Meet My Piano Pantry Dinner Guests!

What a delightful time we had at the first annual Piano Pantry reader’s dinner!

Our party of 20 met on Monday night of the 2017 MTNA Conference in Baltimore at Ten Ten American Bistro. I was pleased to find such a great restaurant a convenient 5-minute walk from the Marriott. The interior was fabulous and the food matched the quality of the chic atmosphere.

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2017 MTNA Conference, Baltimore

After months of anticipation, four days of our lives have come and quickly gone. Another conference is in the books, and as always we have a renewed spark for our profession, anticipation for trying something new, excitement in new friendships and connections, and joy in our own learning.

Held at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, we had access to a beautiful view of the harbor and quick and easy access to amazing restaurants.

Making the 12-hour drive (with stops) with my travel buddy, Joy Morin, of Color In My Piano blog added to the adventure.

In this photo, we are joined by our friends Daniel Patterson (blogger at and Christina Whitlock (who authored the 3-part series here on Piano Pantry The Varsity Musician’s Playbook).



I couldn’t have picked a better “kick-off” encounter than getting a chance to meet and chat with Wendy Stevens over lunch my first day.

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2017 MTNA Teacher Enrichment Grant

On my 12-hour drive to the MTNA conference, I take a moment to check my email. I see an email from “MTNA Foundation Fund.”

“Oh my, this is it!” I think…”did I get it?”

The preview subject: “Dear Amy, The Teacher Enrichment Grant Committee has…”

Ah! The suspense. They’re going to make me OPEN the email to find out?!…

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5-Days of Giveaways | 05: MTNA Membership

The final day has arrived for the one-year anniversary celebration of Piano Pantry!

Thank you to everyone who entered Monday’s (day 4) giveaway! Congratulations to Elizabeth Poore (who has been notified via email) winner of a one-year subscription (Plus) for the Sproutbeat app! Thanks to all who entered.

Unlike the rest of the 24-hour giveaways, I’ve decided to extend the deadline for today’s giveaway to three days. It will close at 12:00 am on Friday, March 17. 

Why you ask?

Today’s sponsor is Music Teachers National Association. Thanks to their generosity, they agreed to sponsor the price of a National membership to a NEW member (someone who has never been a member). I want to allow plenty of time to get the word out! *(To further clarify, the award is the national level portion, not state or local).

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Conference “Management” 101: Tips for using Evernote plus a free resource

It was the year 2000. While the world was rejoicing in making it successfully through Y2K without disaster, I was excited and rejoicing in the world – my new world, that is, as a budding music educator. In January 2000 I would have attended my first ever professional music educator conference as a freshman in college.

Yeah, I took piano lessons since the age of seven. Yeah, I had been both a band and a choir kid at one time or the other since 5th grade. Yeah, I played piano for my church ever since I was a kid  (despite running off the stage in tears the first time after messing up). Yeah, I helped teach parts in high school choir (because I could play piano) and student taught as a senior. That was all good, but my new role of learning to teach music rather than just do it myself was what I was focused on as I attended my first M.E.N.C. (Music Educators National Conference) at the turn of the millennia.

Conferences. Are. Awesome. I love every minute – I really do, and that’s what I want to talk about today.

Later this week I’ll be headed to the 2017 Music Teachers National Association Conference in Baltimore, MD so the topic is fresh on my mind.

There are three things I want to cover with you today.

  1. Why you should attend a conference (especially in person).
  2. How I manage the wealth of knowledge I gain at conferences, so I don’t wake up three months later realizing I’ve not applied what I learned as much as I should.
  3. I have a free download of 22 Professional Development Resources including online and live conferences, workshops, courses, and webinars that an independent music teacher like myself might want to check out.


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Piano Pantry Readers’ Dinner: MTNA 2017 Baltimore, MD

mtna-conference-2017-logo-readers-dinnerI am SOOOOOO excited to announce that I will be hosting my very first Piano Pantry reader’s dinner meet-up at the upcoming MTNA Conference in Baltimore!

The first readers’ dinner I ever attended was with Natalie Weber (then Whickham) of Music Matters Blog. I think it was in Albuquerque because I remember being in grad school at the time.

It’s the perfect chance to put faces with names and get to know you a little. In order for me have a chance to actually get-to-know-you and chat with all who attend, I have set my own personal maximum limit. 

So…if you are interested in reserving your spot and attending the dinner please email me ASAP.

The dinner will be held on Monday night, March 20. Details will be sent to all attendees via email.

Professional Development Scholarship: Gordon Institute for Music Learning

Are you interested in learning more about Music Learning Theory (MLT)?

Are you faculty at a college/university and teaching general music, instrumental, or choral methods courses within a music education program?

If so, you may be eligible to apply for the Carol Gordon Professional Development Scholarship of The Gordon Institute for Music Learning.

