An Exciting Announcement

Almost one month ago exactly, I mentioned in my post on conducting year-end student evaluations meetings with students, that I had a BIG announcement I was making to my studio families during our one-on-one meetings this year.

Of course, many families wanted to take a guess. Most came up with: I was either pregnant, moving, or hiring an assistant.

Do you want to take a guess too before I let you in on the secret?

Continue reading

2017 Studio 88 Spring Recital 

The Magical Forest, A Narrative Suite

This year was my 6th Spring Recital teaching piano full-time. I’ve been teaching piano for around 16 years but only part-time up until the last 6 years when I opened “Studio 88” after getting my Masters in Piano Pedagogy and Performance.

Are my kids lovely or what? We were missing three this year but still had a good crew.

The last several years I’ve been trying to mix things up a bit to keep the big recital fresh and exciting. Everyone plays a solo the first half of the recital followed by a 10-minute intermission.

The second half of the recital changes from year to year. Two years ago everyone played a jazzy style and I explained to the audience before each style set what they should expect to hear. Last year we did collaborative pieces including duets, trios, and two pianos four hands (some pieces with a live drummer).

This year, we did a studio-wide collaborative project. I pulled out a book I’ve been itching to use for several years but didn’t have enough students at an early intermediate level to have performed them until now.

I’m going to share the process of pulling something like this together and also share a free download to help you plan your own production of this narrative suite.

 

The Magical Forest Narrative Suite

The Magical Forest- A Narrative Suite for Piano by Nancy Lau combines short narration with pieces. Each piece also has a representative drawing.

Pieces include: Entering the Magical Forest, Forest Fanfare, March of the Critters, Bear Dance, Waltz of the Deer, The Fairies Delight, Backwoods Bop, Woodland Farewell, and Leaving the Magical Forest. Continue reading

Year-End Parent/Student Questionnaires

A few weeks ago, I shared a detailed post on how I use Evernote to conduct my end-of-year student evaluations. The other part of my final meeting with families includes them filling out a questionnaire.

The benefit is two-sided. One one hand, the questionnaires are about me receiving feedback to improve not only my teaching but my business.

On the other side of that, however, is that I think having parents and students both ponder through these questions, helps them evaluate their own efforts/interactions over the past year.

In reflecting, they will feel either a good sense of accomplishment and realization of the quality studio in which they are invested (good I hope!) or awareness that maybe some things need to change. This is a good point for further discussions on practice habits, etc.

I’ve always simply sent a pdf to parents or linked to a pdf in Dropbox so they can download and print the form. This year, I finally got around to doing an online form on my website. My site is built on WordPress and the plugin I use is just a basic form builder – Visual Form Builder.

I wanted to share the form with you today in Word format so you can download and make any modifications you need.

Student Questionnaire

View my online form I used with Visual Form Builder on WordPress

Parent Questionnaire

View my online form I used with Visual Form Builder on WordPress

 

Updates

Every year I tweak the forms just a bit depending on what I want to know. I will often include questions at the end of the form regarding special classes I’m thinking about offering to gauge general interest or ask for feedback regarding a specific event I hosted that year.

 

Retreat at Piano Manor

My friend, Joy Morin over at Color in My Piano has been wanting to do a retreat at her home for piano teachers for a long time and this is the year!

I’m excited to be a part of this 3-day retreat at her home in Northwestern Ohio this coming August as the official “food planner.” Yea!

This is the time of year everyone’s making plans for the summer months. Add this to your list!

For details visit Joy’s website.

Friday Finds 

Underground Conservatory

 

1

I’ll admit, I’m not the teacher that is always up on all the “music/teaching” apps out there. Part of me can be a teensy-weensy bit slow at keeping up on that end. I was, however, happy to add to my iPad this week, TuneTrain especially for students who love to compose. The best part is that with a single tap, the student can transform their visual “picture” melody into actual notation. Fab. Continue reading

Digital Photo Organization

What’s the one digital item you find trickiest to keep organized?

For me, it’s photos.

A lot of readers have asked about this and when a friend asked the same question just the other day, that was my clue it was time to share.

I have a confession though – I wouldn’t call my way anything special, it’s just what I do for now. I love seeing ideas of how others organize, even if I don’t end up doing it that way, so hopefully, you can find some inspiration to clean up your photo files and share any great tips you have with me! Continue reading

Friday Finds 

Spring Inspiration

 

1

Did you know Music Mind Games has a rhythm solitaire app? It’s only $0.99 on the app store and will be a fun addition to my lab time. Rhythm and solitaire – a brilliant combination! Continue reading

Personal Teaching Tweaks

Recently, in an attempt to work on letting my students take more ownership of their lesson and learning, I’ve tried tweaking a few things with my teaching style. It’s nothing major but I thought it might be fun to share.

 

Ownership

As a very organized person who likes things neat and tidy, and wants to be as efficient with our short amount of time together, I found myself doing too many things for my students. Continue reading

How One Teacher Uses Evernote to Track Repertoire

Natalie Weber over at Music Matters Blog just shared an in-depth post on how she started using Evernote to track repertoire. She’s included screen shots and lots of details on her tagging system –  check out her post:

Finally, a Way to Track Repertoire!

Evernote Community Leader

By now many of you are aware that I am a huge Evernote fan. I can’t help it! Nothing else has been able to match this productivity workhorse in regards to the way I work and capture information.

I have been using it for 5 years and every year I continually improve and streamline how I use it on a daily basis not only in my professional life but in my personal life as well. The first time I shared with you how I use it as an independent teacher was in December 2016 in the post/video Evernote: An Independent Music Teacher’s Handbook.

That initial post was followed up with:

Evernote Part 2 [Web Clipper]
Evernote Part 3 [Account Features, Tagging, and More]
and my most recent post, Using Evernote for Student Evaluations

I am super excited to announce that in January 2017, after completing a training course, I was accepted into the Evernote Community Leader (ECL) program! Continue reading