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.



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



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



New effort vs. Old effort (Seth Godin)

On old conferencing vs. new conferencing.



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

My favorite post on virtual conferencing to date!



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).



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



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



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.



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.


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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.




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!)



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



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



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.



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



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



“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)



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



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



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!



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.



The rest of February’s Friday Finds:

#207 Winter

#206 For all the Office Product Junkies

#205 A Superbowl-Inspired Friday



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!




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



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



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.



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!



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



The Perfect Winter Piano Piece (Wendy Stevens)



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

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



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



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



Friday Finds #206

For all the office-product junkies



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

Amazon is a great place to buy consumable office supplies!



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



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.



Chicken Fajita Stuffed Poblano Peppers (Simply Recipes)



Favorite Tools of the Trade (Melody Payne)

Scroll CLEAR down to the “Office Supplies” section



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.



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


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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!



Football Fever sheet music from Wendy Stevens



Touchdown! sheet music from Piano Pronto




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 (

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.



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



Game-Winning Guac’ (Marcela Valladolid)

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



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



Football Note Match-Up Worksheet (Discoveries Piano Studio)



Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms (Ina Garten)

Mushrooms – say no more.



Sports-Themed Japanese Erasers (Amazon)




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



Ham & Cheese Tailgate Sliders (Once Upon a Chef)

Buffalo Chef Mix (Your Cup of Cake)



Friday Finds #203

Goodies from Down Under

Early next week, our friends in Australia will be celebrating Australia Day which, like the 4th of July in America, is their official “national day” observing the founding of their nation.

Today, I thought it would be fun to feature all the amazing teachers and resources we have available to us from some friends “Down Under” along with a few other finds from afar.

I can’t help myself but also reminisce a little about the three years my husband and I lived in Melbourne back when we were young tykes. 🙂

The one Australia Day I remember is from 2009 when we picnicked by the Yarra River with ex-pat friends from Germany.



Elissa Milne is one of those teachers that when she writes an article ( I don’t miss it. Composer of the Little Peppers and Pepperbox Jazz books as well as much more, she is a conveyor of fun, unique, and introspective sound and thought. Elissa is also one of the administrators of The Art of Piano Pedagogy group on Facebook.

Some of my favorite articles from her over the years include:

Six Rules About Repertoire

Repertoire Rules (for students): How to Transition

5 Guaranteed Ways to Make Students Less Creative

Parents Who Sit in on Lessons

10 Things You Should Do Before Your Child Begins Piano Lessons

15 Things You Need to Know About Supporting Your Child Learning to Play the Piano



One of my favorite discoveries from our days living in Oz was the Electric Water Kettle! I honestly don’t think I even knew something like this existed at the time as they are not a staple kitchen appliance in most American homes (especially those that don’t drink tea). They are SO handy though!

The OXO Electric Kettle we have is absolutely amazing.



Samantha Coates has been a rising rockstar in piano-teacher-world over the last few years. Her brainchild, BlitzBooks, is repertoire that works to combine the worlds of rote teaching and notation-reading by creating pieces that are written in multi-levels.

To give you a quick description of how it works: a student would begin with level 1. Once they master that, they continue learning the same piece but level 2 (of that piece) adds a few more seemingly “harder” things in. Once they master level two, they take it a little further in level 3.



When we lived there, one of my husband’s customers was gracious enough to invite us to their farm for a weekend.

We got to see the countryside, a working farm including a sheep-shearing shed, and he got to go crawfishing.

His wife made Anzac Biscuits (cookies) just especially for us. Here’s her recipe:

1 c. rolled oats
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. brown sugar (lightly packed)
¾ c. coconut
½ c. butter
2 T. golden syrup (light Caro or maple syrup)
1 t. baking soda
3 T. boiling water

Preheat oven to 300. Blend oats, flour, sugar & coconut. Melt butter and syrup over low heat and remove. Dissolve baking soda in boiling water then add to the melted butter mixture. Stir this into the oats mixture. Drop rounded spoons of dough onto a tray lined with parchment paper. Bake 15-17 min. Cool for 5 min.



When you think of Australia, I would suffice to say Tim Topham is likely one of the first people to pop into your mind.

Tim’s website,, is home to all kinds of resources for teachers including his TopMusicPro membership site. He also recently launched



Anzac Girls (on Amazon Prime)

Description from Prime: “Anzac Girls is a moving series based on the unique, and rarely told true stories of Australian and New Zealand nurses serving at Gallipoli and the Western Front.”



Daniel McFarlane is a composer and creator of Supersonics Piano.

Description from his website: “Combined with backing tracks and additional teaching resources, my original piano method, books, and digital sheet music will motivate students at every age and level – and keep them coming back for more.”



Some Australians might laugh at me, but my favorite Australian TV show was McLeod’s Daughters.

Description from Amazon Prime: “When Jack McLeod passes away, his two daughters inherit Drovers Run, a vast cattle ranch in the Australian outback. Ultimately, Tess and Claire decide to run the ranch together, with their housekeeper, Meg, her teenage daughter, Jodi, and a local girl, Becky.”



If you’re a teacher from Australia, you might want to check out the Facebook group The Piano Teacher Hub Australia



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Friday Finds #202

Planning for a New Semester

Friday Finds January Blog Post

The beginning of a new semester always seems to bring with it a little extra work. This is the time many teachers sit down and consider what’s coming up in the weeks and months ahead for each individual student.

