Article on Alfred Music Blog

Are your students feeling the summer practice blues? I just wrote an article for the Alfred Music Blog on motivating students to practice – check it out!

4 Ways to Motivate Students: Banishing the Summer Practice Blues

 

Top Tools and Resources

Grammarly: Spell-check on steroids

If you spend any time on Facebook at all, we’ve all seen posts in our news feed from trending sites like Lifebuzz, Buzzfeed, or Boredpanda such as:

10 Funny Spelling Mistakes.

or

18 Funny Spelling Errors Children Make That Made Me Burst Out Laughing.

While I find those types of posts typical annoying; sometimes they can give us a good chuckle.

Spelling and grammatical errors are good for a little social media humor, but today I’m going to share with you a tool that can save us, as working professionals, from becoming the next find on Buzzfeed.

I recommended this tool on my Resources page but wanted to explain in more detail why it’s such an important and useful to me as an independent music professional.
Continue reading

Friday Finds

24/6 and a Piano Safari Download

 

 

1

If you’re a Piano Safari user, as I was searching the PS Facebook group recently, I came across this cute download for the animal rhythms.

 

2

A practice challenge idea with a door-size keyboard chart.

 

3

A friend of mine had a minor “accident” with a microplane grater (haven’t we all) to the point she had to go to the emergency room. In all seriousness (and a little humor), I gift-mailed her this microplane cut-protection glove. I’ve had one for years after learning my own lesson. You only need one to protect those precious piano hands! Continue reading

Sound Recipes 

Barefoot Contessa at Home

In the “Sound Recipes” series, I will review a cookbook from my collection and share the top, most “sound” recipes from the book that have become staples in my kitchen. You can expect to see a post in this series between 1-3 times a year.

Do you have a cookbook that’s like “home” to you – one that you go to over and over again? It may be the one you had the longest, the one your grandmother passed on, or the one with the most tried and true recipes.

For me, that book is Ina Garten’s 2006 cookbook Barefoot Contessa at Home.

After my husband and I married in 2002, I quickly learned that I needed to up-my-game from the recipes of my childhood. I wanted to learn to how to use more herbs as opposed to butter and sour cream for flavor and cook fresh vegetables rather than sprucing up canned.

With the help of the (new at the time) Americas Test Kitchen on Saturday morning PBS and Ina Garten in her Barefoot Contessa series on Food Network, I slowly began to experience food differently.

This was one of the first cookbooks I purchased and used outside of the church cookbooks from both of our childhoods and the Better Homes and Gardens one I got as a wedding present.

I swear everything Ina makes turns out perfect. Her recipes are truly “sound.”

Let me share with you why you would love this cookbook and some of my favorite recipes to tempt you. Continue reading

NCKP Meet-Up with Amy and Tim

The National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy is just around the corner. This biennial conference put on by The Francis Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy is always held in Lombard, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.

The 2015 event was my first NCKP experience and I was hooked. Being that I’m only a 3-4 hour drive away, I plan on attending every one from now on!

After my first Piano Pantry reader’s dinner at MTNA in Baltimore, I was excited to get the chance to offer something again at NCKP. This time I’m honored to team up with Tim Topham who’s making the trek all the way from Australia for this great conference.

Let me share how I first came to meet Tim. Continue reading

Friday Finds Inspiration

 

This week is a special round-up of finds. I have been a content junkie for a long time. I’m slowing down, but I couldn’t manage the number of sites I follow without my RSS reader, Feedly.

There are several sites I have been following for years that do similar week-end roundups that inspired me to start my Friday Finds for teachers. Today I share those favorites with you.

 

1

Let it Be Sunday | Joy the Baker.

 

2

Saturday Food Section | Williams-Sonoma Continue reading

Three-in-One: A Review of Little Gems for Piano 

(and an MLT-based Application)

As I was driving to my studio this morning I was thinking about the early years of piano instruction. While they’re often the hardest for parents and children to get through, the first few months and years are the most important for several reasons.

First, we must engage our music students in a way that fosters a love of and a successful experience at making music. Second, we must develop a healthy technique so they have freedom at the piano from the start. Third, we need to introduce students to a variety of sounds, tonalities, and meters so they can hear, think, and engage in music with understanding. 

That’s a whole lot of goodness wrapped up into a student’s first experience at the piano!

Today I’m to going to share my thoughts on a book called Little Gems for Piano and how rote pieces like these can cover all three of these critical areas in one. We will focus especially on the last one as it is part of the philosophy I am slowing working to incorporate in my teaching called Music Learning Theory (MLT) by the late Dr. Edwin Gordon. Continue reading

Friday Finds 

Scrabble and Croissant Waffles

 

1

Spring Seals, part of the duo over at 4D Piano Teaching, totally got to play on THE piano, on THE stage of THE Van CliburnWhat an amazing life experience.

 

2

Jennifer’s tips on multitasking to process all those great printable resources that take so much time to print, cut, and laminate. Continue reading

Summer Facebook Series

Productivity Tips

Last summer on the Piano Pantry Facebook page, I did a daily series of posts called “Morning Marketing.”

Over the next two months, I’ll be bringing you another series. This year’s topic is productivity. We’ll be talking anything from email to Evernote to managing Facebook and all the “notifications” in your life.

Be sure and follow the Piano Pantry Facebook page so you don’t miss some great short pointers brought to you each and every day!

 

A Picture Number is Worth a Thousand Words 

Studio Retention-Rate Marketing

It was happening – that moment independent music teachers (generally) dread…

It was nearing the end of the semester and a mom came in after the lesson to get her kids. As we were chatting, she brought up that they were thinking about going to another teacher next year – not because of this dissatisfaction with me, but because this teacher was a traveling teacher who would come to their home. With four kiddos under the age of 8, home life was feeling hectic and the thought of having piano come to them was highly appealing at the moment.

As she’s talking, my mind is simultaneously whirling. Continue reading