Friday Finds #152




10 Safety Protocols for the Independent Music Teacher (Jennifer Foxx | Music Educator Resources)

Why You Need a Piano Studio Child Protection Policy and Plan (Rebekah Maxner)



James Clear’s hit book “Atomic Habits” is now on sale on Amazon for 40% off!




How Much Should My Child Practice? (Samantha Coates | BlitzBooks)



Short and Funny (Seth Godin | Seth’s Blog)

It’s literally two sentences. Read it. We all need a little more of this simple logic in our lives.



Lance Crackers: Gluten-Free-Baked-Original.

Best. Crackers. Ever. They don’t need a topper – they’re good just on their own. I don’t eat them for the sake of gluten-free but for the sake of yumminess!

Thanks to Joy Morin for introducing these to me!


Why You Never See Your Friends Anymore: Our unpredictable and overburdened schedules are taking a dire toll on American society. (The Atlantic)



Just this past week, I started receiving my Amazon orders using what’s called “Amazon Day”. This is a new Prime-member service that allows you to schedule your deliveries to come on the same day of the week to help minimize shipments and thus waste. (Business Insider)



How Tobasco Sauce is Made (Insider)



My Favorite Christmas Resources for Piano Teachers (Tracy Selle)



A Season of Excess (Joshua Becker | Becoming Minimalist)



A few items we dined on this past week:

Apple, Pecan, and Blue Cheese Salad (Ree Drummond Pioneer Woman)

Psst…we used the really stinky Roquefort blue cheese! Yum!

Farfalle (a.k.a. bowtie pasta) with Chicken, Mushrooms, and Swiss Chard (Giada de Laurentiis)

I used the recipe out of her cookbook Feel Good Food. It calls for 1 lb. sliced cremini mushrooms which I would prefer over dried porcini’s as the linked recipe uses. You basically would just skip step 1 in the linked recipe if you use fresh mushrooms and sautee them with the shallots before adding the liquid to make the sauce.

*This is so, so good! It has great flavor. Like anything, it’s even better if you use homemade chicken stock instead of store-bought.

Cauliflower Gratin (Ina Garten | Barefoot Contessa)

If I were to make this again, I would completely forego the nutmeg. Yuck. It’s just not my thing in savory dishes.

Blueberry Lime Oatmeal Muffins (Lisa Fain | Homesick Texan)


Please note that Piano Pantry is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Simply put, being an associate allows me to make a small percentage from Amazon on items to which I link at no extra cost to you.


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!



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







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



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



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).




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.”



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).



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



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



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



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



Happy Halloween!


Please note that Piano Pantry is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Simply put, being an associate allows me to make a small percentage from Amazon on items to which I link at no extra cost to you.

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!

Continue reading

Friday Finds #149



Sara Bareilles – “Saint Honesty” This one practically gives me chills every time I listen to it. Play it while you keep reading. Your ears, mind, and heart will thank you.



13 videos that will introduce your students to “spooky” classical music. (Piano Pantry)



In Friday Finds #147, I mentioned that I was going to purchase one of the artificial arrangements from Target’s new fall line.

Getting nice artificial plants can be tricky and this one did not disappoint! It was a bonus when I found out there were two different sizes! (Yes, I got them both!)

Artificial Goldenrod Arrangement in Ceramic Pot Yellow/White – Threshold 16.5″ x 10″ and 11″ x 10″ (pictured)



9 Ideas for You Piano Studio  Chalkboard / Whiteboard (Color in My Piano)



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



I don’t watch many random videos on Facebook, but my husband introduced me to The Bus Brother. Have you heard of this?

A brother who wanted to do something special to create memories his last year living at home before going off to college decided to dress up every afternoon to welcome his younger brother off the bus. How special is that?!



Which Drink is Best For Hydration? Hint: It isn’t Water. (CNN)



Get a free download of Leila Viss’s arrangement of “Doxology” with the purchase of a studio license of one of my favorite arrangements of “It Is Well.” (Piano Pantry)



We love this coffee.

Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Espresso Roast, 2.2 Pound (Amazon)




Reading this felt a little bit like a therapy session (in a good way!): It’s So Much More than Cooking (The Week)



Whether you’re a person of faith or not, I think most of us could relate to at least the opening few paragraphs of this: The God Who Asks.

To be honest, I often long to leave social media for good but feel the conflict of also needing to be present for what I need/want to do with my studio business and even on here with you.

