Piano Teacher Institute, Professional Development

Upcoming 2015 Sessions from Piano Teacher Institute

This information was just sent out to those on the email list for the Piano Teacher Institute with Joy Morin. I’m blogging it here as well, just for your interest!



A year ago, I began writing the coursework for my online course, Introduction to Piano Teaching. I’ve now offered the course three times: Summer 2014, Fall 2014, and Winter 2015. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed designing the course and interacting with the teachers who have enrolled each time! I believe this course fills an important need for teachers who have a desire to increase or refresh their current knowledge to gain further education in piano pedagogy, i.e., the art of teaching piano.

I’m preparing to offer two more sessions this year, so I asked the most recent registrants if they would be willing to write testimonials to help others decide if my online course is right for them. Here is what they had to say:

“This course was excellent!  For several months, I had been looking for some kind of training for piano teachers.  There are many university level, longer term programs available, but I needed something I could do from home.  This course was exactly what I needed.  I am a new teacher, and this course really helped steer my efforts toward the most important things that I should be focusing on–including the business side of teaching and the actual teaching.  Ms. Morin was prompt about both responding to my questions and leaving feedback for my assignments.  I also appreciated being able to interact with the other members of the class.  Their ideas and experience were wonderful!  I feel I am more organized and have clearer direction as a teacher because of this course.” 
          — Michelle Marchant, piano teacher in Utah

HIGHLY (*****) recommend Piano Teacher Institute by Joy Morin.  This class was fantastic for me!  My formal education came many years ago and I have taught many students over the years.  But with a relocation of my studio to another state, I felt it was a great time to update my piano pedagogy skills and to enroll in the course.   Ms. Morin did an EXCELLENT job with the design of the course as well as conducting the one hour weekly chat sessions with the other enrolled students. … She is a very professional instructor but at the same time is very personal and insightful in helping each student in their piano teaching journey.  The materials from the course will be an excellent resource for future usage.  If you are looking for a great piano teacher class, I would encourage you to enroll in Piano Teacher Institute.   
          — Phyllis Bowers, piano teacher in Alabama

Dear Joy, Observing the way you take such pride in your role as an educator has made a huge impact on me. You have truly helped me to look at what I do in a dramatically different way. You have helped me to treat my job more like a career. The changes I have made in my business approach have been exciting, but I’m even more enthusiastic about the way I FEEL about the piano. Watching you love music has helped me rekindle my love of the piano! I’m playing again and actually enjoying it! Thank you for being a great mentor and for being a new friend! 
          —Susan Honey, teacher in North Carolina

You can read the rest of the testimonials here. Introduction to Piano Teaching is an intensive course that lasts for six weeks, with each week dedicated to a certain topic (business topics, piano methods, technique, etc.). The ideal registrant is an individual with a passion for learning, a dedication to teaching, and the time and energy to spend 10-15 hours each week reading and completing the assignments.

Here are the dates for the two upcoming sessions:

  1. Summer 2015: May 25 through July 12. (I’ve allowed seven weeks instead of the usual six, to help both you and I accommodate any summer travel plans.) 
  2. Fall 2015: August 25 through October 4. 

Registration for the Summer 2015 session will open at 9AM EST on Tuesday, May 5 and will appear on this page of the website. Registration will automatically close after the first 10 teachers have registered. Last time, registration filled within two hours — so if you are interested in taking the course, I recommend that you mark your calendar!

Read more about the course or sign up for the email list (I promise to send no more than 10 email updates each year) on the website here.  If you still have questions, please feel free to send me a message.


improving as a teacher, Professional Development, Technology

Clavier Companion Nov/Dec issue: The Future of Piano Teaching

1622601_818136588208658_571019086351640113_nHave you seen the latest issue of Clavier Companion magazine?

The Nov/Dec 2014 issue marks the beginning of a series called “The Future of Piano Teaching.”  In this issue, you’ll find twelve short musings written by various pedagogues about their thoughts on the future of piano teaching.  These short musings will be followed by a series of longer, more in-depth articles in future issues.

