Quiz for Your Silent Film Recital

First up, here is the recital program I designed for my student’s Silent Film Recital. The movie camera graphics you see here were available in Canva — I just changed the colors and arranged the elements the way I wanted at the top of the page.

As you can see, I included a short blurb summarizing the silent film at the top. Then, I create a table that showed the various “chapters” or scenes from the film, the name of the performing student, and the titles of the pieces they played.

At the bottom of the recital program, I listed a few solo pieces my students performed after the silent film showing. Feel free to edit any and all of these program elements to suit your own recital plans!

If you scroll down while viewing this template in Canva, you’ll also find the silent film quiz I made using fun facts about Buster Keaton and silent films in general. During my recital, I had the audience work in groups by family to complete this quiz while my students played their solos as background music. After about 15 minutes or so, we went through the correct answers and I awarded a prize (movie gift card, microwave popcorn, candy, etc.) to the family who guessed the most correct answers. This worked even better than I envisioned and was a lot of fun!

When we took our Silent Film Recital on the road and performed it again at a local retirement center, I wanted attendees to be able to take the quiz sheet back to their room to complete on their own time. So, there are actually THREE versions of the quiz provided in my template: one has no answers, one has has the correct answers circled (an answer sheet), and one has the answers provided upside-down in the margin. Version 1 is suitable for an event where you wish to lead everyone through the answers verbally at the end. Version 2 is an answer sheet for you to use in that same setting. Version 3 is a version with answers provided for attendees to complete on their own time just for fun.

After making your edits to this template, click the menu option Share > Download > PDF download. From there, the PDF should download to your computer. You can then print out whichever pages you wish to use.

>>> Get the Silent Film Recital Program & Quiz template here.

2. Welcome Screen Slide for Silent Film Recital

Next up, I created this simple welcome image to put on the TV/projector screen as a way to greet folks as they arrived to the event.

Just open the template in Canva, edit the details for your own recital event, and then hit the menu options Share > Download to download it as a JPG or PNG image. View the image in full screen mode on your computer while connected to the TV or projector via an HDMI cable, and voila — it will show on the screen.

>>> Get the Welcome Screen Slide template here.

3. Invitation for Silent Film Recital

Finally, here is the template for some simple invitations I created for my students’ Silent Film Recital.

Edit this template in Canva to fill in your own information, and then hit Share > Download > PDF. After printing out the PDF, cut the invitations apart and give them to your students to give out to their families and friends.

>>> Get the Silent Film Recital Invitations template here.


If you are planning your own Silent Film Recital, I hope you’ll find these templates useful!

Performances

How to Organize a Silent Film Recital for Piano Students

As mentioned previously, my students and I successfully presented a Silent Film Recital a couple of months ago. (Highlights and photos here!)

As promised, I’d like to share the details of how we did it and give you a guide on how to plan your own Silent Film Recital. The process was so much fun from beginning to end, and I definitely recommend it to other piano teachers looking to spice things up with a unique recital format that is memorable and fun.

In this article, I’ll first share how I became interested in organizing a silent film recital. Then, we’ll discuss the following steps for organizing a silent film recital for your piano students: (1) Selecting a Film, (2) Sourcing the Music, (3) Matching Music to the Film, (4) Preparing Students, and (5) Hosting a Silent Film Recital.

Continue reading “How to Organize a Silent Film Recital for Piano Students”
Announcements

Replay Video: A Walk-Through of Keys at Play, Book 1

Hello teachers,

Yesterday, I hosted a Zoom walk-through session of my new book, Keys at Play, Book 1. I enjoyed being able to share my work, and appreciated the positive feedback I received afterwards! 

In case you missed it, I did record the session and am passing along the replay video link for you to watch at your leisure.  

As stated during the session, I hope this walk-through feels like someone sitting beside you and talking through the book with you. I hope this helps you decide whether my book will be useful to you and worthwhile to integrate into your teaching – as it has been for me and my students. 

Enjoy the walk-through, and thanks so much for your interest in my work! 

PS: I have ideas for another Zoom session with a different focus I’d like to offer in the next month or two. Stay tuned for details by joining this separate Keys at Play email list.

Performances

Highlights from My Students’ Silent Film Recitals

This past weekend concluded a three-weekend run of Silent Film Recitals I hosted for my piano students, and let me tell you — it was such a fun project to organize! I really enjoyed this as an opportunity for my students and myself to try a performance event different from a typical piano recital and learn about the historic art form of silent film accompaniment.

Continue reading “Highlights from My Students’ Silent Film Recitals”
Announcements

Announcing: Keys at Play, Book 1: 88 Progressive Pieces for Pianists of All Ages

Hello friends,

I have an announcement to share today — one that’s been a long time coming. I won’t beat around the bush. I wrote a book! It’s called Keys at Play, Book 1: 88 Progressive Pieces for Pianists of All Ages. And it’s available for order now, across the world, in hardcopy form.

Continue reading “Announcing: Keys at Play, Book 1: 88 Progressive Pieces for Pianists of All Ages”
seasonal / holiday

My 2023 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. Often, it’s a music-themed ornament for their Christmas tree, but not always. Some years, it’s a homemade gift; other years, it’s store-bought.

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

This year, I started browsing and brainstorming early. I found quite a few nice ideas on Amazon. (Later in this post, I’ll share a link to a whole list of ideas I considered.)

But as soon as I saw these sequin music note keychains, I immediately ordered them!

Continue reading “My 2023 Christmas Gifts for Piano Students”
Games

Playing my Trick-or-Treat Rhythm Game with my 3-Year-Old

As promised in my last post, today I’m sharing a recent short video of my daughter, Aria, and I playing my Trick-or-Treat rhythm game. In fact, we took this video clip earlier today!

I’ve been playing this game with Aria daily for the past two weeks or so. I don’t ask Aria to read the rhythms on the cards, as I might with my older students. She’s three-and-a-half years of age, and my priorities are on developing her ear and musical understanding of that which she hears (i.e., audiation).

So, instead we use a variation of the game where the teacher reads and performs the rhythm pattern, and the student echoes it back. This is a valuable activity not just for young students, but for any student especially as they encounter new rhythm elements. (Read more about how I use this game with my students here.)

Anyway, please enjoy this short video and my time-stamped notes below. I hope you get some new ideas or inspiration from watching our interaction!

Continue reading “Playing my Trick-or-Treat Rhythm Game with my 3-Year-Old”