Today, as I was looking over my Recital Preparation Timeline and Checklist, I thought “hey, my readers might find this useful!” So, today I have a free download for you!
It’s that time of year when preparations for my year-end spring recital are in full-force. Here’s what I have accomplished thus far:
1. Found, booked and confirmed location
2. Presented students with several piece options
3. Confirmed the student’s choice piece
4. Determined plans for the second half of the recital
(Each year the first half is everyone playing their solo then following a 10-minute intermission we do something different. Two years ago everyone did a jazzy style piece, last year we did collaborative pieces, and this year we’re doing a studio collaboration on The Musical Forest: A Narrative Suite for Piano by Nancy Lau. I’ll share details after the recital!)
5. Announced recital location and details in my newsletter
6. Organized and assigned roles for the narrative suite
Next, I have to get all my awards figured out so I can order what I need! Continue reading
This is a guest post by Dr. Andrea McAlister. After attending the 2017 MTNA Conference in Baltimore, I wanted to bring you the session that impacted me most. Leading up to the conference, I had been noticing myself using the word “good” a lot and without thought (even though I knew better) so this was exactly what I needed. Andrea was a fantastic presenter. Despite being a 20-minute accelerated track session, she epitomized the saying that “less is more.” She got to the point, was clear, and very engaging. I hope you glean as much as I did from her regarding our use of language and words.
I recently had the opportunity to present Better Than “Good” at the 2017 MTNA National Conference and, while I’ve given numerous presentations throughout the years, I found this one to be strangely difficult to assemble. According to my abstract, I was to talk about praise, feedback, and the different ways in which we can effectively communicate with our students. It’s what I do every year in my pedagogy classes with the next generation of teachers. We discuss a variety of ways to put gestures, musical concepts, and technical skills into verbal cues for a variety of ages and levels. While it’s difficult enough for new teachers to put ideas into words, many of my students speak English as a second language, making the process that much more difficult and important. As they grow in education and experience, these new teachers fill their toolboxes with expressions they know will work with their students and pick up a new tip or two along the way.
I do this year after year with a new crew of pedagogy students, so why did it seem so difficult to prepare the same material for the conference? Why not take the same tried-and-true class activities, slap them on a power point slide, and be done with it? “Teaching is not telling,” says Frances Clark and yet here I was, telling teachers how to use words. Something didn’t feel right. Continue reading
In college, I recall one of my Bible class professors encouraging us to always read the forward/preface/opening words to any book before diving in. Up until that point, I always skimmed over those parts, including the “acknowledgments.” Since then I have tried to take a moment to read opening words of the author and have found that it has made me more prepared for, aware of, and grateful for the person whose “art” I am about to absorb.
The same principal applies to sheet music/books. I recently purchased two new church music books. One for myself (What Praise Can I Play on Sunday? by Carol Tornquist) and one for an adult student, Phillip Keveren’s 2015 Weekly Worship: 52 Hymns for a Year of Praise. The latter especially had touching words that resonated with me and touched my heart. All it took was one moment – one moment to stop and read the heart and intentions of another.
After being on a Friday Finds hiatus due to my Piano Pantry one-year anniversary celebration and the recent trip to the MTNA Conference in Baltimore, I’m back and ready to go for another great year of finds!
I thought it would be fun to take a peek back myself at the first few Friday Finds posts. I imagine many of you weren’t around then so if you want to check them out see Friday Finds #1, Friday Finds #2, and Friday Finds #3.
Included in some of today’s finds are a couple favorites from those first few posts.
P.S. After I started this Friday Find post, I realized a color theme was emerging. Sometimes it just works that way!
What a delightful time we had at the first annual Piano Pantry reader’s dinner!
Our party of 20 met on Monday night of the 2017 MTNA Conference in Baltimore at Ten Ten American Bistro. I was pleased to find such a great restaurant a convenient 5-minute walk from the Marriott. The interior was fabulous and the food matched the quality of the chic atmosphere.
After months of anticipation, four days of our lives have come and quickly gone. Another conference is in the books, and as always we have a renewed spark for our profession, anticipation for trying something new, excitement in new friendships and connections, and joy in our own learning.
Held at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, we had access to a beautiful view of the harbor and quick and easy access to amazing restaurants.
Making the 12-hour drive (with stops) with my travel buddy, Joy Morin, of Color In My Piano blog added to the adventure.
In this photo, we are joined by our friends Daniel Patterson (blogger at GrowYourMusicStudio.com) and Christina Whitlock (who authored the 3-part series here on Piano Pantry The Varsity Musician’s Playbook).
I couldn’t have picked a better “kick-off” encounter than getting a chance to meet and chat with Wendy Stevens over lunch my first day.
On my 12-hour drive to the MTNA conference, I take a moment to check my email. I see an email from “MTNA Foundation Fund.”
“Oh my, this is it!” I think…”did I get it?”
The preview subject: “Dear Amy, The Teacher Enrichment Grant Committee has…”
Ah! The suspense. They’re going to make me OPEN the email to find out?!…