Summer, perhaps might be a good time to check out, just once…



Coming from our kitchen recently:

“British” Baked Potatoes (The Kitchn)

BLT Panzanella Salad (Pinch of Yum)

No-Bake Energy Bites (King Arthur Flour)

Butter-Bath Corn on the Cob (Spicy Southern Kitchen)



Stay tuned next week for a special Friday Finds as we’ll be celebrating 150 posts!


Please note that Piano Pantry is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Simply put, being an associate allows me to make a small percentage from Amazon on items to which I link at no extra cost to you.

Friday Finds #148

This past week I’ve been feeling a let-down (the good kind, that is). Often, we don’t know how much stress we are under until we’re no longer “under” it and suddenly you realize what it’s like to breathe again. That’s how I’ve been feeling.

There are several factors contributing to this:

  1. In June, I finished my temporary 1-year stint as an interim worship-leader at my church. That was a 10-15 hour/week job.
  2. In July we finally moved out of our unfinished basement and into the main level of our house and had a kitchen after going without for 6 months.
  3. In August we moved my studio out of my office complex and into the (now almost finished) basement of our home. P.S. Working from home is AWESOME. (In the next couple of months I’ll share new studio photos!)
  4. In September I finished my two-year term as President of Indiana music teacher’s association.

Two weeks have passed since the final turn-over and I’m noticing how much more time I have for life!

Not just life, but I actually feel like I have permission to use the time I got back here again. You may not have noticed much missing, but I know how much I’m bursting to do here. So, if the coming months seem like there are more posts than ever, you know why! 🙂

On to all I have for you this week…



Now that I finally have a little more time on my hands, I’m tempted to use Natalie’s link to join The Balanced Life online pilates membership. Does anyone else use this program? I’m curious to hear any more feedback. I did Classical Stretch regularly for a couple of years and loved it, but shaking things up is always a good thing for me. (Music Matters Blog)



How Tim Topham Went From Side-Hustle To Full-Time Musical Pioneer With Content Marketing (CoSchedule Podcast AMP067)



If you use forScore, it is recommended you wait a bit before moving to iOS13.



We asked two of our female editors to wear the same thing every day. Here’s what happened (Fast Company)

If I were to wear the same thing every day, it would be comfortable jeans, comfortable closed shoes of some kind, and a black 3/4 length cotton top kind of like this one.



How to Write by Elizabeth Gilbert (swiss miss)



7 Killed In Crash Of WWII Aircraft At Connecticut Airport. So sad. My husband is an airplane junkie so I heard about this from him. (NPR)



Plácido Domingo Resigns From LA Opera.  (NPR)



An 8-hour playlist of sleep music from Max Richter. I’m going to have to try this on my next trip! (New York Times)



“So, as my homage to Richter’s eight-hour lullaby, here instead are 10 pieces of music not to put you to sleep – 10 pieces that turn falling asleep into a variously magical, creepy or supernatural drama.” -Tom Service (The Guardian)



After 2-3 weeks of working my way through my back-log of Milk Street recipes, I deemed this week and next “clean-out-the-fridge-and-pantry” week.

We had a colleague/friend of Drew’s and his wife over for dinner last Friday though and I made Ina Garten’s awesome lasagna (with Italian sausage; I can’t find turkey sausage) and Milk Streets French Apple Cake.

Saturday mornings are deemed “special breakfast” mornings in our household. Breakfast isn’t my thing during the week, but I’m sad if we miss it on Saturdays. Last Saturday was our favorite waffle recipe (Gaufres de Liege). 

This is my waffle iron of choice.


What’s your favorite weekend breakfast item/recipe?


Please note that Piano Pantry is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Simply put, being an associate allows me to make a small percentage from Amazon on items to which I link at no extra cost to you.


Friday Finds #147

Fall time is here! Does anyone say “autumn” anymore? I kind of wish we did because it’s a much lovelier term. In August we had many days that felt like the new season had arrived and I was wingeing because I wasn’t ready.

On a side note, I just Googled the term “wingeing” because I wasn’t sure if it was spelled right. It also felt a little strange and I wasn’t sure why. Google reminded me it’s because it’s a slang term that is used more in Australia (where I lived for 3 years). Sometimes little things like that just become a part of you!

Now that we’re at the end of September, I’m ready to welcome the slightly cooler air, shorter days, and long sleeve shirts. Iced coffee is seeing its final days and I’m beginning to dream of warm drinks in the evenings curled around the fire. Over the next few days, one of my tasks is to pull out my tiny collection of fall decorations.

Alas, it is time to hand you my offerings for the week and let you take what you like and leave the rest behind.



