General, seasonal / holiday

Christmas Gifts for Students, From 2011-2018

I know, I know…it’s barely November, and here I am already talking about Christmas gifts! But in my opinion, it’s never too early to start thinking ahead and brainstorming. I tend to enjoy the holidays more when I’ve managed to get an early start on my to-dos. :)

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!

And so, I thought it’d be fun to do a flashback post today, taking a look at the Christmas gifts I’ve done over the years for my students. Some of these gifts were pretty time intensive (certain years, apparently I was inspired enough to be willing to take on a big project!), and other years were simple, but thoughtful gifts. I hope perhaps these photos will give you a useful idea or two, if you’re looking for ideas for something to do for your own students!

2011: Personalized Glass Sheet Music Ornaments

Back in 2011, I created personalized glass sheet music ornaments for each student, with their name and the year written with a gold paint pen. They turned out so pretty! I love how they turned out, and would like to use this idea again in the future. Each student also received a chocolate Symphony bar. Read more here.

That year, I gave my adult students something else: a copy of the book “The A to Z of Foreign Musical Terms” by Christine Ammer. I learned about this book during grad school, when one of my professors recommended it as a music dictionary that actually contains all the words we commonly see in our music. (Have you ever looked up a word in your music dictinary, only to find it wasn’t included?!) This book is a nice slim volume, and a great price — I’d recommend it to any piano teacher or student! I use it not infrequently during lessons, to have students look up the terms in their pieces.

Continue reading “Christmas Gifts for Students, From 2011-2018”
General

Freebie: Lesson Attendance Sheet Updated for 2019-20

Just a quick post today!

I just finished updating one of the studio business forms from the Printables page for the 2019-20 school year.  It is called the Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment PDF.  I do not currently use this form myself anymore, but every year I receive requests from teachers asking if I would update it for the upcoming school year!

In case you haven’t seen this, here is how the form works: Write your students’ names in the first column.  Each week, write the lesson date (in a month / date format) in the column for that week.  This is how you can track attendance.  The small circles in each cell are where you can write checkmarks indicating tuition payments.  Whether you charge by-the-week or by-the-month, you can place a checkmark by each paid lesson date.

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Download it below or on the Printables > Studio Business page.

  Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment (2019-20) (203.4 KiB, 29,348 hits)

P.S.: Here is a link to where I explain my more recent system for tracking payments received.

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Happy 2019!

Happy New Year, friends! I hope you’ve been enjoying the holidays.

The new year always causes for me a time of reflection — refection upon the previous year as well as upon what the next year might hold.

As far as my blogging goes, I certainly published fewer blog posts in the last couple of years than I did in previous years. I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing — I think the blogosphere and the online community is different now than it once was. Currently, I’m finding myself more active on Instagram than my blog. I would love to invite you to follow me there for those kinds of smaller, quick, fun updates and stay right where you are for the longer-form content here on the blog.

I’ve been thinking about how my teaching has changed over the years as well. (I began teaching piano around this time of year back in 2005.) There have been a number of important influences that have helped me improve my teaching, and I can see that my students are seeing the benefits. What will the next year hold? Ever more improvements, I hope!

Thanks so much for being a follower of my blog, and I wish you all a happy and healthy 2019.

P.S.: Anybody in Charlotte, NC? I’ll be in your area tomorrow (Friday) for a piano teacher presentation! Email or facebook me if you are interested in the details. :)

General

Freebie: Lesson Attendance Sheet Updated for 2018-19

I have just finished updating one of the studio business forms from the Printables page for the 2018-19 school year.  It is called the Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment PDF.  I do not currently use this form myself anymore, but I still receive requests from teachers are using it so I am happy to update it again this year!

In case you haven’t seen this, here is how the form works: Write your students’ names in the first column.  Each week, write the lesson date (in a month / date format) in the column for that week.  This is how you can track attendance.  The small circles in each cell are where you can write checkmarks indicating tuition payments.  Whether you charge by-the-week or by-the-month, you can place a checkmark by each paid lesson date.

Screen-shot-2010-06-27-at-9.33.12-PM

Download it below or on the Printables > Studio Business page.

  Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment (2019-20) (203.4 KiB, 29,348 hits)

P.S.: Here is a link to where I explain my current system for tracking payments received.

General

Looking Back: 2017-2018 Speaking Engagements

There was once a time when public speaking was entirely unappealing to me. It’s funny how things can change! I now know that public speaking is not that scary. :) And I’ve always loved the process of researching a given topic and figuring out how to synthesize and organize the information. So, over the past few years, I’ve enjoyed being a presenter for various music teachers association meetings and conferences.

Now that the school year is wrapping up, I thought it’d be fun to take a look at the presentations I had the privilege of giving this year.