There may be students who are preparing for a competition or non-competitive festival, students preparing a senior recital, or students getting started playing in their church’s worship band or accompanying congregational singing.

I tell myself ahead of time to not worry about getting much else done that first week of the semester as most of my time outside of lessons will be dedicated to student planning.

Here are some resources to help you with your planning plus a few other end-of-week goodies.



Cheers to One Word (for Teachers) | Beyond Measure Podcast with Christina Whitlock

A tried-and-true one-word-philosophy strategy to help busy teachers keep focused on what matters most.



Lesson Planning – A King-Size Master Spreadsheet | Amy Chaplin –

If an online program like Tonara isn’t right for you, the best thing I ever did for my lesson planning life was to create one big spreadsheet.



Lesson Plan Templates for Teachers | Tim Topham – TopMusic.Co

Free downloads of a variety of weekly and quarterly lesson plan templates.



Born to run (things) | Seth Godin

Why Bruce Springstein is proof talent is overrated.



Lessons Learned Teaching Online and Applying Them for Lessons In-Person | Marilyn Floyd –



3 Useful Styles of Lesson Plans for Piano Teachers | Nicola Cantan

Introducing time-based, categories, and mine-mapping styles of lesson plans.



A Piano Teacher’s Planning Kit |

Purchasable resource with a lesson template, a sample lesson assignment sheet, sample scope and sequence, and practice strategies for practice stages.



CPTP112: Having Mission & Planning Lessons Effectively w/ Leila Viss

Tips for planning lessons effectively for both groups and individual lessons.



A 5-Step Formula for Easy Lesson Planning | Dr. Sally Cathcart – The Curious Piano Teachers



5 Changes to My Piano Lesson Planning that Have Saved My Sanity | Andrea Down – Teach Piano Today



Creating & Sharing Student Growth Plans in 5 Easy Steps | Rosemarie Penner –



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Friday Finds #201

Getting Taxes Organized

Friday Finds January Blog Post

Welcome to the first Friday Finds of 2021!

I’ve been trying to think of ways to keep this series fresh in the new year. As one who has definitely been feeling information overload these past 9 months more than ever, I want to make sure that what you’re getting here is useful and succinct without feeling like too much.

Here’s what I’m going to experiment with:

Things will continue as normal, but I’m going to try and focus each weekly post a little more.

Rather than 8-12 random items, I’m going to try and have the majority of them focused on one topic and sprinkle in a few randoms – such as recommended products and recipes as usual.

While this is the main idea I’m shooting for, let’s be real – it probably won’t be cut and dry that way every time. It’s just a new way for me to think about what I’m sharing with you.

We’re going to kick off the year with a little fun… TAXES.

OK, maybe not so fun, but we have to think about it sooner or later so we might as well just get it over with.  🙂



Get Organized: Bills, Expenses, and Receipts (Piano Pantry)

A peek into how I keep our day-to-day financial paperwork and transactions up-to-date and tidy.



Take Advantage of the “Qualified Income Business Deduction” for Piano Teachers (Compose Create)

This is one you definitely don’t want to miss out on. In short, you may qualify for 20% of your net income to be un-taxed.*



My Top 6 “Buy It Again” Office Products from Amazon (Piano Pantry)

In this list are some of the products I use on a daily basis throughout the year to keep myself organized so when tax time does hit, I’m not scrambling.



Forum Q&A | Studio Business Structure: Sole Proprietorship, LLC, Corporation…? (Color in My Piano)



Food you won’t regret (because it’s that good):

Cheesy Baked Eggs (The Girl Who Age Everything)

Italian Sausage and Zucchini Soup (Taste of Home)

Sausage Gravy (Ree Drummond)




Lowering Taxes with Business Expenses (Music Studio Startup)



The Fir-Tree by Hans Christian Andersen (Becoming Minimalist)

A sweet short story.



Seven Tax Deductions for Music Teachers (Sara’s Music Studio)



Ten Tax-Saving Tips for Private Music Teachers (



I’ve been totally getting into Instagram Stories (finally!) and would love to see you there! Follow me on Instagram.



*Disclaimer: Any statements in this post should not be considered legal or tax advice. Please consult with a tax professional about your specific situation.


Giveaway Winner – Friday Finds #200

Just a quick announcement to let you know that using a random number generator, the winner of the Friday Finds #200 giveaway was:

Janelle Bracken (check your email for details!)

Her comment on the post was:

I have enjoyed your Friday Finds for a long time now, Amy, and my husband (he’s a foodie) has now downloaded the Paprika app and is enjoying it! Thanks for having this drawing. If I win, they are going to Larry, my husband. He would love receiving them.

Congratulations, Janelle, and I hope Larry enjoys the magazines! 🙂


Friday Finds #200

Top Items and a Giveaway

Wow – we’re here.

The big 2-0-0!

We’re celebrating as usual with a giveaway. If you caught the announcement the Friday after Thanksgiving, you got a preview of what’s up for grabs.

You can enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post. 

First, here’s my list of the best finds from the past 25 posts:
Friday Finds #176 (April 24, 2020)Friday Finds #199 (Dec 4, 2020).

They’re grouped into categories and arranged alphabetically.
  1. Fun things
  2. Kitchen
  3. Music
  4. Online Teaching/Learning
  5. Resources for Piano Teachers
  6. Recipes
  7. Thought-Provoking Articles
  8. Tools
  9. Wellness

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