Friday Finds #125

 

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Yamaha’s NoteStar app is closing down on 3/31/2019. Check out details here.

 

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If you’re’ interested in learning more about Music Learning Theory and how to use Marilyn Lowe’s Music Moves for Piano method book series, then you’re in luck! Check out www.musiclearningacademy.com for new courses and a podcast. I met the creator, Krista Jadro when Joy and I attended the GIML Professional Development Course in Boston a couple of years ago (she had way more experience than us at that point!) I know it will be wonderful!

Pre-Registration for the Keyboard Games A course is only available until the end of March and then the price doubles!

 

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While we’re on the topic of MLT, there is a scholarship available through the Gordon Institute for college/university faculty interested in continuing education in MLT. Application deadline is soon.

 

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I heard about an old piano method in one of the sessions I attended at the MTNA Conference this past week. It was written by the daughter-in-law of John Curwen (creator of the Curwen Tonic Sol-Fa) and was called Mrs. Curwen’s Pianoforte Method. After a little more research, I came across this website: CurwenMusic.com. I’ve enjoyed browsing the site and learning a little more about her pedagogical approach.

 

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I always carry blindfolds and ear-plugs with me when I travel!

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I’ve always wondered this: Are Nutrition Supplements a Waste of Money?

 

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The best place to sit in a concert hall.

 

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New posts on Piano Pantry:

147 Tunes to Harmonize

12 Ways to Turn a Potentially Frustrating Lesson into a Musical Opportunity

 

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Best New Trendy, Healthy Groceries You Should Be Buying in the Frozen Food Section.

 

12 Ways to Turn a Potentially Frustrating Lesson into a Musical Opportunity

A while back I wrote an article for Alfred Music Blog called Learning Music in a Quick-Fix Society: 7 Tips to Foster Music for LifeIn the article, I share seven ways we can help create an environment that fosters the mindset that learning music is more than just a short-term activity.

One of those seven items was that, as teachers, we shouldn’t feel frustrated when students come to lessons either without their books or having made little progress. (Of course, if it’s an ongoing issue, that another story.)

It can be very easy to get irritated at students and in turn, have the lesson take on a sour note and be a negative experience. On the other hand, if we keep in mind that life happens and music lessons are an ongoing commitment, we can look at it as an opportunity rather than a failure.

Here are 12 ways we can turn a potentially negative, frustrating lesson into a positive musical experience. You don’t even have to pick just one! Set a timer and tell the student every 5 minutes you’re going to switch activities!

 

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Friday Finds #124

As this post goes up, I’m headed to Spokane Washington for the MTNA National Conference. It’s one of the highlights of the year. I love conferencing!

If you’ve ever attended a conference (or gone on vacation for that matter), you know how the days leading up to the event are always a little crazy.

Thus, this week’s finds are on the short side, but that’s OK because you can explore ALL the past Friday Finds to your heart’s content here.

March is the birthday month for Piano Pantry as the first post went up on March 20, 2016. Just for fun, here is the very first Friday Finds ever posted on Piano Pantry!

 

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While we’re on the topic of conferences, you  may be interested in these posts here on Piano Pantry:

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

Tips for Presenting: Tools, Resources, and a Pep-Talk

 

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Wood Stoves and Ash Wednesday.

 

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My favorite liquid foundation makeup brush, Kabuki for Face.

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Design Your Rhythm of Work – Theme Days.

I’ve been trying to do this a lot more this past year and it works quite well. Think about the different categories of life/work you have and focus on one area each day. For example, on Mondays, my mornings are dedicated to my current church worship leader work and Monday afternoons are my piano studio. Thursday mornings are Piano Pantry work and afternoons are Church Prep, etc.

 

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The Ghost Moth

 

147 Tunes to Harmonize

Traditional, Popular, and Christmas

Over my years of teaching, I’ve come across several lists of tunes to harmonize using primary chords. Often, however, they’re either not very comprehensive, or they include a lot of tunes that students these days have never heard because they only include folk tunes and a couple of Christmas songs.