Here is a great resource on composition with Wynn-Anne Rossi. The YouTube playlist features 14 episodes! (Alfred Music Piano)



I just finished a wonderful book by Canadian chef/author Laura Calder called “The Inviting Life.” It’s about home-keeping, entertaining, etc. so at one point she mentions the website Debretts. It feels so posh! LOL. I’m following them on Instagram now for fun.



The Internet Can’t Decide Whether This Hard-Boiled Egg Instant Pot Hack is Brilliant or Terrifying (The Kitchn)

Looks kind of gross to me, but it does make sense. Who cares what it looks like if you’re planning to just chop the eggs for salads, etc?



My Favourite Podcasts for Music Teachers (Colourful Keys)

Continue reading

Friday Finds #146

Next weekend is our state conference weekend. With the conclusion of the conference will come the end of my two-year term as President. It’s bittersweet for sure but I have loved every minute of this job (at least most of them).

I’ll never forget preparing for my first meeting. It took me HOURS to put it together and work through the process of combing through previous meeting notes to see what needed to be on the current agenda.

At my 5th meeting this past June, I felt like an old pro. That’s how it usually happens; just as you get the hang of how things work, it’s time to move on!

At one point, our state we moved the Presidency to a 3-year term, but we realized after two rounds that it was too long and taxing for the person in the position. Now I understand why!

One more thing before we get to this week’s finds. I need your opinion. 🙂

For the Friday Finds posts this past year, I’ve been trying to use a photo from that week as the “featured photo”. Some weeks I just don’t have one, so I use the Friday Finds logo image. In a nutshell, I’ve been really inconsistent about it and would like to settle it once and for all.

The featured photos are usually images I post to Facebook anyway, so I’m thinking of going back to using the logo only.

Now you can enjoy this week’s finds. 🙂



Great tip – Buy your parchment from the Dollar Store! (The Kitchn)



A few early level “spooky” pieces to add to your Halloween repertoire list. (Rebekah Maxner)



Interested in travel? Music Matters Blogger Natalie Weber has started a new travel blog! (Music Matters Blog)



If you feel like killing 10 minutes some evening when you’re chilling out, you’ve GOT to watch these 1980’s training videos from Wendy’s (the fast-food chain). They’re hilarious. (The Kitchn)



Dining at the World’s Best Restaurant: Don’t? (French Women Don’t Get Fat)



I’ve been trying to play catch-up on this past year’s issues of both AMT and Clavier Companion. In one of those issues was an article by Jeremy Siskind on a cool project he did with small house-recitals. (LOVE.)

Check out his YouTube Channel for some of these videos. I *think* they’re the videos that have (at_home) in the title. Definitely watch this video though where he talks about their group, the music they make and the setting they take their music to.



A resource for reviews of individual piano sheet music.



Alton Brown’s tip for how to store tomato paste. This sounds like a lot less messier way of doing it than my way which is to scoop it out into 1T. servings and freeze individually. I’m going to give it a shot. (The Kitchn)



Miso-Glazed Chicken with Mushrooms (Milk Street)

Never mind the fact I had to order in Light Miso and Mirin from Amazon in order to make this dish. It was very good. I used boneless skinless thighs because well, they’re awesome.

Udon Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms and Spinach (Milk Street)

Yum, yum, yum. I also had to order in Udon noodles from Amazon since I can’t get them from my local grocery, but this was soooo good. Not only do we not have Udon available, but we can’t get shiitake mushrooms without driving 30 minutes so I keep a large pack of dried ones that you reconstitute. They’re definitely not as good as fresh mushrooms but it worked.

Cod Sautéed in Olive Oil with Fresh Tomatoes (Simply Recipes)

This is one of our favorite fish recipes right now. Make it while you still have beautiful tomatoes this season! I served it alongside jasmine rice and steamed brussel sprouts.

Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Smitten Kitchen)

I love this recipe but this time they turned out dry. I’m sure it wasn’t the recipe though because I’ve made these several times. I’m still getting used to my new oven and I used the convection bake setting which I’ve learned makes them much faster so they need less time!

Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Thighs (Damn Delicious)

In general citrus and protein are not a combination I enjoy. This lemon chicken, however, was quite tasty. I love how it used lemon zest, thyme, and salt as a kind of “dry rub.”

Friday Finds #145

Happy Friday!

Today’s featured photo is of the beautiful artwork one of my students did for the envelopes that we use to keep Music Money in. Hmm…that just make me think that I should write a post on how I use Music Money sometime! LOL

As I type this, my Young Living diffuser is pumping out lovely bursts of “Clarity” essential oils. I’m feeling the Friday lull but have four siblings coming for piano lessons in just over an hour, so here we go!



