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.

Cooking Demonstration at Piano Connect 2022

Hello! Just a quick announcement to let you know that I giving a cooking demonstration for the 2022 Piano Connect Virtual Conference.

I’m honored to be stepping in at the last minute, filling in for The Hungry Musician who normally works with Paula Dreyer on the food side of this virtual conference.

Hope to see some of you there as we make fluffy omelets together this Saturday, January, 29 @ 11:00 am PST.

If you’re interested in registering for the conference, you can do so here:


Register for Piano Connect


 

Contributor to MTNA’s *NEW* Quarterly Business Digest

Are you a member of MTNA (Music Teacher’s National Association)? If so, you may or may not have caught their most recent venture – a quarterly Business Digest!

 

The growth of MTNA’s business resources has been an important focus and implementation for current president Karen Thickstun.

One of the first projects (that I know of) was developing the Business Resources section of the MTNA website.

 

After Karen started her MTNA Presidency this past March, she passed the reigns on the new Email Business Digest to Beth Klingenstein.

You all likely know me well enough that piano teacher resources are the name of my game as I’ve been writing the weekly Friday Finds series since the blog started!

Thus, I have joined a team of several other teachers led by Beth to bring you this quarterly digest! 

I’m working on two sections: “Resource Gems” (along with fellow teacher Jennifer Walschap), and  “Technology Tips and Tools” (along with fellow teacher Jennifer Stadler)

I hope you will find these resources to be invaluable for running your own independent music studio!

If you’re not a member of MTNA, consider joining today!

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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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!

 

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.

 

1

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

 

2

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

 

3

New effort vs. Old effort (Seth Godin)

On old conferencing vs. new conferencing.

 

4

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

My favorite post on virtual conferencing to date!

 

5

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).

 

6

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

 

7

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

 

8

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.

 

9

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.

 


Did you enjoy this post?

Consider subscribing to the Piano Pantry email list. You’ll get my once-a-month “Secret Letter” which includes what’s been going on in my studio that month, new posts on the blog, books I’m reading, favorite Instagram posts, and other fun things like that. 

Sound good?! Subscribe here.

 

Recent and Upcoming Guest Speaker Appearances

Hey, just a couple of quick announcements!

 

Career Development and Entrepreneurship

Last week I was a guest speaker for one of Butler University’s Career Development and Entrepreneurship graduate classes.

Some of the things we talked about included:

  1. The story of opening my new business and how it changed and developed over the years.
  2. Acquiring and retaining students
  3. Marketing and studio policies
  4. Rates, billing, and payment options
  5. Lesson material organization

If you are looking for someone to talk about this topic with your college class or local or state association, you can contact me here.

Feel free to also check out my speaking page that shows a list of sessions I’ve done in recent years.

 

Turboboost

If you haven’t heard yet, Nicola Cantan from Vibrant Music Studio is hosting an online event called “Teacher Turboboost” from March 29th – April 2.

I’m happy to be a guest speaker along with several other awesome ladies.

It’s a 5-day event designed to help give a refresh before gearing into the final weeks of the school term. Each day will have a very focused and yet broad topic such as: connect, open, explore, grown, balance.

What you will find unique about this event is that 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.


 

 

Three Books Every Piano Teacher Should Read

Did you know there was a whole page devoted to books for piano teachers on Piano Pantry?

It includes more than 30 books that can help you in your career as an independent music teacher.

I’ve divided them into seven categories to make your browsing easier:

  • Music Education and Teaching Inspiration
  • Music Business / Entrepreneurship for Independent Music Teachers
  • Elementary-Intermediate Piano Pedagogy & Repertoire Guides/References
  • Intermediate-Advanced Piano Technique & Repertoire Guides/References
  • Music Learning Theory (Introductions)
  • Music Learning Theory (In-Depth)
  • Faith and the Arts

In this post, besides letting you know about the Books for Piano Teachers page, I thought I would share more details on the three books that are not only my favorite but are ones that I strongly feel every piano teacher should read.

Basically, if you were to only read three books on music teaching in your lifetime, let it e these three.

I’ve included three things for the three books I’m highlighting in this post:

1. The book descriptions directly from Amazon. (Yes, I am an Amazon affiliate which means I will earn a small percentage if you purchase through the link but it won’t cost you anymore.)

