Guess what: Today, February 28, 2022, marks the thirteen-year anniversary of Color In My Piano. It’s hard to believe this blog has been around for that long!
As is tradition as part of our blogiversary celebration, I usually share a little bit about myself and the origin story behind ColorInMyPiano. I’m not one to talk about myself a lot, but I do like history and I do like my readers to know the story behind my blog’s name, for example! And as usual, I’m also running my annual 20% off sale (applies to EVERYTHING in my shop), and finally, a big giveaway. Keep reading to find out more!
I began ColorInMyPiano in 2009, while I was finishing up my Bachelor’s degree in piano performance at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. At that time, I was running a successful piano studio of about 20 students out of my parents’ home and teaching group keyboard classes at the local YMCA. I was finding so much inspiration and helpful resources from other blogs — including Natalie Wickham’s Music Matters Blog and Susan Paradis’s Piano Teacher Resources — and had also begun creating some of my own worksheets and other printables. I felt I wanted to give back and share in the same way, and so on February 28, 2009, I wrote my first blog post: a welcome and brief statement of purpose.
On July 9, 2009, I decided that I was enjoying blogging enough to go full swing: I came up with the name “Color In My Piano,” paid for the ColorInMyPiano.com domain name, bought a year’s worth of web hosting, and gave the site a new look.
The name “Color In My Piano” was coined thanks to an essay I wrote during my senior year at Hope College. The class assignment required that I reflect upon my life and summarize my worldview. Not surprisingly, much of my essay centered around my beliefs regarding music and the role of the piano and teaching in my life. One of the themes that arose as I wrote the essay was my commitment to never allow music-making and teaching from ever feeling like merely a job or a requirement. I strive to keep “color in my piano” for both my students and myself.
This is still an important life goal for me and helps provide a framework for what I share about on this blog. Personally, I find that I am able to keep myself invigorated in my work when I am open to learning new things, improving as a teacher, and striving towards excellent piano teaching for my students.
That summer, my husband of one year and I moved to mid-Michigan to attend graduate school at Central Michigan University. Despite my responsibilities as a Graduate Assistant accompanying fellow music majors and teaching Class Piano, I made it a priority to teach between 5-10 private students each week. Teaching has always my primary motivation! I kept the blog going during those two years, too.
Years of Growth
After graduating with my Masters in Piano Pedagogy in May of 2011, we moved to Northwest Ohio (so my husband could begin another Master’s program in English), where I started my studio again from scratch. We rented a charming little house with a dining room that worked perfectly for my studio and I bought a piano. Sometimes, I missed being in the academic environment of college, but most of the time I felt thrilled to be “living the dream” and running my own piano studio!
Because it took a couple of years to build up my student roster, I found I had plenty of time for blogging. I continued sharing ideas and free printables — usually publishing new blog posts five days per week. Color In My Piano grew a lot during these years. I even added a shop to sell digital resources, such as my new-at-the-time music history lapbooking curriculum.
My studio eventually grew to 35 students, which I considered “full”! My husband finished his Master’s degree and was hired as the Public Relations & Communications Coordinator at a science museum for kids in Toledo, Ohio.
My blog has led to a number of interesting outgrowth projects I had never anticipated. One is public speaking. I never expected to enjoy public speaking, but I discovered it’s an incredibly fun way to share ideas and research with others. Now, I give at least a handful of presentations for local, state, or national-level events each year. (See my calendar and session topics here.)
In 2014, I started a new endeavor: offering online courses for piano teachers under the name Piano Teacher Institute with Joy Morin. Creating the curriculum for my flagship piano pedagogy course, “Excellence in Piano Teaching”, was a tremendous investment of time and energy. My goal was to combine the best of what I learned during my pedagogy classes in college while also including many practical aspects of piano teaching not typically covered. To date, my six-week course has been offered over ten times to small cohorts of teachers (over a hundred teachers total). I find it so rewarding to interact with and mentor other piano teachers in this way. (Learn more about my course and join the email list here.)
In 2017, I came up with the idea to host a summer Piano Teacher Retreat at my home. Thirteen teachers attended — I was thrilled! The theme we explored was “piano method books”. In the summers that followed I held two more retreats, each centered around a different theme. My retreats are currently on hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but I plan to offer them again when it becomes feasible. (Join the email list if you’d like to receive information when the time comes.)
In December of 2019, my husband and I moved from Bowling Green, Ohio to Saline, Michigan, just outside Ann Arbor (see a tour of my piano studio here). We always wanted to move back closer to our families in Michigan, and my husband was already commuting to Ann Arbor for his job in marketing at University of Michigan. Part of the impetus for this move was also the expectation of our first baby’s birth in February, 2020!
After my daughter’s birth and a six-week maternity leave, the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns hit in March 2020. I started up my students’ lessons all online. Today, my Ohio-based students’ lessons remain online while I’ve gradually begun accepting in-person Michigan students as my schedule allows.
Being a parent has been such a joy for my husband and I. My daughter brings so much joy to our household! I’m finding that my teaching is informing my parenting, and my parenting is informing my teaching.
Today, I am still as dedicated as ever to Color In My Piano. I am never at a shortage of projects and ideas to write about, and try to find time to put up 1-3 posts per week. True to its original intent back in 2009, I still think of my blog as a way to journal my piano teaching adventures, writing for myself to clarify my thoughts and to document things I was learning and doing. Thirteen years later, I find that my blog has also become a platform for helping other piano teachers like me teach effectively, organize their businesses, and have fun in the process. I never could have imagined the outgrowth of projects and opportunities that resulted, thanks to writing a blog and gaining a wonderful readership base.
So, many thanks to you, my dear readers! I appreciate you coming along for the ride, and for your kind attention and interactions. I am deeply grateful for the things I’ve learned over the past thirteen years of blogging and for the wonderful lessons and friendships that have resulted. And I’m very excited to share with you a couple of exciting new projects in the next year. Stay tuned! 😉
Here’s to a wonderful thirteen years, and hopefully many more to come. Thanks for celebrating with me!
Giveaway & Annual 20% Off Sale
To celebrate our thirteen years together, I’m running a special giveaway and a sale! Use the promo code 13YEARS to receive 20% off any item in the shop. If you’ve been eyeing my favorite Ice Cream Intervals game, rhythm cards, composer lapbooks, my original sheet music, or are thinking ahead to music camp curriculums for this summer, now’s a great time to buy because this is the ONLY time of year I ever run a sale. 🙂 It starts now and lasts through March 31, 2022. Browse the shop now here.
Here’s the details about the giveaway: THIRTEEN randomly-chosen winners will receive ANY single item of your choosing from my shop! To enter, leave a comment below on this blog post telling us how long you’ve been following my blog and something you appreciate about ColorInMyPiano (a favorite printable, things you’ve learned, etc.). On Monday, March 7, 2022, thirteen lucky winners will be randomly selected and notified.
Good luck, and I look forward to reading your comments!