It’s Piano Pantry’s Birthday!

Celebrating 5 years with a discount

This month marks a big milestone here at Piano Pantry as I’m celebrating 5 years of blogging!

This platform has been such a wonderful creative outlet and way to “dump” my brain of all the ideas that swirl around. Thanks for being here and for sticking with me!

Today I thought I would share a little about how I got started and highlight some of the milestones along the way (including the release of a new Happy Birthday by-ear teaching resource!).

We’ll also be celebrating with a discount in the Piano Pantry Shop and a giveaway later in the month in Friday Finds #211.

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Friday Finds #209

Virtual Events (and discounts)

With several online events happening over the course of the next month, I thought this might be a good time to highlight those along with a few useful resources on participating in professional development.

 

1

Conference Management 101: Tips for using Evernote plus a free resource (Piano Pantry)

 

2

A week from today is the start of the virtual MTNA National Conference (Saturday, March 13-17). It’s not too late to register!

 

3

New effort vs. Old effort (Seth Godin)

On old conferencing vs. new conferencing.

 

4

8 Tips for Making the Most of a Virtual Conference (Natalie Weber | Music Matters Blog)

My favorite post on virtual conferencing to date!

 

5

Tonara’s INSPIRED Summit 2021 will be on Saturday, March 13 from
10-2 EST.

The ticket list price is $10-$15 but if you use this link you can get 20% off ($8-$12).

 

6

What We Can Learn from Considering One’s Ideal Piano Teacher Life (Joy Morin | Color in My Piano)

 

7

Getting Value from Professional Development with Amy Comparetto, episode 172 (Tim Topham |The Top Cast podcast)

 

8

Load yourself up for these virtual events with some healthy snacks: Here are some all-around favorites as well a few favorites from Trader Joe’s.

 

9

Nicola’s Turboboost event will be from March 29th – April 2.

This 5-day event is designed to help give a refresh before gearing into the final weeks of the school term. While it’s 5 days, it will only be 3 hours a day (10 am-1 pm EST), and the guest speaker sessions are 15-minutes so they will be easy to absorb.

My session will be on the final day. It’s called:

Reset and Refresh: Tiding Tips for Studio Teachers

Enjoy a workspace that is always fresh and orderly by implementing a simple, consistent, and sustainable tidying routine. Four specific time points, a small checklist, and an incremental (but minimal) time commitment will be your steps for a well-kept studio.


Read more details and SIGN UP for the event here!*

Use the code PANTRY to get a $10 discount ($59 instead of $69)

*Disclosure: I will also get a very small affiliate percentage back but it doesn’t cost you any extra.

 


Did you enjoy this post?

Consider subscribing to the Piano Pantry email list. You’ll get my once-a-month “Secret Letter” which includes what’s been going on in my studio that month, new posts on the blog, books I’m reading, favorite Instagram posts, and other fun things like that. 

Sound good?! Subscribe here.

 

Happy Birthday By Ear

The Ultimate Teaching Resource

Can you think of any moments when, as a young piano student, you were
put on the spot or caught off guard being asked to play something for people and feeling the heat rise to your face because you weren’t able to do so “because you didn’t have any “music”?

I myself have had many experiences in this situation – sadly, even into my early adult years. Often, the request was a simple one – “Happy Birthday” – and yet to me, it was crippling and made me feel ashamed.

These people know me as THE pianist in their life. That’s what I’m known for! Why can’t I just sit down and play this simple tune without music?

Without a doubt, life experiences make up who we are today.

As a teacher, I’m now determined to help my students feel
ENABLED and CONFIDENT that, as pianists, they can sit down and play something anywhere and at any time – starting with the tune “Happy Birthday.”

Today I am excited to release the ultimate teaching resource for playing “Happy Birthday” by ear and am confident this is the only download you will ever need!

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Friday Finds #208

Best of February

As I continue to consider what this slightly new Friday Finds format looks like (with more themed content each week), I realized I also didn’t want to lose the charm of the fun list of random finds that this post series has always thrived on.

Thus, I’m going to shoot for the last Friday of each month being a compilation of the best finds from the past month – just like I used to do.

Enjoy!

 

1

Congratulations to my good friend Joy Morin on celebrating 12 years of blogging!

I can’t imagine what the piano teacher world would be like without you – you’ve inspired so much of our world!

(P.S. She’s doing a great discount and giveaway this month so be sure and jump over there right away!)

 

2

If you’re a Google Chrome user, did you know you can organize your tabs into groups? Who knew?!

 

3

In February, Music Teacher’s National Association (MTNA) released a big new Business Resources section on their website

 

4

What to Do When Parent’s Don’t Want to Be Online for Music Lessons
( The Unfinished Lesson)

There may be more to it than we think! Here are four great tips from Rosemarie Penner.