2.  A statement on why I love the book.

3.  A listing of 6-7 of my favorite quotes/excerpts that I feel best define the content of the book.

 

#1 Intelligent Music Teaching

Intelligent Music Teaching:  Essays on the Core Principles of Effective Instruction by Robert Duke

Description: In this collection of insightful essays, the author describes fundamental principles of human learning in the context of teaching music. Written in an engaging, conversational style, the individual essays outline the elements of intelligent, creative teaching. Duke effectively explains how teachers can meet the needs of individual students from a wide range of abilities by understanding more deeply how people learn. Teachers and interested parents alike will benefit from this informative and highly readable book.

Why I love it: The first sentence to the preface of this book says it all. “This collection of essays is not about how to each. It’s about how to think about teaching and learning.”

Favorite Quotes:

Teaching is neither necessary nor sufficient for learning. People can learn without being deliberately taught and a teacher can inform, instruct, explain, and demonstrate in the presence of students without the students’ learning what the teacher intends to teach. (Page 10)

Learning to play or sing any scale, any exercise or any piece is never the real goal of music instruction…The real goal… is for students to become superb musicians, doing all of the things that superb musicians do, irrespective of what is being played or sung at the moment… The far-reaching goal remains the same from the first day of instruction to the time when the student reaches the highest levels of artistic musicianship. In this sense, the goals of the lesson plan never change, regardless of the skills or experience level of the students you’re teaching. Only the contexts in which the goals are taught (i.e. the activities, the music) change over time. (Page 29)

Students need to learn to study effectively, to practice effectively, to think effectively. So, when and where will they learn that? In class, with us. Not by our telling them what to do when they’re alone in a practice room or in a carrel in the library, but by our leading them through the very activities that we expect them to do on their own in our absence. (Page 61)

…the decisions of what to teach when are central to artistic teaching. (Page 103)

In order to become independent thinkers and doers, learners must eventually use information and skills in situations in which they have had little or no prior experience. (Page 141)

All of this suggests a redefinition of what it means to learn something. Much of what we learn as part of formal education is presented to us in very limited contexts, and we have few opportunities to practice applying what we know and can do in contexts beyond those in which the knowledge and skills are initially taught. But if the goal of educaton is that students learn to use knowledge and skills effectively in the future, even in unfamiliar circumstances, then transfer must be definited as the goal of instruction. The goal is no longer the acqusition of knowledge and skills but the application of knowledge and skills in situations that have not been taught explicitly. For the developing musician, the goal is no longer to play a given piece beautifully, but to play beautifully (period). (Page 157)

 

#2 The Ways Children Learn Music

The Ways Children Learn Music: An Introduction and Practical Guide to Music Learning Theory by Eric Bluestine

Description (from GIA):  The perfect introduction to Edwin E. Gordon’s music learning theory!

With clear and compelling language, Eric Bluestine sheds light on the most vexing issues in music education—all the while drawing from the contributions of perhaps the most influential thinker in the field today, Edwin E. Gordon. In the process, Bluestine unlocks the mystery that frees a child’s mind to think on its own musical terms.

Why I love this book: Please don’t let the fact that it’s an “introduction to Music Learning Theory” deter you in any way! Even if you weren’t necessarily looking to learn more about MLT, music teachers of every instrument and philosophy will get great value from and depth of understanding of how to teach music from this book.

In all my years of music education, this is the first book I read that really addressed how to teach “music.” That is, how to understand the sound that music is and not just the symbols (a.k.a. music “notation”) that we often define as teaching music.

Favorite Quotes:

I hold the elegantly simple belief that learning to understand music is its own reward. (Page xiv)

One of the basic tenets of Music Learning Theory is that children do not audiate intervals; they audiate functional tonal patterns made of intervals…In short, we don’t audiate pitches, or even intervals. We audiate structured pitches, pitches that we organize into functional patterns that relate to a tonal center. (Page 42)

Music education could be separated into four topics. They are 1) the musical and pedagogical principles that give rise to Music Learning Theory “irrefutable truths about music and music education”; 2) Music Learning Theory itself; 3) learning methods; and 4) classroom teaching (techniques, musical examples, and materials).  Now, think about these in a pyramid shape with #1 as the larger foundation and #4 as the top of the pyramid. (Page 60)

The nature of Music Learning Theory is that one cannot use it directly. To use it, a music teacher must design a method based on it, and then use techniques, materials, and musical examples to get the method off the ground. (Page 75)

A child is not a miniature adult! (Page 88)

If we are to help our students to become independent musicians and musical thinkders – our most important task – then we must encourage them to generalize what they hear. (Page 149)

 

#3 Coffee with Ray

Coffee with Ray: A Simple Story with a Life-Changing Message for Teachers and Parents by Nick Ambrosino

Description: Through the eyes of a simple piano teacher, learn the strategies to remove any self-made learning obstacles so that you can achieve all you put your mind to.

