Time to Eat… I Mean Meet… I Mean Retreat!

Piano Teacher Retreat 2018

I’m corny, I know! LOL.

Surely my title at least made you smile, didn’t it? See, goal accomplished. 😉

Interested in getting some professional development in this year but can’t afford an expensive conference? Would you love a few days away from everything in a relaxed country home with plenty of good food you don’t have to cook? Your opportunity has arrived!

Joy Morin’s piano retreat last year was such a success she’s organizing another!

Everyone’s tummies were apparently happy enough to have me back as the official “caterer.” Yea! Feeding people makes me happy. 🙂

Check out more details over on Joy’s website ColorInMyPiano.com

Hope to see you there to EAT food, MEET people, and RETREAT away! 🙂


See you at MTNA 2018?

The 2018 MTNA National Conference in Orlando, Florida is just around the corner!

Attending the national conferences is always something to look forward to (besides the expense of course! :-). There’s always so much going on and new and exciting things to check out. More than anything I look forward to meeting all of you face to face who I only get to see online otherwise!

My roomie, Joy Morin and I are planning on arriving on Friday the 16th. Even though it was a great time, I’m not planning a Piano Pantry dinner like I did in Baltimore (2017). Disney is just too crazy of a place to organize a formal meet-up!

We wanted a chance to hang out with ya’ll though, so we are planning on being at the Laguna Bar at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort (the Conference Hotel) on Friday evening around 8:00 pm.

If you haven’t already scoped it out online, the outdoor area at Coronado Springs looks pretty cool. I hope we have good weather!

No need to RSVP, just plan on coming by if you can. If you’d like to drop me a message, feel free to contact me here or comment on this post.

Hope to see you there!


Don’t Leave too Early!

I’m also looking forward to presenting a session at the conference! It will be my second time ever at a National Conference. Yea! The first time was at 2016 MTNA in San Antonio.

If you’re still around Wednesday morning, catch me bright and early at the very first session at 8 am.

My session is called Taming the Jungle: Digital Management Strategies for the Independent Music Teacher.

It was a privilege to get the chance to present the same session to all the wonderful teachers of Louisville MTA in Louisville, Kentucky this past weekend.

If you’re not too tired by then or already heading to the airport, I hope to see you there!


Piano Teacher World

A Year in Recap: News, Happenings, and Impact

Dear Piano Teacher,

OK, OK, I’m a total copycat! I admit it. This is not an original idea. Last year, Leila Viss wrote a post called 40 Trendsetting Piano Teaching Resources that she compiled along with her friend Marie Lee (which included Friday Finds B.T.W. 🙂 and I absolutely loved it.

So, I started making a list of items that impacted me this past year and the list just started flowing. As the list evolved, it started to include not just specific events, items, and products that impacted me, or that I “discovered,” but items and happenings that I would consider “big news” in piano teacher world.

In alphabetical order…


In Piano Teacher News

Big changes at The Francis Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy

There’s lots going on at The Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy! Not only did they hire a new Full-Time Executive Director in October 2017 (Dr. Jennifer Snow), but in December 2017 they appointed Ryan Greene as the new Director of NCKP (National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy).


Carol Matz’s inter@ctive Piano Method

Composer Carol Matz wrote and published a new method that has online interactive materials.


Colourful Keys Quick Clips

After attending NCKP this summer and seeing all the wonderful teaching demonstrations, Irish piano teacher Nicola Canton began posting short clips of her own teaching on her blog Colourfulkeys.ie.

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Recommended Reads

My 2017 Reading List

Although I am an avid reader, several years ago, amidst grad school and the early years of opening my piano studio, I found myself reading very little (except what was assigned in school, of course). A few years following, I still found myself continually saying how much I missed reading so I finally set my foot down for myself and said – no more.

Each year I now set a goal for how many books I want to read and increase it by 1-2 books per year. In 2017 the goal was 20 and I hit it spot on. Next year the goal will be 21. See? Baby steps are manageable. Before I know it, I’ll be reading 30 books a year.

After being inspired by the following quotes…

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ~Oscar Wilde

“It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.” ~C.S. Lewis

…I vowed this year, to begin including re-reads in my list. The goal was to re-read 5 books (25%) but unfortunately, I only ended up re-reading one (Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert). That’s OK though, I just reminded myself that it’s about baby steps. So, my goal for 2018 my goal will be that 2 of the 21 books will be re-reads.

I hope you can find some inspiration for your own personal book list below. Let me know what you’re reading and some of your top recommendations from this past year in the comments!



Business / Professional

The Savvy Musician by David Cutler

Beware, this book is more of a manual than a pleasure read. 🙂 It is absolutely chock full of ideas for thinking outside the box as an independent music teacher. New teachers and those looking to build their business or explore new income streams will find this book extremely useful.

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Retreat at Piano Manor

Food, Photos, and Recipes

Several weeks ago, I was lucky to get to participate in playing hostess to a wonderful group of piano teachers during Joy Morin’s Piano Teacher Retreat, “Retreat at Piano Manor, where I got to play the role of foodie/caterer!

I thought it would be fun to share the weekend with you from my perspective including meals and recipes I used (links to those available online).


Keepin’ it Healthy

Knowing that we had a gluten-free guest, I decided it was easier to keep that in mind for the whole shebang. Needless to say, I think we ate pretty healthy! Now THAT’S the kind of grocery cart I could aspire to every week. Color and real food.

(Two) Breakfasts Included

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

Raspberry Orange Almond Muffins with Sprouted  Wheat Flour

Maple Candied Bacon

Honey Vanilla Yogurt

Fresh fruit

Scrambled eggs

Unfortunately, I missed getting photos of my breakfast tables!

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Catch me if you can

2017-2018 Presenting Schedule

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

2017 GIML Conference

and two piano teachers in Chicago

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.

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NCKP 2017

Conference Highlights

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.


Favorite Moments

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.

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An NCKP Goody

From My Pantry to Yours

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!


Recommended Reads

My 2016 Reading List

“I wish I had more time to read.”

Have you ever had this thought?


I do. All-the-time. If we’re being really honest here, I’ll probably always feel this way because as far as reading goes, I simply love it.

As we were closing out 2015 and about to enter 2016, I decided it was time to put a stop to my continual pining over this same thought.

“I wish I had more time to read.”

“I wish I had more time to read.”

“I wish I had more time to read.”

OK – time to do something! What? I had to get intentional. Continue reading