Games, Questions

Forum Q&A: Games for Note-Naming Flashcards

Middle_CLast week, we had a Forum Q&A discussion about health insurance for self-employed individuals (such as piano teachers).  It has been great to hear all of your feedback about this important issue, and I have found it helpful with my research!

I have a new question for you today.  Your responses will be helpful when I post a new freebie printable later this week!  😉

Please share any game ideas you have that involve note-naming flashcards.  The games can be for either solo lesson or group class settings.  

I can’t wait to hear about your game ideas!

Questions, Studio Business

Forum Q&A: Health Insurance for Self-Employed Music Teachers

Our last Forum Q&A post was sharing about the first piano you learned on as a child.  It was fun hearing your piano stories!

pitr_First_aid_iconIt’s time for a new Forum Q&A topic.  This one is an important topic for any self-employed music teacher to consider: Health insurance!

Do you pay for your own health insurance out-of-pocket, or does your spouse’s job provide insurance for you?  If you are paying for health insurance out-of-pocket, did you find insurance through the services partnered with MTNA, or through another source?  Does your insurance only cover major medical, or does it cover annual check-ups, etc.?  Do you feel that your health insurance adequately covers what your needs?  Is the premium reasonable, and is the co-pay/co-insurance reasonable? 

I’ll admit that this topic is timely for me, because I am currently shopping for health insurance.  As I’ve been researching health insurance, I found it very interesting to learn how difficult it can be for self-employed individuals in the United States to find both adequate and affordable coverage, especially for those who have “pre-existing conditions.”

This is a topic definitely worth discussing.  I hope you’ll all take a moment to leave a comment below to share your experience!


Forum Q&A: What type of piano did you first learn on?

468px-Steinway_&_Sons_upright_piano,_model_K-52_(mahogany_finish),_manufactured_at_Steinway's_factory_in_New_York_CityAt our last Forum Q&A, I asked about what piano books you studied from as a child.  It was so fun reading all the responses!  Read the comments here on the blog and here on the facebook page.

I must be feeling nostalgic again…  🙂  For our new Forum Q&A, I want to know:

What kind of piano was the family piano you remember learning on as a child?  What brand?  Upright or grand?  Was the type of piano you had a factor in your success as a student?  Did your parents upgrade that piano at some point?  Is you childhood piano still around?  

Leave your comments below!


Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

— Vince Lombardi

(Special thanks to Donna McLain for sending me this great quote!) 

Every Wednesday brings Words of Wisdom here at the Color in my Piano blog in the form of a musical quote or joke, intended to bring inspiration or humor to the middle of your week. Have suggestions? Send me a message here.

Questions, repertoire / methods

Forum Q&A: What piano book did you first learn from?

Greetings!  I know I’ve been MIA around the blog lately — it’s been a busy couple of weeks.  This time of year always requires lots of planning time, for upcoming festivals and recitals.  I’ve been helping students pick out repertoire and keeping track of forms and registration dates, etc.  🙂

Anyway, I though I would start a new Forum Q&A post today!  Last time, we discussed duet repertoire — I hope you will go check out all of the responses so far by clicking here, and I also hope you’ll continue adding your favorites!

Today, I want to to hear from you:

What piano method books did you learn from as a child?  Did you like the books?  What did you like about them?  What else do you remember about your first piano lessons?

I think it will be fun to hear your stories!  I’ll try to post my own answer sometime this week, too.


Forum Q&A | Making Mistakes

Our previous Forum Q&A was about items students like to see in incentive prize boxes.  Thanks for all the responses!

It is time for new topic!  Our new Forum Q&A topic was submitted by Hannah (thanks so much!):

What do you do for students who stop and get frustrated at every tiny mistake they make? How can we encourage them and help them to know it is okay to make mistakes every now and then?  How can we help them find ways to improve and prevent mistakes without stressing further stressing them out?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below this post!

Motivation, Questions

Forum Q&A: Incentive Prize Box Ideas

Our last Forum Q&A topic was about keeping teenager students engaged in their piano study!  Check out all the great responses to this topic by clicking here.

Our next discussion topic comes from a reader (thanks, Donna!):

What kinds of items do you have in your “music store” or incentive prize box?  It seems some items are a hit with students, and other items just sit there.  What are some items that have been a success with your students, particularly for the older students who are always harder to shop for?  (Please also share about the requirements for your students to be able to win or buy items.)  

Two years ago, I published a blog post with a few pictures of items in my prize box at that time.  (Read the full details about my current incentive program here.)  It’s about time I took another peek in my box to see what is in there now!  I’ll try to take some photos soon — in the meantime, please take a moment to share about your students’ favorite prize items in the comment section below!

Update: Here are some photos of the items currently in my piano prize box!


Forum Q&A | Organization for Games/Props

Our last Forum Q&A topic was about end-of-the-year tasks for piano teachers.  I enjoyed reading your comments, as always!

Today, our new topic is all about organization.  I wanna know:

How do you keep your game materials and props organized?  Do you have a shelf, drawer, basket, folders, etc.?  Are you able to find what you need when you need it?  🙂

Leave a comment below describing your system.  Maybe we can get a turn-out as good as the giveaway last week…100+ replies would be awesome!  🙂  If you have your own blog, feel free to post a photo of your organizational system there and then leave a comment here with a link.

I’ll post my picture tomorrow.  Here’s my photo!  🙂

Questions, Studio Business

Forum Q&A | End-Of-The-Year Tasks

I’ve let a few weeks go by again without doing a Forum Q&A, so I think it’s high time for another!  🙂  Last time, we discussed attending conferences but only received a few comments.  Feel free to add your thoughts.

The school year is wrapping up — at least for those of us in the U.S.!  So, I’m curious:

What are you up to?  What end-of-the-year preparations preparations are you working on?  Summer scheduling, progress reports, re-registration for the fall, planning summer camps, etc?  Fill me in! 

Leave your comment below this post.  🙂

Giveaways, improving as a teacher, Professional Development, Questions

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”


Forum Q&A | Perfectionist Piano Students

Last week, our Forum Q&A discussion was about saying goodbye to piano students before moving away.  Today, I’d love to hear your thoughts about students who are perfectionists.  We’ve all had them!  Sometimes they are so hard on themselves when it comes to making mistakes that they stop having fun.  They may even stop making progress in their piano study as a result of their intense fear of making mistakes.

On the other hand, as a professor at my alma mater once said, music is one of the few professions where perfection is not only expected, but it is considered the norm.  We have to admit, our goal is perfection in a way.

And so, I think a balance is necessary.

What are your thoughts?  What can we do about students who become too hard on themselves?  How do you help the perfectionist student become “okay” with making mistakes?  How do we help students achieve a balance when it comes to reaching perfection?