Friday Finds #268



Do you still need to put together your holiday recital program? Check out this really cool “vintage” one from Wendy Stevens at Compose Create!



I’m not a huge ginger fan, but I do use it a lot more in the winter for Hot Toddies and such. Even though using the back of a spoon makes it easier, it’s still a bit of a pain. I finally decided to quickly research if it was even needed and found it’s not!



Highlights from My Students’ Silent Film Festival (Joy Morin)



Three pieces of excellent related content from Rebekah Maxner:

What every piano teacher needs to know about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

What every piano teacher needs to know about Autism (ASD)

How to Help Students Who Are Not Reaching Their Full Potential (Episode 093 of The Piano Pantry Podcast)



Joy Morin recently released a new book of 88 progressive pieces for pianists of all ages called Keys at Play. I am currently using it with two students and love how it introduces the progression of both rhythm and note reading!



I love these O-Cedar Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges

Find this and more of my personal favorite “life products” here.



Busy Doing What? – A great article from Wendy Stevens.



Friday Finds #267



I was so excited to see Sheet Music Plus’s updated website! I think they still have a few kinks to iron out, but it feels much cleaner, modern, and up-to-date.



A good topic in this day and age: Media Literacy in a Digital World (The Newsworthy)



A fall soup/bread combo you MUST make this season!

3 Sisters Fall Harvest Soup

I like to fry up 1 lb. cubed smoked sausage (like Kielbasa) first before adding all the other ingredients.

We first discovered this soup in a steak house in South Dakota. The name is derived from the practice of some indigenous communities that planted corn, squash, and beans (the “Three Sisters”) side-by-side because they helped each other grow when planted next to each other.

This Molasses Brown Bread was sooo easy and paired perfectly with the soup.



Thanks to Joy Morin’s early prompting, I purchased these wooden sheet music ornaments for my students for Christmas. Here’s her blog post from last year, where she featured them.

Here’s a peek at what I did for my students over the past two years.



Are you still on the lookout for Christmas music? Check out these resources:

Top-10 Must-Have Christmas Books for Piano Students (Creative Piano Teacher)

Trusty Christmas Favorites: Repertoire I Return To Year After Year (Amy Chaplin)

Christmas Collaborations: Recommended Piano Ensemble Music (Amy Chaplin)

Christmas By Ear: 8 Tunes to Harmonize (Amy Chaplin)



I’ve been through a few olive oil bottles over the years, but this one will be my last. I love the small size and the pour spout that doesn’t drip oil. It even has two pour speeds!

OXO Good Grips 12-oz Precision Pour Glass Oil Dispenser




A compilation of professional recordings to accompany Jane Magrath’s Encore! series. (Janna Williamson)



Here’s one of my custom playlists on Spotify to spice up your Thanksgiving mood.



An updated list from Jennifer Foxx on podcasts for music educators to follow. (Music Educator Resources)



9 Types of Clothes in Your Closet You Can De-Clutter Immediately (Becoming Minimalist)



A REALLY good movie worth catching! Love at First Sight (Netflix)

“Two strangers connect on a flight to London, only to be separated by a twist of fate. A reunion seems improbable — but love has a way of defying the odds.”

Even my husband enjoyed it. The two main characters have fantastic chemistry on screen that makes your heart soar for them! LOL


Friday Finds #266



I’ve attended four music teaching events in the past three months: The Piano Conference (NCKP), Joy Morin’s Piano Teacher Retreat, and both the Indiana and Ohio MTA State Conferences.

While it’s fun seeing old friends and colleagues, it’s also refreshing to see new teachers who are experiencing it for the first time. That’s just one reason why attending conferences is beneficial.

Recently, Natalie Weber shared six more great reasons to attend conferences.



If you’re still looking for Halloween resources to use over the next couple of weeks, check out:

The Piano Pantry Podcast Episode 088: Top 10 Halloween Resources

Halloween Video Series and Listening Activity Guide



A delicious new soup we’re adding to our mix: Butternut Squash, Sausage, and Tortellini Soup (Gimme Some Oven)



The Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights) are expected to be the most intense in 30 years.



Podcast episodes:

Lisa Damour on Understanding Today’s Teenagers (Everything Happens podcast with Kate Bowler)

A Blind Cook Becomes a Master Chef (A Slight Change of Plans with Mya Shankar)

The Curious Piano Teachers on Asking the Right Questions (The Piano Pantry Podcast)



In the last few years, my husband has become more interested in brandy. Until then, we enjoyed wines and beers but never really any hard liquor. His developing interest made us dig a little further, at which point we learned that it is distilled from wine. It made sense that he enjoyed it since we had already enjoyed red wine. Here’s an interesting article I recently came across on Brandy if you’re curious, like we were!



