General, seasonal / holiday

My 2022 Christmas Gifts for Piano Students

Do you enjoy giving some kind of small gift to your piano students at Christmastime? I do! I enjoy giving something small but thoughtful to make them smile. I try to come up with something different each year.

Note: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my blog!

This year, I was pleased to find some really lovely and affordable music-themed ornament options on Amazon. In fact, I could hardly decide which one to go with!

I ended up choosing the wooden sheet music ornaments pictured below, and am very happy with my decision. They are light-weight, but nice quality wood ornaments with a sheet music print and blackened edges. The package comes as a set of 24 ornaments with 8 different shapes: hearts, pine trees, reindeers, snowmen, bells, round ornaments, stars, and snowflakes. You must attach the strings yourself, but they are included.

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seasonal / holiday

Christmas Gifts for Piano Students, 2011-2021

Hello, teacher friends! Today, I thought I would make an update this flashback post sharing ideas for piano student gift ideas. Read on to see what ideas I’ve done in the past…and stay tuned for tomorrow, when I’ll share what I’ve planned for this year!

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! Some years, I’ve kept it pretty simple while other years I have felt inspired to take on a more time-intensive project. I hope you’ll enjoy browsing this post and perhaps gaining an idea or two to tuck away for the future!

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Announcements, seasonal / holiday

The 12 Days of Christmas Project…Music Teacher Edition! (2021)

Hello, friends! As previously announced, I recently released a new resource to my shop: The 12 Days of Christmas Project — a kit to help you and your students create a collaborative video performing the traditional carol, The 12 Days of Christmas. I know it’s an odd time to be talking more about it, because Christmas has just passed. But I wanted to share just a couple more things about it before I let it rest. 🙂

First of all, you might remember in my last blog post I had put out a call for music teachers who might be interested in being part of a “music teacher edition” video of the 12 Days of Christmas. We ended up with 26 music teachers total who participated! Here’s our resulting video. Hope you enjoy!

Second, I wanted to let you know that I created a walkthrough video that gives you a peek at what’s included in The 12 Days of Christmas kit. You can check that out here.

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Announcements, seasonal / holiday

Announcing… The 12 Days of Christmas Project: A Collaborative Video Kit

Perhaps of you might recall that last year, I blogged about my students’ collaboration to create a special video as the “grand finale” of our 2020 Countdown to the New Year project. It was our own special take on The 12 Days of Christmas (click to watch)!

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seasonal / holiday, Teaching Piano

My 2021 Student Christmas Gifts

Do you enjoy giving some kind of small gift to your piano students at Christmastime? I don’t feel it’s something we as piano teachers should feel obligated to do. But if it’s something you enjoy, I think it’s a nice gesture! I look forward to coming up with something different each year.

[Click here to see gift ideas from past years!]

This year, inspired by a photo I saw on Instagram, I decided to seek out a local bakery to make some pretty piano cookies for my students. I requested quotes from two bakeries and was thrilled when the first one gave me a rate that was reasonable enough for my budget. I placed my order and couldn’t wait for the pick-up date to arrive.

Over the weekend, I picked up my cookie order. I was so thrilled and pleased with how they turned out! Aren’t they pretty?!

Aria, my constant sidekick, “helped” me put the cookies into individual baggies.

I couldn’t be happier with how these turned out!

Something else new I decided to try this year was to order custom pens with my studio logo. I thought it might be fun to include these pens in the Christmas gift this year, as well as to use around the studio and give out to new students when they join. I ordered through CustomInk.com, which has been a great company to work with in the past when I’ve done T-shirts for my students. The pens turned out nicely! It’s a good thing, because CustomInk.com have a minimum of 300 for pen orders. I will be well stocked for at least a few years! 😉

I also gave each student one of our family photo cards. To add a personal touch, I typed up a short holiday greeting printed onto sticky notes. (Did you know you can print onto sticky notes? It’s so handy for all kinds of projects! To learn how, check out this blog post.)

I packaged everything into bubble wrap mailers to send to my online students back in Ohio.

In my studio, I set up an area for my in-person students to receive their gifts. I’m excited to see my students’ faces when they see the cookies!

After all that hard work, Aria and I were ready to try out a cookie! It was our reward after a job well done. 🙂

[Check out the video version of this blog post here on Instagram!]

Your turn: Did you plan to give out students gifts this year? If so, what did you come up with? I invite you to leave a comment!

Reviews

REVIEW: Carol Matz’s Christmas Music for Piano Students

Are you familiar with Carol Matz and her Interactive Piano Method?

