General

12 Podcasts for Piano Teachers to Follow in 2022

Back in February 2021, I shared 12 podcasts for piano teachers to follow. There’s some really great podcasts in that list, so if you haven’t seen it I definitely recommend checking out that post before reading on below!

Since then, a number of new podcasts have launched — some of them very recently. In today’s blog post, I’d like to share with you another selection of 12 podcasts that are new or have come to my attention in recent months. I’ve included links to subscribe via Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, but these podcasts are also available at Overcast, Spotify, or whatever your favorite podcast app. Just search them up by name.

I’ll begin with my must-listen recommendations, and then move into some podcasts I tend to follow only sporadically or am still checking out. I hope you find a few podcasts shows that might interest you!

1.

First of all, I’ll tell you about The Piano Pantry Podcast — a brand new podcast from my good friend, Amy Chaplin of PianoPantry.com. As on her blog, Amy plans to discuss a combination of topics: teaching, organization, cooking/baking, and more. She has released two episodes so far, and I can’t wait to hear more! Subscribe at Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

Continue reading “12 Podcasts for Piano Teachers to Follow in 2022”
Announcements, seasonal / holiday

The 12 Days of Christmas Project…Music Teacher Edition! (2021)

Hello, friends! As previously announced, I recently released a new resource to my shop: The 12 Days of Christmas Project — a kit to help you and your students create a collaborative video performing the traditional carol, The 12 Days of Christmas. I know it’s an odd time to be talking more about it, because Christmas has just passed. But I wanted to share just a couple more things about it before I let it rest. ๐Ÿ™‚

First of all, you might remember in my last blog post I had put out a call for music teachers who might be interested in being part of a “music teacher edition” video of the 12 Days of Christmas. We ended up with 26 music teachers total who participated! Here’s our resulting video. Hope you enjoy!

Second, I wanted to let you know that I created a walkthrough video that gives you a peek at what’s included in The 12 Days of Christmas kit. You can check that out here.

Continue reading “The 12 Days of Christmas Project…Music Teacher Edition! (2021)”
Announcements, seasonal / holiday

Announcing… The 12 Days of Christmas Project: A Collaborative Video Kit

Perhaps of you might recall that last year, I blogged about my students’ collaboration to create a special video as the โ€œgrand finaleโ€ of our 2020 Countdown to the New Year project. It was our own special take on The 12 Days of Christmas (click to watch)!

Continue reading “Announcing… The 12 Days of Christmas Project: A Collaborative Video Kit”
seasonal / holiday, Teaching Piano

My 2021 Student Christmas Gifts

Do you enjoy giving some kind of small gift to your piano students at Christmastime? I don’t feel it’s something we as piano teachers should feel obligated to do. But if it’s something you enjoy, I think it’s a nice gesture! I look forward to coming up with something different each year.

[Click here to see gift ideas from past years!]

This year, inspired by a photo I saw on Instagram, I decided to seek out a local bakery to make some pretty piano cookies for my students. I requested quotes from two bakeries and was thrilled when the first one gave me a rate that was reasonable enough for my budget. I placed my order and couldn’t wait for the pick-up date to arrive.

Over the weekend, I picked up my cookie order. I was so thrilled and pleased with how they turned out! Aren’t they pretty?!

Aria, my constant sidekick, “helped” me put the cookies into individual baggies.

I couldn’t be happier with how these turned out!

Something else new I decided to try this year was to order custom pens with my studio logo. I thought it might be fun to include these pens in the Christmas gift this year, as well as to use around the studio and give out to new students when they join. I ordered through CustomInk.com, which has been a great company to work with in the past when I’ve done T-shirts for my students. The pens turned out nicely! It’s a good thing, because CustomInk.com have a minimum of 300 for pen orders. I will be well stocked for at least a few years! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I also gave each student one of our family photo cards. To add a personal touch, I typed up a short holiday greeting printed onto sticky notes. (Did you know you can print onto sticky notes? It’s so handy for all kinds of projects! To learn how, check out this blog post.)

I packaged everything into bubble wrap mailers to send to my online students back in Ohio.

In my studio, I set up an area for my in-person students to receive their gifts. I’m excited to see my students’ faces when they see the cookies!

After all that hard work, Aria and I were ready to try out a cookie! It was our reward after a job well done. ๐Ÿ™‚

[Check out the video version of this blog post here on Instagram!]

Your turn: Did you plan to give out students gifts this year? If so, what did you come up with? I invite you to leave a comment!

Printables, Worksheets

Just Added: “Identifying Ledger Lines” Music Worksheet

It’s been quite a while since I shared a new worksheet…until today! Here is a brand new worksheet about ledger lines that you are welcome to use with your piano students or music students of any instrument.

The top of the page includes a definition and a graphic demonstrating what ledger lines are. The rest of the page presents a number of ledger line notes and asks the student to identify the letter name of each note. It’s a simple worksheet that might be useful to send home with your students to reinforce the concept after you cover it during a lesson.

Download this FREE worksheet by visiting the Printables > Worksheets page and scrolling down to “Identifying Ledger Lines.”

  Identifying Ledger Lines (92.4 KiB, 448 hits)

PS: I have several other worksheets of a similar format you might be interested in checking out: Introduction to the Staff worksheet, Line & Space Notes worksheet, Identifying Line & Space Notes on the Staff worksheet, Intervals Unison-3rd worksheet, and Intervals Unison-5th worksheet. Hope you enjoy!

