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, 179 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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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. 🙂 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.

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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 — 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?

Early Childhood Music, Group Classes

Review: “Music Play” Early Childhood Music Curriculum by Edwin E. Gordon et al.

In recent conversations with a couple of piano teachers, I was asked there is a review available here on my blog about Music Play, a book I like to draw from for movement and ear/audiation activities with my young daughter and my piano students. Look no further, friends — here’s my full review!

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Teaching Piano

How to Create a “MEET OUR PIANISTS” Student Photo Wall

Back in 2017, I shared my “About Me” Student Profile cards that I hung on the walls in my studio. Now that I am moved back to Michigan and am settled in my new studio, I figured it was time to do something similar again! I love for my students to feel part of a studio community and be able to see each other’s faces, even if only thanks to photos. 😉

And so, I started browsing Pinterest and Amazon to find ideas for various ways to display student photos. In this blog post, I’ll share some of the best ideas I found as well as the resulting photo wall I ended up with for my students. I’ll also share a couple of free printables I created in the process, which you are welcome to use for your own photo wall. Read on, friends!

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Teaching Piano

Meet my new digital piano: a Kawai CN29!

I bought a new digital piano! It’s a Kawai CN29.

The backstory: My grand piano has ivory keys I don’t want to use sanitizers on, so I’ve been using my digital pianos since transitioning my Michigan students to in-person lessons. (Fortunately, I can still use my grand for online lessons!) My current digital pianos are old and in need of update, so I started researching and looking at models at a couple of local stores.

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Motivation

An Update to my Incentive Program and Prize Box for Piano Students

In the past, I’ve shared about my easy, ongoing incentive program for my piano students. You can read a more complete blog post from 2009 about it here.

Basically, the summary is that for every 30 pages of music students learn (or theory pages completed), a prize is earned from the prize box. My goal was to have a simple program that was easy to track and that rewarded the kinds of things my students should be doing anyway. A simple incentive program can make things fun and help reinforce the kinds of things you wish students to be focused on. My students know that a given piece needs to reach a certain level of mastery before they can “pass” it and go on to the next.

I have maintained this simple incentive program consistently for years (although, I’ll admit I’ve taken a little time off from it recently due to pandemic online teaching and relocating to Michigan). However, I recently came up with a slight improvement to this method that I think will make it EVEN EASIER to maintain.

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Studio Business

Freebie: Lesson Attendance Sheet Updated for 2021-22

Just a quick post today! 

I just finished updating one of the studio business forms from my Printables page for the 2021-22 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 multiple requests from teachers asking if I would please update it for the upcoming school year! 

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.

  Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment (2021-22) (177.6 KiB, 33,410 hits)

P.S.: Here is a link to where I explain an alternative system for tracking payments received. But nowadays, I enter everything into a Google Sheet! I explain my system and share the spreadsheet in my online course for piano teachers, Excellence for Piano Teachers. If you’re interested, you can learn more and join the email list to be notified when the next session is offered (usually in January).

Hope you are having a great week, everyone!