Friday Finds. Resources and Millet.

This Friday morning, just after this post goes up, I will be giving a presentation to one of our Indiana MTA Local Associations in Terre Haute. I’ll be giving this same session the first week of November at the Ohio MTA State Conference.

In the session, Taming the Jungle: Strategies for Pursuing Professional Development in the Information Age, I share 137 resources for professional development. More importantly, I walk through strategies for managing ourselves and the content that’s being thrown at us on a day-to-day basis.

I thought I might share some of those resources and tips with you all today.



I’ve been experimenting with an add-on for Gmail called Inbox PauseI don’t think it’s something I’ll use on a regular basis but there will definitely be instances where it would be nice to have no incoming email for a short period of time.



The next big thing in our online world – membership sites. There are two that I know of in P.T. world: The Curious Piano Teachers Community which I believe is seasonal, and Tim Topham’s Inner Circle.



Recently I came across two new blogs – both of which I heard about in Tim Topham’s Inner Circle. I’ve been enjoying following Eliza Says and Colourful Keys.



Three of my top YouTube channels include:

Anne Crosby Gaudet for her awesome theory videos I use during my student lab time.
Irin Gorin for her excellent examples on teaching healthy technique to beginners.
UIPianoPed for their plethora of quality videos of the beginning and intermediate repertoire.



My life is made easier with two of the best tools out there for managing content: Evernote and Feedly RSS Reader

and in other news….

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Halloween Music Lab


Looking to spice up your lab for a couple of weeks? Here is a Halloween lab I started this year. It’s adapted from Heidi’s Piano Notes.

My students do a 30 minute lab time each week and this lab will take most students one to two weeks to complete.

Student labs are kept in 1/2 inch 3-ring binders with tab dividers. This one is listed under the “Holiday” tab.

Download the assignment sheet.

Visit my Halloween Music Lab Pinterest board for the assigned videos.


Friday Finds. Diane Hidy and Solfege Cards



Peek-a-boo windows worked peek-a-boowonders for this guy who was struggling to memorize. I encouraged him to peek at each section then play it by memory, peek-n-play, peek-n-play and “poof” the next week it was memorized! Hmm…there must be something to this, Diane Hidy! 🙂



My Feedly was feeding Diane’s old site into my RSS reader so I just caught a lot of her posts from the last couple of months. I just decided I’m going to call this Diane Hidy week here on Friday Finds! Some favorites, new and old.

10 Tips for Interviewing a Prospective Student.

How I Create My Studio Calendar.

Colorful Memorization

10 Tips for Teaching Teens

I’m a sucker for any kind of “favorite things” posts like her Holiday Wish List 2015.



Prima Music – my favorite online music retailer, has acquired Music Treasures. Wow, lots of acquisitions and mergers going on this year. First, it was Keys to Imagination with Music Educators Marketplace which I announced in another Friday Finds and now this. Who’s next?


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Friday Finds. Music out of the Unexpected

This past weekend I attended our Indiana MTA State Conference at Goshen College. I love our state association! With membership around 300, we have great attendance at our conference  – around 20-25%. We are small, but mighty. Everyone knows everyone, and we have great camaraderie!

I was excited to share the best of our state with Ohio MTA member and friend Joy Morin of Color in My Piano and fellow Indiana MTA member Daniel Patterson of Grow Your Music Studio.

Joy Daniel Amy

Being a part of a state association is important in part because it connects you with those in closest proximity. We’re often so used to engaging with others online we forget to be where we are with colleagues nearest us.

Anyhoo…on to this week’s picks!


Music made out of something unexpected. Incredible. Marshall Daniels plays the handpan.



I just found out canned pumpkin isn’t pumpkin at all and my whole life is a lie.



Take care of those knives – they’re the workhorses of your kitchen! This is what a dishwasher actually does to your knife. It only takes seconds to wash them by hand!



Add a little laughter to your life by following the Musical Humor Facebook page. One of my parents tagged me in a video and said this was how they felt trying to help their child practice. Too funny! It got me thinking that maybe I should consider offering a class for parents that might be interested in learning a little bit about music, mostly to not feel lost with their student’s studies!

I wonder, has anyone else ever done anything like this?


About Friday Finds

Each Friday on this blog, I share some of my favorite finds from the past week. You’ll find anything from directly piano-related resources, articles, podcasts, and music, to recipes, world-happenings, fun finds and more.

I look forward to helping you as busy teachers see what’s worth checking out and promise to try and keep it under 10 items each week!

Video Clip – Wild West of Marketing

Back in March I presented a session on marketing at the 2016 MTNA National Conference in San Antonio Texas called The Wild West of Marketing: How Do You Know What Really Works?

Read more about my conference experience here and details on the sessionhere.

Yesterday this video popped up on Facebook and I thought I would share it. It’s a 10 minute clip from the session.

You’ll hear several things I did in my first year including Facebook tips.


If for some reason the video above won’t play, click here to view the video on Facebook.

For more marketing tips, check out the July 2016 edition of The Piano Bench Magazine where I wrote 32 Ways to Market Your Studio.



Friday Finds. The Worlds Oldest Known Melody




Some of my favorite weekend breakfast/brunch foods to make include quiche, muffins, and pancakes. My husband has been on me to buy a waffle maker after our first experience eating Gaufres de Liege styles waffles last December at Taste of Belgium in Cincinnati on a weekend getaway.

If you’ve never had this style waffle it’s like God’s gift to waffles. They’re dense yet light, crispy, amazing on their own with no butter or syrup, and unlike any kind of waffle I’ve ever had. In fact, we both said we will never make traditional Belgium waffles again – this is it.

