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! ūüėČ

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. ūüôā

[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!

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. ūüôā

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”
seasonal / holiday

Christmas Gift for Piano Students

Here’s what I gave my students for Christmas this year:

A Symphony chocolate bar, and a personalized glass ornament.

I found the glass ornaments at a craft store (Hobby Lobby). ¬†On each ornament, I wrote the student’s name and “2011” on the ornament using a paint pen. ¬†I put colorful confetti and pieces of old sheet music inside each ornament. ¬†I thought they turned out cute!

For my adult students, I bought music dictionaries. ¬†The A to Z of Foreign Musical Terms¬†is my favorite music dictionary. ¬†I don’t mind spending a little extra on the adult students to get something they would really use and appreciate. ¬†ūüôā

Resources, seasonal / holiday

11 Sheet Music Craft Ideas

After posting about the sheet music ornament star last week, I was inspired to dig around the web for other music-related crafts! ¬†There are tons of ways to recycle old sheet music (which you can often find at thrift stores, garage sales, auctions, and antique stores). ¬†Here’s a sampling of what I found! ¬†All links lead back to the original bloggers’/crafters’ websites. ¬†Click the photos to view them larger.

1. ¬†¬†Sheet Music Garland | This fun garland is fast and easy, made by cutting out sheet music circles and sewing them together. ¬†It’s perfect for decorating a music room, fireplace mantel, or Christmas tree.

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2.   Sheet Music Light Switch Plates | Cover your plain light switch plates with sheet music to give the room a little zing!

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3.   Advent Calendar Cones | These sheet music cones can be used to stash Advent calendar goodies.

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4.   Sheet Music Wreath | Hang this beauty on your door or above your piano.  Another example is shown here.  Also try mini ornament wreaths like the one as shown on this blog.

< Continue reading “11 Sheet Music Craft Ideas”

Resources, seasonal / holiday

Link: Sheet Music Christmas Ornament Craft

Someone on the “piano-teachers” Yahoo group forum brought this to my attention – the Better Homes and Gardens magazine’s website has instructions for a craft for making a sheet music Christmas ornament (picture on right). ¬†It looks like a wonderful way to make your Christmas tree a little more musical!

The star pattern allows you to choose from three different sized stars. The instructions for making this ornament suggest photocopying sheet music, which of course is not legal. ¬†I would instead suggest visiting imslp.org and printing off some sheet music that is in the public domain¬†(or use some Christmas music linked to in¬†this post). ¬†On the pattern, the solid lines indicate “mountain folds” (fold comes out toward you) and the dashed lines indicated “valley folds.” ¬†Once the folding is complete, punch a small hole and tie a small loop using gold thread to complete the ornament.

Click here to view the full instructions on the Better Homes and Gardens website.

Performances, Resources

Making Grab Bag Gifts for Music Students

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Need ideas for what to give all your music students this year for Christmas or to reward them after a performance?  Trying to stay within a budget?  How about making grab bags full of music goodies! Your students are bound to be thrilled with this music-themed gift.

First, buy a package of cellophane favor bags – music-themed ones if you can. They are usually located in the party favors/decorations section at the store. Dollar stores often carry them as well. A good deal will cost from $1.00 to $3.50 for a package of 20 bags. If you cannot find favor bags, you can also use small gift bags – but it will probably cost you a little more. ¬† Continue reading “Making Grab Bag Gifts for Music Students”