Reviews

Book Review: The Art of Gathering, by Priya Parker

Upon reading the title of this book, you might be wondering why this book is being reviewed on a piano teaching blog. That’s a great question! The reason boils down to this: this book applies to piano teachers as much as anyone else, and to me it was SO good that I wanted to share it with you here. :)

Gathering is universal — yet taken for granted — and can be so meaningful when done well. I feel confident that upon reading this book, you will, like me, find multiple ways to apply it within both your personal life and professional life.

In her book, author Priya Parker draws upon her expertise as host, event facilitator, conflict resoluter, and consultant to present a number of principles for gathering. The first principle she discusses is the most important: knowing the purpose of your gathering. From there, Parker discusses how your purpose will help you determine who to invite (and exclude) from your gathering, what venue to choose, and how to make the event transformative and memorable for those in attendance.

In this book, you’ll learn how to greet attendees, open gatherings, end them, “prime” attendees for the event before the date, and ensure the gathering is unique, effective, and fun for all in attendance.

The Art of Gathering is chock-full of fascinating stories from Parker’s experience exemplifying her gathering dos and don’ts. I found myself relaying many of the stories from the book to my husband. In turn, he kept asking if I was done reading the book so he could start reading it. :)

Parker’s advice was inspiring to me as I considered the variety of gatherings types in my own life — from my recitals, my studio “Piano Parties”, music camps, MTNA chapter general meetings, board meetings, gatherings with my family, dinners with friends, etc. I feel better equipped with things I can do to help gatherings be memorable and enjoyable for all involved. This book arrived in my life at an especially relevant time, as I am serving on the conference planning committee for the OhioMTA‘s 2019 state conference and also midst preparations for my upcoming second annual Piano Teacher Retreat at my home.

I “read” this book by listening to the audiobook using the Audible app (an Amazon company). I love Audible, because it enables me to read many more books in a year than I would without it. However, as much as I love audiobooks, I must tell you The Art of Gathering is so good you might want to consider buying a hardcopy (Amazon link) to mark up and reference again.

I recommend The Art of Gathering to anyone interested in learning how to facilitate gatherings to make them matter.

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Interested in a trial subscription for Audible.com? Here’s a special link for a trial that will give you two free audiobooks.

Special shoutout to Seth Godin for recommending this book on his blog

Music Learning Theory

Recommended Reading From Edwin E. Gordon’s Books on Music Learning Theory (MLT)

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been reading my way through a handful of the dozens of books written by Dr. Edwin E. Gordon (1927-2015), thinker extraordinaire in the realm of music learning theory. Although I found his writing style requires some getting-used-to — due partly to the necessity of learning the terminology he uses — I have found it extremely worthwhile to do so as I strive to incorporate aspects of his Music Learning Theory (MLT) into my practice as a piano teacher.

In this article, I’d like to present a list of the Gordon books I’ve read so far, accompanied by brief descriptions what each book addresses. My hope is that this article will provide useful recommendations for those interested in Gordon’s MLT and wondering which of his book(s) to read first. For this reason, the books are listed in order by how highly I would recommend them to someone new to Gordon’s writings. Each review below includes a link to where the book can be purchased from GIA Publications or Amazon. As I read more of Gordon’s books, I plan to add more descriptions to this list.

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Before I begin, I’d like to preface by saying that there is a book about MLT that was not authored by Gordon that I would recommend reading before reading Gordon’s books. That book is Eric Bluestine’s The Ways Children Learn Music (GIA | Amazon). Bluestine’s book offers an excellent, friendly primer of the premises of MLT and the shortcomings of conventional music education. I consider it a must-read for any music teacher. Read my full review of Eric’s book here.

Now, let’s get on to discussing Gordon’s books!


Discovering Music from the Inside Out: An Autobiography – Revised edition, by Edwin E. Gordon

Published in 2006 and revised in 2014, Gordon’s autobiography is a wonderful read. It tells the story of his early life growing up as a boy, his careers as a working musician (including playing bass for the Gene Krupa Band), and his work as a professor and researcher. The book sheds light on the circumstances that prompted Gordon to examine the way music is conventionally taught, the nature of music aptitude, and how we learn music.

This book was fun to read, and I consider it a great starting point for anyone even mildly interested in Gordon’s Music Learning Theory. Bottom line: If you are interested in music education and you enjoy autobiographies, I would recommend this book to you.

Links: GIA | Amazon Continue reading “Recommended Reading From Edwin E. Gordon’s Books on Music Learning Theory (MLT)”

Reviews

Book Review: Piano Lessons by Noah Adams

Today, I will share with you my brief review of a book called Piano Lessons: Music, Love, and True Adventures by Noah Adams.  This book is a peek into the author’s life for a year (each chapter is a month) as he experiences buying and learning how to play piano.  The book also contains accounts of interviews he was able to conduct with famous pianists as part of his job as a host of NPR’s All Things Considered.  For most of the book, the author attempts to teach himself piano using a few different methods, and also finds himself at a piano camp called “Autumn Sonata” in Vermont.  By the end of the book, after no small amount of toil, the author successfully learns how to play a rendition of Traumerei for his wife as a Christmas surprise.

This is a wonderful book to read.  Teachers, parents, and students (especially adult students) will find this book interesting and inspirational.  The writing style is light and easy to read, full of colorful descriptive words and light humor.  I enjoyed occasionally reading a chapter before bed over the course of a month or two.

 

For more ideas of books to read, consult the Reading List page here.

 

improving as a teacher, Resources, Reviews

Announcing the Launch of the “Reading List” Page

Hello readers!

Today marks the official launch of the new “Reading List” page!  I’m very excited about this new part of Color In My Piano.

The Book List contains links to TONS of great books and resources on a variety of topics.  When you’ve got a great book to recommend, visit the Reading List page and leave a comment to share your thoughts with the world!

Here’s the book categories I’ve created:

  • Piano Pedagogy
  • Teaching Resources
  • Early Childhood Music
  • Piano Technique
  • For Parents/Students
  • Music History/Theory
  • Biographies
  • Practice and Performance
  • Keyboard Literature
  • The Piano
  • The Orchestra
  • Just For Kids
  • Inspiration, Fiction, and More

I’m also tossing around the idea of allowing readers to write and submit reviews of books for publication on Color In My Piano.  If interested, please contact me at admin[at]colorinmypiano.com.  There’s no way I’d be able to review all of these books anytime soon, so I’d love to have some help!

CLICK HERE to view the new Book List page now!