Waffle IronHere’s my awesome new stovetop waffle maker. It comes apart to preheat faster, doesn’t squeeze down the batter and cleans up like a breeze. If you don’t plan on ever buying a waffle maker, then treat yourself to purchasing a pack of waffles directly from Taste of Belgium just once! Otherwise, find the recipe along with details on what makes these waffles so amazing here*Note, the batter was a little sticky when I separated it into balls so I just tossed a little flour on them at the end and it was fine. 



Listen to the Worlds Oldest Known Melody.



Rhythm, Post-It Notes, Elissa Milne, Motivation, Stickers.


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Parades: A Double-Marketing Whammy

Last week my studio families and I walked in our 5th annual parade since I opened in 2011. A 5-year anniversary is a perfect time for celebration, so I wanted to share a little more about it with you today.

Not only are you going to see photos from the last five years (including my three different hairstyles!), but I’m going to share a little bit of the logistics, and why you should consider doing something like this in your studio.


2011 – Year 1 (For the parade & my business!)

This is before I had my logo designed. I cut a sign out of black poster board (yes I cut out the logo!) and put clear plastic sleeve covers behind the poster board so I could stick down the inside pieces such as those on the 8’s.

Yes, it was cheap and homemade all the way! 10-15 students were supporting me at this point!


I made the keyboards out of foam-core poster board I bought at Wal-Mart.


Aren’t they cute?

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Friday Finds. Unlocking Creativity – Unfurling Jolene.



Last night a few of my students, parents, husband (yes the goofy one in the back), friends,  and I walked in a parade during our city’s September Street Fair. It’s become an annual event for my studio as a way to not only keep my name in the community but to foster a sense of community within my studio.

I’m going to share a bit more on this in an upcoming post!

But for now……

:  Lesson planning advice from The Curious Piano Teachers.

:  I love this: No one likes sitting alone.

:  America’s Test Kitchen’s former beloved host Christopher Kimball has a new venture. Milk Street will bring recipes of the world to home kitchens making them easier and more accessible. Their bow-tie logo is beautiful, simple, and genius. Perfect in my opinion.  Check out the site or Facebook page.

:  My love of organization is leading me to share Sara’s way of organizing music game folders and my way of organizing student files.

:  Bob’s Red Mill makes great products. However, I always hated that I either have to use chip clips to seal the bags or put their plastic bag into another Ziploc plastic bag. Bob’s is finally introducing resealable bags! Yahoo!

:  I completely missed National Guacamole day last week! Oh, man! One of my all-time favorite foods. Marcela Valladolid’s Game-Winning Guac’ is still my favorite.

:  Pentatonix + Dolly Parton in Jolene. Sweet.

:  A well spelled-out look on the best notation apps. 

: Short, clear, and to the point. That’s how Bradley Sowash writes on his blog and in his column for Clavier Companion. He captured me recently with “Dot Spots”. His partner-in-crime, Leila Viss wrote an article for Music Teachers Helps Blog highlighting an article on Non-Professional Books That Have Made Us Better TeachersI’m looking forward to checking out their book suggestions.

This dynamic duo (Bradley and Leila that is), have a webinar coming up on Monday you might want to check out. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

Click here to register

Rhythm Webinar

*In the spirit of full-disclosure, this is an affiliate link which simply means I will get a small commission off any registrations.  Please know I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t think it was a great professional development opportunity!


I’m off now to my own piano lesson. Yep, that’s right, I’m still learning and always will be!

Happy Friday!




About Friday Finds

Each Friday on this blog, I share some of my favorite finds from the past week. You’ll find anything from directly piano-related resources, articles, podcasts, and music, to recipes, world-happenings, fun finds and more.

I look forward to helping you as busy teachers see what’s worth checking out and promise to try and keep it under 10 items each week!

Announcing Piano Pantry’s First Big Resource!

One of the first posts I wrote on this blog back in March 2016 was about my addiction to designing assignment sheets.

Since I’m a one-woman show here on Piano Pantry, it’s taken me until now to figure out the technical side of how to make this resource available to you in the best way possible. I like things to look clean, well-laid out, and organized.

I spent last weekend setting up “Assignment Sheet Central” here on Piano Pantry.

There are 15 assignment sheets of all kinds of sizes, shapes, and colors (well, not exactly, but the phrase seemed to work here). 🙂

The best thing? There are MORE to come! I have at least another ten sheets ready to be added to the page on top of the 15 already there. It takes me about 20 minutes per sheet to get it onto the website, so I didn’t want to have to wait until I got all 25+ up to make it available to you!

Hopefully, 15 choices are enough to get you started!

Swapping up assignment sheets every 6-12 months is just one way I keep things fresh.

The resource page can be accessed from the main menu at the top or click here:

Assignment Sheet Central

Let me know what you think!



Friday Finds – Cartoons!


Looney TunesSan Antonio teacher Karen Lien shared an awesome 1960s Warner
Brothers Looney Tunes video called High Note
The whole video is cartoon animated music notation! You can also find it on Vimeo here.




The Michigan Music Education Association has a Pinterest account with lots of great music education boards. I was especially interested in following their Music Learning Theory board.



Paul HarveyA good article on the historic Paul Harvey. I always loved listening to him as a kid. I looked and am surprised there isn’t a CD archive of his shows available for purchase. Has had the most incredible radio voice.



Wow. The time dedication this dad takes (4 hours each evening) to draw cartoons on his daughter’s lunch bag is amazing. What incredible creativity. How One Student’s Midday Meal became a Lunchroom Phenom.

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