Friday Finds #151

Last week we celebrated 150 of these weekly posts!

The first Friday Finds EVER was one of my first posts here on Piano Pantry back in March 2016. Oh, how time flies!

Twenty-five of my absolute favorite items and posts from the past 50 weeks made it onto my offerings last week. One of those items, a $13 pack of stickers (that I’ve shared more than once), was offered as part of a giveaway to celebrate.

I’m pleased to announce that using Google’s random number generator, out of 21 comments/entries, the winner is…

The first person to comment on this post! Congratulations, Gina F! I’ll be emailing you to get your details.

Now onto the first post in our next 50!

 

1

Halloween-Themed Jars from Mason Jar Lifestyle: lids, straw toppers, straw, straw holders. (Marisa McClellan | Food in Jars)

 

 

 

 

 

2

Halloween Favorites: Games, Resources, Graphics and More (Amy Chaplin | Piano Pantry)

 

3

A Piano Teacher’s Guide to Surviving Halloween Week (Andera Dow | Teach Piano Today)

 

4

We had our Fall group class last week and even though Halloween was two weeks away, I made it a “Halloween” group class.

As students entered, I was playing some of the pieces from Jason Sifford’s “The Creeps” book. Students would then tell me if it was in duple or triple/major or minor.

I’ve had this book for a couple of years but because I don’t do a lot with Halloween, I hadn’t pulled it out yet. Now I’m especially glad to have it as part of my music library as the pieces are pretty awesome!

It’s not currently available on Amazon, but you can get it from Sheet Music Plus following this link:


look inside
The Creeps
Composed by Jason Sifford. Sheet Music. Book. The FJH Music Company Inc #FJH2260. Published by The FJH Music Company Inc (FJ.FJH2260).

 

 

5

Junior Virtuosos: What is a Natural Hand Position? (Benjamin Steinhardt)

Two of my favorite tips from this post:

Addressing students trying to stretch and place one finger on each key:

I find it useful to have students practice bringing the hand to the keyboard with their eyes closed to avoid this problem. Most are shocked how few keys the hand covers.

Addressing students dropping their thumbs below the keys:

In addition to reminding students of their natural alignment, I enjoy the image of the thumb tip being a “ghost with a flashlight (or laser beam).”  The light can go up or down, side to side, or shine at an angle but it should always shine on the fallboard when not playing.

Junior Virtuosos: Dropping into a Key (Benjamin Steinhardt)

Favorite tips from this post:

Addressing the weight of the forearm:

Before involving the fingers I find it useful to have the student make a gentle fist (like holding a bird’s egg) and play short rote pieces on black key clusters to feel how the weight of the forearm is responsible for producing sound.

Addressing the hand and forearm working as one unit:

To get the sensation of the hand and forearm working as a unit I like to have students give me “high-fives” and playing “pat-a-cake.”

 

6

How I’ve missed Benjamin Steinhard’s blog all this time, I don’t know, but I finally added his blog to my Feedly. Check out why I prefer to use an RSS like reader like Feedly for following my favorite website rather than email in “Managing Internet Content the Easy Way” (Amy Chaplin | Piano Pantry).

 

7

In ‘The Water Dancer’, Ta-Nehisi Coates Creates Magical Alternate History (Annalisa Quinn | NPR Book Reviews)

 

8

This Video of How Cookie Cutters Are Made Will Blow Your Mind (The Kitchn).

 

9

The Rise of the “Getting Real” Post on Instagram (Carrie Batton | The New Yorker)

 

10

7 Things that Shouldn’t Impress Us Anymore (Joshua Becker | Becoming Minimalist).

*LOVE, LOVE*

 

Happy Halloween!

~Amy


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Friday Finds #150

Top 25 and a Giveaway!

Wow, I can’t believe we’ve hit another milestone of Friday Finds once again! It seems like just yesterday I was putting together the celebration post for #100, but that was more than a year ago!

After #100, I took the Summer of 2018 off of Friday Finds and there have been a few random weeks missed here and there which is why we are more than 50 weeks past #100.

In #100, I shared a HUGE list of the top 100 items from the first two and a half years of Friday Finds posts. That was A LOT to recap, so moving forward, celebrating in 50-week increments seemed a little more manageable!

