Reviews

Book Review – Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

You might be wondering why I’m reviewing a non-piano-related book here on my blog. Bear with me – the reasons will become clear in a moment!

I remember hearing about this New York Times Bestseller when it came out in 2014. Although it sounded interesting to me at the time, I’m reading it for the first time recently. After finding out we were pregnant last summer and soon afterwards experiencing the woes of first trimester nausea and occasional midnight insomnia, I was suddenly on the hunt for an ebook I could read in bed on my phone without disturbing my sleeping husband. I liked the idea of reading something related to our new adventure as soon-to-be-parents, but was looking for something less information-driven than classics such as “What To Expect When You’re Expecting“. After seeing a recommendation for “Bringing Up Bébé” and reading its reviews on Amazon, I felt this book was just what I was looking for.

In this book, the author, journalist Pamela Druckerman, recounts her experience as an American raising a baby (and later, two more) in France. Soon after moving to Paris, she began noticing certain stark differences in child-rearing approaches in France compared to those typical in the United States. She started paying attention to this and asking questions — even stashing a notebook in her diaper bag — and investigating to see if she could learn more about how the French parent their children.

Druckerman noticed French children are generally well-behaved in public, waiting calmly for meals to arrive and waiting their turn to speak. French children enjoy a diversity of prepared vegetables, proteins, and salads and are accustomed to eating meals served in courses alongside their parents at designated times (8am, noon, 4pm snacktime, and 8pm), while American parents often expect their children might refuse to eat much else besides “kid food” (such as mac and cheese, chicken fingers, and snack food). French children are encouraged to be autonomous and independent in their play, being allowed more room to become absorbed and find pleasure in an activity for its own sake. In contrast, American parents might follow their children around the playground, delivering praise for mundanities such as going down the slide or tying their shoes. While French babies learn to “do their nights” around three months of age, American parents expect to function (or perhaps, not function) in a sleep-deprived manner for a year or more until baby begins to sleep through the night.

Continue reading “Book Review – Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting”
Studio Business

Inviting Piano Students to Remove Their Shoes

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_ecc0.jpgAs shared in this post, my husband and I recently relocated from Bowling Green, Ohio to Saline, Michigan (outside Ann Arbor). I’m sure I’ll share a full tour of my new piano room, but for today, I wanted to share a simple solution I found to help remind my students to remove their shoes when they arrive.

My new piano room is carpeted, and it’s a light color. I didn’t always enforce the “shoes off” rule in my previous home, but I decided I wanted to be more consistent about that here.

The main way to achieve that is to train students from the first time they are at the studio. However, I thought it might be nice to also add a friendly reminder for them to see when they arrive.

This is the entryway area to my studio. Continue reading “Inviting Piano Students to Remove Their Shoes”

Announcements

Moving from Ohio to Michigan!

I’ve been a bit slow with updates here the blog recently…and there’s been lots of big life changes over recent months! If you happen to follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you might have seen some of these updates. But for those of you who haven’t, here’s what’s new in my world…

My husband and I are expecting a baby! It won’t be long now before she’ll be making her debut. :) 2wS1FMxXTnCd0XFqd6zx%w_thumb_e4d4.jpg

Knowing that Baby was on the way, my husband and I decided it was finally time to make work of relocating closer to family. We’ve been living in Ohio for about eight years now, ever since he began a Masters Degree program in English here. After graduation, my husband found employment in marketing and communications in Toledo, Ohio before landing a marketing position at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan — an hour’s drive from home. We decided he’s been making the long daily commute long enough!

My husband’s family lives in the Ann Arbor area. Moving to Ann Arbor would also bring us a bit closer to my side of the family, on the other side of the state, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Hopefully, this will be a longterm home for us!

So, we began house hunting.

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In November, we finally found the right house. It was important to us to find a suitable floor plan that would allow space for my piano studio operations to run smoothly while allowing living spaces for family life.

We are happy to be just outside Ann Arbor, in a super family-friendly town called Saline. I’m excited to enjoy the small town feel, while also benefitting from the amenities and events that an artsy town like Ann Arbor has to offer.

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I decided I wanted to continue teaching my students in Ohio as usual through the end of the year. And so, we set our moving date as the Saturday before Christmas.

[Here’s a sneak peek at my new piano studio space!]

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It’s official: we are Michiganders once again!

Yes, this means building my piano studio again in a new town. Yes, this means adjusting to motherhood and experiencing how that impacts my other roles. I’m sure I’ll be talking more about these topics here on the blog in upcoming months!

As for the present, we are excitedly awaiting Baby’s arrival. :)

Happy New Year to you, my dear readers!

seasonal / holiday

2019 Christmas Gift for Students

Just a quick follow-up to the student Christmas gift post from some few weeks ago

Here’s what I ended up gifting my students last month:

  • Gloves for pianists :)
  • Treat sacks with brownies

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I ordered the black gloves from eBay (here). I used white 3D fabric paint to add the treble clef on the RH glove, and allowed it to dry. I came back later to flip it over and draw a bass clef on the LH glove. They turned out pretty cute!

I can’t take credit for the idea. I saw a piano teacher share the idea in one of the Facebook groups for piano teachers, quite some time ago. I saved the idea, thinking I’d probably use it some year. And here we are!

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I baked the brownies myself and placed two pieces in each treat sack, separated by a square of parchment paper. A quick piece of ribbon makes them look a bit festive.

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If you’re looking for a good brownie recipe, here’s the link to the one I used: Best Fudgiest Brownies. My husband is a better cook than I am; he’s able to bake them just right so they are wonderfully fudgey, plus achieve that lovely cracked look on the top. Fortunately, they still taste pretty great even when I bake them. :)

Just thought I’d share. I always appreciate getting ideas from other teachers, and bet you do too!

Happy Wednesday to you!