Teaching Piano

Take a Tour of my Piano Studio! (2021)

After moving from Northwest Ohio to Southeast Michigan in December of 2020, I had promised to give you a tour of my new studio space. Somehow, a year has already passed…but I’m finally delivering on that promise! Below is a photo tour as well as a video tour (scroll down to the end). I think it’s always fun to see other teachers’ piano studios, so I hope you’ll enjoy!

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General, Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one’s self esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily.”

Muriel Spark

Learning is risky.

It means our self esteem might take a blow. It means our attempts might look inept. It means we might realize just how much we don’t know.

Young children don’t have this problem. They are accustomed to having to learn new things all the time. And as the quote points out, they have little awareness of their own self-importance. As a result, they generally aren’t shy about jumping in to try something new!

Maybe we can “stay young” and learn from kids. We can choose to not allow our pride to get hurt when we are in those awkward learning stages. Maybe we can try to recover quickly, laugh it off, and not allow those moments to get to us.

How can we help our students, as they grow up, stay open to risky learning experiences?

Because learning is worth the risk.

Technology, Videos

TUTORIAL: Editing virtual recital videos using Canva + Adobe Premiere Rush

Hello, teachers!

As promised, here is a video tutorial about how I edited my students’ videos for our most recent virtual recital project, Countdown to the New Year. In particular, this video tutorial focuses on how to use Canva.com to design animated opening/ending screens and then how to use Adobe Premiere Rush to complete the video editing. I hope you’ll pick up some useful tips, no matter what video editing software you prefer!

This tutorial video ended up being 35 minutes long — much longer than I expected. But I hope you’ll find the tutorial thorough and complete, and the pacing of the video to feel just right.

  • 0:30 An example of an edited student video with an animated and ending screen.
  • 1:08 Browsing the templates at Canva.com and saving them to your “Likes” folder.
  • 3:20 Selecting a template and using it as a starting point.
  • 4:22 Getting the right dimensions for your video project (e.g., 1920×1080, 1080×1920 or 1080×1350). This step is the magic that allows you to use ANY template you find in Canva as a starting point for your project!
  • 7:10 Opening a new custom project in Canva using your project’s dimensions.
  • 8:30 Copying the template’s elements into your project.
  • 10:57 Editing the template to suit your needs.
  • 11:30 My Handdrawn Music Notes & Symbols set, used for my ending screen.
  • 12:45 Resizing, recoloring, rotating, centering, adding text, etc.
  • 17:00 Adding animation.
  • 19:00 Downloading from Canva.
  • 20:15 Keeping your files organized for your project.
  • 22:30 Starting a new project in Adobe Premiere Rush.
  • 23:50 Editing your video: moving things around on the timeline, trimming, layering the opening/ending screens, adding transitions, timing the applause track (I got mine from FreeSoundEffects.com), etc.
  • 30:40 Downloading your finished video.
  • 32:05 A peek at some of the different opening screens I designed for my student videos.

Questions? Any steps I should clarify? Or do you have additional tips to share? Leave a comment and let me know!

Thanks for watching, and I hope this helps with your future virtual recitals or other video projects!


Related: If you are getting ready to do a virtual recital project with your students for the first time, you may want to also read this blog post: My Students’ 2020 Virtual Recital: How-To Steps and How It Turned Out.

Announcements

My online course is coming soon! (Winter 2021)

I’m sending out this quick email today to let you know that I am preparing to offer a session of my online course, Excellence in Piano Teaching, very soon! 

I’ve offered this guided piano pedagogy course to small groups of teachers over a dozen times now, with a total of over a hundred teachers having participated. But it’s been a year-and-a-half since the last time it was offered. That’s what happens when you move, have a baby, and then Covid hits. 🙂 I’m excited to be offering it again next month!

Here are the details for this session:

I won’t be talking about the course much here on my blog, so if you’re at all interested you’ll want to join the separate email list found at institute.joymorin.com. I’ll be sending more details about the course and registration info via email to those on the list next week.