Over the summer, my buddy Amy Chaplin and I created a presentation for teachers new to Edwin Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT). (Remember when Amy and I took our MLT certification training together back in 2016?) We first presented it for my local MTNA chapter, the Wood-Ottawa Counties MTA, here in Ohio in September. Then, we presented it again in Amy’s home state for the 2017 IndianaMTA state conference in Marion, Indiana. I’m proud of how our presentation turned out, and I hope we can present it more in future years!

Our session is titled: “Teaching the Way We Learn: Applications of Gordon’s Music Learning Theory”.

In October, I presented a presentation entitled: “Grounded in the Beat: Cultivating the Seeds of Rhythmic Fluency” to my state conference, for the 2017 OhioMTA State Conference in Van Wert, Ohio. This presentation discusses cultivating rhythm from an MLT-based perspective in our students.  Continue reading “Looking Back: 2017-2018 Speaking Engagements”

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March 2017 Presentations: Method Mining

Yesterday in Lima, Ohio; today was in Findlay, Ohio… I presented for piano teachers on “Method Mining: Uncovering Nuggets of Wisdom in Old Piano Methods.”

See those piles of books? I don’t travel light for this workshop. :)

I love doing this sort of thing. And this kind of informal presentation is especially special — where we together get to stick our noses in a variety of piano methods books, uncover nuggets of wisdom from each, recognize pedagogical trends across the decades, and share our insights and experiences with different methods.

Click here to view my other workshop topics.

Next appearance: I will be presenting at the upcoming MTNA national conference in Baltimore on Sunday, March 19, 2017. My topic is: “App-laudable Uses of Apps in Music Lessons.”

Will you be in Baltimore? I’d love to meet you!

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GIML Training, Here I Come!

I was just notified that my application for an MTNA Teacher Enrichment Grant was accepted! This means I get to attend a two-week Piano Certification Course sponsored by the Gordon Institute of Music Learning (GIML) in Boston in August.

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If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you might know that I am a huge fan of Edwin Gordon’s work. Having the opportunity to experience this training means a great deal to me.

I’m sure I’ll be blogging and sharing about the experience.

I can’t wait. Thanks, MTNA!

Update: Read more about the experience here

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Monday Broadcast: Christmas Chain Piano Studio Project

005 Piano Studio Christmas ProjectGreetings! During today’s live broadcast via Periscope, I shared a little bit about a studio holiday project that I have been doing for the past two years: building a paper chain to decorate the studio, adding a new chain for every holiday piece that students learn. Preparing for this tradition again this year has made me excited about giving out Christmas music to students this week!

Here is a picture of the chain from last year:

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Watch today’s quick video here, describing the Christmas Chain project:

You can download the free PDF sheet of paper describing the Christmas Chain project here:

  Musical Christmas Chain Project (155.5 KiB, 3,736 hits)

Thanks for watching! Do you have your own holiday traditions for your studio? Please share! I would love to hear about them.

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All past broadcasts are here: ColorInMyPiano.com/live/. To watch future broadcasts live, download the free Periscope app (for iOS or Android), search for @joymorinpiano, and hop online on Mondays at noon Eastern time. Hope to see you next time!

Do you have suggestions about what we could discuss in future Periscopes? Please submit your ideas by clicking here. I appreciate your input!

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Survey: Interest In A Summer Online Course for Piano Teachers

Greetings!

Summer is going to be here before we know it!  I have been spending time lately planning my summer lessons/camps.

And guess what:  I have also been contemplating the possibility of offering an online summer course for  piano teachers.  You all know how passionate I am about pedagogy and piano teaching.  And I love to share! :)

What do you think?  Would you be willing to give me some feedback about the idea?

If you are willing to help out, please complete the survey.  There are just eight questions, so it won’t require much of your time.  I appreciate it!

General

MTNA 2014 (4) — Bruce Berr: Teaching the Emotional Aspects of the Form

Bruce Berr is the author of many well-loved articles featured in the Clavier Companion magazine as well as the American Music Teachers magazine (the magazine for MTNA members). His session described his method of teaching students how to identify form through hearing and studying the emotional elements in musical works. It was fascinating to see how form can be so clearly heard by paying attention to what Mr. Berr referred to as the piece’s “energyscape.”

Mr. Berr showed a diagram of layered slurs representing the micro and macro elements of form we can study: the sub-phrases, phrases, sections, and finally, the entire piece. It is important to get a large overview of the piece first. Attention to detail is crucial, but ought not be at the expense of seeing the big picture.

The energyscape is the found by paying attention to the energy levels (aka “temperature”) throughout a piece.  Sonata Form, for example, tends to have its own unique temperature pattern. Continue reading “MTNA 2014 (4) — Bruce Berr: Teaching the Emotional Aspects of the Form”