To make it even more of the best of the best, I’ve trimmed down this week’s celebration list to the top 25 finds from the past 50 weeks. All of these items are ones that, when looking back, still stuck out to me as extra special, interesting, or things I still absolutely love.

You’re getting them in alphabetical order. At the end, you’ll find a giveaway!

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147 Tunes to Harmonize Updated

Just a quick note to let you guys know that I recently did a small update to the free download 147 Tunes to Harmonize: Traditional, Popular, and Christmas.

I couldn’t believe it when I saw how many hundreds of you have downloaded this freebie!

Here are a few quick ideas on how you could use it:

  1. Pull it out when students forget their materials or haven’t practiced enough on their pieces.
  2. Use it for a month-long focus on harmonization.
  3. Practice harmonizing these tunes on your own to develop your own ear!
  4. At Christmas time, have students choose one piece off the list that they’re not learning as part of their Christmas repertoire and have them play that Christmas tune with chords while they sing!

 

P.S. I would definitely recommend printing it out and keeping it next to the piano at all times!

Happy harmonizing!

A New Halloween-Themed Music Lab

A new lab has been added to the Music Lab Shop!

Introduce students to “spooky” classical music with this fun Halloween-themed lab!

Four pages long, this lab guide accompanies the (free) Halloween Videos series published here on Piano Pantry. Comprised of 13 videos, there’s over an hour of listening for your students to enjoy!

This lab sheet gives students brief and easy-to-digest background information on the piece followed by a reflection question.

For years my Halloween music lab was comprised of just a few videos students did the week or two leading up to Halloween. They were asked to write out their answers to the questions on the lab sheet but I found it kind of annoying to have to go in and “grade” their lab assignments.

It wasn’t that I was giving them a grade or score, but I was mostly just making sure they gave the right answers. If they didn’t, then (as a teacher should), I felt like I should go over it with them during their next lesson. That was all just waayyy more than what I wanted labs to be.

It’s important to me that lab assignments are enrichening for students while being as low-maintenance ongoing for me as possible. 

In order to avoid teachers having to “grade” the lab, the reflection question is intended for them to use simply to ponder and listen actively.

The student also rates the video, which serves both as a way for students to reflect on how the piece made them feel and to track the pieces that they’ve listened to in the lab.

If you only have students do this lab for a week or two leading up to Halloween then you might be able to use it with students two or three years in a row depending on how long your lab time is!

Add this lab to your cart now, or find it (along with other music labs in the shop).

 

Shop is Open – Check Out the New Music Lab Series!

Drumroll, please…

After two years and five months of this blog, Piano Pantry now has a SHOP! (I’ve been waiting so long to say that!!)

You can find it in the top menu bar.

While this is quite an exciting announcement, there’s an even better one…

What’s the first product, you ask?

It’s a Music Lab Series!

 

 

For a brief history of music labs and how I came to where I am today, read “Music Labs in the Independent Studio: A Brief History”.

As I mention in that post, when I first started including a music lab eight years ago, there was really only one “curriculum” product out there. It just wasn’t working for me, so I began creating my own music lab assignment sheets.

Only one other music lab curriculum/program has emerged since that time (that I know of), but I’ve continued to stick with my lab own series since it was working well for me.  Over the past seven years, it has morphed and changed quite a bit as I’m sure it will continue to do.

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Winner of Piano Lessons by Noah Adams

The winner of last week’s giveaway is Suzanne H. She will get a copy of Piano Lessons: Music, Love and True Adventures by Noah Adams.

I will email you, Suzanne to obtain your address. Thanks to all who entered!

Giveaway!

Piano Lessons: Music, Love & True Adventures

Today I have a giveaway for you!

A few years ago I read the book “Piano Lessons: Music, Love, & True Adventures” by Noah Adams. In my quest to always minimize “things” in my possession, I was looking over a few books I owned and asking myself whether they were ones I would want to read again and take with me into my future.

This book, while I recall enjoying it, is not one that I necessarily would need to read more than once.

It’s a memoir by Noah Adams, long-time co-host of NPR’s All Things Considered. He writes of his journey with learning to play the piano over the course of a year.

