seasonal / holiday

Upcoming February Fun

Guess what!  February 28 marks the 5 year anniversary of this blog.  How awesome is that?!

In celebration of the upcoming blogiversary, I wanted to announce that I will be holding a sale for the month of February: 20% off the items in the shop (ends February 28, 2014)!  Stay tuned for the details.  Perhaps you will want to start planning ahead for your summer camps so you can purchase some material while it is on sale.  :)

February also brings Valentine’s Day.  I thought I’d remind you that I have a couple of free piano-related Valentine printables available.

This is the valentine I designed last year.  It is quick and easy to cut these out for your piano students.  Click here to learn more.


The valentine pictured below requires a little more assembly, but they are very cute.  :)  Click here to learn more.

Studio Business

Chair for Piano Teaching

Since moving to my current town, I have been using a hard wooden chair (a $5 find at Goodwill) when I teach piano lessons.

Two-and-a-half-years later, I decided it was high time I bought something more comfortable.  On wheels.  And less creaky.  :)

The space next to the piano is tight, so I knew I needed a compact chair.  A friend who also teaches piano in my town found this great little chair at IKEA and I ended up buying the same one.  But not before trying out all of the other wheeled chairs at IKEA.  :)  This one is a gem:


Don’t you just love finding just the right things for your everyday use?  This chair is comfortable and perfect for my small space.

Check it out at IKEA:  Gregor swivel chair.

Reading Notation, Teaching Piano

Duet Recommendations for Sight-Reading

Yesterday’s blog post described the benefits of using duets in the lesson for improving sight-reading.  Today, I have a few recommendations for books that work well for this purpose.

“Improve Your Sight-Reading! Duets” by Paul Harris

19832058These books are gold, I tell you!  I found these books when they were featured on the “New Items” rack at my local music store a few months ago.  I purchased the Grades 0-1 book (Beginner to Early Elementary) and the Grades 2-3 book (Elementary to Late Elementary). I hope additional levels will be released soon!  This series is published by Faber Music (not to be confused with Nancy & Randy Faber’s materials).

Take a look at some sample pages below.  One page is marked as the teacher’s page and the other page is marked as the pupil’s page.  The sight-reading examples are short and sweet.   Continue reading “Duet Recommendations for Sight-Reading”

Reading Notation, Teaching Piano

Using Duets to Improve Sight-Reading

Most of the time, my students get plenty of practice sight-reading just from trying out their new pieces each week during their lessons.  If necessary, I will have students purchase a dedicated sight-reading book.  However, my favorite way to improve sight-reading with students is through frequent duet sight-reading together.  

At each lesson with students who need improvement with sight-reading, we save the last 1-3 minutes of the lesson for playing a duet or two together.  It is a wonderful way to end a lesson!  

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Why do duets work so well for improving sight-reading?  There are many reasons:  Continue reading “Using Duets to Improve Sight-Reading”

Studio Business, Technology

In Snowy Weather…Teaching Via FaceTime/Skype

This is what it looks like outside our house today:


Much of the U.S. is currently experiencing a “polar vortex.”  Here in Ohio, there is around 8 inches of snow on the ground and the wind chill has been around -35 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime.  Local schools and universities have cancelled classes yesterday and today.  Our county has declared a Level 3 Snow Emergency, which means people are not allowed to travel on the roads unless it is an emergency (or else risk a fine or arrest).

What to do about piano lessons?  Continue reading “In Snowy Weather…Teaching Via FaceTime/Skype”

Group Classes

Using YouTube During Group Classes

YouTube_logo_standard_whiteAt my monthly group classes (we call them “Piano Parties”), I like to begin the class by showing an inspiring or humorous video on YouTube.  In the past, I’ve shown:

Last Saturday, I showed my students a video by Zach Heyde.  Zach Heyde is a college student with a passion for composing/arranging.  In this video, Zach and his friend, Frank Tedesco, play Zach’s duet, “Sleigh Ride Duet Fantasy.”   Continue reading “Using YouTube During Group Classes”

Announcements, Professional Development

New Year’s Thoughts for Piano Teachers

2014 clipartI am not usually a person to make New Year’s resolutions, but for me the New Year is definitely a time of reflection on the past year and future.

Looking Back

Here are some big things that happened in 2013 that I’m especially thankful for:

  • I’m thankful for a full studio of 35 students!  It took 2.5 years to fill my schedule after moving to our current town.
  • I’m thankful that my husband, Paul, finished his second Master’s degree in May and that he found a great job the following month.  Hooray for financial stability and health insurance!  It couldn’t have come at a better time because my health insurance under my parents also expired in June.

Looking Forward

A few times this week, this article discussing the distinction between goal-setting and habit-setting came through my facebook newsfeed.  The article suggests that success is found in creating a system or process for reaching goal, rather than in setting the goal itself.  This may seem obvious, but sometimes we make the mistake of setting a goal without thinking about what it will really take to make the goal happen.

I’d like to go a step further and suggest that in order to increase the chances of success, the goal being set should be process-oriented.   Continue reading “New Year’s Thoughts for Piano Teachers”