Printables, Technique

Freebie: Technical Requirements Charts for RCM’s 2022 Piano Syllabus

Have you heard? The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) has recently released the newly revised 2022 Piano Syllabus for their practical examinations. They are also releasing new editions of the wonderful Celebration Series piano literature collection (available soon). What exciting news for piano teachers!

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Conferences

2022 MTNA Virtual Conference Recap

A couple of weeks ago, I joined a few piano teacher friends to virtually attend the 2022 MTNA Virtual National Conference from March 26-30, 2022. Although I definitely prefer in-person conferences over virtual conferences, I have to say that joining up with some buddies to watch the sessions together was a really excellent second option!

My friend Amy Chaplin (of PianoPantry.com) was kind enough to offer to host us in her home…and even cook for us! The rest of our crew included Christina Whitlock (of The Beyond Measure podcast) and Janna Williamson (intermediate repertoire guru offering a fantastic YouTube channel for piano teachers).

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Reviews

Music Notation Software Recommendations for Teachers and Students

I’ve recently had two questions from fellow piano teachers come through my “Ask Me Anything” form asking for advice regarding music notation software. Thinking there might be others of you out there wondering about the same thing, I thought I would publish my answer in today’s blog post!

Introduction

Once upon a time, the two main options for music notation software were Finale and Sibelius — plus a free open-source software called Musescore. Nowadays, we also have online-based software as well as apps for phones/tablets to consider.

While I can’t claim to be familiar with ALL of the options available today (especially the variety of apps out there), I am happy to share my experience and personal recommendations below. If you have additional recommendations, I hope you’ll share them with us in the comment section of this blog post!

Let’s get into it. I’ll start by recommending what I consider to be good starting points for students or teachers who are newly interested in composition and/or music notation software. Then, I’ll get into what I recommend for serious or experienced composers who wish to invest in professional-grade software.

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Giveaways

What could YOU win? (March 2022 Giveaway)

Just a friendly reminder to enter the giveaway before time runs out! As part of our celebration of ColorInMyPiano.com turning 13, YOU could win any item of your choice from my shop. 13 winners will be randomly selected on Monday, March 7, 2022 — so enter now!

What could you potentially win? Well, here’s a quick highlight in photo form:

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Giveaways

Celebrating 13 Years of Blogging (and a Special GIVEAWAY!)

Hello friends, 

Guess what: Today, February 28, 2022, marks the thirteen-year anniversary of Color In My Piano. It’s hard to believe this blog has been around for that long!

As is tradition as part of our blogiversary celebration, I usually share a little bit about myself and the origin story behind ColorInMyPiano. I’m not one to talk about myself a lot, but I do like history and I do like my readers to know the story behind my blog’s name, for example! And as usual, I’m also running my annual 20% off sale (applies to EVERYTHING in my shop), and finally, a big giveaway. Keep reading to find out more!

The Beginnings

I began ColorInMyPiano in 2009, while I was finishing up my Bachelor’s degree in piano performance at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. At that time, I was running a successful piano studio of about 20 students out of my parents’ home and teaching group keyboard classes at the local YMCA. I was finding so much inspiration and helpful resources from other blogs — including Natalie Wickham’s Music Matters Blog and Susan Paradis’s Piano Teacher Resources — and had also begun creating some of my own worksheets and other printables. I felt I wanted to give back and share in the same way, and so on February 28, 2009, I wrote my first blog post: a welcome and brief statement of purpose. 

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Teaching Piano

Just added: Grand Staff Reference Sheet – Naming Space Notes

Hi there! In this blog post, I’ll briefly discuss both the usefulness and shortcomings of mnemonic devices (such as “FACE” and “All Cows Eat Grass”) when it comes to music reading and then share with you a new FREE printable, pictured above.

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General

12 Podcasts for Piano Teachers to Follow in 2022

Back in February 2021, I shared 12 podcasts for piano teachers to follow. There’s some really great podcasts in that list, so if you haven’t seen it I definitely recommend checking out that post before reading on below!

Since then, a number of new podcasts have launched — some of them very recently. In today’s blog post, I’d like to share with you another selection of 12 podcasts that are new or have come to my attention in recent months. I’ve included links to subscribe via Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, but these podcasts are also available at Overcast, Spotify, or whatever your favorite podcast app. Just search them up by name.

I’ll begin with my must-listen recommendations, and then move into some podcasts I tend to follow only sporadically or am still checking out. I hope you find a few podcasts shows that might interest you!

1.

First of all, I’ll tell you about The Piano Pantry Podcast — a brand new podcast from my good friend, Amy Chaplin of PianoPantry.com. As on her blog, Amy plans to discuss a combination of topics: teaching, organization, cooking/baking, and more. She has released two episodes so far, and I can’t wait to hear more! Subscribe at Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

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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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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!

Printables, Worksheets

Just Added: “Identifying Ledger Lines” Music Worksheet

It’s been quite a while since I shared a new worksheet…until today! Here is a brand new worksheet about ledger lines that you are welcome to use with your piano students or music students of any instrument.

The top of the page includes a definition and a graphic demonstrating what ledger lines are. The rest of the page presents a number of ledger line notes and asks the student to identify the letter name of each note. It’s a simple worksheet that might be useful to send home with your students to reinforce the concept after you cover it during a lesson.

Download this FREE worksheet by visiting the Printables > Worksheets page and scrolling down to “Identifying Ledger Lines.”

  Identifying Ledger Lines (92.4 KiB, 1,323 hits)

PS: I have several other worksheets of a similar format you might be interested in checking out: Introduction to the Staff worksheet, Line & Space Notes worksheet, Identifying Line & Space Notes on the Staff worksheet, Intervals Unison-3rd worksheet, and Intervals Unison-5th worksheet. Hope you enjoy!

Studio Business

Q: Who buys the music books — teacher or student?

Today’s blog post topic comes to you as a result of a question submitted by a reader. The question I received was essentially: How do you go about acquiring music books for piano students and managing the reimbursement/expense?

While there is no single “best” way to do business, there are certainly a number of good options to consider in order to find a procedure that works best for you and your clients. In this blog post, we’ll explore a handful of possible procedures and discuss their potential downsides and upsides.

4 Main Options for Acquiring Music Books and Managing the Expense

As I see it, here are the main options for self-employed music teachers:

  1. You can ask students/parents to purchase their own sheet music.
  2. You can purchase sheet music on behalf of your students and then collect reimbursement afterwards.
  3. You can purchase sheet music on behalf of your students and cover the expense yourself via a special books/material/registration fee.
  4. You can purchase sheet music on behalf of your students and cover the expense as part of the tuition fee charged for piano lessons.

Let’s discuss each option in more depth.

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Games

Getting out my Trick-or-Treat rhythm game!

It’s that time of year — time to pull out my Trick-or-Treat! rhythm game! During the weeks leading up to Halloween, I like to use my Trick-or-Treat rhythm game at pretty much every student’s lesson. It’s a fun way to make students “earn” their treat, and it’s such a great game for building their rhythm skills. Best of all, they LOVE this game!

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