Friday Finds

A Winning Game and Making for Keeps


1 – April Veggies

Cooking using seasonal produce makes a lot of sense and I would like to say that I do that – I do try, but it’s not always easy. Anyway, this is what’s currently in season. Asparagus, snow peas, and radishes are my favorite Spring veggies.


2 – Winning Game

I finally bit the bullet and bought Note Speed that I’ve been hearing so much about. We played it in this week’s group classes and my students went crazy! Wish I would have bought it sooner.


3 – Annual Studio Challenge

Speaking of note-naming, my students and I are currently working on our One-Minute Club note-naming challenge.

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One-Click Calendar

Your Annual Studio Calendar Simplified [Video]

Simplicity. We can all use a little more of it, wouldn’t you agree?!

Well, today I have a tutorial video that will make the creation of your studio calendar from year to year as simple as one keystroke and…

Voila! Your new calendar will be created.

I’m not exaggerating. No, seriously. It’s true.


The Calendar

Before I turn your studio management world upside down, let me show you the calendar we’re about to create. (Note: some of the black lines didn’t transfer evenly in my screenshot image but we’re only talking big picture here).

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Friday Finds

Spring Refresh and Kreative Keyboards


1 – Lesson Alternatives

This morning I texted the link to a video lesson I made for a student who couldn’t make their lesson this week. Video and Facetime lessons are great alternatives. Read about my first Facetime lesson experience here. Also, check out this recent post on Colourful Keys on how to teach a Facetime/Skype piano lesson.


2 – Left Hand Fun

Tim’s Ultimate Guide to Left Hand Patterns is a free download you don’t want to miss.


3- Tactile Learning

On Instagram, I recently shared a photo of me teaching the skips alphabet to two sisters using manipulative’s. The cloth staffs have stirred a buzz in other photos I’ve shared on Instagram so I thought I would highlight them here. It’s from the Kreative Keyboard Activities and Games pack. They’re compact – since they’re made of cloth and can be easily folded up, and versatile – as they have the staff on one side and keyboard on the other.


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Highly Recommended Upcoming Webinars

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know that MTNA is holding some upcoming webinars that I know will be especially excellent.

The first series is by a fellow Indiana colleague and friend, Karen Thickstun. I first shared about Karen in a post leading up to the 2017 MTNA Elections as she was a nominee for President against Martha Hilley (who can beat Texas, you know? LOL).

Karen is highly dedicated to IMTA and MTNA and has been a valuable asset to the Indiana Board of Directors for years serving in many capacities, including President.

Her first webinar is THIS FRIDAY at 12:00 E.S.T.

The second set of webinars is from a session put on at the MTNA Conference in Orlando. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the session, so I’m excited for the chance to see it!

I first met the presenters, Sarah Alexander, Whitney Hawker, and Spring Seals in Baltimore at my Piano Pantry dinner. The presented a session in Baltimore and it was very well done. They also write a blog for piano teachers called 4D Piano Teaching.


As an MTNA member, these are resources included in your membership. Visit the Members Only area of the MTNA Website to register.

App-Land Madness

How I Organize My Devices

App-land madness.

Yeah, you know what I’m talking about!

As teacher especially we deal with twice the amount of apps because we have not only our personal apps, but endless apps on rhythm, sight reading, note-naming, and on and on and on. It’s likely most of us don’t even use half the apps on our screen on a regular basis.

While our smartphones and tablets are incredible devices that have given us the ability to access all kinds of useful (and some not so useful) tools that can enhance the way we work, teach, and go about our daily lives, they’ve also become another item that we have to figure out how to manage.

You guessed it. Today we’re talking about device organization.

If you’re anything like me, since the day you’ve owned a smartphone and/or tablet, you’ve played around with and rearranged the layout of your devices again and again.

Over the past year, I’ve finally settled on a layout I like and have stuck with. As a bonus, the layout is almost exactly the same on both my iPhone and iPad.

Today I have a video for you on how I organize my devices.

Care to have a peek?

If you prefer to watch it on YouTube, just click on the word “YouTube” on the bottom right-hand corner of the video. In order to see the video as clearly as possible, I would recommend expanding the video to full screen by clicking on the broken box-shape clear to the right of the screen at the bottom.

Do you have any tips that work for you when it comes to device organization? Share below!

Recital Help

Since we’re entering Spring recital season, I thought I would just give you a quick run-down of some of the posts here on Piano Pantry that might help you with your recital preparations.


Recital Planning and Organization



Recital Theme and Student Repertoire Ideas




Click on the photo below to see my 2016 recital which featured collaborative pieces including duets, trio’s, and more.

What are you doing for your recital theme this year? Ours is “Pieces Everyone Knows.” That would mean anything from pop, Broadway, movie hits, worship, etc. Students are having fun picking out pieces. It usually doesn’t take them too long to know exactly what they want to play!


Friday Finds

Spring Food, Spotify, and Staying in Touch


1 – Spring Food

The most incredibly beautiful and Spring-filled spread of food ever. Seriously, who eats like this?


2 – Online Value

Valuing online friends and connections. I couldn’t agree more, Fran.


3 – Spotify Lessons

I’ve had a Spotify account for years. This past year, when I started my Ukulele class, I started using it a lot more. The more I use it, the more I like it. For quite a while now, I’ve had on my to-do list of “non-important and non-time sensitive items,” to spend a little time researching Spotify to make sure I’m utilizing its features. When I finally did, I came across this article which I found useful.


4 – I Love Her

My new favorite artist is Jess Ray. My new favorite song is The Answer to Every Question (Technicolor Jesus). Actually, it’s been my favorite “new” for like 6 months but I just now got around to telling you about it. 🙂

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Friday Finds

Easter Week


1 – Easter-Themed Teaching Aids

Susan Paradis has several Easter-themed worksheets and games on her website. One of my favorites is the Bunny Basics note-naming worksheet.


2 – Tax Tips

My husband and I just wrapped-up and submitted our 2017 taxes. We were later than we like to be (something called building a house yourself might be the cause of that :-). To glean a few extra tips, check out Ed Pearlman’s article on Music Teachers Helper Blog Tax Tips for Musicians.


3 – Holy Week

A visualization of Passion Week.
Holy week prayers.
Maundy Thursday explained.
On the etymology of the word Easter.


4 – Avoid Buyer’s Remorse

I met a teacher at the MTNA Conference who introduced me to her website Piano iPad Apps. This is a great resource site as she has a lot of videos that walk you through apps. Seeing these videos can help you make a decision whether or not certain apps might be for you, especially if they’re ones you have to purchase.

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Conferencing with Mickey Mouse and Friends

MTNA 2018 Orlando

M.I.C.K.E.Y  – M.O.U.S.E.

That’s all I have to say and now it’s stuck in your head, right?! 😉

Well, another MTNA Conference is in the books. This year’s conference was held at the Coronado Springs Resort at Disney World in Orlando.

Regularly attending live conferences is one of the best choices I’ve ever made as a teacher. Why? Sam Holland stated it best in one of his Questions and Answers articles in Clavier Companion.

We are social animals. We learn from one another in direct exchanges… A live conference is an IMMERSIVE experience in which you leave the regular workday world behind and immerse yourself morning, noon, and night.

I always feel a little lull in my energy for teaching this time of year. The moment I get to the conference, that all starts to slowly melt away. I always walk away feeling renewed and energized to make it through the end of the school year.

I have to say I didn’t take nearly the number of photos I do at conferences, but that’s OK because the ones I did get are highly memorable. Today I’m not going to share a listing of all the sessions I attended or notes, just the “social animal” part. 🙂

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