I’m not a big reader of memoirs and biographies, but if you are, I’m sure you will find this book delightful!

Please keep in mind, what I’m giving away is my used copy. It’s paperback with slight wear on the outside and a few highlights throughout.

Rather than just donate it to a bookstore, I thought one of my readers might enjoy it. (It will be mailed within two business days of the giveaway ending via media mail at no cost to you.)

In order to enter this giveaway, please comment on this post and answer the simple question: Do you enjoy memoirs? (Even if you don’t, you can still win! 🙂 )

You can gain an extra entry by visiting the Piano Pantry page on Facebook.

Only those with a U.S. mailing address can win.

The drawing opens at 12:00 am on Tuesday, April 23 and ends at 12:00 am on Tuesday, April 30. The winner will be randomly selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Are you a reader? Check out more recommended resources on Piano Pantry!

Books for Piano Teachers

Books for Piano Teachers interested in Music Learning Theory (MLT)

 

Conference Highlights

MTNA 2019, Spokane

Last week I attended the 2019 MTNA National Conference in Spokane, Washington. The photo you see is the one that spoke to my memories of the location the most.

As MTNA attendees flooded into Spokane, so did Spring! The river walk next to the conference center was beautiful and included this gigantic Radio Flyer Wagon. Fun!

(Click on the image below to see sixteen seconds of Joy Morin and I tapping into our inner child. 🙂 )

Every time I attend a conference, I like to write a recap post. Not only are writing these posts a good mental exercise for me in helping pull together the entire event, but it’s like putting the period at the end of a sentence. It gives a sense of finality and making a statement.

Attending conferences is really important to me and my professional development (and energy). I hope these posts may also convince someone who either hasn’t ever attended a conference, or does so infrequently, that they are worth every penny to attend!

If you’re interested in posts I’ve written about previous MTNA conferences, checkout out:

Conferencing with Mickey Mouse and Friends: MTNA 2018 Orlando

2017 MTNA Conference, Baltimore

San Antonio 2016: A Conference to Remember

 

Conference Management 101 Videos

The biggest thing I wanted to share with you from the 2019 conference is the series of five Facebook Live videos I did on conference organization/management. These videos highlight a few of the tips I talk about in the post Conference Management 101.

I tried to keep them short and focused on one point.

(If you want to see the full post on Facebook, just click on the facebook icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the video.)

Video #1 (2:50) – Action List!

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MTNA 2019 and Other News

The time is nearing quickly for MTNA 2019 in Spokane! The schedule is out and I’m looking forward to another great conference.

Joy Morin and I will be co-presenting a session on Wednesday, March 20 @ 8:00 am “Teaching the Way We Learn: Applications of Edwin E. Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT)”.

Following that session, at 9:15 am, we will both be participating in a Panel Discussion called “Creativity Throughout: A Panel Discussion on the Business Side of Teaching.” 

Both sessions are unfortunately late in the conference, but I hope you can arrange to attend!

If you’re attending, I would love to meet up. Drop me an email and maybe we can arrange to have a coffee or meal sometime during the conference!


Early registration is also now open for NCKP – a semi-annual conference held in Lombard, Illinois (Chicago).

I’m excited to be making my first appearance as a presenter at NCKP giving a lightning session “Evernote for the Independent Music Teacher.”


Are you from Raleigh, Kansas  City, or Northeastern Ohio?

If so, you can catch presentations of my session “Taming the Jungle: Digital Management Strategies for the Independent Music Teacher” in one of these locations:

  • February 20 – Raleigh Piano Teachers Association (via Zoom)
  • April 5th – Kansas City Music Teachers Association
  • May 3rd – Western Reserve Music Teachers Association

 

Looking at your local group’s 2019-2020 scheduling? Check out my list of available sessions here. I would love to come and speak to your group!

 

 

One Teacher’s “King-Sized Master Spreadsheet”

It’s always nice to see and hear how teachers are using the tools, tips, and tricks they hear about here on Piano Pantry. I was delighted to see Lauren Lewandoski share on her website this week her version of the King-Sized Master Spreadsheet.

Check out Lauren’s spreadsheet!

Have you created your own master spreadsheet as well? If so, I would love to feature a post that highlights how several teachers are customizing their own. Drop me an email!