Studio Business

Q: Who buys the music books — teacher or student?

Today’s blog post topic comes to you as a result of a question submitted by a reader. The question I received was essentially: How do you go about acquiring music books for piano students and managing the reimbursement/expense?

While there is no single “best” way to do business, there are certainly a number of good options to consider in order to find a procedure that works best for you and your clients. In this blog post, we’ll explore a handful of possible procedures and discuss their potential downsides and upsides.

4 Main Options for Acquiring Music Books and Managing the Expense

As I see it, here are the main options for self-employed music teachers:

  1. You can ask students/parents to purchase their own sheet music.
  2. You can purchase sheet music on behalf of your students and then collect reimbursement afterwards.
  3. You can purchase sheet music on behalf of your students and cover the expense yourself via a special books/material/registration fee.
  4. You can purchase sheet music on behalf of your students and cover the expense as part of the tuition fee charged for piano lessons.

Let’s discuss each option in more depth.

Continue reading “Q: Who buys the music books — teacher or student?”
General

My Toy Piano Refurbishing Project

Recently, I’ve been enjoying a fun DIY project: refurbishing a vintage Jaymar toy piano! My husband saw it for sale on the Shop Goodwill website, saw its potential, and bought it as a surprise for me. The wood case had quite a bit of water damage, but all the keys were playing fine.

I’ve been sharing about this project on my Instagram, so perhaps some of you have seen some of these photos. If you happen to have Instagram, I would actually recommend viewing the photos there (click HERE). But if you don’t have Instagram, please keep reading!

Continue reading “My Toy Piano Refurbishing Project”
repertoire / methods

A Fun Memory and a Great Rote/Halloween Piece for Piano Students

Today, I have a story to share and a recommendation for a fun piece of music for Halloween or anytime!

A few years ago while sifting through a box of old music given to me by a retiring teacher, I came across a piece of sheet music with a distinctive cover I recognized. It was a piano solo called “Big Foot” by Kevin E. Cray and published by Schaum Publications. “Big Foot” was a piece I remembered my younger brother playing back when we were growing up. It was a piece he LOVED and played constantly, especially once he could play it from memory. The piece became a family favorite, one that we would often request he play.

Rediscovering this piece and recalling those memories caused me to want to teach “Bigfoot”! Upon searching online, I was unable to find the sheet music available. So, I assumed it must have gone out of print. I scrounged around through my music library and was able to find the original sheet music my brother used. I felt lucky to have my own personal copy to keep as well as the newly acquired sheet to give to a student.

Continue reading “A Fun Memory and a Great Rote/Halloween Piece for Piano Students”
Games

Getting out my Trick-or-Treat rhythm game!

It’s that time of year — time to pull out my Trick-or-Treat! rhythm game! During the weeks leading up to Halloween, I like to use my Trick-or-Treat rhythm game at pretty much every student’s lesson. It’s a fun way to make students “earn” their treat, and it’s such a great game for building their rhythm skills. Best of all, they LOVE this game!

Continue reading “Getting out my Trick-or-Treat rhythm game!”
Reviews

REVIEW: Carol Matz’s Christmas Music for Piano Students

Are you familiar with Carol Matz and her Interactive Piano Method?

Carol Matz’s Interactive Piano Method is unique for providing a corresponding, interactive online experience for students alongside their printed lesson books. If you’d like to learn more, you can read all about her method here on her website.

But in today’s blog post, I’d like to focus on Carol’s Christmas arrangements. After all, it’s that time of year when many of us are prepping Christmas music for our students!

Around this time last year, I purchased Carol’s Christmas Deluxe Collection, a bundle of 15 studio-licensed pieces. And let me tell you, it was such a lifesaver! It was exactly what I needed at the time, especially given that I was still teaching entirely online at that point. More on this collection later, below.

When I recently found out that Carol was getting ready to release a couple of new bundles this year, I reached out to her to collaborate for this blog post and give you the full scoop. ๐Ÿ™‚ In this review, I’ll give you an overview of all of Carol’s Christmas music offerings as well as a limited-time promo code just for Color In My Piano readers. Read on.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Carol Matz’s Christmas Music for Piano Students”
Conferences

2021 MMTA State Conference

Just popping in for a quick post today!

Last weekend, I attended an incredible 2-day state conference put on by the Michigan Music Teachers Association. I feel so fortunate to be part of such an amazing organization of music teachers here in Michigan. It was an outstanding event โ€” definitely high on my list of memorable conferences. Huge thanks goes to the efforts of many hardworking folks behind it all. Oh, and can I also add, it felt SO good to be back at an in-person music event.

Our guest artist was Norman Krieger; guest conference clinicians were William Chapman Nyaho and Heather Nelson Shouldice (have you checked out her podcast on MLT?); and we also heard from a number of our own MMTA members presenting 20-minute talks.

I also just wanted to let you know that I recently switched my blog over to a new web hosting service. My site has been running on the slow side — perhaps you’ve noticed? After much troubleshooting and tweaks, I finally decided it was time to switch to another service and a faster plan. Things seem to be running super fast now, which makes me a happy camper. I hope your user experience on my website will feel great thanks to the increased speed!

If you have feedback or ever encounter any problems with my blog, don’t hesitate to let me know. I’d love to hear from you!


Your turn: Getting back to state conferences now… For those of you who are members of MTNA, what has been the status of your state organization? Have they been able to remain active in one way or another during the pandemic?