Download the application and read more here.

This past August I attended a two-week training in Boston through GIML.

If you’re interested in reading about my experiences check out my posts:

Joy and Amy on Music Learning Theory

Piano Teacher Adventure: MLT in Boston

I haven’t written a lot about how I use MLT in lessons yet but I’m sure I will share more in the future. In the meantime, I’m planning on attending the GIML Conference this summer following NCKP.  It will be a week of learning in Chicago!


Piano Teacher Adventure: MLT in Boston

Where to begin…

It all started with a foggy early morning departure from my home in Indiana. I gently woke my husband to say our goodbyes, anticipating the two weeks we were about to be away from each other – the longest time ever.

John Denver’s words seem to fit the scene,

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go, I’m standing here outside your door, I hate to wake you up to say good-bye.

But the dawn is breaking, it’s early morn, the taxi’s waiting he’s blowing his horn. Already, I’m so lonesome, I could die.

So kiss me and smile for me. Tell me that you’ll wait for me. Hold me like you’ll never let me go.

Of course, I didn’t leave on a jet plane, just my trusty 2007 Ford Focus. Off I went to pick up my partner in crime.

Joy Morin of



We Made it!

After a long 16-hour day on the road full of traffic jams and several hours of intense downpouring rain, we made it to our Air B’nB.

Bright and early the next morning we weaved our way through traffic and the bumpy, crooked streets of Boston to find our home for the next ten days.

Brookline Music School, our awesome host.


We were both lucky to receive Teacher Enrichment Grants through Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) to attend a piano certification course/professional development workshop put on by the Gordon Institute for Music Learning (GIML).

Dr. Gordon’s work was not about the best ways to teach music, but how we learn, thus impacting the way we teach.

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San Antonio 2016: A Conference to Remember

The 2016 MTNA National Conference in San Antonio is one that will go down in the books! The location was perfect, the weather perfect, and the sessions as always, applicable, and rejuvenating.

The long days (generally up by 5:45 am and not back until 10:30 pm!) were made easier by being able to walk outside and soak up some vitamin D3 at any given moment.


In this post, I will share a quick run-down of all the sessions I attended each day. However, more than sharing my notes and information, I especially wanted to share the people I came into contact with and the memories that impacted me the most. I always walk away with tons of extra applicable knowledge but feel even more blessed to walk away with more colleagues who I can now call friends.

Also, because good food brings me joy, you’re going to have to put up with seeing photos of all the food I ate!


Friday, April 1


My friend Joy and I were blessed to be able to stay with Susan Hong, a teacher in San Antonio for the week. It was fun getting to know her and see her experience an MTNA conference for the first time! She was an excellent host and knew all the hot spots!

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San Antonio Here I Come!

I’m headed to beautiful San Antonio Friday morning for the MTNA National Conference. This will be my fourth conference with MTNA. I attended 2010 Albuquerque, 2011 Milwaukee, and 2014 Chicago. Baltimore is up next!

As always, the conference is jam-packed!


Indiana Events

The Hoosier state especially has lots of events to be excited about. Both our state President and President-Elect (me!) will be presenting.

  • My session The Wild West of Marketing: How Do You Know What Really Works, will be Sunday afternoon at 2:15pm. If you’re attending, I would love to see your face! I have lots of ideas and tons of resources to share with you on how to grow your studio. If you’re unable to come, please feel free to download the handout.
  • Our state President, Christina Whitlock, NCTM will present her session The Varsity Musician’s Playbook: Commitment-Building Strategies from Team Sports to the Studio Monday at 9:55am. I’m super excited for this session in hearing ways I can continue to build community within my studio! Her handout is available on the MTNA website.
  • Indiana student, Maya Kilburn will be competing in the Junior Strings competition. Her parents, Ray and Yoko Kilburn will be her collaborators. How special! Dr. Ray Kilburn is also a professor at Ball State University where I did my masters work and is an incredible teacher!
  • The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s first-ever and current resident ensemble, Time for Three will be giving the opening recital Saturday at 7:30pm.


Other highlights

Other events I’m especially anticipating:

  • One of the tracks on Pedagogy Saturday is called Music Learning Theory: Exploring How We Learn Music. This track is especially important to me as I will be attending training at the Gordon Institute for Musical Learning for two weeks in August. Robert Duke will be presenting If We Learn Like That, Why Do We Teach Like This? I’m currently working on his book Intelligent Music Teaching: Essays on the Core Principles of Effective Instruction – a book I would highly recommend to ALL music educators whether you’re a band teacher or a private violin instructor.


More than any of that, though, I am simply looking forward to five days amongst colleagues and friends, many of whom I only get to spend with in person a few times a year!

If you’re going and see me please say hello!