Last summer I started a studio-wide harmonization focus that lasted through the summer and fall. After continually having students look at the song list and shake their head that they didn’t know many of the songs, I finally decided it was time to compile my own list.

This comprehensive list includes 147 tunes (traditional, popular, and Christmas). The list progresses from tunes you can harmonize using only the tonic chord, to tunes that use four chords (I, IV, V, vi).

The tunes are, of course, mostly in major (because, well, we live in the Western World), but there are some minor tunes as well.

Keep in mind, these are not tunes tied to any particular chord progression such as I-IV-V-I or I-vi-IV-V. It’s up to the person harmonizing to figure out what chords to use and when.

First, let’s talk a little about what it means to harmonize and how to teach harmonization.

 

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Friday Finds #123

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner! From what I understand of the holiday, it is not only to commemorate the arrival of the Christian faith in Ireland, but also a celebration of the Irish culture. Since it’s during the Lenten season, the ban on alcohol was lifted for the day, hence the history of it being a “drinking” holiday.

It’s not a holiday I normally remember (or celebrate). Truth be told, the main reason I’m making a point of it here is that I’ve been enjoying customizing my Friday Finds image for each holiday, and it was one more chance to have a little fun.
*(Insert crying, smiley emoji.)

If you like to pull out holiday-themed activities with your students, this coming week is the time for St. Patty’s!

 

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If you order them today (and have Amazon Prime), there’s a good chance you’ll have your St. Patrick’s Day stickers just in time for Monday or Tuesday lessons this week. If you want a closer peek at the St. Patty’s day ones in this pack, check out my Facebook Video I made last week.

 

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Here’s a round-up of lots of St. Patty’s Day activities for your piano students this week!

St. Patrick’s Day Improv from Teach Piano Today
St. Patrick’s Day Game from ColourfulKeys.ie
St. Patrick’s Day Games and Activities from Susan Paradis|
St. Patrick’s Day Rhythm Game from Sara’s Music Studio
St. Patrick’s Day Worksheets from MyFunPianoStudio.com

 

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40 By 40. I really love this idea of having a list of 40 things I would like to do by the time I’m 40. Time is ticking though so I better get started. I have less than two years.

Now you know how old I am.

 

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Staying Organized with Silicone Cupcake Liners. In my studio, we use them during group classes for students to hold their own game markers. I also use them to organize my teaching tools drawer next to the piano. They are especially perfect for housing Japanese erasers sets. My jewelry drawer at home is next!

 

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Another Marie-Kondo style decluttering tips for piano teachers. This one from Teacher Piano Today.

 

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How to Translate Music Scores with Your Phone Camera.

 

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When we lived in Australia (from 2006-2009), one of my favorite shows was McLeod’s Daughters. This week, I came across it on Amazon Prime! Happy girl dance!

 

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What Seth Godin Teaches Us About Piano Studio Marketing.

 

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When I need technology help or tips, one of my first go-to’s is DottoTech. I love his YouTube Videos! I’ve learned a lot about Google Chrome, Gmail, and even Evernote from his videos.

 

Friday Finds #122

 

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If you haven’t checked our Rosemarie Penner’s blog, you should. The Unfinished Lesson has been one of my favorite piano blogs to follow over the past year or two. Rosemarie always seems to have unique blog posts, is tech-savvy, and student-focused.

Her two most recent posts were both worthy of my clipping and saving in Evernote. One tagged under “lesson planning” and the other under “evaluations.” Check them out:

“How do you know my child is progressing?” I’m glad you asked!

Student-Led Conferences

 

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3 Myths (and 1 Truth) About Grain-Fed Beef. | The Nutrition Diva

 

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A fellow teacher recently asked me about a recommendation for a beginner hymn book. Within the same time frame, one of my new adult students and I determined that although she wants to improve at reading hymns, they were a bit too challenging for where she is at the moment. I told her I had the perfect book for her. I’m sure I’ve shared this book in the past but since it’s come up again recently, here it is again.