 

5

6 Brilliant Websites for Original Piano Sheet Music (Pianosaurus Rex)

 

6

Notated versions of the RCM Level 9 and 10 Chord Progressions – for free. (The Collaborative Piano Blog)

 

7

“The shelves at Trader Joe’s do what?!” That’s what I said when I read this post: The Mind-Blowing Trader Joe’s Trick We Just Learned on TikTok (The Kitchn)

 

8

Speaking of Trader Joe’s, here’s my Trader Joe’s shopping list. (Piano Pantry)

 

9

21 Podcasts for Piano Teachers in 2021 (Joy Morin | Color in My Piano)

 

10

Using Social Media Effectively to Market Your Studio (Teach Music Online Podcast)

Some great tips with guest Sara Campbell. The top tip I told away was from their conversation on the difference between Marketing and Advertising!

 

11

I can’t wait for season 2 of Nadiya Bakes on Netflix! Her personality is so fun and inviting. They haven’t announced a release date, but until then, enjoy season 1. Her happy face will be sure to brighten your day.

 

12

The rest of February’s Friday Finds:

#207 Winter

#206 For all the Office Product Junkies

#205 A Superbowl-Inspired Friday

 

 

My Trader Joe’s Shopping list

Recently, a friend posted on Facebook that she was going to Trader Joe’s for the first time in a long time, and did anyone have items they LOVED she should add to the list?

After commenting using a quick cut and paste of my Trader Joe’s shopping list I keep in Evernote, it hit me:

This may be a fun little post to share with my readers! I love food and cooking but don’t incorporate enough of it on this blog as I would like besides linking to recipes and products I love in the weekly Friday Finds.

So, here we are!

 

What’s So Special About Trader Joe’s?

This niche grocery store is especially known for its low prices on unique food items, quirky culture, cozy size, and special experience. There’s something about shopping there that just feels good.

For me, the unique food items are the biggest reason I shop there and that feature is best displayed in their freezer section. Never have I been one for buying pre-made meals of any kind in a regular grocery store because they’re never that good (or that healthy for that matter).

Trader Joe’s does it differently though.

When I go there, I like to take my time and slowly peruse the freezer section, taking in each item. Being that all of their product branding is completely different than the main-stream brands you are used to seeing in a regular grocery, it can feel a little strange (and perhaps overwhelming) at first looking at a whole new line of products.

 

My Trader Joe’s Shopping List

The list I’m sharing with you today is items that I love. They may not make it into my cart every time I go, but I consider them winning products – many of which I do like to keep in-stock at home.

Besides my repeat list, I also try to buy half-a-dozen new items each time as well. “The Kitchn” website frequently posts fun articles on Trader Joe’s (I link to several of their articles at the end of the post). My shopping list is always inspired by what I read there as well as information gleaned from the fun Trader Joe’s Podcast.

Keep in mind I’ve only been lucky to have a Trader Joe’s nearby (well, 35 minutes away) for the past year. Prior to that, I only got to go a couple of times a year when I was in Indianapolis (90 minutes away) – usually for a state MTA board meeting! Ha!

My list would likely be longer if I had been able to be a more regular customer but this is what I have thus far.

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Friday Finds #207

It’s all Winter!

Many of us in the US have been hit these past couple of weeks with some serious weather. I can’t remember the last time we here in Indiana have seen this many days in a row of 20-degree weather and consistent snow with no melting and slush.

I have to say that I’m loving it! Working from home, of course, certainly makes it easier to enjoy and not dread. 🙂 I’ve always been of the opinion that if it’s going to be winter, I would rather experience the season with all it has to offer.

Stay warm and safe – especially all of you that have had to go through all the power outages!

-XOXO

 

1

Winter’s Serenade Intermediate-level sheet music by Dennis Alexander

 

2

The winter-scenes over on Kiel James Patrick’s Instagram account have been incredibly enjoyable to follow!

 

3

A Winter playlist on Spotify. (Amy Chaplin)

Music that will set the scene for the beautiful side of winter including scenic white views, crisp cold, and comforting warm fuzzies.

 

4

Look at this downtime for fresh produce as an opportunity to take advantage of all the beautiful fruits and vegetables that you can get in your freezer section!

 

5

Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite places to buy frozen products. Check out this podcast episode highlighting their freezer section.

 

6

The Perfect Winter Piano Piece (Wendy Stevens)

 

7

Shades of Sound Listening & Coloring Book: Winter (Playful Piano)

Winter-time inspired grand-piano coloring page (Leila Viss).

 

8

A short story: The Fir-Tree by Hans Christian Anderson (Becoming Minimalist)

 

9

Cold church blues: practicing organ in the winter. (Rebekah Maxner)

 

 

Recent and Upcoming Guest Speaker Appearances

Hey, just a couple of quick announcements!

