Friday Finds

Banana’s, Improv, and Teaching Taboo’s


1 – Should You Apply?

A wonderful opportunity to further your career! The Frances Clark Center is currently seeking an Editor-in-Chief/Chief Content Director (EIC) to lead and direct all aspects of its digital and print publication, Clavier Companion.


2 – Do You Let Them In?

Your Kitchen Table by Seth Godin.


3 – Mama Bear

An amusing story of a piano teacher’s experience with moveable do and une mère française.

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Friday Finds

#MusicTeacherChat and Spicin’ Up the Burg


1 – Spicing Up Burgmüller

New two-piano teaching duets for Burgmüller’s Op. 100!


2 – #MusicTeacherChat

MTNA started a new initiative on Twitter called Music Teacher MondayI’m not a big Twitter user myself, but if you are, it sounds interesting!


3 – Reality

Kinda personal, but hey, it’s life. The Undergarment Essentials Every Woman Should Own.

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Time to Eat… I Mean Meet… I Mean Retreat!

Piano Teacher Retreat 2018

I’m corny, I know! LOL.

Surely my title at least made you smile, didn’t it? See, goal accomplished. 😉

Interested in getting some professional development in this year but can’t afford an expensive conference? Would you love a few days away from everything in a relaxed country home with plenty of good food you don’t have to cook? Your opportunity has arrived!

Joy Morin’s piano retreat last year was such a success she’s organizing another!

Everyone’s tummies were apparently happy enough to have me back as the official “caterer.” Yea! Feeding people makes me happy. 🙂

Check out more details over on Joy’s website

Hope to see you there to EAT food, MEET people, and RETREAT away! 🙂


Manipulatives and Games for Private and Group Lessons

A Master List

How many manipulatives, games, and other resources do you have in your music studio?

You probably don’t even have to count to know the answer. A lot!  Am I right?

Keeping track of all our teaching resources can be a daunting task.

Lesson planning for private and group classes can be enough work in itself without having to continuously recall and rehash all the different manipulatives and games we have each time we plan.

After finding myself physically walking back and forth regularly to my game files, flashcard box and such, I decided it was time to put together a master list of every activity or manipulative I had or could use to teach a concept.

It can be very easy to lose track of what we already have. Having a document like this has allowed me to not only have an easy place to reference what activities I could utilize at any given time, but it was an awesome snapshot and inventory of what I owned.

Keeping a master list is also a great place to keep teaching ideas that may not necessarily have physical items to accompany the activity.

I thought you might find this document useful as well.


The Master List

Since it is a document that I update on a regular basis I decided to simply share the public link to a Google Doc. Keep in mind that it’s a working document so it’s possible I will add to, edit, and even remove items as time goes by.

There are three ways you could utilize this document

  1. If you want to keep the document as is and not risk being at the mercy of my future edits, you could download it.
  2. If you want to always see the updated version, I would recommend bookmarking the link in your browser (or in Evernote :-). This way you simply click on the link and you always see the most updated version.
  3. If you wanted to create your own list you could even copy and paste into your own document to get you started and create your own version with the materials you have!

I’m working on hyperlinking directly to every item on the list if it’s available. It’s not complete but I have a good start.

May this document help you add a little more sanity to your lesson planning and studio organizational life. 🙂

Click the link below to view the document.

Manipulatives and Games for Private and Group Lessons


Friday Finds

Be Ridiculous for the Sake of Creativity




1 – Blackbean Brownies

When it comes to sweets I can say no to just about anything but brownies or cookies. I rarely make brownies but man, do I love them. I’m looking forward to trying this interesting recipe which uses black beans as a base. Sounds gross, I know, but I have a feeling they’ll be a winning “healthy brownie” recipe.


2 – Willing to be Ridiculous

“…if I want to chase after beauty in this world and make art, I have to maintain my right to be ridiculous.”

Read more.


3 – Ahh!

akimboSeth Godin has a new podcast! Nuf said.