Carol Matz’s Interactive Piano Method is unique for providing a corresponding, interactive online experience for students alongside their printed lesson books. If you’d like to learn more, you can read all about her method here on her website.

But in today’s blog post, I’d like to focus on Carol’s Christmas arrangements. After all, it’s that time of year when many of us are prepping Christmas music for our students!

Around this time last year, I purchased Carol’s Christmas Deluxe Collection, a bundle of 15 studio-licensed pieces. And let me tell you, it was such a lifesaver! It was exactly what I needed at the time, especially given that I was still teaching entirely online at that point. More on this collection later, below.

When I recently found out that Carol was getting ready to release a couple of new bundles this year, I reached out to her to collaborate for this blog post and give you the full scoop. 🙂 In this review, I’ll give you an overview of all of Carol’s Christmas music offerings as well as a limited-time promo code just for Color In My Piano readers. Read on.

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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.

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seasonal / holiday

Sheet Music Christmas Ornament — Gift Idea for Piano Students

Christmas is nearing! Today, I’m busy making sheet music ornaments as gifts for my piano students.

I found this idea from this blogger, thanks to Pinterest. Here’s my own take on this sheet music ornament idea.

Materials:

  • Old sheet music paper
  • Jute twine
  • Black pony beads
  • Scissors
  • Hole puncher
  • Ruler

For each ornament, I cut 12 pieces of sheet music into strips measuring 1 inch x 6.5 inches, and then punched holes at each end of the paper. I cut a length of 30 inches of jute twine, folded it in half, knotted it to create a loop, and added beads and knots at various places along with the sheet music (as described in the video). The last step is to gently pull apart the paper around to form a circular shape. I love how it turned out!

There are many ways to vary the ornament: perhaps cutting smaller strips of sheet music, cutting the paper with fancy-edged scissors, using a different type of bead, etc.

Thanks for reading.

repertoire / methods, Videos

Christmas Piano Duet Recommendations

Hello, friends!

My piano teacher friend, Susan West, and I have been busy practicing a selection of Christmas duets in order to perform them for a handful of local events during this December. Check out our favorite duet books below!

2877961Here is the list of piano duet books mentioned in the video:

Do you have Christmas duet recommendations for us to consider for next year? Please leave a comment below!

General

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:

DSC_20131213_133949_1

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, 4,475 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!

Studio Business

Piano Student Gift Ideas for Christmas/Recitals

Need inspiration for music-themed gifts for music students?  Below are photos submitted by piano teachers just like you!

From Liz Hurst from Tooele, Utah:

Here is my little ornament I did this year.  It is made with little wooden stars, vintage sheet music and modge podge.  Glitter glue if you want the initial and hot glued ribbon to make the loop.

christmas ornament

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Announcements

Studio Project: Musical Christmas Paper Chain

I love Christmastime for many reasons.

As a piano teacher, I love that it gives students the opportunity to play a variety of familiar tunes.  Playing tunes that are already in their ears really helps build their music reading skills.

I keep a lending library of Christmas books and loan them out to students each year.  I give students a book that is at or slightly below their current playing level so that they can quickly and easily learn a few selections from their book.

This year, I added a new tradition: When students complete a piece, they get to sign their autograph and write “2014” in the Christmas book.  It will be fun for students to see the names of students who learned the pieces in previous years.

Last year, we started a different tradition: a studio-wide project to build a paper chain to decorate the studio.  The idea is that when a student learns a Christmas piece, they get to add a paper strip to the chain.  It is a fun collaborative, inclusive project that allows the entire studio to participate.

DSC_20131213_133949_1

[Credit: I gained both of these ideas from a Facebook forum for piano teachers.]

This year, I created this simple PDF sign to explain the project.

20141205_103733 SONY

Feel free to download this PDF on the Printables > Other Resources page (near the M’s as “Musical Christmas Chain project.”), or here:

  Musical Christmas Chain Project (155.5 KiB, 4,475 hits)

Learning all those Christmas pieces during December will be useful for the January Piano Party, when students will each perform a holiday piece.  As students perform for each other, we will play “Name That Tune.”  Students keep track of their guesses on this worksheet and mark the stars for each correct answer at the end.

DSC_20130105_124025

Click here to read more about the January Piano Party from 2013.

You can download the Name-That-Tune worksheet by visiting the Printables > Games page and scrolling down to “Name-That-Tune – Christmas Edition”, or here:

  Name-That-Tune - Christmas Edition (45.6 KiB, 5,979 hits)

I hope you and your students are enjoying the holiday season!