I was proud to submit one of those short musings (you’ll find it on page 29) alongside my colleagues, including fellow bloggers Leila Viss, Mario Ajero, Jennifer Foxx, and Wendy Stevens.  My longer, follow-up article will be published in a future issue.

Not subscribed to Clavier Companion?  It is an outstanding, forward-thinking magazine for piano teachers.  Tell your family you would like to receive a subscription as a Christmas gift.  Request access to an issue free here.

Professional Development

Google Hangouts #3 and #4

In case you didn’t have the chance to watch the video from last Friday’s Google Hangout, here it is!  Our guests were Susan Paradis and Susan Hong.  We discussed a variety of topics — mostly philosophical things like teaching philosophies, goals for students, the role of the teacher, types of students, and conducting the first or “interview” lesson.

This Friday, we will talk about piano technique for beginner students.  Remember, you can watch it LIVE from 11am-noon Eastern time, or you can watch the video recording on YouTube afterwards.  Here is the event page, where you can request an invitation and submit questions.  If you are interested in participating live in the videochat, send me a message directly to let me know!

Below, I’ve embedded the player where you will be able to watch the live feed on Friday:

See you Friday!

Professional Development, repertoire / methods, Technology

Watch this Google Hangout Discussion about Piano Methods

Whew!  I feel like I have so much to share, but not enough time to share it!  😉

Last week, I held a summer camp for my piano students called “Practice Tips & Tricks.”  It was a fun week.  For my birthday last month, my husband gave me a projector.  (Yes, I’m a techno-geek!)  It was wonderful to be able to have a large visual to use during camp!  I hope to share more details about all this later.

On Friday, I held another Google Hangout this time talking about piano methods.  You can watch the video here.  We did encounter some technical difficulties unfortunately — I apologize about that!  Thanks for bearing with us during this experiment.  🙂

I have another Google Hangout scheduled for this Friday at 11am Eastern time.  Please visit the event page here to get all the details and feel free to submit questions for us to discuss in advance.

More later!  🙂

Announcements, Professional Development

Piano Teacher Institute Update

2Since last week’s announcement, I have been spending every spare moment of my time writing the course material to be able to offer a six-week course this summer.  It is challenging work, but I’m having a blast.  I’m happy to announce that the Week 1 coursework is complete and Week 2 is nearly complete.

As I’ve been writing, I have also been revising the schedule of topics somewhat.  It is bound to change again as I continue writing, but here is how it currently looks:

  1. Business Sense — business structures, bookkeeping, taxes, marketing, and more.
  2. On Teaching and Learning — teaching objectives, learning styles, and developmental stages.
  3. Developing Music Literacy in Students — music literacy, music education philosophies, a history and overview of current piano methods.
  4. Piano Technique for Beginners — developing posture, hand shape, fingering, pedaling, and more.
  5. Finding and Choosing Repertoire — leveling, publishers, anthologies, editions and more.
  6. Lesson/Curriculum Planning — leading the lesson, making assignment sheets, effective practicing, and planning long-term for students.

I have received a lot of interest and feedback (thanks so much!), and the email list is still growing.  Allow me to answer a couple of questions that I have received:

> > > Why is registration limited to 10 people?  

As much as possible, I want this course to feel like an in-person group class — except better.  I know that I could certainly utilize a webinar format for the course, which would allow me to reach many more people at once.  However, I’m not interested in big.  I want to keep things small.  I want to be able to get-to-know each person who takes the course and work closely with them as they make their way through the material.  I want to be able to give detailed feedback on the assignments/projects and be able to have great small-group discussions.  Visit the institute.joymorin.com to learn more about the class format.

So, the first offering of this course will be open to the first 10 teachers who register.  I definitely plan to offer the course again in the Fall, and I will definitely re-evaluate at that time to decide whether 10 is still a good number.  (Registration will open sometime in May.  The cost has not yet been set.)

> > > Would you consider offering separate, per-topic courses?  

I am writing the course in such a way that the six weekly topics are co-dependent and flow into each other.  I do not plan to break-up these six topics, although that certainly does not mean that there will not be certain topics in the future that I could potentially offer as a stand-alone course.  We will see how things progress from here!

