“In every job that must be done there is an element of fun.”
Forgive me for sharing this quote/image once before already, but I decided to get on track for posting the video alongside the quote in the same week — rather than creating a video for the previous week’s quote. So, I’m posting the quote again, this time with the related video below. :)
So, let’s talk about this quote: “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” –Mary Poppins. How can we apply this to piano teaching? What does “fun” in piano lesson settings look like?
Today, February 28, 2019 marks the ten-year anniversary of Color In My Piano! It’s hard to believe it’s been TEN years!
What does ten years of blogging look like? And how did my blog get its name, anyway? Well, let me tell you the story! I’ll try to keep it brief — but we’re covering ten years of history here. :)
10 years ago today, on February 28, 2009, I wrote my first blog post: a welcome and brief statement of purpose. I found my inspiration largely from Natalie Wickham’s Music Matters Blog and Susan Paradis’s Piano Teacher Resources, whose resources I found tremendously helpful and inspiring for my piano teaching. At this point, I was running a successful piano studio of about 20 students out of my parents’ home, and finishing up my Bachelor’s degree in piano performance at Hope College. I graduated in May of 2009.
The name “Color In My Piano” was coined when, during my senior year at Hope College, I was required to write an essay which reflected upon my life so far and summed up my worldview. Not surprisingly, much of paper focused on my beliefs about music and the role of the piano/teaching in my life. In my life, I strive to keep my music-making and teaching from feeling like merely a job or a requirement. I strive to keep “color in my piano” for both my students and myself.
As part of our 10-year blogiversary celebration, I’d like to continue our series giving you a tour through the resources currently available in my shop. Today, we will be taking a look at the music camp resources. If you are thinking about offering a music camp this summer (or ANY time of year) but aren’t sure how to get started, this post is for you! Don’t forget — everything in my shop is 20% off through the end of February 2019 if you use the promo code 10YEARS!
“So, You Want To Be A Composer?” is a fun, creative camp designed to inspire and equip your students to compose their own pieces of music! Students will leave camp knowing how to make a piece of music reflect its title, use motives, organize a piece using a form, and much more. This camp is full of music listening, music making, and music composing.
Our 10-year blogiversary celebration sale continues this month! Don’t forget to take advantage of the promo code (10YEARS) for 20% off, if you’re planning to, before the end of February 2019!
Today, I want to highlight an item from my shop you might be interested in: my “Notes To Self” printable. A couple of teachers sent me great photos and notes about how these sticky notes are impacting their students…be sure to see those at end of this post!
The “Notes To Self” Inspirational Wall Art Kit (PDF) contains the digital materials you need to create interactive wall art to inspire those within your social sphere. It’s a great way to promote positivity and camaraderie!
I created the “Notes To Self” wall kit with my piano students in mind, but they are perfect for any setting where people gather for a common purpose. Here’s how it looks in my piano studio:
I enjoy using a butterfly band prop — credit to Irina Gorin — to help my beginner students develop a physical approach to the instrument that is comfortable and effective for ideal sound production. In Irina’s words, the butterfly exercise helps students experience “relaxation of the hand/wrist, a floating arm, and a gentle touch”.
Today, I thought I’d share how I make these bands for my students — including an improvement I came up with during the most recent round of butterfly-band-making. :)
“In every job that must be done there is an element of fun.”
P.S.: I recently made a short video discussing the quote from last time: “A fiery, good beginner always stands higher than a master in mediocrity.” —Robert Schumann.” Click here to watch it, and please let me know if you’d like me to consider making more of this kind of video!
Quick backstory: Lucia attended Irina Gorin’s workshop back in May and is familiarizing herself with Irina’s method, Tales of a Musical Journey. I took Irina’s workshop back in 2015, and have been an enthusiast ever since. Lucia and I connected via Irina’s Facebook group, and decided to get together in person while I was vacationing in Puerto Rico. Using Lucia’s daughter as a guinea pig, we explored certain aspects of Irina’s techniques together. Today, I’m sharing a few of the video clips Lucia took during our time together!