Here is an excellent step-by-step example of how an MLT-focused teacher teachers a rote piece. I don’t do quite a many steps as Anna, but would aspire to a format like this!



I tend to find people like Tim Topham fascinating. (If you’re reading this Tim, yep, that’s you, LOL.) I love hearing how people like him manage such a large online presence. He spills a lot of that out in this post.

It kind of makes my head swirl seeing all those social media posts, but it’s certainly impressive!



This post gave me another book to add to my reading list. Maybe you’ll find one too.



Limiting the weight of children’s backpacks. Not a bad idea, India.



How to actually get work done on an airplane. I suppose if you travel a lot, this could be really useful advice!



Here’s what I made this week:

Crock Pot Loose Meat Sandwichs

These are based on a dive that was 45-minutes from our house growing up. The sandwich was called a Maidrite. We steamed the buns (small 100% whole wheat buns) in our new steam oven! They’re much better with steamed buns. Pickles and mustard are the best default toppings for this sandwich.

Asian Chicken Salad with Honey Sesame Dressing

I cheated and used pre-shredded lettuce and cabbage/carrots, but it was still all good. We love the edamame in this. It would be even better with some toasted shaved almonds on top in my opinion. It needed some crunchies.

Simple Zucchini Bread

Walnuts and raisins made it into this loaf but my preference is about half the amount of what they call for. I’m not big on nuts in baked goods but my husband likes it.

Garlic Butter Shrimp and Grits

Love, love, love grits. I only had 1 lb. of shrimp and it wasn’t quite enough. Definitely do the 1.5 lb. Otherwise, you’re left with a lot of extra “liquid/butter”.

Obsessively Good Avocado Cucumber Salad

I don’t know if I would say it was “obsessively” good, but I definitely love it.

1-Bowl Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes

Yum. Yum. I didn’t have flax on hand to make flax egg so I substituted with two eggs and it was fine.


Friday Finds #144

Happy holiday weekend everyone! It’s our last official “hurrah” for Summer here in the states. Make the most of it and resist the urge to WORK on anything related to your daily job!



This past week I experienced a first: calendar spam! Here’s a great link a fellow teacher sent my way after I shared my woes on Facebook.

How to Stop the Calendar Invite Spam



Halloween Piano Music for Beginners



How Habits Can Help Us Pray



7 Surprising Things You Can Do with Mayonnaise

Guess what #4 is?

Clean your piano keys. Really? Has anyone seriously ever tried that. I’m not sure I would even be willing to try.



We finally got our oven hooked up and after six months of a small convection oven. The first thing I was excited to bake was cookies!

I’ve always wanted to do taste test comparisons where I make 2 or 3 versions of one type of recipe then decide which version I like the best. My first one was peanut butter cookies.

I made three recipes I had in my files I’ve loved over the past years. Two were still keepers but I was finally able to let go of this one!

5-Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – Pinch of Yum

Salted Peanut Butter Cookies – Smitten Kitchen



I’ve been catching up on podcasts lately including the Muscialit Now Podcast. I loved these three, all of which I listened to while pulling weeds for three hours around our barn. LOL.

Episode 158: How to Truly Listen with Evelyn Glennie

Episode 156: Find and Make Peace with Your Voice, with Nikki Loney

Episode 152: Making Music Learning a Picnic, with Ruth Power (Piano Picnic)

Do you have a favorite episode of the Musicality Now podcast?


Friday Finds #143

I’m sorry but I just HAVE to lead this week’s finds with this because I’m SOOO excited I finally finished the project! 🙂

A shop is now finally open here on Piano Pantry! If you haven’t already, jump over and have a look at all the Music Lab materials that are posted. There’s lots of good stuff!

Can you hear me smiling?



Everyone’s been going a little crazy over this article on Facebook and for good reason…

Teaching is Relentless; Be Extra



How Habits Can Help Us Pray



A topic that we don’t always think to talk about in our industry but that is so important: Being a Professional – Safeguarding & Child Protection.



These are looking pretty yummy although I’ll admit I haven’t made them yet so I can’t give my full blessing…

Easy 5-ingredient Protein Bars (Peanut Butter Chocolate!)



Great takeaway, Seth Godin – The anatomy of annoying. 



Susan Paradis has a creative activity for beginners learning keyboard topography – a keyboard puzzle!



A thorough review of evenly-leveled piano duets by Nicola Canton.