General

12 Podcasts for Piano Teachers to Follow in 2022

Back in February 2021, I shared 12 podcasts for piano teachers to follow. There’s some really great podcasts in that list, so if you haven’t seen it I definitely recommend checking out that post before reading on below!

Since then, a number of new podcasts have launched — some of them very recently. In today’s blog post, I’d like to share with you another selection of 12 podcasts that are new or have come to my attention in recent months. I’ve included links to subscribe via Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, but these podcasts are also available at Overcast, Spotify, or whatever your favorite podcast app. Just search them up by name.

I’ll begin with my must-listen recommendations, and then move into some podcasts I tend to follow only sporadically or am still checking out. I hope you find a few podcasts shows that might interest you!

1.

First of all, I’ll tell you about The Piano Pantry Podcast — a brand new podcast from my good friend, Amy Chaplin of PianoPantry.com. As on her blog, Amy plans to discuss a combination of topics: teaching, organization, cooking/baking, and more. She has released two episodes so far, and I can’t wait to hear more! Subscribe at Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

Continue reading “12 Podcasts for Piano Teachers to Follow in 2022”
General

My Toy Piano Refurbishing Project

Recently, I’ve been enjoying a fun DIY project: refurbishing a vintage Jaymar toy piano! My husband saw it for sale on the Shop Goodwill website, saw its potential, and bought it as a surprise for me. The wood case had quite a bit of water damage, but all the keys were playing fine.

I’ve been sharing about this project on my Instagram, so perhaps some of you have seen some of these photos. If you happen to have Instagram, I would actually recommend viewing the photos there (click HERE). But if you don’t have Instagram, please keep reading!

Continue reading “My Toy Piano Refurbishing Project”
General, Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

Benjamin Franklin

Learning is truly an investment. It’s a sacrifice made in the hope that we will reap the benefits of knowledge many times over.

There are so many different ways to spend our time, energy, and resources. But in my experience, investing in knowledge tends to pay off and prove worthwhile to my quality of lifeā€¦especially when it’s something I’m deeply interested in!

Do you agree? What have YOU invested to learn recently?

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.

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. šŸ™‚

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 oneĀ of the studio business forms from theĀ Printables pageĀ for the 2019-20 school year. Ā It is called theĀ Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment PDF. Ā 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 havenā€™t seen this, here is how the form works: Write your studentsā€™ 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.

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

General

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. šŸ™‚

General

Freebie: Lesson Attendance Sheet Updated for 2018-19

I have just finished updating oneĀ of the studio business forms from theĀ Printables pageĀ for the 2018-19 school year. Ā It is called theĀ Record of Lesson Attendance & Payment PDF. Ā 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 havenā€™t seen this, here is how the form works: Write your studentsā€™ names in the first column. Ā Each week, write the lesson date (in a month / date format) in the column for that week. Ā This is how you can track attendance. Ā The small circles in each cell are where you can write checkmarks indicating tuition payments. Ā 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 belowĀ or on theĀ Printables > Studio BusinessĀ page.

P.S.:Ā Here is a linkĀ 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 isĀ notĀ that scary. šŸ™‚ 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 Gordonā€™s Music Learning Theoryā€.

In October, I presented a presentation entitled: ā€œGrounded in the Beat: Cultivating the Seeds of Rhythmic Fluencyā€ to my state conference, for the 2017 OhioMTA State Conference in Van Wert, Ohio. This presentation discusses cultivating rhythmĀ from an MLT-based perspective in our students.Ā  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. šŸ™‚

I love doing this sort of thing. And this kindĀ of informal presentation is especially specialĀ — where we togetherĀ get to stickĀ our noses inĀ a variety of piano methods books, uncover nuggets of wisdom from each, recognizeĀ 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!