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.
While this was not one of the top posts, the addition of the monthly “Secret Letter” was the biggest addition to Piano Pantry this year and the one thing that has excited me (and still excites me) the most.
Writing them is a highlight of my month (and hopefully it’s a highlight for readers as well!). They feel like a special piece of me delivered right into your hands.
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Writing posts like these the last couple of years have been very enlightening, encouraging and really just a healthy exercise in gratitude in general.
The idea behind the “Piano Teacher World” recap is to take a look back at significant news, happenings, and impact in the world of independent piano teachers. The final part of this post also includes resources that have made a direct impact on my own teaching.
I tried to be as thorough as I could and will admit that the list is much smaller than it was last year. Be sure and share in the comments if there was anything you would add to the list!
For the sake of being thorough, I asked for recommendations on multiple Facebook groups and received a lot of excellent feedback on The Art of Piano Pedagogy group regarding overall trends – all of which I agree with. Let’s start with those. (If you’re interested in reading all the comments, which are much more specific, check out the full post here.)
1 | Declining or leveled-off interest in iPads and apps. Better balance and understanding in the role they play in lessons.
2 | Teaching and learning piano online is becoming more and more viable and easily available.
3 | A shift in attitude and growing excitement toward rote teaching/learning.
4 | Increased curiosity and interest in Music Learning Theory and how it can impact piano teaching, not just Early Childhood Music.
5 | Continually improved quality and ease-of-availability in regards to self-published material.
6 | Rising interested in quality blogs, podcasts, and online communities.
7| Continual professionalization of the field.
8 | A renewed interest in pedagogy outside of academia.
9 | Ongoing concerns with declining membership in professional organizations such as MTNA.
A teacher friend shared this one specifically with me. She has always loved Marvin Blickenstaff’s method “Music Pathways” and Paul Sheftel’s MIDI accompaniment for the series. She says there are lots of good compositions by Lynn Freeman Olson.
THE FRANCIS CLARK CENTERis continuing to see changes as Dr. PamelaPike was named the new Editor in Chief/Chief Content Director and Dr. Andrea McAlister was appointed as the new Director of Content Curation and Senior Editor for Clavier Companion.
Yesterday I posted a Visual Listening Guide to use with students during group classes. I accidentally included “Lydian” twice in the tonality section and forgot Locrian. The sheet has been updated. Thanks to the reader who pointed it out!
A reader contacted me and asked if I would consider tweaking her favorite assignment sheet – #15 – on Assignment Sheet Central. Why?
Well, the “practice cake” graphic that shows students the steps for good practice kind of looked like *that* emoji. Yeah, you know which one I’m talking about. Don’t make me say it.
Well, OK…it is what it’s is.
It looks like the poop emoji. There. I said it. Do you agree?
In my defense, I’m pretty sure the poop emoji did not even exist when I created this assignment sheet.
That being said, I had to agree with her and thus, created a new design. Since the assignment sheet is titled “Practice Steps,” I thought it would be more fitting to use the visual of actual stair steps rather than a cake.
One thing I know to be absolutely true of myself is that I thrive on change. As we resume our second week of finds this season, I wanted to let you know I’m going to spice things up a bit and try something new with our weekly finds – sharing a little piece of who I am.
Instead of including the Friday Finds image at the top, there will be instead an image from my day-to-day life to kick off the post.
I’ll share just a few brief words as an introduction to what the image reflects or its purpose in my life. (P.S. If the photo includes items you may like, I’ll always include a link!)
(Full disclosure that Piano Pantry is an affiliate with Amazon so if you purchase any items linking from Piano Pantry on Amazon I will make a tiny fee but it costs you no extra).
Enough shop talk. Let’s kick off Friday Finds #102!
This image was shared on my Instagram accountin August. One of my to-do items for that month was to give myself one day alone doing absolutely no work. I made the 45-minute trek to my favorite coffee shop in Fort Wayne and cracked open one of my current reads, Madeline L’Engle’s Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith & Art. It was a blissful morning.
One of my favorite quotes thus far in the books is:
There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred, and that is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation.
Don’t play a scale – play with the scale. Play up and down and inside out and play with the notes and play here….Make a little melody, make it creative, improvise with it…Allowing us to express our inner musicality every step of the way where music is not the goal but music is the process – something we’re doing every time.
Calling all Trader Joe’s fans! Just when you think T.J.’s can’t get better, they create a podcast! They didn’t know when creating the first set of episodes that those episodes would eventually be “Season 1.” My favorite from the first 5 episodes was Episode 3: Informative and Seriously Not Too Serious. You can easily catch up as they just released the first one in the next season Episode 6: Quality.
Evernote is currently offering 40% a one-year subscription to Evernote Premium.
If you've been interested in trying Evernote Premium but didn't want to pay $7.99 per month, now is your chance to try it out.
Premium is the level I have used for years. Part of the reason it's a huge improvement over Evernote Basic is that with basic you can only use two devices such as a desktop and your phone. With premium it's unlimited. On top of that I can annotate PDF files and upload 10GB per month.
And…we’re back! After a Summer off from our weekly finds series here on Piano Pantry, it’s time to jump back in! If you missed the final Friday Finds back in June, #100 was a list of a whopping 100 of the best items from the two years the series had been running. From here on out, they will be titled by what week of finds it is, so here we are starting at week #101.
If you’re new to this series, every Friday I share links to interesting things I love from all over the web. I’m a content junkie and use Feedly to follow over 100 websites of a variety of topics. Friday Finds is the best of what I’ve found out there each week.
Friday Finds isn’t all about music teaching, because we’re not just music teachers! Each week there are generally between 8-12 items on the list that may include but is not limited to: thought-provoking articles, interesting podcasts, yummy recipes, books, useful piano teaching tools, a few of my favorite things, and much, much more.
Song stories. As Mike Rowe says in episode #108” of his podcast The Way I Heard It…
These words take on a whole new meaning once you know the story behind why they were written.
Affiliate Disclaimer: Some links in this post may contain affiliate links which simply means that if you purchase something from a link, I may receive a very small percentage without it costing you any extra.
Assignment Sheet Central has been live on Piano Pantry for close to two years now. At the time of this post, there are 15 assignment sheets of varying types available. Whether you’re looking for a sheet to use for group classes, adult lesson, or preschool lessons, there will be one for you.
I’m working on adding a few more sheets this week and, in the process, thought it would be fun to share with you the assignment sheet that has been downloaded the most thus far – over 1,000 times to be exact. Funnily enough, it’s the first one on the list. So either it’s a super awesome assignment sheet or ya’ll are lazy and just don’t want to scroll down the page! I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and say it’s the former. 🙂
All in all, readers have downloaded over 10,000 assignment sheets so far. I hope you find them refreshing. Think about it – you could use a new one every year for the next 15 years of your teaching – I would call that refreshing!
The one I’ve been using this past year is definitely my favorite thus far! I’ll let you know when I get it and a few others up.
Hey there! Welcome to Piano Pantry where we talk about piano teaching, loving food, and living life. I'm Amy, my husband Drew and I live in Indiana. My favorite things include Mexican food, reading, organizing, and spending time with those I love.