The older we get it seems life tends to move more quickly every year. When you’re young it feels like life will go on forever. The next thing you know, you realize your high school graduation was 20 years ago (or 30-40 for that matter).
As I understand more and more how fast life passes by, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of reflection. We’re always working to do more, learn more, and be better. The result though is that it’s easy to forget where we’ve come from, hard to see all we’ve accomplished, and not realize all life has given us.
This yearly re-cap post is about putting all of your favorite topics from the past year (and from all-time) in one place. It’s also a chance for me to reflect on all that’s happened in my own life as a piano teacher at Studio 88 and blogger at Piano Pantry.
Before I wrote this post, I loved reading the recap post from last year. Here is Piano Pantry’s Best of 2016 recap.
In this post you will find:
- A Month-by-Month Recap of 2017
- The All-Time Top 5 Posts/Pages
- The Top 5 Posts/Pages from 2017
- The Top Friday Finds Post from 2017
- My Personal Favorite Posts from 2017
As we roll into the end of a semester of teaching, students and teachers alike are itching for a much-needed break from the past months. It’s time to breathe and reset our mind, body, and spirit by walking away from our day to day tasks and celebrating the season with friends and family.
Part of my daily routine in our home is that every evening before we go to bed, the dishes are done, the dishwasher is running, coffee is made, and lunches are packed so the morning goes smoothly.
I prep and reset the house for a clean and easy start to the day.
After the morning gets moving and my husband is off to work, I clean up breakfast dishes, tidy up blankets and such from the night before, make the bed, and prep dinner so when we arrive home from work the evening goes smoothly.
I prep and reset the house for a clean and easy end to the day.
When we go on vacation we like to make sure the house is clean and picked up, trash is taken out, dishes are completely done and put away, the refrigerator is as empty as possible, and there’s something frozen in the freezer to eat if needed when we return.
We prep and reset the house for a welcome and relaxing return.
Before you close the door to your studio to reset the teacher in you, I would like to encourage you to take a little time to reset your workspace so when you return, you can hit the ground running in a fresh environment. It feels so good!
Here are a few areas to pay attention to before you hang up your teacher hat.
Tidy Up Your Teaching area
- Put everything back in its place. You may even play around with rearranging items to see if you can find a better workflow.
- Take inventory of and order stickers, post-its, refills of pens, pencils, erasers, etc.
- Sharpen up any pencils you have, be sure all the pens are closed.
- Close all piano lids and push in the benches.
- Download new assignment sheets or update your old ones for the new semester. Have a fresh set printed and ready to go. (I find using new sheets each semester refreshing. There are plenty to pick from on Assignment Sheet Central!)
BEFORE – AFTER
This has been a busy start to the school year. Not only are my husband and I smack-dab in the middle of building a house (the walls are up!), but I just started a two-year stint as President of the Indiana Music Teachers Association, and it’s my fullest year yet as far as presenting/speaking engagements go. What was I thinking?! LOL
Ah, well, life is good and it goes in phases, you know? Sometimes it’s crazy, sometimes it’s quiet, and sometimes it just IS.
Since I’m in the heat of this whole “busiest presenting season of my life” thing, I thought it was a good time to talk a little about it with you.
If you’ve never presented before and are looking to get started or if you’re just looking for a few tips to improve your game, this post is for you.
I’m going to share some of my biggest tips (rules I use for myself) for preparing and giving a presentation as well as a list of resources that helped me in my journey to becoming a better presenter.
It’s time to insert my disclaimer. I do not pretend to be some awesome know-it-all presenter. I just want to share what I’ve learned along the way. After attending so many conferences over the years, you do start to form an opinion of what constitutes a good presentation. I definitely have my opinions ;-). Not everything works for everyone and we all have different personalities so what works for me may not fit you and that’s OK! Disclaimer over.
But first, a pep-talk.
My husband and I both do a lot of online shopping. Amazon Prime, I’ll admit, is arguably our most frequented “store.” It’s just SO CONVENIENT.
While I’ve never been a “couponer,” several months ago, my husband and I started using Wikibuy.
A couple of weekends ago, I made quite a loop-de-loo around Indiana and Ohio. It started out with a 2-hour drive up to Bowling Green Ohio to present with Joy Morin to her local MTA chapter. It was our first time out (and our first session together!), Teaching the Way We Learn: First Applications of Gordon’s Music Learning Theory. We will be presenting the same session for Indiana and Kentucky MTA conferences this Fall. For details visit my speaking page.
After enjoying lunch with several Ohio teachers and one of Joy’s adult students who came to the session, I made the 3-hour trek down I-75 to Cincinnati where I attended my first Summit for MTNA Leadership.
This year is going to be chock-full of opportunities for me to share with teachers at both the local, state, and national levels.
Let me know if you’ll be attending any of these and we can be sure and meet up. Feel free to contact me if you need details. I’m excited to connect with more of you in person and learn together!
I’ve also created a permanent page here on Piano Pantry listing all these upcoming events as well as my previous events and topics. Find it here.
Friday, September 8, 2017
Teaching the Way We Learn: Applications of Gordon’s Music Learning Theory for Piano Teachers (with co-presenter Joy Morin)
Location: Wood-Ottawa Counties MTA (Bowling Green, OH)
Friday, September 29, 2017
Teaching the Way We Learn: First Applications of Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (with co-presenter Joy Morin)
Evernote for the Independent Music Teacher (Lightning Talk)
Location: Indiana MTA state conference (Marion, IN) Continue reading
Following the 2017 NCKP Conference in Chicago, my travel buddy, Joy Morin and I had a few days to explore Chicago. It was great having a little brain break anyway!
I’m going to first share with you a little of our 3-day P.T. vacay followed by some of the great things I attended at the GIML (Gordon Institute for Music Learning) Conference. If you’re not familiar, the conference focuses on teaching inspired by Music Learning Theory (MLT).
Joy and I did a two-week training course in MLT and its practical application for piano in Boston, August 2016 so this was the perfect follow-up.
Chicago Food and Fun
In Laverne and Shirley style, we took to bikes and did the 10 mile(ish) lake shore bike track – we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day.
The 2017 National Conference for Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP) has quickly come and gone. It was my second go and in a way, returning this year was a little special for me. Why, you ask?
NCKP 2015 was the birthplace of Piano Pantry. With a little encouragement from Joy Morin during that conference, I took a leap of faith and here we are!
I’m going to hit the highlights in this post. If you want to check out a whole lot more photos head over to my Instagram or Facebook accounts.
One of my favorite things at conferences are those moments when you walk into your first sessions and begin seeing people you only get to see once or twice a year outside of Facebook. We were lucky to get to hang out with and share several meals with Jennifer Foxx of Music Educator Resources and Lynnette Barney who was interviewed on the Tim Topham Creative Piano Teaching Podcast.
The National Conference for Keyboard Pedagogy starts tomorrow in Chicago. I’ll be making the 4-hour trek from my Northeast Indiana home with my friend, Joy Morin from Color in My Piano blog.
I look forward to meeting some of you and wanted to let you know I have a special treat to hand out at NCKP, but you have to ask me personally for one!
The only requirement is that you use the word “Pantry” when you ask.
Something along the lines of:
What’s in your Pantry?
Can I have something from your Pantry?
I have limited stock, but I’ll give you a clue that it’s something yummy and healthy. See you soon!