Start the School Year More Organized Than Ever!

Did you make a pact with yourself to get better organized this summer?

Since I know my teacher friends pretty well, I would bet that this isn’t the first year you’ve tried to make this same pact. The hard part is that IT’S SUMMERTIME! We want to spend time doing fun things with family and friends (as it should be)!

I get it. I know you have a strong need to get yourself in order before the school year returns full force and I’m here to help!

No matter how great our intentions are, the thing we really need is for someone to be right there with us to walk us step by step.

So, in the month of July, I’m offering a series of eight 75-minute power-hour sessions.

By committing yourself to dedicated time with other teachers and working through the digital landscape in a progressive manner, you will walk away feeling ready to tackle the new year.

While each session will have a focus area, there are no rules to how you spend your time! The main goal is that we power through and get some things done.

I will be there to kick off each theme focus with a few tips and tricks. After that, it will be heads down and off to work. We’ll finish with a quick check-in at the end and be on our way.

  • 10-15 minutes of Amy talking through some things for you to consider
  • 50-60 minutes with microphones off, task-focused (Amy available for questions).
  • 5-10 minute check-in at the end

We will meet for eight sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays 11:45 am – 1:00 pm EDT.

  • Session 1 – Devices (Smartphones & Tablets)
  • Session 2 – Computers (Desktop/Laptop)
  • Session 3 – Daily Capture and Save (Notes apps)
  • Session 4 – Blog Content
  • Session 5 – Documents (File Explorer / Cloud Drives)
  • Session 6 – Media (Photos & Videos)
  • Session 7 – Email
  • Session 8 – Social Media

Click here to check out more details.

 

Webinar Appearance with Duet

Just a quick note here to let you know that I will be presenting a webinar, Connect and Engage: Online Professional Development Resources for the Independent Music Teacher on Wednesday, April 6th @ 10 am PT/1 pm ET.

This is a free webinar sponsored by Duet Partner.

Register here: https://zoom.us/…/tJwsc-yurD0uGtaAVX7pA9gWT7l4rygudbLe

In this webinar, we will explore the wealth of both professional development and teaching resources available to teachers as well as best practices for utilizing information without getting overwhelmed. Whether you’re a new or seasoned teacher, this will give you a wonderful snapshot into all that’s at your fingertips.

Piano Pantry: Celebrating 6 Years

This coming Sunday, March 20, 2022, marks six years since I hit publish on the first post here on Piano Pantry, Welcome to My Studio.

It’s been a fun creative outlet for me and a great way to connect with you. I enjoy creating new teaching resources and sharing ideas as quickly as life and physical ability allow.

As a big THANK YOU for being here, we’re celebrating with a discount in the SHOP!  In this post, I’ll share a few product and resource highlights from over the years followed by the discount code at the end of this post.

Here’s a fun little timeline/history of what has been brought to you over the past 6 years:

Preloader
  • First Post

    “Welcome to My Studio”

  • Resource

    Speaking Sessions

  • Resource

    Assignment Sheet Central

  • Resource

    Evernote for the IMT [Video Tutorial Series]

  • Resource

    Secret Letter Email Newsletter

  • Post

    Friday Finds #100

  • Product

    Music Lab Series

  • Post Series

    Your Questions Answered

  • Podcast

    Key Ideas Episode #11 with Leila Viss

  • Post

    Friday Finds #200

  • Product

    Happy Birthday By Ear

  • Branding

    New Piano Pantry Logo

  • Product

    Note Rush Sequenced Assignment Series

  • Product

    Christmas By Ear

  • Post Series

    Music Teacher Eats

  • Product

    Consulting

  • Resource

    The Piano Pantry Podcast

 

First Free Resource

The first big resource I shared in Piano Pantry back in 2016 was Assignment Sheet Central which now houses more than 20 free assignment sheets.

This stemmed from a period of time when I went through what was called my “assignment sheet addiction“.

 

Newest Free Resource

The newest resource available to you is The Piano Pantry Podcast launched in January 2022 and now has 11 published episodes. Listen to the 1-minute trailer here

So far, the most downloaded episode is #2 Managing Your Podcast Consumption

 

Most Popular Post

Piano Safari Stuffed Animals Blog Post

Several years ago, I spent quite a bit of time hunting down little critters to accompany the technique exercise in Piano Safari. I shared my favorites in this post which remains the most popular on the site to date.

 

 

Most Popular Freebie Download

This Candy Car Contest download is insanely popular.

It’s a fun little studio-wide activity to use during holiday or group-class weeks. Kids go crazy over this little contest.

 

 

 

Newest Product in the Shop

Piano Lesson Warm-Up / Focus Activity

Doing a focus activity at the beginning of lessons has several wonderful benefits including helping students transition from their day and turn their mental and physical focus to the piano.

    1. As a bonus, this routine has a fun chant-like flow students easily follow and memorize.

 

Most Popular Products in the Shop

Not surprisingly, the most popular product in the shop is the teacher-licensed book Christmas By Ear: 8 Tunes to Harmonize.