PS: I received quite a few comments from you all, saying you’d to learn more about how I created my recent videos projects with my students. Stay tuned — I’m working on a video tutorial!

Happy Friday, friends!

Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“Take the attitude of a student: never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.”

OG Mandino

This message is a GOOD ONE for us to keep in mind as we all become older and wiser. We are naturally good learners as children, but as we grow up sometimes we become less willing or less open to learning new things.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! We can assume the attitude of a student, no matter how old we are. We can be comfortable with the fact that we don’t know everything. We can be willing to ask questions. We can be EXCITED when there are opportunities to learn new things.

Moreover, we can MODEL this attitude for the young ones in our charge. Have your students witnessed your excitement to try out new piano literature with them? Have they seen you introduce new resources, teaching aids, or projects? Have they seen you perform in your studio recitals? Have they heard about your own practice strategies? Have they seen you embrace new technology? If so, that’s awesome!!

As teachers, let’s strive to not only be the best teachers we can be, but also the best learners we can be.

Performances

My Piano Students Play the 12 Days of Christmas

As mentioned yesterday, my students collaborated to create a special video as the “grand finale” of our Countdown to the New Year project. Today, I’m sharing the video for you to see.

Please enjoy our take on The 12 Days of Christmas!

I hope you enjoy our fun little video. Credit goes to my student, Elijah, for the idea. Because it was a somewhat last-minute project, and we kept it simple — each student learned only the RH melody for their assigned day. But I think it turned out pretty great regardless!

I’m thinking about doing it again next year. I have some ideas for expanding it a bit.

If you are curious to hear more about the behind-the-scenes planning and video editing, could you let me know? If there’s enough interest, perhaps I’ll write up a blog post or even create a purchasable kit with everything you need!

Thanks for watching!

Performances

“Countdown to the New Year” – 2020 Video Project

2021 is here! Happy New Year!!

Over the past few weeks, my students and I have been working on a “Countdown to the New Year” video project. I don’t normally organize a Christmas recital, but some of my students were asking if we were going to do something this year. And so, I came up with a project for us.

Inspired by an Instagram post by Amber Kao, director of the Faber Piano Institute, I decided we would do a virtual recital (YouTube videos) that was spread out day-by-day leading up to the new year. Because we started somewhat last-minute, we chose pieces that were well within reach for students to videorecord in only 3-4 weeks. We kept it simple!

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seasonal / holiday

Christmas Gifts for Students, 2011-2020

Hi there! Christmas Day is nearly upon us. Today, I thought I would make an update this flashback post to share what I gave my students this year. (You can skip down to the bottom of this post to see!)

Things to keep in mind: I don’t think it’s necessary to give your piano students gifts at Christmastime, but it’s a nice gesture if you feel so inspired! Some years, I’ve kept it pretty simple while other years I have felt inspired to take on a more time-intensive project. I hope you’ll enjoy browsing this post and perhaps gaining an idea or two to tuck away for the future!

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Reviews

REVIEW: “Play This Book”: A Children’s Book for the Musical Kids & Parents in your Life

My little daughter, Aria, is ten months old now (can you believe it?). Since early on, we made it a priority to have plenty of baby-safe books around, kept within easy reach. Inspired by Pinterest, we put up a set of IKEA Mosslanda photo ledges (also available in black, and in a longer size) in our living room to hold our children’s books.

We enjoy sitting with Aria and reading together. She also enjoys reading by herself, after pulling the books off the lowest shelf. 🙂 It amazes me how long she can sit by herself and entertain herself while flipping through her books.

Some of our books were gifts, while some were purchased at our local thrift store, and still others were ones I specifically searched out and purchased new. As a piano teacher, I’m always interested in finding music-related books to add to her library. Today, I’m going to share my review of a book I happened across on Amazon that has become a fast favorite — for both Aria and myself!

It’s called “Play This Book”, by Jessica Young & Daniel Wiseman.

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