After ten years of teaching piano, Matt had become completely disillusioned with his career choice. Teaching was increasingly more frustrating, students were more difficult to motivate, and coping with the stress had become much more challenging. He was on the verge of quitting until he decided to have a cup of coffee at a café suggested by his GPS. That’s where he met Ray and that’s when everything started to change.

An engaging, funny, and thought-provoking parable, written as creative non-fiction, Coffee With Ray will introduce readers to revolutionary ways of communicating that will help make students become more accountable and teachers more skilled at facilitating learning.

Why I love the book: I especially love that this book is an easy read. It’s simply a direct peek into the life of one teacher and is a beautiful example of how we can learn to be better at our profession by learning from others, not in our profession. This would be a great summer read. It feels casual but is still directed toward being a better teacher.

Favorite Quotes:

Teachers tend to think about teaching a subject. When you redefine yourself as a facilitator, you become responsible for facilitating your student through the learning of how to teach himself. (Page 61)

Instead of telling my students what they should do, I offered suggestions and asked them to take responsibility for choosing goals that felt best for them. (Page 102)

I asked her what she had accomplished this week that she felt proud of (I found that to be a better and more effective way of starting the lesson than asking them if they had practiced.) (Page 102)

[The last four excerpts are focused on using “but” vs. “and”.]

I like the way you made contact with that pitch, Mike, and now you’re ready to turn your back foot. (Page 74)

The point is that if you validate someone’s performance, as Dominic did, and then you use the word ‘but’ to create a change in the performance, the student never remembers what came before the ‘but.’ “If, however, you use the word ‘and’ as the invitation for change after the validation, the student feels he has earned the right to go onto the next part of his training and he will both remember the validation AND create the change. (Page 75)

You feel as though there is always something to fix. While that may be true, the word ‘but’ creates a feeling of ‘less than.’ It creates a closed condition for learning as well as an ‘undesirable’ feeling. The word ‘and,’ however, creates a feeling of greatness, of progress. It creates an opening for learning and that is a much more desirable feeling. (Page 76)

Everything you have ever accomplished was at one time outside of your comfort zone. Yet, by labeling it as hard you put a question mark on your ability to learn or accomplish it. By labeling it as new you never question your ability but, instead, actually acknowledge that you are capable. (Page 78)

 


Do you have any favorites? Share in the comments!

 

Conference Highlights: MTNA 2019, Spokane

Last week I attended the 2019 MTNA National Conference in Spokane, Washington. The photo you see is the one that spoke to my memories of the location the most.

As MTNA attendees flooded into Spokane, so did Spring! The river walk next to the conference center was beautiful and included this gigantic Radio Flyer Wagon. Fun!

(Click on the image below to see sixteen seconds of Joy Morin and I tapping into our inner child. 🙂 )

Every time I attend a conference, I like to write a recap post. Not only are writing these posts a good mental exercise for me in helping pull together the entire event, but it’s like putting the period at the end of a sentence. It gives a sense of finality and making a statement.

Attending conferences is really important to me and my professional development (and energy). I hope these posts may also convince someone who either hasn’t ever attended a conference, or does so infrequently, that they are worth every penny to attend!

If you’re interested in posts I’ve written about previous MTNA conferences, checkout out:

Conferencing with Mickey Mouse and Friends: MTNA 2018 Orlando

2017 MTNA Conference, Baltimore

San Antonio 2016: A Conference to Remember

 

Conference Management 101 Videos

The biggest thing I wanted to share with you from the 2019 conference is the series of five Facebook Live videos I did on conference organization/management. These videos highlight a few of the tips I talk about in the post Conference Management 101.

I tried to keep them short and focused on one point.

(If you want to see the full post on Facebook, just click on the facebook icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the video.)

Video #1 (2:50) – Action List!

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