The Piano Student’s Hymnal published by Alfred

 

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“What shall we do next?” is one phrase that I try to be conscious of using regularly in my teaching.

 

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A new toy in my kitchen.

GIR: Get It Right Premium Silicone Ultimate Spatula, 11 Inches, Lime

 

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Every once in a while my husband will send me something that he thinks I would enjoy sharing in Friday Finds. (Is that cute or what?). This is one of Drew’s finds. 🙂 Watch and be amazed.

 

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Don’t Tell Me How Lucky I Am To Have A Good Husband

 

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If you’re making plans for some fun recital ideas for your Spring Recital this year, check out:

 

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Here are some great suggestions for beautiful modern piano music for teens.

I have a student currently playing the very first song in the list above, The River Flows in You from Yiruma. It felt like she was needing something beautiful and a boost in energy for piano. This piece did the trick. She absolutely loved it so much, she almost mastered it in the first week.

 

Friday Finds #121

Last week, first the first time in awhile, I started a new student. In this photo we were exploring the highs and lows of the piano by placing the animals in order of where he thought their sound matched on the piano.

We then listened to several tracks from Irina Gorin’s Tales of a Musical Journey Book 1 and guessed what animal(s) the song could be about. Tracks included. “Porcupine” by D. Kabalevsky, “The Bear” by V. Rebikov, and “The Sparrow” by A. Rubbakh. Lastly, we choose a couple of animals we wanted to create songs for and improvised for each of those animals.

(If you’re interested in where I found all these stuffed animals, visit this post.)

 

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Playing the Piano Naturally for Children, a video by Vicki King.

 

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The newest sticker addition to my studio.  Creative Teaching Press Emoji Rewards Stickers. These are even better than the first batch of emoji stickers I bought. (That set had too many useless emoji’s for piano student rewards).

 

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Make a Hot Date with Bach: Daily practice for playful renewal.

 

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My Wife Was Dying, and We Didn’t Tell Our Children: The choice was unusual, but loving: We wanted them to live without the shadow of their mother’s mortality hanging over them.” (from The Atlantic)

 

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I remember reading the now famous book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” on my flight to the 2016 MTNA Conference in San Antonio.

I’ve always been a continual tidier, cleaning out areas of our home at least once a year.  The most life-changing tip I gleaned from Marie Kondo though, was the idea of folding clothes in small squares and storing them upright rather than stacking.

Check out what piano teacher and blogger Jennifer Foxx learned not just about her own home, but about tidying her studio:

Tidying Up the the Music Studio: 3 Things I Learned from Marie Kondo

 

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Classical Classroom Podcast Episode 192: The Hilarious History of Classical Music with Igudesman and Joo

 

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One of the most useful pieces of technology I have is a 10-ft. Lightning Cable for charging my iPhone and iPad. I would have never thought it was necessary but now I wonder how I ever got by without one!

 

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13 Kitchen Tools You Should Own By the Time You’re 30. Boom! I hit all but one. I don’t own a wok.

 

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Styling Your Bed Like a Cozy Minimalist.

 

Friday Finds #120

 

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The photo above is a little blurry because it’s a screenshot from a video I came across on the PianoStreet.com. Check it out!

 

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I’ve been enjoying Ina Garten’s Favorite Love Songs playlist on Spotify this past couple of weeks.

 

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Congratulations to my friend, Joy Morin, on the 10-year blogiversary of ColorinMyPiano.com! She’s celebrating with sales through the month of February so keep your eye out.

 

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It was also fun seeing Joy’s meet-up with a teacher and a student in Puerto Rico.

 

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More big news in piano-teacher world… Piano Safari has launched a Spanish Edition

 

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The best way to keep guacamoleNow I just have to remember this tip…

 

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The Best Graphic Design Options for Piano Teachers.

