500 Years of Keyboard Instruments

This past fall, my husband and I had the privilege of traveling to Europe for the first time. Countries visited included Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (London), and France.

If you want to get a little peek into this adventure, listen in on episode #47 of The Piano Pantry Podcast!

The entire trip went quite smoothly. The only transportation hiccup we encountered was traveling via train from the Netherlands to London. One of our trains out of the Netherlands was delayed, causing a missed connection from Brussels to London. Luckily, they could get us on a train later that evening, but it meant we had an eight-hour overlay in Brussels, Belgium.

What at first seemed to be an inconvenience turned into a wonderful opportunity as we could spend an entire day exploring the city! A delay of two or three hours would have kept us waiting at the train station.

As we walked through the city, we passed a beautiful building, its splendor making me pause in awe to take it in.

A closer look revealed it was a musical instrument museum!

(As a side note, my husband and I noticed schoolchildren on field trips in multiple places, each wearing yellow vests. Brilliant!)

Aren’t the details on this building gorgeous?

Since this blog is about piano teaching, I selected around 25 favorites from the keyboard segment of the museum to share in this post – just a fraction of what the museum held! (Plus a couple of fun other instruments.)

They’re listed in date order through the 1500s, 1600s, 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s. A few of the instruments in this post are featured here on the museum’s website. Those that are, I also directly linked below each image.

Enjoy this phenomenal collection!

 

1500

Fretted Clavichord – Italy, c1587

 

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Music Teacher Eats: MTNA 2022 Edition

This past week was the 2022 Music Teachers National Conference. Since it was virtual, a few teacher friends and I decided to come together so as to not miss out on one of the best aspects – spending time together. Plus, it’s easier to feel more enveloped in the virtual experience when you’re not alone and easily distracted by other life happenings.


How to Make Music Teacher Friends (The Piano Pantry Podcast) – 12 min.


As someone who loves to cook and host, I was quick to volunteer our home as the location. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to come together with other teacher friends. It’s practically like a spa day as you walk away feeling rejuvenated, refreshed, and newly motivated!

Call me crazy, but since I usually cook for two, I considered cooking for five for multiple meals and days as a fun opportunity. Of course, my teacher friends were happy to oblige. 🙂 Meet my friends and guests:

Joy Morin – Color in My Piano

Christina Whitlock – Beyond Measure Podcast

Janna Williamson- JannaWilliamson.com

In this post, I thought it would be fun to share all the recipes I cooked over the course of the week (at least those that are available online).


For more recommend recipes, visit the first post in this series: Music Teacher Eats: Fall Edition.


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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.

Teaching Anniversaries: A Time for Reflection

This is the third post in a series about ways we can mark time by acknowledging, reflecting on, and celebrating special teaching anniversaries/milestones.

In the first post, I shared how I’ve been using social media to celebrate special moments and students of the past.

The second post was a guest post by a teacher friend of mine who really inspired me with her incredible perspective on why celebrating can be incredibly hard yet at the same time really important.

In today’s post, I will be reflecting on seven ways my teaching and studio have evolved in the past decade including what I learned along the way.

One trend that has really stuck out is having the ability (and willingness) to change and try new things. Every year I would find myself implementing little (and even sometimes big) changes as my teaching style evolved and students came and went.

I believe that the ability to adapt was key to growing my new studio to 45 students in 30 months and maintaining a waiting list ever since.

As independent teachers, we work with people, and the world changes daily. The ability to adapt is integral to a thriving studio.

As I share my specific journey, take this time to reflect on how your studio and teaching have evolved over the past years, months, or even decades.

Can you pinpoint and see changes in yourself, your teaching, and your students? How have those changes impacted you and your studio?

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Teaching Anniversaries: An Important but Hard Celebration

In a series of posts this month, we’re talking about marking time by acknowledging, reflecting on, and celebrating special teaching anniversaries/milestones.

In the first post, I shared how I used social media to celebrate special moments and students of the past.

Today’s post is a guest post by a teacher friend of mine who inspired me with her perspective on celebrating teaching anniversaries as well as what she did for her own celebration.