Thoughts on being a “special place” for your students and families. (



My brother’s 40th birthday was at the end of September. He requested a chocolate cinnamon sheet cake – which is all we used to have growing up for our birthday celebrations. It was actually my first time making one as an adult, and it was just as good as I remember (just don’t look at the sugar ratio! 🙂 Forewarning that you will want a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a glass of milk to accompany!


Shop Amy’s Favorites on Amazon Prime Deals Day

Amazon Prime Big Deal Days is here!

If you don’t know what that is, it’s a special sale event exclusive to Prime members that occurs in the fall, ahead of the holiday shopping season. For October 10, 11 (2023) only, you can get special savings on thousands of items across all product categories.

As you likely already know, I love shopping and finding things through the recommendation of others which is why I’m always sharing things with YOU. I thought it might be helpful to pull together a list of some of my favorite items I’ve shared over the years here on the blog and even on the podcast over the past 18 months.

It’s not totally exhaustive, but it’s a solid list of some really great products I think you’ll also love.  There are 21 items broken down into 4 categories:

  • Books
  • Kitchen / Household / Personal Goods
  • Office Supplies
  • Tech Gear

As an Amazon affiliate, I do receive a small percentage of sales through these links. The work of this AD-FREE blog and podcast is only supported through affiliate sales, purchases in the shop, and the new Patreon membership.

Thank you in advance for supporting the work I do here through one or all of these avenues!



Intelligent Music Teaching

Think Again by Adam Grant


The Ways Children Learn Music


Kitchen / Household / Personal Goods

Cookbook Holder

Gorilla Doormat

Guardsman Dusting Cloth

Eureka Ergonomic Tilt Adjustable Footrest

RSVP Colander, 5 qt.


OXO Electric Kettle


Sleep Mask


Office Supplies


Erasable, Twistable Colored Pencils


Frixion Erasable Highlighters (Yellow)


Decorative File Folders (Yellow)

Decorative File Folders (Blue)

mDesign Desk Organizer



mDesign Plastic File Folder


Apache Laminator



Tech Gear

AKG K52 Headphones


iRig Blue Turn Bluetooth Pedal


Blue Yeti Microphone


Tablet Stand


Friday Finds #265



Are you as underwhelmed with using iMovie for creating videos as I am?  Several years ago, I found a better tool and have since been using Camtasia very happily ever since.

Recently, though, I heard about ClickChamp. If I were in the market for an alternative video editing tool, I would definitely check it out! They even have a free version!



Thoughts on music literacy from Eric Bluestine, author of The Ways Children Learn Music.



While I’m not much of a breakfast eater, I still love cereal of all kinds. This homemade “Better Breakfast Cereal” from 101 Cookbooks has me really intrigued. Now, if I could only get my small local grocer to handle some of these healthy items…



For those making the Tonara transition, here are some recommended resources:

-A great compilation of information and the results of a survey from Leila Viss.

-Episode 085 Tonara Transitions: A Special Teacher Talk episode on the Piano Pantry Podcast

Tonara Expats Facebook Group



An item I think everyone should have in their kitchen: Mini Tongs

I’m picky about the functionality of tongs. I don’t like the ones that release and latch from a lever at the back, as it requires two hands.

These have a little metal piece that slides up and down the handle, making it so much easier to open and close with one hand.



Recommend sightreading resources from Kate Boyd, YouTube’s The PianoProf.



Music Teacher Eats: A Week of Easy, Healthy Meals (Fall Edition)



Podcast episode recommendations:

How I plan a year of student repertoire (Ashley Danyew)

How to add notation to your worksheets and presentations (Midnight Music)



FREE Webinar – Diving in: An introduction to audiation-based instruction (October 2)


Do you enjoy this Friday Finds series? Consider joining Piano Pantry over on Patreon! There are two levels you can support the blog and podcast. Find which works best for you!


Join the New Piano Pantry Patreon Community!

It’s hard to believe the Piano Pantry blog has been active here on this crazy thing we call the web for almost eight years and the podcast for almost two.

If you’ve been hanging around here much at all, you likely know I love feeding people all kinds of good things (both literally and figuratively!), but, as you can imagine, it takes a lot of time and energy.