A few things I want you to know before we dive into the videos:
Irina’s method is designed around developing a beautiful sound and a healthy technique from the beginning. That is the focus of these activities, as you will see.
Ana isn’t a total beginner — she has been taking lessons with her mom for over a year. They’ve been using other books in addition to recent explorations into Irina’s book. Ana is seven years old.
Although I did take Irina’s workshop and have been using her materials for a few years now, my teaching isn’t as amazing as Irina’s. :) I encourage you to learn from the master! Check out Irina’s extensive YouTube channel here.
A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I were in Puerto Rico. I highly recommend it as a fun place to vacation! The culture is different enough from the mainland U.S. that it feels a bit exotic, and yet, it’s familiar enough to the point where you can get around easily. Many of the locals speak English in addition to Spanish. There’s so much history to experience, great food, beaches, gorgeous weather, and fun excursions such as snorkeling and the rainforest. You can’t go wrong!
Before our trip, I connected with Puerto Rican piano teacher Lucia Fernandez, thanks to Irina Gorin’s Tales of a Musical Journey method Facebook group (check out my review of Irina’s method book here). Lucia and her husband arranged a lovely dinner meetup for us and the couple we were vacationing with.
A couple of days later, Lucia picked me up to visit her home studio. It’s always fun to get a peek into a fellow piano teacher’s studio, right? Lucia agreed to allow me to feature her home studio here on my blog for you to see. :)
Today, I want to highlight an item from my shop you might be interested in: the Ice Cream Interval game. There’s also a freebie for your young beginners below…so keep reading!
Being able to recognize the placement of and distances between notes on the staff intervallically is crucial to reading music. I like to tell my students that music reading involves more interval recognition than it does note identification. To help my students learn to identify intervals quickly upon sight, I created the Ice Cream Interval game.
The cards show intervals both on the staff lines and on the piano keys, so students are encountering situations.
This simple game works great as a single person activity. We lay out the cones on the floor, and start sorting the interval “scoops” to the appropriate cone.
Our 10-year blogiversary celebration sale continues this month! This week, I want to highlight an item from my shop you might be interested in for your group classes or summer music camps. There’s also some freebies linked to below…keep reading!
The Great Composers & Their Music series is designed to be an easy and effective way for teachers to incorporate music history in their students’ musical education. Here’s the story of how this curriculum came to be.
In the summer of 2012, I decided I wanted to offer a music history camp for my students. It’s not easy to cover music history thoroughly during the private lesson setting, but I wanted my students to know the major composers and the style periods. Knowing these things helps students understand the pieces they are learning, appreciate music more, and make better decisions regarding interpretation and artistry. Music camps are a perfect opportunity for getting submerged in music history and learning a lot in just a few days!
When I took music history classes during college, my professor told us that one of her main goals was for us, by the end of the course, to be able to give a reasonable guess as to which time period a piece of music was composed — even when hearing a piece for the first time. I decided to adopt this very same goal for my students.
Happy New Year, friends! I hope you’ve been enjoying the holidays.
The new year always causes for me a time of reflection — refection upon the previous year as well as upon what the next year might hold.
As far as my blogging goes, I certainly published fewer blog posts in the last couple of years than I did in previous years. I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing — I think the blogosphere and the online community is different now than it once was. Currently, I’m finding myself more active on Instagram than my blog. I would love to invite you to follow me there for those kinds of smaller, quick, fun updates and stay right where you are for the longer-form content here on the blog.
I’ve been thinking about how my teaching has changed over the years as well. (I began teaching piano around this time of year back in 2005.) There have been a number of important influences that have helped me improve my teaching, and I can see that my students are seeing the benefits. What will the next year hold? Ever more improvements, I hope!
Thanks so much for being a follower of my blog, and I wish you all a happy and healthy 2019.
P.S.: Anybody in Charlotte, NC? I’ll be in your area tomorrow (Friday) for a piano teacher presentation! Email or facebook me if you are interested in the details. :)