 

Career Development and Entrepreneurship

Last week I was a guest speaker for one of Butler University’s Career Development and Entrepreneurship graduate classes.

Some of the things we talked about included:

  1. The story of opening my new business and how it changed and developed over the years.
  2. Acquiring and retaining students
  3. Marketing and studio policies
  4. Rates, billing, and payment options
  5. Lesson material organization

If you are looking for someone to talk about this topic with your college class or local or state association, you can contact me here.

Feel free to also check out my speaking page that shows a list of sessions I’ve done in recent years.

 

Turboboost

If you haven’t heard yet, Nicola Cantan from Vibrant Music Studio is hosting an online event called “Teacher Turboboost” from March 29th – April 2.

I’m happy to be a guest speaker along with several other awesome ladies.

It’s a 5-day event designed to help give a refresh before gearing into the final weeks of the school term. Each day will have a very focused and yet broad topic such as: connect, open, explore, grown, balance.

What you will find unique about this event is that it will only be 3 hours a day (10 am-1 pm EST) and the guest speaker sessions are 15-minutes so they will be easy to absorb.

My session will be on the final day. It’s called:

Reset and Refresh: Tiding Tips for Studio Teachers

Enjoy a workspace that is always fresh and orderly by implementing a simple, consistent, and sustainable tidying routine. Four specific time points, a small checklist, and an incremental (but minimal) time commitment will be your steps for a well-kept studio.

 


Read more details and SIGN UP for the event here!*

Use the code PANTRY to get a $10 discount ($59 instead of $69)

*Disclosure: I will also get a very small affiliate percentage back but it doesn’t cost you any extra.


 

 

Friday Finds #206

For all the office-product junkies

 

1

My Top 6 “But It Again” Products on Amazon (Piano Pantry)

Amazon is a great place to buy consumable office supplies!

 

2

My New Favorite Tool in the Studio: Dry Erase Crayons! (Jennifer Foxx)

 

3

My 6 Favorite Office Suppy Items as  Piano Teacher (Joy Morin)

Can office supplies really bring you joy? They sure can! Here are some joyful products that bring joy to our teacher friend, Joy! Ha! LOL.

 

4

Chicken Fajita Stuffed Poblano Peppers (Simply Recipes)

 

5

Favorite Tools of the Trade (Melody Payne)

Scroll CLEAR down to the “Office Supplies” section

 

6

A Piano Teacher’s Shopping List: Organize and Inspire with these 13 Items (Teach Piano Today)

13 things Andrea Dow uses over and over, year after year.

 

7

Piano Teacher “Must-Have’s”: A Minimalist’s List (Piano Pantry)

If I were a brand new teacher or if I had to start all over again in a very small space, what are the items that would be “must-haves”?

 

 



Did you miss a previous week of Friday Finds? Here are quick links:

#205 Superbowl Inspired Friday
#204 Valentine Goodies
#203 Goodies from Down Under
#202 Planning for a New Semester
#201 Getting Taxes Organized

 


Enjoy this post?

Consider subscribing to the Piano Pantry email list. You’ll get my once-a-month “Secret Letter” which includes what’s been going on in my studio that month, new posts on the blog, books I’m reading, favorite Instagram posts, and other fun things like that. 

Sound good?! Subscribe here.

 

Friday Finds #205

A Super Bowl Inspired Friday

I’m going to be completely upfront with you – sports are not my thing – not even a little.

In high school, I enjoyed going to basketball and football games because I was a band kid and had school spirit.

The Colts have my fan-hood simply because I’m a Hoosier and have good friends that had season tickets for a while and took us once a year for several years.

Beyond that, I only pretend on Super Bowl Sunday because it’s one of my few opportunities to make game-day food. 🙂

Whether you’re having a small handful of friends over to view the game or watching with just your family, take the opportunity for a finger-food kind of day – they can be the best kind!

Since my 9-year-old nephew loves the Kansas City Chiefs, I’ll be rooting for them.

Have a great weekend!

 

1

Football Fever sheet music from Wendy Stevens

 

 

Touchdown! sheet music from Piano Pronto

 

 

2

For all you dill-pickle lovers:

Classic Pickle Ham & Cheese Rollups (Northern Yum)

These have been a favorite since high school. One of my best friends’ moms would always make them for us when we came over.

Dill Pickle Dip (anaffairfromtheheart.com)

The roll-ups above in a dip form! Be sure and really chop up the beef and pickles really well – maybe even pulse in the food processor so it’s in smaller bits.

 

3

Freakonomics Podcast: An Eggheads Guide to the Superbowl (for people like me).

 

4

Game-Winning Guac’ (Marcela Valladolid)

This has been my favorite guac for ages. Simple and classic.