I decided it was time to take a leap and create a place for Piano Pantry fans to partner up and support the work that’s going on here.

Over on Patreon, you can choose between two levels of support:

For just $4 a month, you can become a Piano Pantry POWER Patron. Your silent partnership will help power the work that I do and will be your way of saying to me, “Thank you,” “Keep doing what you’re doing!” “I’m here for you!” even “Go buy a fancy coffee on me!”

If you want to throw a little support my way but would also love a little extra “Amy access,” you can become a Piano Pantry INSIDER for just $7 a month. My insiders will get support in one particular area in which I know most of you ALWAYS need a little extra help, and that’s with your email.

We will have a monthly Zoom power hour on the 3rd Wednesday of every month from 12:00-1:00 pm ET dedicated only to managing your email Inbox. Just a side note that October’s will be held the last Wednesday due to a pre-arranged vacation.

This means that you will get all my best email coaching tips as we work together to get a grip on a major pain point in our business each month.

Not only that, but we’ll have a special 30-60 minute BONUS session on Zoom once a quarter.

Each bonus session will be different – will be voted on by patrons, and could be anything from hearing one of my presentations normally only available to teacher groups to getting a behind-the-scenes look at how I organize my kitchen and pantry, and more. The sky’s the limit! All Insider meetings will also be recorded if you can’t join in at the set times.

Visit to join today.



Friday Finds #264



Rosemarie Penner’s Unfinished Lesson blog got a remodel and is now Must Love Music



I’ve tried several Sleep Masks over the years, but my latest is hands down the best I’ve ever used. I am a light sleeper, and every night that I wear these, I swear I have slept more deeply than ever. They are incredibly comfortable and fit the nose and face just right.



Best Printers and Paper for Piano Teachers (Colourful Keys)



A 19-Foot Piano with the Longest Bass String (The Music Man)



I feel like it’s been a while since I shared some recommended recipes here on Friday Finds. It’s time to catch up!

Currently making once a week for lunch with Trader Joe’s pre-cooked brown rice: Chili Crisp Fried Eggs

We’re not normally pasta eaters, but I have two pasta-based recipes to highly recommend:

This first one sounds crazy, but Napolitan Japanese Ketchup Pasta is really easy and incredibly tasty.

Make yourself a few days of lunch with this creamy and delicious Thai Chicken Pasta Salad.

Sweet and Savory Shared Brussels Sprouts Salad is perfect for this time of year as we close out summer and enter autumn. It makes a pretty good size salad, so be prepared to make it for 6-8 people or halve the recipe for less.



Interested in some ideas on what to make for lunch? Listen to Episode 81 – What’s for Lunch of The Piano Pantry Podcast.



Easy Piano Lead Sheets and Chord Charts by Olivia Ellis and Davis Dorrough



New podcast!! The Piano Sensei Way by Clinton Pratt



I’ve been needing to invest in some larger storage containers. While I have a couple of different nice 8-cup ones, I really needed some larger sizes. After scouting out what’s out there, I ended up on these fabulous Sterlite 16-Cup Plastic Storage Containers. On Amazon, one container was $15, but there was also a set of four for $30, so… yeah, I now have four large containers!



The Best Way to Clean a Dishwasher

I’m looking forward to trying this and hopefully stop buying dishwasher cleaner tablets.



A new collection of improvisational stories and rote piano pieces that are worth checking out!


Favorite Wedding Music Books

This past weekend, I had the honor of providing music for my cousin’s outdoor wedding.

I don’t know about you, but even though playing for weddings has never been part of my regular gig, it seems as if requests have definitely slowed down even more in the past ten years.

It likely has a lot to do with people having easier access to music tracks as well as the changing culture in church music and, thus, the declining demand for church pianists and organists. Of course, I’m COMPLETELY speculating here, but that’s my rough take on it.

Even though they happen infrequently and every wedding’s musical requests are different, there are a couple of books and several pieces of repertoire that I have found to be my trusty go-to’s.

In the course of my preparations for this past weekend, I came across a couple of other items that were great additions to my list. I now have enough now – I thought it was time to share!




First up:  Pianorama! Wedding by Carol Tournquist

This is one of those books I’ve had for so long I can’t even remember buying it! Unfortunately, it’s not available on, but it does still appear on a couple of other sheet music sites.

It’s part of an “Unfold & Play” series, which means the pages are printed and folded so that you can actually open them out across your music rack. Luckily, with the invention of the iPad and apps like forScore, that is no longer an issue – you can scan the music. It’s still a pretty ingenious way of printing!