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See you at MTNA 2018?

The 2018 MTNA National Conference in Orlando, Florida is just around the corner!

Attending the national conferences is always something to look forward to (besides the expense of course! :-). There’s always so much going on and new and exciting things to check out. More than anything I look forward to meeting all of you face to face who I only get to see online otherwise!

My roomie, Joy Morin and I are planning on arriving on Friday the 16th. Even though it was a great time, I’m not planning a Piano Pantry dinner like I did in Baltimore (2017). Disney is just too crazy of a place to organize a formal meet-up!

We wanted a chance to hang out with ya’ll though, so we are planning on being at the Laguna Bar at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort (the Conference Hotel) on Friday evening around 8:00 pm.

If you haven’t already scoped it out online, the outdoor area at Coronado Springs looks pretty cool. I hope we have good weather!

No need to RSVP, just plan on coming by if you can. If you’d like to drop me a message, feel free to contact me here or comment on this post.

Hope to see you there!


Don’t Leave too Early!

I’m also looking forward to presenting a session at the conference! It will be my second time ever at a National Conference. Yea! The first time was at 2016 MTNA in San Antonio.

If you’re still around Wednesday morning, catch me bright and early at the very first session at 8 am.

My session is called Taming the Jungle: Digital Management Strategies for the Independent Music Teacher.

It was a privilege to get the chance to present the same session to all the wonderful teachers of Louisville MTA in Louisville, Kentucky this past weekend.

If you’re not too tired by then or already heading to the airport, I hope to see you there!


Friday Finds

Piano Flip Book and Playing for Pleasure


1 – Group Activity

I can’t wait to use this Piano Flip Book activity with my students during their group classes. What a fun way to learn about their instrument!


2 – History of Seasoning Duo

How Did Salt And Pepper Become The Soulmates Of Western Cuisine?


3 – Tech Tips

A Few Simple Tools to Hook Up Your iPad to the TV.


4 – Amateurs Unite

“Educating children for expertise suits the economy. We need the people who do the jobs to be as good as possible at them. But what we lose when we let the ethos of success dominate is the sheer fulfillment of doing things that absorb us even if we’re relatively bad at them.”

Read more from I’m a second-rate pianist – and proud of it.

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Friday Finds

Lots of Good Stuff


1 – Teaching Your Children

Did I Make a Mistake Teaching Piano to My Three Sons?| 88 Piano Keys.


2 – Game Management and Assembly

How I Print, Trim, Laminate, and Assemble Piano Teaching Games | Colourful Keys. I especially like her tips at 10:15 (laminating flimsy sheets), 18:30 (trimming the edge of game boards uniformly), and 19:50 (cheap game pieces)


3 – Updated Method

The 2nd Edition of the Piano Safari method is here! Check out all the new updates here. The items I’m most excited about include:

Book 1
  • The inclusion of Improvisation Pieces to accompany each animal technique (these are currently contained in Animal Adventures as well).
  • Slightly different order of pieces
Book 2
  • Practice and analysis suggestions are added for many of the pieces
  • Portrait orientation (upright) instead of Landscape orientation

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Candy Jar Contest Printable

Building community within our studios is an important part of both growing our studios and also maintaining and marketing to the students and families we have.

The term “community” can be defined as:

A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

Our studio students aren’t going to get feelings of fellowship by simpling coming in and out of a solo piano lesson week after week.

There are a variety of ways we can build community into our studio offerings including group classes, recitals and more (see the Varsity Musician’s Playbook Series).

Sometimes though, it can be even simpler than that.

Enter the candy jar!

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Friday Finds

Football and Valentines


1 – Podcast

An Eggheads Guide to the Superbowl. Yep, this is is for people like me.


2 – Piano Props

Sports-themed Iwako Erasers. You name it, they make it in a Japanese Eraser. Thank you, Iwako for helping piano teachers make lessons fun.


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