Composition

Roundup: Composition/Improvisation Resources for Piano Teachers

Our 12-year Blogiversary Celebration continues! In today’s post, I’d like to round up a few of my favorite resources (both free and paid) on my blog relating to composition and improvisation.

Composition and improvisation are skills I love integrating into my teaching. When students show an interest in creating their own pieces, I always foster this and coach them through the process of formulating and notating their compositions. To help expose all of my students to composition, I offer a composition-themed summer camp at least every-other-year. I use improvisation, in simple but natural ways, in my teaching too — although I’d like to get better at doing more!

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In this blog post, there are three main sections: (1) First, I will first round up my free printables related to composition and improvisation. (2) Then, I’ll list some blog post links to some articles that discuss how to integrate improvisation and composition into your teaching. (3) Finally, I will tell you about two paid resources from my shop you might find useful for teaching composition and improvisation to your piano students.

I hope you’ll discover — or rediscover — some fun resources you can use in your teaching!

Continue reading “Roundup: Composition/Improvisation Resources for Piano Teachers”
Announcements, Giveaways

Celebrating 12 Years of Blogging (and a Special GIVEAWAY!)

Hello readers,

Guess what! This Saturday, February 28, 2021, marks the twelve-year anniversary of Color In My Piano! Can you believe this blog has been around for TWELVE years now?

In this post, I will share a bit about ColorInMyPiano’s history, my own story, a celebratory sale, and finally a giveaway. (Have you ever wondered how ColorInMyPiano got its name? You’ll find out if you keep reading!)

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Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.”

Chinese proverb

With whom does the responsibility for learning lie: the teacher, or the student?

The answer: probably both. The question presents a false dichotomy. (As my pastor growing up used to say: When you ask the wrong question, you get the wrong answer.)

The reality is that both parties share some responsibility in the process of education.

But teachers, let’s focus on ourselves for a moment: How can we open the door for our students? But further, what can we do to help empower our students to enter by themselves?

And now considering our teacher selves as the lifelong learners we are, and putting ourselves in the shoes of the students in our care: How can we help ourselves enter the doorways of learning?

Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”

Abigail Adams

Learning requires a little skin in the game. It’s not likely to happen just by chance. Learning comes around thanks to passion for the subject matter and a zeal for learning. Plus, a healthy amount of some good ole’ elbow grease.

How do you help YOUR students fully apply and invest themselves in learning?

General, Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

Benjamin Franklin

Learning is truly an investment. It’s a sacrifice made in the hope that we will reap the benefits of knowledge many times over.

There are so many different ways to spend our time, energy, and resources. But in my experience, investing in knowledge tends to pay off and prove worthwhile to my quality of life‚Ķespecially when it’s something I’m deeply interested in!

Do you agree? What have YOU invested to learn recently?

Conferences

MTNA and NCKP: Two Virtual Conferences You Won’t Want to Miss in 2021!

After getting my first taste of a national conference as a college student, I made a commitment early on in my career to always ensure I was making enough income to be able to afford professional development opportunities like these. There’s nothing like investing in yourself — you’re your greatest asset! Experiences like conferences can reap long-lasting benefits for improving your teaching, improving your business, and keeping yourself fresh and motivated in your career as a piano teacher.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic might still be putting a “pause” in larges in-person events, but we can still connect virtually! I am pretty excited about TWO upcoming music teacher conferences that are going virtual for 2021.

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Teaching Piano

Take a Tour of my Piano Studio! (2021)

After moving from Northwest Ohio to Southeast Michigan in December of 2020, I had promised to give you a tour of my new studio space. Somehow, a year has already passed…but I’m finally delivering on that promise! Below is a photo tour as well as a video tour (scroll down to the end). I think it’s always fun to see other teachers’ piano studios, so I hope you’ll enjoy!

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General, Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one’s self esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily.”

Muriel Spark

Learning is risky.

It means our self esteem might take a blow. It means our attempts might look inept. It means we might realize just how much we don’t know.

Young children don’t have this problem. They are accustomed to having to learn new things all the time. And as the quote points out, they have little awareness of their own self-importance. As a result, they generally aren’t shy about jumping in to try something new!

Maybe we can “stay young” and learn from kids. We can choose to not allow our pride to get hurt when we are in those awkward learning stages. Maybe we can try to recover quickly, laugh it off, and not allow those moments to get to us.

How can we help our students, as they grow up, stay open to risky learning experiences?

Because learning is worth the risk.

Words of Wisdom

Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

“Take the attitude of a student: never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.”

OG Mandino

This message is a GOOD ONE for us to keep in mind as we all become older and wiser. We are naturally good learners as children, but as we grow up sometimes we become less willing or less open to learning new things.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! We can assume the attitude of a student, no matter how old we are. We can be comfortable with the fact that we don’t know everything. We can be willing to ask questions. We can be EXCITED when there are opportunities to learn new things.

Moreover, we can MODEL this attitude for the young ones in our charge. Have your students witnessed your excitement to try out new piano literature with them? Have they seen you introduce new resources, teaching aids, or projects? Have they seen you perform in your studio recitals? Have they heard about your own practice strategies? Have they seen you embrace new technology? If so, that’s awesome!!

As teachers, let’s strive to not only be the best teachers we can be, but also the best learners we can be.