Rhythm

VIDEO: Playing the Trick-or-Treat! Rhythm Game with a Piano Student

Yesterday, my student Robbie and I made a quick video for you, demonstrating how to play my new Trick-or-Treat! Rhythm Game.

Here’s what you’ll find in the video:

  • 0:12 | What to do if a student happens to draw a TREAT card first thing! (This is a rare occurance.)
  • 0:33 | How to teach a student how to perform the rhythm patterns on the TRICK cards accurately. They need to be able to (1) identify the meter, (2) count in before speaking/counting the rhythm pattern, and (3) maintain the meter as they speak/tap the rhythm pattern. (More tips on this below.)
  • 1:00, 1:20, and 1:42 | Watch Robbie chant more rhythm cards.
  • 2:00 | Robbie draws a TREAT card, ending the game.

>>> Watch the video >>>

Below is more elaboration and tips on how to guide your students to perform rhythm patterns accurately. I hope you’ll enjoy hearing my thoughts on this, whether or not you plan to use my Trick-or-Treat! Rhythm Game!

1. Identify the meter as either duple meter or triple meter.

Ask students: “Is this is duple meter or triple meter?” Sometimes I follow up with: “How do you know?”

With these rhythm cards, it’s easy: just look at the way the eighth note beams are grouped!

To make sure it’s not only a visual thing, though, I teach my students to listen to and feel the meter as well.

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Games

NEW in Shop: Trick-or-Treat! Rhythm Game

I’m so excited to announce today a brand new printable game now available in my shop. This is the Trick-or-Treat! rhythm game!

I first started testing this game around this time a year ago. My students were thrilled when I pulled it out again this year!

How does the game work?

This is a fun way to spend the first few minutes of your lessons around Halloween time, to improve your students’ rhythm skills. Playfully inform your student that you have a bowl of treats — but that they must EARN their treat by playing a rhythm game. :)

Choose the appropriate deck for your student (Levels 1-4). Explain to your student: There are TRICK cards and there are TREAT cards. When a TREAT card is drawn, the game is over and it’s time to choose a treat. When a TRICK card is drawn, the student performs the rhythm on the card and then draws again. To begin playing, fan out the cards for the student and ask them to randomly choose a card.

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Teaching Piano

9 Ideas for Your Piano Studio Chalkboard/Whiteboard

Do you have a chalkboard or whiteboard in your piano studio space?

I found this chalkboard at a thrift store a couple of years ago for something like $12. I’ve been experimenting with different things to put on it for my students, and thought I’d share a few ideas today!

1. Studio Name

I always put the studio name somewhere near the top. I’m no professional artist, but I like to experiment with different styles of lettering.

2. Upcoming Dates

Remind your students of upcoming dates and deadlines. This can help parents and students stay in touch with what’s going on!

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Announcements

Session Starting Soon! – My EXCELLENCE IN PIANO TEACHING Online Course

Hi there! Just a quick post today…

How would you like to take a piano pedagogy course from the comfort of your own home?

The next offering of my six-week course, EXCELLENCE IN PIANO TEACHING starts up very soon! It will run October 7 – November 18, 2019. Here’s a peek at what you’ll learn each week:

  1. Business Sense. We’ll get your finances organized so you can focus on the part we all love most: teaching!
  2. On Teaching and Learning. You’ll learn how to maximize student learning through teaching strategies that are research-based and time-tested.
  3. Conducting the Piano Lesson. You’ll learn how to plan for and use in-lesson time in a way most conducive to student success.
  4. All About Piano Methods. You’ll learn the purpose, benefits, and limitations of piano method books and become familiar with the today’s most popular method books.
  5. Piano Technique for Beginners. You’ll learn how to nurture your students towards playing the piano healthily, efficiently, and – most importantly – expressively.
  6. The Student’s Repertoire. You’ll learn how to choose piano literature for your students that is appropriate and suitable so they are happily advancing in their piano studies!

Here’s a video overview and a peek inside the course, so you can see if the [Excellence in Piano Teaching] course is right for you.

Intrigued? Visit the Piano Teacher Institute with Joy Morin website and be sure to join the email list there! Registration links will be emailed out soon.

Thanks for reading!

Reading Notation

Note Rush App — Studio-Wide Challenge!

Three years and counting…Note Rush is still my favorite app for piano teaching! (Hearing about it for the first time? It’s a note recognition app. Check out my original review here!)

Back in 2016, I shared a free printable of a Note Rush chart I made (pictured below) for tracking students’ best times for each of the built-in five levels. (Thanks goes to Note Rush’s developer, Thomas Grayston, for providing the images I needed to create these printables.)

To kick off the new 2019 school year, I decided to hold a studio-wide Note Rush challenge for my students for the month of September. To help facilitate this challenge, I created a few new printables. Below, I’m going to share those printables and tell you all about the challenge. Perhaps you’ll want to consider holding your own Note Rush challenge for your studio!

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Conferences

Summer 2019: NCKP, South Shore Piano Camp, OregonMTA, and More

Hello, readers! Summer is gone, and we’re now into the groove of the new school year. My last blog post shared the details of my recent Piano Teacher Retreat, held August 1-3, 2019. The rest of August went like a blur, due to a variety of travel. Here’s a little bit of a catch-up post!

NCKP 2019: July 24-27

Backing up just a step… The week before the retreat, I attended NCKP 2019. It was a phenomenal conference, as always!

I attended so many great sessions. My favorite was a session given by Louis Svard, presenting on “The Musical World of Infants: What It Can Tell Us About How Children Actually Learn Music.” She has a blog called The Musician’s Brain you can check out here.

