Teaching Piano

Easy Black Key Improvisation

Today, I’m at the Ohio Music Teachers Association conference (affiliated with MTNA) all day!  Yes, in case you are wondering, I will be posting notes from the sessions I attend later this week.  :)

But for now, I wanted to share a quick video of a black key improvisation from a recent piano lesson with one of my new students.  This is only the third time we’ve tried an improvisation together, and each time I’ve noticed that Andelus instinctively creates a motif or theme that she uses throughout the improvisation, which is great because it creates a natural sense of unity for the composition!  (Great job, Andelus!)

For this improvisation, the only discussion beforehand was “You may play any of the black keys,” and “Let’s make a happy, upbeat improvisation!”  Enjoy!!


Continue reading “Easy Black Key Improvisation”

Interviews, Performances

Teacher Feature | Shauna Leavitt

October is here, and so is another Teacher Feature!  Meet Shauna from the Leavitt Piano Studio in Viginia!

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

Background:  I started teaching when I was 16 with the assistance of my mother who runs a successful piano studio in Utah.  I taught upstairs while she taught downstairs and whenever I needed help, she was always there to mentor me along.  I was fortunate to grow up near Brigham Young University where I studied with wonderful Professors there (Dr. Douglas Humpherys and Dr. Robert Smith).  When I started attending Dr. Humpherys’ weekly college master-classes, I knew that I wanted to be a piano major when I went to college.  Continue reading “Teacher Feature | Shauna Leavitt”

Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

From Mr Holland’s Opus:

Vice Principal Wolters: “I care about these kids just as much as you do. And if I’m forced to choose between Mozart and reading and writing and long division, I choose long division.”
Glenn Holland: “Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want, Gene. Sooner or later, these kids aren’t going to have anything to read or write about.”

Every Wednesday brings Words of Wisdom here at the Color in my Piano blog in the form of a musical quote or joke, intended to bring inspiration or humor to the middle of your week. Have suggestions? Send an email off to admin[at]colorinmypiano.com.

improving as a teacher, Studio Business, Teaching Piano

Forum Q&A | The Role of the Parent

I apologize for being a bit MIA around the blog lately.  I have a couple of projects that I am working on right now for my local MTNA association.  One of them is designing a website.  It’s about half-way done and if you’re interested in taking a sneak peek, you can click here to see it.  :)

Anyway, our last Forum Q&A was a discussion about accepting and then teaching adult students at the students’ homes.  We also hit on a few other situations, like females teaching male adult students at the teacher’s home.  There was a good overall consensus about handling such situations.  It’s so great to get advice and support from others, so thank you all for your contributions to the discussion!  (As always, it’s never too late to comment if you haven’t already!)

Here’s the question for today:

What is the ideal role for the parents when it comes to piano lessons?  If a parent asks about what they can be doing to help and support their child, what is your answer?  Do you require or encourage parents to sit in on lessons?  Do you require parents to help young beginners practice?  Do you hold yearly or semesterly meetings with parents to discuss progress?  

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks | CC 2.0