 

5

Trader Joe’s Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips are my absolute favorite!

P.S. I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to subscribe to my favorite grocery store’s YouTube channel

 

6

Football Note Match-Up Worksheet (Discoveries Piano Studio)

 

7

Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms (Ina Garten)

Mushrooms – say no more.

 

8

Sports-Themed Japanese Erasers (Amazon)

 

 

9

Football Grand Staff Game and Football Key Game from Piano with a Twist on Teachers Pay Teachers.

 

10

Ham & Cheese Tailgate Sliders (Once Upon a Chef)

Buffalo Chef Mix (Your Cup of Cake)

 

 

Advanced Arrangements of Sacred Music

This post is part of a series called Your Questions Answered that highlights questions that readers like yourself have asked of me over the last few years. 

 


Hi.

I have searched the internet for decades, always looking for sacred piano arrangements that are very very advanced level. I play all of Rudy Atwood’s and Harold DeCou’s piano arrangement solos, and have wanted new material.

The problem is that no matter what piano book or piano sheet music I look at on the internet, all of them are too easy, and bore me, since they are not a challenge to me at all. I am looking for titles of piano arrangement books of sacred music, whether classical or jazz style.

Do you know the names of some advanced enough music books, or the names of some Christian piano arrangers who still have this kind of music in print to where I could order it?

I hold concerts at times, and find that it’s hard to find new music that is advanced as I am looking for. It almost seems to me so far, that it was more in the 50’s-70’s when this type of music was published.

Nowdays the big name seems to be for instance, “Hal Leonard”, etc, and their music is way too easy for me. I love the hard stuff, where it takes me time to work it out, instead of material that I can play right on the spot with no challenge to it.

If you have any ideas of where I could find (for sure) material this advanced, would you please let me know? Please don’t send me to all these many many sites I have looked under for hours and hours, never to find.

Also, I am the type where I need to be able to view a sample of the music, so I know what I’m ordering, to make sure it’s not too easy, and a lot of them do not show samples.

If you have any ideas, would you please email me back? Thank you. I know I’m asking a lot.

-Sincerely Yours, M

 

Hi, M,

I do have some suggestions and am happy to help!

The first group is books that I have played over the years and enjoyed. Phillip Keveren and Mark Hayes have always been my go-to but I would say Mark Hayes verges on having more advanced arrangments that you are likely looking for.

I agree with you that it can be really frustrating to be looking for music and not be able to preview it – especially when we’re in 2020! To help you out, I did a little searching for each book I’ll list here and I will link to it ONLY if the location has a preview available. 🙂

I find JW Pepper and Alfred both do pretty good in some instances with offering previews. Sheet Music Plus sometimes as well, but not always.

  • Worship with a Touch of Jazz by Phillip Keveren (jazzy arrangements of more contemporary – but still older – worship songs)
  • Well-Tempered Jazz by Mark Hayes (wonderful jazzy arrangements of older hymns and gospel songs)
  • Well-Tempered Praise III by Mark Hayes (Simple Gifts / I Need Thee Every Hour, etc.)
  • Praise Classics by Mark Hayes (older choruses like Bind Us Together, As the Deer, etc.)
  • Open My Heart to Worship by Mark Hayes (more contemporary – but still older – worship songs like Above All  and Open the Eyes of My Heart)

The three books linked above are to JW Pepper’s website, but the last two books by Mark Hayes are also available for preview on Alfred’s website. It appears there is another book he has as well called “Gospel Classics” that also has a preview available on Alfred’s website.

This next group of books are ones that I’m familiar with but have not played from a lot myself. I think you may find these even closer to what you’re looking for here as they’re quite virtuosic!

  • Marilyn Hamm has some wonderful advanced arrangements. If you visit her page on the Alfred publishers website and click on each individual book, they do give you Sample Pages under the Product Description. In the past, I have played some from an older book of hers – “One Lord, One Faith”. You can preview that particular book on Sheet Music Plus and JW Pepper.
  • Dino Kartsonakis is an incredibly OLD arranger to name, so there aren’t a lot of purchase options out there except on eBay (I searched “Dino Kartsonakis Piano Sheet Music”). The book I grew up with and remember I managed to find here, but there is no preview. I can attest, however, that his music was incredibly virtuosic!!
  • Jesus Shall Reign by Victor Labenske (One of my adult students played out of this book and it was fairly virtuosic from what I remember but there is no preview online.)

I really hope you can find something that works well with what you’re looking for. Best of luck!

~Amy

 


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Did you enjoy this post?

Consider subscribing to the Piano Pantry email list. You’ll get my once-a-month “Secret Letter” which includes what’s been going on in my studio that month, new posts on the blog, books I’m reading, favorite Instagram posts, and other fun things like that. 

Sound good?! Subscribe here.