While there are lots of great arrangements in there, there is only one that is part of my go-to list. I love it so much, I would buy the whole book to have this arrangement! It’s a combination of the songs “I Will Be Here” by Steven Curtis Chapman” and “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”

I used that particular piece for when the pastor, groom, grandparents, and parents entered. Everyone loved it!


Favorite Wedding Songs by Phillip Keveren

Anyone who’s a Phillip Keveren fan won’t be surprised by this one!

More than half of these 15 solos make it onto my regular list. I find a lot of these tunes are perfect for the 20-30 minutes of music preceding the wedding.

There’s a lot of great variety with anything from soft rock like More than Words and Don’t Know Much to Broadway’s Seasons of Love and Sunrise, Sunset to worship music’s Hallelujah (Your Love is Amazing). This book is DEFINITELY worth every penny to have in your library.


Just a heads up that I am an affiliate with Sheet Music Plus which just means I get a very small percentage back if you purchase using any of the links here today without it costing you extra. Thanks for the support!

As I said in the introduction, there are a couple of others I recently came across that I’m excited to share with you today as well.


Piano Calm by Phillip Keveren

Yes, of course, another Phillip Keveren book!

This is a book I thought sounded fun and dropped into my shopping cart a year or so ago. When it arrived, I played through it and realized the pieces were great for background music, so I stashed it with my wedding music file.

I played a half dozen or so of these following the ceremony while the bride and groom were dismissing their guests.

One piece from this book made it into the ceremony – Johann’s Music Box. It was a lovely 3-page arrangement on the progression from Canon in D. As is often done, I used it for the bridal party procession.


Last but not least is an arrangement of the traditional bridal march.

My cousin told me to play whatever I wanted for the wedding – she just “figured” she would walk down the aisle to the traditional wedding song. (That was a pretty easy gig, I will say!)

You know how, most of the time, the walk down the aisle – whether for the parents, bridal party, or bride – is WAY shorter than our arrangements? I was ruminating over this dilemma for a bit until I found my concerns (thankfully) squelched.

First up – as I already stated – I found the short canon arrangement. Then, I came across an arrangement of the bridal chorus that was loaded into my forScore app that I didn’t even remember I HAD!

It’s a fun, unique, and SHORT arrangement of the wedding song from Leila Viss. She actually has two different arrangements available in the download. I went for the first.

Score! Thanks, Leila!




Do you have any favorite books or go-to arrangements you like to keep up your sleeve for wedding gigs? Share in the comments!



Friday Finds #263



A great peak into a classroom tonal pattern exercise from Eric Bluestine, author of How Children Learn Music



3 Easy Ways to Use Printable Games in Online Piano Lessons (Melody



Why Do They Put Butter on Sandwiches (The Kitchn)



Interview New Piano Students: Questionnaire and Hints for Success (Rebekah Maxner)



What a great idea! – Quinoa Rice (The Woks of Life)



My First Piano Workbook: A Workbook for Young Beginners (Piano with Lauren)



Our Experience at the Lost Kitchen (The Woks of Life)



A podcast series worth bingeing: Believe in Magic (BBC)



Barbie movie’s opening music is Richard Strauss’ epic 1896 tone poem. Here’s why… (Classic FM)



A movie that will keep you on your toes: Sharp Objects (Hulu)


Did You Love Piano Explorer Magazine? Check out Piano Inspires Kids!

In April 2021, I discovered and shared here on the blog that Piano Explorer Magazine had been discontinued. I know how sad many of you were to hear that news, so I’m excited to share with you today a similar type of magazine that is now available!

In July 2023, Piano Inspires Magazine announced a new publication called Piano Inspires Kids. (Just to be clear, this new publication has no affiliation with the former Piano Explorer Magazine, which was published by The Instrumentalist.)

Piano Inspires is one of many resources part of The Francis Clark Center and is the brainchild of Andrea McAlister and Sara Ernst (pictured above). The magazine is geared toward young pianists of all levels, ages 8-14.

Printed quarterly, each issue will contain feature articles on musicians, composers, musical styles, music in the news, practice tips, new music, theory lessons, creative activities, games and puzzles, and student submissions.

At the time of this post, individual subscriptions are $29.99/year or $14.99 for a single issue. Group subscriptions of 5 or more copies are available at $24.99 (per copy) per year. (International subscriptions are also available.)

You can get a special introductory price through 10/01/2023 using code LAUNCH 23 at checkout.

Check out more details on the Piano Inspires Kids website here.