I had the privilege of presenting two sessions during NCKP, both on Wednesday as part of the Pre-Conference Seminars. First, I gave a session for the Wellness Track called “Lessons for Piano Teachers from the Alexander Technique.” In this session, I share my experience as a student of the Alexander Technique and how taking AT lessons has impacted me as a musician and piano teacher.

Later that afternoon, I also presented one of my favorite talks: “Piano Method Mining: Gems from Past and Present.” In this session, I provide a survey of piano methods from past to present, highlighting the ones consider most notable and still useful today. The room was full, and I received such wonderful feedback afterwards!

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Announcements

2019 Piano Teacher Retreat Highlights

This was definitely a highlight of my summer — hosting a third annual Piano Teacher Retreat! This involved three days and fourteen teachers exploring this year’s theme: rhythm and Edwin Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT). I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed our shared three days of discussing, learning, laughing, and musicking. It was such an honor and pleasure to spend this time with this wonderful group of teachers. 

The event was held at my home in Bowling Green, Ohio, August 1-3, 2019. Nine of us stayed overnight here in my home, while the other five were hosted at my colleagues’ homes nearby.

These ladies arrived with coordinating black-and-white, and red-white-and-blue! :)

We began our first day by breaking out into small groups to research some introductory information about Edwin E. Gordon’s Music Learning Theory.

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General

Freebie: Lesson Attendance Sheet Updated for 2019-20

Just a quick post today!

I just finished updating one of the studio business forms from the Printables page for the 2019-20 school year.  It is called the Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment PDF.  I do not currently use this form myself anymore, but every year I receive requests from teachers asking if I would update it for the upcoming school year!

In case you haven’t seen this, here is how the form 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.

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

  Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment (2019-20) (203.4 KiB, 29,233 hits)

P.S.: Here is a link to where I explain my more recent system for tracking payments received.

Performances

What To Play at Your Students’ Recitals

[Note: This is a follow-up to 5 Reasons to Perform Alongside Your Students at Studio Recitals.]

Looking for ideas for pieces to play when performing alongside your students at student recitals? Here’s a few considerations.

  • Don’t think your piece has to be long, overly advanced, or showy/virtuosic. The goal is to share something fun and valuable for your students to hear. Why not play a piece your high schoolers could play someday? Why not refresh a piece you’ve previously learned?
  • Is there classical repertoire you are currently working on, or would love for your students to hear? How about a Beethoven or Haydn Sonata movement, or a Chopin Nocturne or Waltz? Or how about a short piece by Debussy, Muczynski, Gershwin, Tcherepnin, or Bartok?
  • Short on practice time? How about an intermediate or advanced sheet music single by a pedagogical composer, such as Melody Bober, Catherine Rollin, or Robert Vandall?
  • How about something familiar and/or popular? For example, an arrangement of a classic such as “What A Wonderful World” or “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”? Or what about a lovely hymn arrangement? For something flashy and fun, how about a virtuosic transcription by Jarrod Radnich? Did you know Nancy Faber wrote a fun jazz/pop arrangement of “Canon in D”?
  • Do you like to compose? How about playing something you wrote yourself? Students with the same inclinations might find this especially inspiring!
  • Do you have an advanced student or colleague who would enjoy playing a duet with you?
  • What friends do you have who play instruments other than piano? It might be fun to collaborate with another instrumentalist.
  • Idea from a reader: Have students vote from a shortlist of pieces you could play at the recital. Surprise them on recital day with the piece that gets the most votes.
  • Switch it up each year!

I’m curious: What are examples of pieces YOU have played at your studio recitals? Please post in the comments.

P.S. Perhaps you’ve noticed: My web host company has been having server issues for the past few days, causing my website to be difficult to access. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. I believe the issue is now resolved. Thanks for understanding!

Performances

5 Reasons To Perform Alongside Your Students at Studio Recitals

Here’s a few reasons why I perform alongside my students at our studio recitals.

1: It creates an opportunity for my students to hear me play. They shouldn’t be surprised that, yes, their piano teacher can perform and play quite nicely! ;)

2: It gives me a goal to practice towards. This is good for me! It makes me practice. 

3: By putting myself through the same performance situation as my students, I stay in touch with what it feels like for my students. Empathy helps me be a better teacher as my students go through the recital preparation process.

4: It creates an opportunity for me to be a good model for my students, in terms of conducting myself onstage, playing well, etc.

5: It’s fun to pick out and perform a special piece to show my students.

I’m curious: Do YOU perform alongside your students at studio recitals?

Edit: Here’s some fun ideas: What To Play at Your Students’ Recitals.

Group Classes, Performances

2019 Masterclass Exchange

Over the weekend, I held my fifth annual masterclass exchange for my students.

What’s a masterclass exchange? Well, it’s when I ask a piano teacher friend/colleague to come in and work with a group of my students. In return, I offer to work with a group of his/her students. I hold this event every year as one of my students’ monthly “Piano Party” group classes. We use it as a way to rehearse for our upcoming studio recital.

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Conferences

MTNA 2019 (6): Wednesday, March 20

[Click here to go back to Day 1Day 2Day 3, Day 4, or Day 5.]

Wednesday is always the final day of the MTNA national conference. There were two morning sessions on the schedule.

8:00am Teaching The Way We Learn: Applications Of Edwin E. Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT), by Amy Chaplin & Joy Morin

Amy Chaplin and I were so pleased when we were notified our proposal was accepted back in June! It was an honor to be able to give our presentation about some of the core principles from Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT) at a national conference.

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