Janelle Bracken is a collaborative pianist and owner of Studio J, an independent piano studio in Indianapolis since 1991. 

She believes that music is transformative and treasures the long-term relationships she develops with her families. 

In the third post, I’ll share seven ways my teaching and studio have evolved over the past decade and encourage you to find new ways to continue evolving your own teaching and studios.

In the final and shortest post, I’ll reveal how I’m starting a new decade in my studio with new branding. That is, a new logo!

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Teaching Anniversaries: Celebrating on Social Media and Beyond

August 2021 marks 10 years of my full-time piano studio (Studio 88), located in Bluffton, Indiana, 10 years of full-time piano teaching, and more than 20 years of teaching in general!

In a four-part series this month, we’re going to talk about marking time by acknowledging, reflecting on, and celebrating special teaching anniversaries/milestones.

In today’s post, I’ll share how I used social media to celebrate special moments and students of the past.

In the next post, you’ll hear from a teacher friend who really impacted me with her incredibly thoughtful ideas on this very topic (including a special commission) – you won’t want to miss it!

In the third post, I’ll share seven ways my teaching and studio have evolved over the past decade and encourage you to find new ways to continue evolving your own teaching and studios.

In the final and shortest post, I’ll reveal how I’m starting a new decade in my studio with new branding. That is, a new logo!

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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!

 

3 Ways to Look at Your Studio Website With Fresh Eyes (Plus, my studio website overhaul!)

Over Summer, one of my big tasks is to overhaul my studio website.

Summer lessons are optional in my studio, and I am lucky to have the freedom to be able to take a lighter load. While reserved most importantly for a bit of R&R, the extra time is also an open window for us to give a little attention to bigger projects like this!

Our websites will often be the first opportunity to make a good impression on prospective students. Not only that, but if you’re anything like me, your studio is continually evolving. Our studio websites should reflect these changes and always feel fresh.

Today I want to share with you three ways to look at your website with a fresh perspective and, in turn, make a positive impression on your studio.

First, I have a confession and a little back history and evolution of my own studio website.

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10 Products to Make Your Online Teaching More Comfortable

If you’re not already teaching lessons online, many of us will be this week following Spring Break.

I think we can all agree that online teaching can take a little bit (or even a lot) more energy than in-person. Hopefully, the more we do it, the easier it will get!

To help you along the way, here are 10 products I love that can help make your next few weeks feel a little less stressful and a little more comfortable.

Remember, it’s the small things that can bring us joy in stressful times!

Here’s a quick reference guide – descriptions follow!

 

#1-4 Hydrate and Moisturize

Staying well-hydrated is always important for good health, but we may need to be even more conscious of it now. If we’re not intentionally conscious of it, we may tend to find ourselves talking a little louder than normal which leads to dry mouth and dehydration.

Consider keeping an electric kettle next to you for cups of tea or even warm lemon water. Chef’s Choice Electric Glass Kettle is good quality and well-priced.

 

One of my favorite teas is The Republic of Tea’s Spring Cherry Green Tea

 

The individual bags are convenient for on-the-go teaching.

Excess talking can also easily dry out the lips. Don’t forget a stash of chapstick! SW Basics Organic Beeswax Lip Balm

 

With everyone being more conscious of handwashing perhaps longer and more frequently than before, the skin on your hands may be suffering.

Keep this lovely-smelling EO Body Lotion, Coconut and Vanilla on your desk to enjoy after each hand-washing.

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Musings on Keeping a Positive Perspective During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Is you Inbox overloaded with emails titled “Person/company name’s response to COVID-19″?

Are you feeling a little bit like you’re in the Twilight Zone?

Do you just want to make it all go away and get back to normal?

Is one side of you glad to know that “we’re all in this together,” and another part of you tired of hearing the phrase already?

Yeah, me too.

 

Strong Declarations

Over the past week as posts on Facebook have ramped up regarding online lessons, we’re seeing success, generosity, and encouragement, but also escalating anxiety and even negativity.

Several posts popped up of people expressing their frustration with online lessons and in the heat of those frustrations, they declared them to be “worthless.”

Really?, I wondered…

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