Memorization, Practice

Practicing, Learning, and Memorizing for Piano Teachers

I’ve blogged before about my thoughts on and struggles with memorizing music.  I can definitely see improvement over my college years as far as successful memorization goes, but I admittedly still find it discouraging.  I think what makes it frustrating for me is the fact that sight-reading is so easy for me, and memorizing is so not easy.  :)

Some days, I feel like I’ve finally find a method for this memorizing madness, and other days, I feel so far away from reaching a dependable process!  A few weeks ago, I made the decision to when practicing, only “learn” as much music as I can also memorize during the same sitting.  During some practice sessions, I only learn 4 or 8 bars.   On a good day, I can learn a whole page of music.  It’s slow, tedious work, but I looking forward to seeing the results of this experiment once I finish a few pieces using this method.  (It will be awhile.)

So, I’m curious — what do other teachers do?  First, do you find it difficult to find time to practice regularly?  Do you make it a priority to continue learning new classical repertoire?  Do you find opportunities to perform solo classical repertoire, or do you learn it only for your own enjoyment and personal development?  Do you memorize?  HOW do you memorize?!  :)

Photo Credit: MaltaGirl | CC 2.0



Ohio Music Teachers Association 2011 Conference

Any fellow Ohioans out there?  The Ohio Music Teachers Association (affiliated with MTNA) 2011 State Conference will be taking place October 9-11.  It’s occurring in my hometown, which will be very convenient for me.  I’m very excited about meeting some of the other teachers in my area and hearing some great speakers and music.  Among the presenters and performers this year are Marvin Blickenstaff and the Anderson & Roe piano duo.  It’s going to be a great conference!

Speaking of Marvin Blickenstaff, Marvin is going to be hosting the NCKP’s facebook page today, answering questions from teachers.  It should be interesting to follow throughout the day!  Click here to visit their facebook page and see what’s going on.

Early Childhood Music, Games, Group Classes, Music Camps, Printables, Rhythm, Teaching Piano

Just Added: Rainy Rhythm Game

I’ve mentioned before that during grad school, I took an Early Childhood Music course.  One of the things we discussed was using the “sound before sight” philosophy – where the student is exposed to and experiences the concepts before being taught the name or the written notation.  I’ve been doing my best to use this philosophy of teaching music with my Piano Readiness students.

I was reminded of a raindrops & rainbows rhythm game one of my classmates created for an assignment during that course when I saw Anne Crosby’s recent post, which mentioned an activity involving finger-painting raindrops/rainbows.  It immediately occurred to me that the girls in my Piano Readiness Class would LOVE a game involving rainbows, so I put together this printable.  It’s nothing groundbreaking; I’m sure teachers before me have done similar things.  But hopefully this printable might be as useful and convenient for some of you as it was for me!

Continue reading “Just Added: Rainy Rhythm Game”

Forum Q&A's, Professional Development, Studio Business, Teaching Piano

Forum Q&A | Safety Practices for Traveling Teachers

Wow, last week’s Forum Q&A received some great responses about advertising!  Thank you, and be sure to read what everyone had to say by clicking here!  As always, it’s never to late to add  your thoughts to the discussion.

A few days ago, I received an email from a Color In My Piano reader with this question:

When traveling to a new students’ homes, how can you screen students before agreeing to teach them?  What kind of safety precautions can be taken before going to a stranger’s house (especially an adult student)?  If they sound questionable on the phone, is there a way to politely decline giving them lessons?

Please leave your advice in the comments below!

Photo Credit: CarlosLie | CC 2.0
Studio Business, Technology

Studio Marketing: Social Networking & More

I’ve been intending to write this post in the “Studio Marketing” series (perhaps the last one) for awhile now, but I was stalling in hopes of being able to include more information about the new Google+ social networking site……I’ll get to that in a moment.  Read on. :)

What can Social Networking do for YOU? 