 

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I thought this was a great idea for a blog post from Sara Campbell.  “A Thoughtful Answer to FB’s “Very Responsive” Badge”.

 

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Chili Cheese Fritos made it into my grocery cart for the first time this past week, and I am in love. They don’t taste greasy at all like regular Fritos and were a nice crunchy topping for one of my favorite chili recipes: Tex-Mex Corn Chip Chili.

 

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Randall Faber Receives Lifetime Achievement Award in Education from Roland Corporation.

 

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Joy Morin has posted a couple of videos recently that follow up on her Wednesday Words of Wisdom posts.  Here’s the first one.

Free Printable: My Hands

Watch them Grow

Over the years I’ve come across several different printables for young students to trace their hands. Many method books also include a page for this activity.

None of these, however, include one little thing I really wanted, so I decided to make my own sheet. I’ll tell you what it is, but first, the backstory.

It’s very easy when attending professional development conferences, to hear great ideas but then forget to put some of those ideas into place.

When I attended the 2017 MTNA Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, I gleaned a fun idea from a session given by Amy Immerman on tracing students hands.

She suggested that with young beginner students we not only trace their hands but retrace them every so often so students can see how much they’re growing. (Kind of like the typical height-growth chart found in a lot of homes, but for piano 🙂 )

Children love to learn and see how they are growing.  Just last night I had a group class for tweens. When I asked each of them to remind me how old they were, none of them responded with their actual age. They stated how old they would be and in how long, such as “I’ll be 13 in two months.”

Growth, in whatever form it is, feels good.

The reason none of the other printables I’ve ever found have worked for me is that they don’t remind me to re-trace their hands. It’s easy to forget to do things unless they’re right in front of us (a perfect example of why so many teachers love method books).

Plus, I don’t use method books with beginners and even if I did, once you start progressing forward, how many of us would remember to go back and do that? No one.

This printable includes instructions for students to trace their hands multiple times over the course of their first year of lessons.

I would recommend keeping it in the front of their piano binder or better yet, in their student file folder. (Check out my student files here.)

My Personal Recommendation for Karen Thickstun for MTNA President-Elect

Voting is open for the 2019 – 2021 MTNA National Officer Slate.

Will you indulge me for a moment and allow me to share my personal recommendation for one of the nominees for President-Elect?

Let me introduce you to Karen Thickstun, a face you may recognize! If you’re a member of MTNA, you may know her as:

  • Author of the tri-annual business column “It’s None of all Your Business” in MTNA’s American Music Teacher Magazine.
  • Member of MTNA’s Board of Directors, most recently as Vice President of Membership (2015-2017) and Secretary-Treasurer (2013–2015).
  • A frequent presenter at MTNA National Conferences on topics related to business and teaching.

Karen is a friend and fellow colleague on the Indiana MTA Board of Directors. She has served our state in a plethora of roles including as state president, trustee chair, and her current role on Arts Advocacy and Awareness, to name only a few.

In 2002, she was honored with our state’s Distinguished Service Award, (given infrequently), and in 2008 was awarded Teacher of the Year.

I don’t want to simply state all of her qualifications, as you can read more on her and the other candidates here.

Let me just make this statement:

Karen is the kind of person that creates impact. She has been a wonderful mentor and trusted advisor not only to her students but to all my fellow colleagues who have taken on the role of state President. She’s our go-to girl.

If we’re unsure of something, we go to Karen.

If we need advice for a situation, we go to Karen.

If we need a second opinion, we go to Karen.

If we need a history of the association, we go to Karen.

Karen Thickstun embodies everything you would want to see in an MTNA President and more.

I wrote about her in a post here on Piano Pantry back in 2017. Check it out

If you haven’t yet exercised your right to vote, it will take place through 3:00 pm, EST, on March 1st.  You may cast your vote here.

*Disclaimer: Please know that this post is of my own free will. All statements and opinions are mine only. Every nominee placed on the slate is of high quality and would serve MTNA with excellence. This is simply my personal plug for a friend and colleague.