Thanks for your support, friends, during this new project!  Let me know if you have other questions I can answer.

Announcements, Professional Development

Announcing: Piano Teacher Institute with Joy Morin

I received nearly 300 responses to my survey about offering an online piano course for piano teachers.  I was so encouraged by your comments that I immediately began writing the course material to be able to offer a 6-week course this summer.  Thanks so much for your feedback!  I am SO excited about this endeavor.

Here is the official announcement:


Here is how the online course will work:

  • Registrants will receive a username and login to the course page.  Each week on Sunday, new coursework is added to the website.  Each week’s material will focus on a different topic.  After downloading the PDFs, you can study the coursework from your computer or tablet.  Many supplemental PDF examples, forms, and other resources will also be available for download.
  • Completed assignments can be emailed to Joy if you are interested in receiving feedback.  All assignments are optional, allowing you the flexibility to decide how your time is best spent.
  • Every Friday during the course, you will be invited to participate in a live video chat via Google Hangout.  This is your chance to ask questions and interact with Joy and others who are taking the course.  (Non-registrants are invited to observe the Google Hangout occurring live from Joy’s YouTube channel, or watch the recorded video afterwards.)
  • A forum will be available on the website, allowing you to post questions or participate in discussions with other registrants at any time.


This summer’s 6-week course is intended for piano teachers seeking to learn more about business topics, piano methods, pedagogy, and much more.  This jam-packed course is perfect for the new piano teacher as well as for the experienced piano teachers who looking to revitalize their teaching.  You won’t be disappointed!

Here is the list of weekly topics I hope to cover between June 9 – July 28:

  1. Business Sense — business structures, bookkeeping, taxes, marketing, and more.
  2. Developing Music Literacy in Students — teaching objectives, learning styles, and a history and overview of current piano methods.
  3. Finding and Choosing Repertoire — leveling, publishers, anthologies, and more.
  4. Lesson/Curriculum Planning — leading the lesson, making assignment sheets, and planning long-term for students.
  5. More info coming soon!
  6. More info coming soon! 

The dates and topics are somewhat tentative and the cost has not yet been set.  Please stay tuned as the details continue to fall into place.  🙂

Registration opens in May and will be open to only 10 teachers (I want to be sure to have time to give feedback to all the registrant’s assignments. I will probably offer the course again in the Fall if there is enough interest.).  Visit institute.joymorin.com to learn more and sign-up for the email list for the latest updates about this course and future courses.

Announcements, Professional Development

New Year’s Thoughts for Piano Teachers

2014 clipartI am not usually a person to make New Year’s resolutions, but for me the New Year is definitely a time of reflection on the past year and future.

Looking Back

Here are some big things that happened in 2013 that I’m especially thankful for:

  • I’m thankful for a full studio of 35 students!  It took 2.5 years to fill my schedule after moving to our current town.
  • I’m thankful that my husband, Paul, finished his second Master’s degree in May and that he found a great job the following month.  Hooray for financial stability and health insurance!  It couldn’t have come at a better time because my health insurance under my parents also expired in June.

Looking Forward

A few times this week, this article discussing the distinction between goal-setting and habit-setting came through my facebook newsfeed.  The article suggests that success is found in creating a system or process for reaching goal, rather than in setting the goal itself.  This may seem obvious, but sometimes we make the mistake of setting a goal without thinking about what it will really take to make the goal happen.

I’d like to go a step further and suggest that in order to increase the chances of success, the goal being set should be process-oriented.   Continue reading “New Year’s Thoughts for Piano Teachers”

Professional Development

Music Advocacy and the Independent Music Teacher

6687987361_ea4f077ae3Classroom music educators are taught and encouraged to be music advocates, especially when music programs are in danger of being cut due to budget restraints.  Regardless of your stance on the inclusion of music education in public schools, Independent Music Teachers are certainly advocates of music in general, and perhaps also for the rest of the arts.

On nearly a daily basis, I see articles coming through my facebook feed or Pinterest feed about how “music makes you smarter.”  And I have often seen “Why Study Music?” lists on piano studio websites, listing research articles that suggest that music study can improve your cognitive and social skills.