I’ve discussed before about how important it is today to have a website for your business.  It’s important to have an online presence, period.  Utilizing social networking helps built rapport between you and your current & potential customers.  Marketing is promoting your business.  It’s about reaching people where they are.  And it’s about creating an image for your business that people want to identify themselves with.

The good news is that social networking is free.  Yes, you will have to invest a little time to set things up and update things now and then, but I think you will find it a very rewarding activity if you aren’t doing it already!  Continue reading “Studio Marketing: Social Networking & More”

Interviews, Rhythm

Teacher Feature | Mariel Mohns

It’s halfway through the month already, which means it’s time for a…

Teacher Feature!  :)  Meet Mariel from Mississippi!

Please tell us about your piano and/or teaching background!

I started taking piano lessons when I was 4 years old and loved piano, but when I was in the 5th or 6th grade, I quit lessons for various reasons.  I continued to play through middle school and high school, and started working on more advanced repertoire on my own.  Since I didn’t have a teacher, however, my technique was very limited.  I was accepted into the Lawrence Conservatory of Music for college, and with the help of my very understanding studio professor, learned proper technique skills I needed to really develop as a pianist.  During my freshman year of college, I taught a few students and HATED it. I never wanted to teach again (I didn’t have the patience for it), but after taking the piano pedagogy courses in college and learning how to formulate lesson plans and a bit more about childhood education, I absolutely fell in love with teaching and knew I wanted to start a private studio!!  Continue reading “Teacher Feature | Mariel Mohns”

Games, Group Classes, Music Camps

Carpet Squares for Working With Groups

Many months ago, I bought a bunch of carpet square samples from a flooring store.  Even though I was still in grad school at the time and didn’t have any real use for them (yet), I had a plan for them.  And they were incredibly cheap.  :)

During last week’s Piano Readiness Class, I got to try them out for the first time!  I put out three squares for my students and myself to sit on while doing activities on the floor.

Here’s what I liked about them:  Continue reading “Carpet Squares for Working With Groups”

Conferences, Professional Development

The Achievement Program Teacher Information Session

Yesterday, I attend a Teacher Information Session for The Achievement Program (TAP) held in Ann Arbor, Michigan (about an hour-and-a-half north of where I live).  Ever since TAP was first announced in March at the 2011 MTNA Conference as a collaboration between the Royal Conservatory and Carnegie Hall, I’ve been interested in learning more about the program and what it has to offer.  The sessions I attended at the MTNA Conference and the NCKP were helpful, but I have to say that attending this 3-hour workshop provided much more insight into the program.  Today, I’m sharing my notes with everything I learned about TAP!

Dr. Andrew Hisey was our presentor.  He began the workshop by giving a brief look at the history of TAP and how this collaboration came about.  Then he talked about the goal of TAP: to connect people coast-to-coast with a common language and share the celebration of accomplishments.  TAP can help people (non-musical or not) recognize certain levels of achievement that our students have reached.  TAP in this way can also help unite independent music teachers across the nation.

The syllabuses for TAP are available as a free download on their website as pdfs.  The Piano Syllabus normally costs $20, but they gave away free hard copies at this session to all attendees.  The current syllabus was revised in 2006.  They revise the syllabus every 7 years to vary the repertoire (about 70% of it stays the same).   Continue reading “The Achievement Program Teacher Information Session”

Early Childhood Music, Games, Group Classes, Printables

Beginner Piano Game: Piano Hands Hunt

I have two 5-year-old students signed up for a Piano Readiness Class, and our first class was yesterday!  We had such a fun time.  We sang songs, listened to music to find/walk to the beat, traced our hands to learn about RH/LH/finger numbers, and more.  Best of all, we played the Piano Hands Hunt game — a simple game I invented on a whim yesterday as I was lesson planning.  It was quite a hit!  The girls asked to play it again next week — a request I’m happy to oblige!

Just added to the Printables > Games page:

Piano Hands Hunt — a music game for 2-6 players.  This simple game is intended for use with young beginners/elementary level students to help them learn RH versus LH, and the finger numbers for piano.  Continue reading “Beginner Piano Game: Piano Hands Hunt”