Friday Finds: Best Piano Solos

 

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Some great examples of tough emails we sometimes have to write when students aren’t practicing from Teach Piano Today.

 

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The story of how one teacher went from stressed out teacher to successful studio owner.

 

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Do you have the phrase “What shall we do next?” in your teaching vocabulary?

 

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One of my all-time favorite books to play from is Phillip Keveren’s Best Piano Solo’s. Classics from Sting, Richard Marx, Frank Sinatra and more. A couple students of mine love soft-rock, Journey, you name it, so I pulled this book out for both of them and they were stoked! (Can I even use that word anymore?!)

P.S. I’m headed to a Journey concert at the end of March and can’t wait!

 

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It never crossed my mind to boil a whole orange and puree it for a muffin batter. These are hands down the moistest, tastiest, and nutritious-to-boot muffins I’ve every had. Unfortunately, I’ve had the recipe bookmarked for months if not years and now I regret not making it sooner!

 

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Yep, Brandy was a staple in my high school CD collection too. Anyone else?

 

Be sure and check back in next week starting on Wednesday as I’ll be hosting 5-days of giveaways leading up to the one-year anniversary of Piano Pantry.

Since March literally “blew” itself in right before our eyes (at least here in Indiana), I’ll be jumping in the car exactly two weeks from now to make the 9-hour drive to the MTNA conference in Baltimore. Let me know if you’re interested in joining me for dinner on Monday evening!

Friday Finds: Carpet Squares and Vegemite

 

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Carpet Squares. I went to my local carpet store and asked if they had old samples they needed to get off their hands. They were happy to sell them to me for $1 each. I purchased 25. My original intent was to hand them out to families to use as bench “prop-ups.” Layering several of them is a perfect way to boost a little kiddo up on the bench without beeing too “cushy.” I just store them under a table in the studio.

While I haven’t gotten around to distributing to families yet, I HAVE found a use in my studio! They’re PERFECT for group classes – mostly for the little ones. I plop the rug down EXACTLY where I want them to sit for activities whether it’s a half circle for performances/listening, or a circle for a game. They love having their own spot.

A recent class discovered they like making their own “stage” when they do their music/movement using John Freierabend’s “Move It!” Video’s (which I recommended in a previous find). They’re wonderful movement activities set to Classical Music and the kids LOVE them – they always ask to do “one more.”

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Friday Finds: Have You Taught #3?

 

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This is one of those things that make you go “Oh, duh, why did I never think of that?!” Curious?

 

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Setting Up Your Browser to Increase Your Productivity. It’s the little things that make a difference!

 

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 I had a freshman beginning student who’s been with me a year and a half. She’s currently playing around Faber 2B level but is ready for a good challenge piece.

Paul Sheftel’s “Nocturne” was perfect. This is one of those pieces I will always keep a copy of on hand.

 

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Popular right now is the “Sheet Pan” supper. Have you tried one yet? I love the simplicity of getting three items into your meal, all cooked at the same time without having to be a casserole. Roasting is one of my favorite ways to cook too, so it’s a double-win. So far, I love Sheet Pan Bratwursts, Beets and Chard and Spanish Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes. Want to check out a few more recipes? This website has lots of beautiful sheet pan dinner recipes.

 

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My studio lending library grew last week when I threw onto an Amazon order the beautiful book The Bear and the Piano. Gorgeous.

 

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10 Food Movies and Shows to Stream on Netflix Right NowWe’ve already seen #5 which I really enjoyed. I mean, it’s Michael Pollan. I might also add to that Chef’s Table and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

 

Do you have any Netflix food or music-related show favorites? Share!

Also, stay tuned in the upcoming week as I’ll be adding more assignment sheets to Assignment Sheet Central and posting a series on how to incorporate commitment-building strategies from team sports in your studio!

 

Friday Finds: Dead Space, The Circular Piano, and Tim Tams

 

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Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who noticed the Circular Piano during the halftime show at the Super Bowl. Totally-radically-cool-dude.

 

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Dear, Forrest, while I already knew that we don’t play piano with our fingers, you still somehow make the concept fresh and new with your words – always well written.

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Friday Finds: An Activity, A Printable, A Discovery

1 – An Activity

Decorating the piano is a fun visual and tactile activity that I do with every new student.

 

2 – A Printable

Free download of rhythm variations on the 4-chord pattern. This will be a great reference for my students who are playing worship chord charts. I always walk them through a process that slowly expands the rhythm patterns they use but have never written anything out concrete. I imagine it would look like something similar to what Heather’s done.

 

3 – A Discovery

I have a student who is ready to move on to a new book and level. She just finished RCM level 4 repertoire and is ready for a little more challenge.

As teachers, I think it’s important to enjoy the repertoire we assign. So, when deciding on material, my process is to play through all the music in the books I’m considering and mark my opinion of each piece next to the piece in the table of content; a plus (+) for ones I love, a check mark for ones that are fine, and a minus symbol (-) for those I don’t care for.  This gives me a good overview of the contents.