Why do piano teachers tout these articles before parents, suggesting that these are the reasons children should take piano lessons?

Let’s get real.  Is that why YOU took piano lessons as a child?  Because you wanted to get smarter?  Is this why YOU teach piano lessons?  To make children smarter?

Even if it may be true that studying music makes you “smarter,” it is not a very good reason to take lessons or encourage others to take lessons.  If we are really in search of the activity that will make us or our children the smarter, then someone should do a research study to discover which activities are the best for brain development.  And guess what — music might not win.  Who knows — maybe chess or tennis is better for your brain.  Or yoga or karate or computer programming.

The problem here is that we are confusing the VALUE of music with the SIDE BENEFITS of music study.

Yes, music study can impart important life skills such as creativity, concentration, dedication, diligence, and perseverance.  But this is not why I love music.  And this is certainly not why I am a piano teacher. Continue reading “Music Advocacy and the Independent Music Teacher”

Conferences, improving as a teacher, Professional Development

Forum Q&A | Attending Conferences

The last Forum Q&A post was about assignment notebooks/pages for students.  It was wonderful to read all the great responses!  Click here to read the comments, and click here to read my follow-up where I share my method of tracking assignments.

Being able to attend state and national-level conferences is one of the many benefits of being a member of MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) and other professional music organizations.  I am a firm believer in the importance of ongoing professional development for piano teachers (and any teachers, for that matter).  So, today’s Forum Q&A is all about conferences!

To you, what is the most valuable part of attending conferences?  What tips do you have for making conference attendance more affordable and feasible?  If you haven’t attended conferences regularly/before, what’s holding you back? 

Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Conferences, Professional Development, Studio Business

MTNA 2012 Conference | Getting Started With Online Marketing

On Monday of the conference, I attended the Faber Exhibitor Showcase and the Keynote Address given by the wonderful Benjamin Zander!  Natalie has already posted notes on these sessions that are very similar to mine, so I’ll let you read her summaries here and here.

The next session I attended was given by the MTNA Collegiate Chapter at Butler University called:

Getting Started With Online Marketing

The presenters began by stating: “First impressions are everything!”  Nowadays, that first impression is often online.  We need a good first impression so that it will turn into a phone call.  Continue reading “MTNA 2012 Conference | Getting Started With Online Marketing”

improving as a teacher, Professional Development, Teaching Piano

My Assignment Notebook Method

Last Thursday, we started a Forum Q&A discussion about assignment notebooks/pages for students.  Today, I thought I’d share my own method of tracking assignments — and, of course, also announce the winner of the giveaway!

The winner of the sheet music decorative balls is commenter #5… LaDona!  Congrats!!  (By the way, if you haven’t seen LaDona’s wonderful blog before, you can check it out here.)

My method of tracking assignments is very similar to what many of you do: I write in a journal-sized notebook.

I always start with the date and then I outline any warmup/technique exercises (5-finger patterns, arpeggios, scales, etc).  The photos in this post show a made-up but typical assignment page:  Continue reading “My Assignment Notebook Method”

Forum Q&A's, Giveaways, improving as a teacher, Professional Development

Forum Q&A: Assignment Notebook/Pages for Students

Today’s post brings a new Forum Q&A topic, and another GIVEAWAY!

Our last Forum Q&A discussion was about perfectionism.  It’s never too late to add your thoughts to the comments, so feel free to hop over there and join in the conversation!  I plan to follow up with an article on perfectionism to discuss this topic further at some point, but haven’t gotten to it yet!  So many ideas, so little time…  🙂

Today’s new Q&A topic is about assignment notebooks.  I’m curious –

What is your method of writing down assignments for students?  Do you use a notebook (if so, any particular size/type?) or do you have a custom-made sheet you designed on the computer?  What kinds of things are usually included on a typical assignment? 

Today’s giveaway is a pair of decorative balls, decoupaged by hand with vintage sheet music: Continue reading “Forum Q&A: Assignment Notebook/Pages for Students”