The format encourages the development of audiation, improvisation, and creativity skills by presenting multi-level steps/variations on playing each tune. Each song includes its own checklist so students can use and build on these sheets year after year as their skills progress.

Once again, I’m not really surprised that the second most popular product is Happy Birthday By Ear.

This 11-page teaching guide is all you and your students will need to learn (and remember how to play) this tune.

Students are guided by learning the melody, harmony, and a variety of creative variations while fostering their audition of the piece.

 

 

 

Birthday Discount

As a big THANK YOU for being here, we’re celebrating with a discount in the SHOP! Since the blog launched in 2016, I’m giving 16% off your entire order through March 31, 2022.

Use the code BIRTHDAY16 at checkout.

Continue reading

Cooking Demonstration at Piano Connect 2022

Hello! Just a quick announcement to let you know that I giving a cooking demonstration for the 2022 Piano Connect Virtual Conference.

I’m honored to be stepping in at the last minute, filling in for The Hungry Musician who normally works with Paula Dreyer on the food side of this virtual conference.

Hope to see some of you there as we make fluffy omelets together this Saturday, January, 29 @ 11:00 am PST.

If you’re interested in registering for the conference, you can do so here:


Register for Piano Connect


 

Announcing The Piano Pantry Podcast!

As we wrap up one year and head into another, I’m excited to let you know about a new podcast I’m launching in January 2022.

An extension of all we do here at PianoPantry.com, The Piano Pantry Podcast will be a place where together, we’ll live life as independent music teachers.

We’ll talk about all things teacher-life related from organizing our studios to getting dinner on the table and all that comes between. You’ll get loads of easily-actionable tips on organizing and managing your studio while balancing life and home.

The plan is for the 8-15 minute podcast to publish each week. The voice is such a powerful tool and I can’t wait to connect with you in this space!

Want a sneak peek? Check out the 60-second trailer!

 

Big Discounts on My Favorite Recipe and Password Manager Apps

I recommend many resources and tools here on Piano Pantry to help you be more organized and productive in your personal and studio life. Find a list of those resources here: Recommended Resources.

Two of those are LastPass, my favorite password manager, and Paprika, my favorite recipe app.

Both of them have big sales going on this week.

 

All four versions of Paprika are on sale from now until the end of November.

Sale prices will vary by country but the currently displayed prices on their website, the App Store, and the Play Store are indeed the correct prices.

Some of my favorite features of this app are:

  1. You can purchase a desktop version
  2. It has a built-in browser so you can browse the internet directly in the app and download recipes directly from there
  3. You can download a browser bookmarklet so you can download recipes from the browser you use on a daily basis.

iOS and Android apps are currently 40% off:
Paprika 3 for iOS
Paprika 3 for Android

MacOS and Windows apps are currently 50% off:
Get Paprika 3 for macOS
Get Paprika 3 for Windows

 

Gone are the days of repeating the same password over and over or using the same one but changing one number every month, or, like my dad, writing it down on a half-dozen index cards (oh my!).

Some of my favorite features of the premium version of Last Pass are:

  1. Get access to all devices.
  2. Generate passwords that are secure and customizable
  3. It’s more than just for passwords! Save:
    • Health Insurance Informaiton
    • Drivers Licenses
    • Credit Cards
    • Bank Accounts
    • Wi-Fi Passwords

Save and secure personal information in one location.

 

Get 25%

On November 23-29th, 2021, Lastpass is running a 25% off sale for annual plans.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

Signup here.

 


P.S. Please note that Piano Pantry is an affiliate with LastPass. All this means is that if you purchase using my link I will get a small percentage back without it costing you extra. This helps offset the fee of running this blog. Thank you in advance for using my link!

 

Contributor to MTNA’s *NEW* Quarterly Business Digest

Are you a member of MTNA (Music Teacher’s National Association)? If so, you may or may not have caught their most recent venture – a quarterly Business Digest!

 

The growth of MTNA’s business resources has been an important focus and implementation for current president Karen Thickstun.

One of the first projects (that I know of) was developing the Business Resources section of the MTNA website.

 

After Karen started her MTNA Presidency this past March, she passed the reigns on the new Email Business Digest to Beth Klingenstein.

You all likely know me well enough that piano teacher resources are the name of my game as I’ve been writing the weekly Friday Finds series since the blog started!

Thus, I have joined a team of several other teachers led by Beth to bring you this quarterly digest! 

I’m working on two sections: “Resource Gems” (along with fellow teacher Jennifer Walschap), and  “Technology Tips and Tools” (along with fellow teacher Jennifer Stadler)

I hope you will find these resources to be invaluable for running your own independent music studio!

If you’re not a member of MTNA, consider joining today!

Keep Your Studio Marketing Fresh with New Branding

This past month, we’ve been talking about celebrating teaching milestones – or teaching “anniversaries”.

If you missed any of the previous posts you can find them here:

Teaching Anniversaries: Celebrating on Social Media and Beyond

Teaching Anniversaries: An Important but Hard Celebration

Teaching Anniversaries: A Time for Reflection

In this fourth and final post in the series, I’ll share how I’m keeping my studio fresh by re-branding and why this is something you should consider for your own studio!