I decided she was ready to skip a level but after playing through RCM’s level 6 I was a little disappointed. Normally, I love the fact that the RCM books contain a large selection of contemporary repertoire but I was underwhelmed with the contents. I also considered Keith Snell’s level 6 and while there were a few more I was happy with, neither one came close to the Journey Through the Classics book.

This book has been sitting in my file for a few years as I received it as a freebie at a conference. I’m officially purchasing the whole set and can’t wait to check them out and use them with other students.

3 – On a Personal Note…

My in-laws bought me this bottle of perfume for Christmas and it is DIVINE. I rarely wear perfume, but this one is totally worth it. Makes me feel like a woman. Hehe.

The description:

Stella is infused with the slightly sweet, never bitter, and always fresh scent of blood orange. Notes: Bitter Orange, Blood Orange, Watery Accord, White Freesia, Wild Diamond Orchids, Spicy Lily, Sheer Musk, Sandalwood

 

4 – What I’m reading

I first heard of David Cutler from Natalie Weber of Music Matters Blog back in 2010 as I recall her being a big fan of his first book The Savvy Musician.

While I’ve not read the first book, I decided it was time to get on the David Cutler “Savvy” bandwagon and read his most recent, The Savvy Music Teacher. 30% of the way through the book, I’m finding it inspiring, confirming, and refreshing. He will be giving the Keynote Address at the upcoming MTNA Conference in Baltimore.


Will you be at MTNA? If so, keep THIS on the backburner. I would like to host my first Piano Pantry readers dinner! Yea! It can be tricky finding places to host groups so stay tuned for details to come.

 

 

Friday Finds: Engaging, Doodling, and Parenting (…or Teaching) Tomorrow’s Leaders

 

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Brilliant recital idea. Engaging students directly in their own experience and learning process is so important but can be hard. This is a perfect way to do so.

 

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Unstructured Practice: Giving Students Time to Doodle. Agree 100%.

 

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Whaaaat?! Sweet!

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Friday Finds: Productivity Tools and Simple Songs

 

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I often struggle with finding off-bench music lab activities for my youngest students (ages 5-7). Since I have one student doing lab and one in a lesson simultaneously, they have to, for the most part, be able to function on their own. If a student doesn’t read well yet, that makes it even harder.

In comes MLT and the idea of acculturation – being absorbed in and hearing music in a variety of styles, meters, timbres, instruments, and modes. Viola! One lab I rotate now is purely listening (15-20 minutes). It’s simple – they listen to music while drawing freely in their personal art book and they love it!

What Great Music! Classical Selections to Hear and to See is wonderful for this. Not only is the music of high caliber, but there are beautiful images to accompany each piece.

If you’re interested in reading a little more on how I use “art books” with students check out this post.

 

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Sort by Price167 words by Seth that will kick your “commodity” marketing mindset in the pants.

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Friday Finds: Cherries, a Mystery, and NBC Chimes

Last week Drew and I took a three-day getaway to Pennsylvania. We had our eyes set on Hershey and the Yuengling factory tour in Pottsville – yes, I spelled it right, it’s really “Pottsville.”  (For those of you who may be wondering what Yuengling is, it’s a beer made in Pennsylvania and my husband’s favorite). He was thrilled when he found out it’s coming to Indiana in February!

This photo is in front of the factory.

This one is right on the other side of the street and is their newly remodeled museum/store/tasting building. I just had to show you because I thought the front of the building was beautiful!

 

 

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While on our trip I was able to catch up on some leisure reading including this crazy but true Mystery in Six Parts.

 

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With eighteen hours in the car, we also listened to this podcast on 99% Invisible about the NBC Chimes. I figured since the NBC chime-theme is what many use to identify a Major 6th, you may find it interesting.

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Friday Finds for a New Year

Congratulations to Kristen Rendall, winner of December’s Piano Safari giveaway!

Here are a few fun stats as we wrap up our last episode of Friday Finds for the year.

Since Piano Pantry’s kick-off in March of 2016, I’ve shared 293 finds, and received 53 comments on 36 Friday Finds posts for 2016.

Can I tell you something? I LOVE it when you comment – even if it’s a short one! As a blogger, you can see the stats, but the numbers are just that – numbers. It’s getting a chance to read the words and thoughts of you, my readers and getting to interact with you that makes it so much more fun, so keep it up in 2017!

You would think after sharing 293 things I would be completely out, but quite the contrary. Absorbing content is something I love doing and I promise to only ever share finds that I feel are completely worth your time to check out.

Here’s what’s on my mind as we take a turn into the new year:

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Friday Finds: Chordtown Christmas and a Virtual Piano

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The Plucky Pianista has a new website melodypayne.com and it’s purty. I would totally use my name for my website too if it weren’t already taken by a James Beard award-winning chef!

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The type of post few piano teachers and/or bloggers write. Thank you Rosemarie.

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These Colgate Wisp’s are great to keep in your purse, or in the console or glove-box of the car for a quick mouth refresher!

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My discovery is a little late for this year but I’m now looking forward to next Christmas as I’ll have both Anne Crosby Gaudet’s Chord Town Christmas and Irina Gorin’s new Christmas Collection that goes along with Tales of a Musical Journey.

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