Teaching Reflection

Whys and Whats

Today I just felt like sharing a random reflection on a couple of teaching moments this week.


Student #1

A student in Piano Safari Level 3 was playing the three forms of the D minor scale. She played beautifully, hands separately at a nice pace of mm.=200 (quarter note). Before we moved on to the next exercise, I wanted to make sure she understood some of the why’s and what’s.

Why is it called the natural minor?
(Because it’s in it’s most natural “raw” state – using the same pitches as its related major).
Continue reading

Friday Finds

Ethics and a Beautiful Pianoforte



Wow, what an incredibly beautiful late 19th-century pianoforte | A Piano that Survived the Wrecking Ball Now a Time Machine to NY’s Gilded Age.


After 5 years of not using a mousepad with my studio desktop, and wearing off the top of my (luckily cheap) desk, I realized I should probably get a mouse pad. Isn’t it cute? I’m a sucker for teal. Continue reading

Recommended Reads

My 2016 Reading List

“I wish I had more time to read.”

Have you ever had this thought?


I do. All-the-time. If we’re being really honest here, I’ll probably always feel this way because as far as reading goes, I simply love it.

As we were closing out 2015 and about to enter 2016, I decided it was time to put a stop to my continual pining over this same thought.

“I wish I had more time to read.”

“I wish I had more time to read.”

“I wish I had more time to read.”

OK – time to do something! What? I had to get intentional. Continue reading

Featured on The Unfinished Lesson

Piano Pantry’s guest post series, The Varsity Musician’s Playbook, by my friend Christina Archer Whitlock, was recently highlighted on The Unfinished Lesson blog’s Top 8 Music Education Resources list.

If you’ve not had a chance to read this series, now is the time, with the start of the new year around the corner. It was the one conference session that made the biggest impact on my studio in the 2015-2016 school year.

The Varsity Musician’s Playbook, Part 1 – Studio Interdependence

The Varsity Musician’s Playbook, Part 2 – Studio “Locker Room”

The Varsity Musician’s Playbook, Part 3 – Community Presence


Organizing Piano Games with Evernote

This is a guest post by Missouri teacher, Anita Byers. After Anita commented on one of my posts here on Piano Pantry on how she organized her music games in Evernote, I quickly asked her to share. Many thanks to Anita!

As my collection of piano games has grown the past several years, I have needed to organize them in a way that I can find a game that reinforces a certain concept without physically searching through a huge stack!

My goal for this summer was to attack the game monster and make it easy to find and use games during lessons.

I use Evernote in my studio to keep track of weekly lesson plans for each student.  I am not sure why it took me so long to realize that Evernote could help organize my game inventory!  Continue reading

Friday Finds

Beats Workout and a Piano Puzzle



Canva made a big announcement this week. They’re introducing Canva Print. You can now order print items from your Canva designs. This could be a great tool for creating postcards for student birthday’s, posters for recitals, fliers for marketing, and more!



How one teacher does rotating lessons, explained in detail.



My husband and I haven’t drunk pop (or “soda” depending on where you’re from) in years. Our beverages of choice most of the time are water and unsweet tea. On occasion, I drink a single cup of hot tea and love using this tea stick. Continue reading

Article on Alfred Music Blog

Are your students feeling the summer practice blues? I just wrote an article for the Alfred Music Blog on motivating students to practice – check it out!

4 Ways to Motivate Students: Banishing the Summer Practice Blues


Top Tools and Resources

Grammarly: Spell-check on steroids

If you spend any time on Facebook at all, we’ve all seen posts in our news feed from trending sites like Lifebuzz, Buzzfeed, or Boredpanda such as:

10 Funny Spelling Mistakes.


18 Funny Spelling Errors Children Make That Made Me Burst Out Laughing.

While I find those types of posts typical annoying; sometimes they can give us a good chuckle.

Spelling and grammatical errors are good for a little social media humor, but today I’m going to share with you a tool that can save us, as working professionals, from becoming the next find on Buzzfeed.

I recommended this tool on my Resources page but wanted to explain in more detail why it’s such an important and useful to me as an independent music professional.
Continue reading

Friday Finds

24/6 and a Piano Safari Download




If you’re a Piano Safari user, as I was searching the PS Facebook group recently, I came across this cute download for the animal rhythms.



A practice challenge idea with a door-size keyboard chart.



A friend of mine had a minor “accident” with a microplane grater (haven’t we all) to the point she had to go to the emergency room. In all seriousness (and a little humor), I gift-mailed her this microplane cut-protection glove. I’ve had one for years after learning my own lesson. You only need one to protect those precious piano hands! Continue reading