 

Out With the Old – In With the New

When I first opened my studio, like many teachers, money was tight. I knew branding was important though and I wanted to have a logo right away.

Luckily, we had a friend who was artistic and was gracious enough to do one as a favor. I remember sitting at her kitchen table looking over her laptop as we tweaked the shape and style.

I wanted something simple, subtle, and sophisticated. I kind of hate to use that last term because it wasn’t that I wanted to portray my studio as “snooty” or anything, just professional. More specifically, I didn’t want it to be too kiddie-looking with lots of music notes and colors.

I have absolutely adored this logo. It was perfect.

Change is something I thrive on personally so with the move to my new studio two years ago and the turnover of a new decade of running my full-time studio this year, it felt like the perfect time to freshen up my branding for a new start.

This time, I worked with a designer a self-employed small-business owner whom I connected with when I spearheaded a new logo for our state MTACarson Sprunger with Sprunger Design.

 

 

For social media purposes, I also requested that whatever logo we came up with was easy to translate into a small favicon-size version.

 

 

I absolutely love both of them and am thrilled with the results.

Interestingly enough, my goals were the same as the first time around: simple, subtle, and not kiddie-music looking. A few things that I particularly love about it this new logo:

  1. It was a complete font change feel from the previous logo.
  2. The design went from flowy and elegant to a little edgier.
  3. The new splash of color.
  4. The fresh take on using the piano lid rather than the profile from above.

 

Is Re-Branding Really That Important?

Now, you may be thinking this is a nice idea but is it really necessary?

I would say it depends.

What does your logo say about your business? Does it portray it properly? Are you having a hard time attracting adult students? Does your logo look like it’s geared toward preschool children or any type of student?

It’s important that our branding match how we want people to see us and our studios.

Most clients in your studio may not think much about a change in your logo (similar to what Janelle was talking about in the second post on how it’s hard for them to celebrate teaching anniversaries with you).

What they will notice though is your attention to detail in how you present yourself and your business. Consider investing in branding that represents what you want your customers to know about you before they ever meet you.

 

How to Use Your Branding

Logos and branding aren’t just about the logo that goes on your policies document, social media header, or website. Our branding should be part of everything we put out there, most especially on social media.

As soon as I got my new logo, I created a series of social media images in Canva highlighting student and parent testimonials. These will be posted using a scheduling tool for the whole year (I’m currently using Tailwind).

Would you believe me when I say I’m not looking for any new students? I’m full with a waiting list but I still continue to market. Why?

Building a thriving business is not something you do once a year when you need students, it’s something that should be continuous so your brand is at the forefront of your community’s minds.

I’m pretty excited about how these social media testimonials turned out this year. Here are a few examples:

 

 

Every year, in my year-end parent/student questionnaires, I always request (but don’t require) testimonials so I have fresh ones from current students and families every year.

I have to brag a little that my students and parents rocked the testimonials this year!

(If you want to see all of them, they’re in a slide format on my studio’s testimonials page.)

If anything, it can definitely give you a little mental boost once a year. 🙂

 

Speaker Events for 2021-2022 Including MTNA Minneapolis!

This past week I went to my first in-person workshop since…well, who knows when. It feels like forever, right?!

It was a workshop at Sweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne with Melody Bober. She did a session on practice tips, a feature session on many of her books and resources, and a masterclass.

 


Today I wanted to quickly let you know some of the places I’ll be this upcoming school year.

The first is the MTNA National Conference which will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota March 26-30, 2022.

I’ll be presenting a 20-minute “One-for-All” session called Reset and Refresh: Tidying Tips for Studio Teachers.

Are you surprised by the topic? I bet not! 🙂

I’ll also be presenting my wildly popular session Taming the Jungle: Digital Management Strategies for the Independent Music Teacher for several groups in Indiana, Ohio, and Virginia.

If your local or state group is still on the lookout for some unique and refreshing sessions, check out my speaking page. I only have one or two spots left for the 2021-2022 season!

Contact me here to chat!

Crossing my fingers I will see you around (in person) sometime in 2021-2022!

 

Update: MTNA Music Study Award fillable form fixed!

Just a quick update!

Two weeks ago I published a post with a printable template to help you print your MTNA Music Study Awards.

The form had always been fillable but this year when I downloaded it, it was not. I have to admit, I convinced myself I was mistaken that it was in the past and just went right ahead and made a printable template so you didn’t have to write in the student’s names by hand.

Thanks to fellow colleague/reader Jan Fulford who was a little more proactive than I was! She contacted me on Facebook and pointed out that yes, they had been fillable in the past but were also not working for her this year either. So, she contacted MTNA and found out it was flux and it was supposed to be fillable.

It has been fixed now – YEA!

Don’t worry, it doesn’t print the fillable area in purple. 🙂

Plus, we noticed that the centering of the words “present the” was off so they fixed that as well!

Thanks to Jan for her help in getting this all fixed!

P.S. Even though it’s basically not necessary anymore, I’m going to leave the printable template post active just in case since I’ve already put the work into it.