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

The Language of Teaching

This is a guest post by Dr. Andrea McAlister. After attending the 2017 MTNA Conference in Baltimore, I wanted to bring you the session that impacted me most. Leading up to the conference, I had been noticing myself using the word “good” a lot and without thought (even though I knew better) so this was exactly what I needed. Andrea was a fantastic presenter. Despite being a 20-minute accelerated track session, she epitomized the saying that “less is more.” She got to the point, was clear, and very engaging. I hope you glean as much as I did from her regarding our use of language and words.

I recently had the opportunity to present Better Than “Good” at the 2017 MTNA National Conference and, while I’ve given numerous presentations throughout the years, I found this one to be strangely difficult to assemble. According to my abstract, I was to talk about praise, feedback, and the different ways in which we can effectively communicate with our students. It’s what I do every year in my pedagogy classes with the next generation of teachers. We discuss a variety of ways to put gestures, musical concepts, and technical skills into verbal cues for a variety of ages and levels. While it’s difficult enough for new teachers to put ideas into words, many of my students speak English as a second language, making the process that much more difficult and important. As they grow in education and experience, these new teachers fill their toolboxes with expressions they know will work with their students and pick up a new tip or two along the way.

I do this year after year with a new crew of pedagogy students, so why did it seem so difficult to prepare the same material for the conference? Why not take the same tried-and-true class activities, slap them on a power point slide, and be done with it? “Teaching is not telling,” says Frances Clark and yet here I was, telling teachers how to use words. Something didn’t feel right. Continue reading

Don’t Skip the Forward

In college, I recall one of my Bible class professors encouraging us to always read the forward/preface/opening words to any book before diving in. Up until that point, I always skimmed over those parts, including the “acknowledgments.”  Since then I have tried to take a moment to read opening words of the author and have found that it has made me more prepared for, aware of, and grateful for the person whose “art” I am about to absorb.

The same principal applies to sheet music/books. I recently purchased two new church music books. One for myself (What Praise Can I Play on Sunday? by Carol Tornquist) and one for an adult student, Phillip Keveren’s 2015 Weekly Worship: 52 Hymns for a Year of PraiseThe latter especially had touching words that resonated with me and touched my heart. All it took was one moment – one moment to stop and read the heart and intentions of another.

Piano Pantry Readers’ Dinner 

MTNA 2017 Baltimore, MD

mtna-conference-2017-logo-readers-dinnerI am SOOOOOO excited to announce that I will be hosting my very first Piano Pantry reader’s dinner meet-up at the upcoming MTNA Conference in Baltimore!

The first readers’ dinner I ever attended was with Natalie Weber (then Whickham) of Music Matters Blog. I think it was in Albuquerque because I remember being in grad school at the time.

It’s the perfect chance to put faces with names and get to know you a little. In order for me have a chance to actually get-to-know-you and chat with all who attend, I have set my own personal maximum limit. 

So…if you are interested in reserving your spot and attending the dinner please email me ASAP.

The dinner will be held on Monday night, March 20. Details will be sent to all attendees via email.

MTNA Elections 2017 

A Personal Connection

Are you a current member of MTNA (Music Teachers National Association)? If so, this month, we have the privilege of voting in the National Elections for the Board of Directors.

When I first joined MTNA, like many, I was guilty of not voting due to the feeling of not knowing any of the candidates. Making a decision based on a short printed bio is hard. Each one has solid credentials, and is a highly qualified and capable candidate, or else they wouldn’t be on the ballot of a national organization. It’s true.

My non-voting didn’t last for long though because I consider the ability to vote for anything a privilege and duty.

On this year’s ballot, Indiana is proud to have one of our own – someone I literally sat next to at our last state board meeting, and I hope I can give you a bit more personal insight into one of the candidates for President-Elect, Karen Thickstun.

In the photo below, Karen is second from the left, and I’m third from the left.  On a side note, can I just say I serve on the best state board ever?! I just love these people…

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Piano Pantry’s Best of 2016

As 2016 comes to a close, I’m looking back at this past year and can’t believe what a whirlwind and blessing it has been. It’s been a year of opportunity, growth, challenges, and firsts.

Today I would like to share with you a personal reflection as well as the best posts from Piano Pantry in its first year.

 

Goal-Setting

This past year, I decided not to make any “New Years Resolutions” but to instead, sit down and set specific goals for myself. Evernote guru Michael Hyatt wrote a post How Evernote Can Help You Achieve Your Goals in 2015 that I used as inspiration.

Speaking of Evernote if you missed it, check out my post on using Evernote as an independent music teacher.

Evernote: An Independent Music Teacher’s Handbook, Part 1 – Studio Organization [Video]

One of those goals was to start this blog and my studio website by March 1 (the latter of which I accomplished this summer). This site’s first post  Welcome to My Studio was published on March 20 right before I left for the MTNA conference in San Antonio. Check!

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Adjudicator Preparation

As I am making preparations to adjudicate tomorrow at one of our Indiana districts for our state competition, Hoosier Auditions, I thought I would briefly share how I prepare.

adjudicator-preparation

 

Repertoire lists

If possible, I like to request ahead of time, a list of the repertoire entered. I find it nice to have a little heads-up so I can jump online and refresh my memory on the pieces. As I’m watching and listening, I try to think through my own thoughts about the piece and elements I may look for when the student performs. To me, this is simply being mindful of what’s to come.

 

Articles

I skim through some of my favorite articles I’ve found over the last few years as a reminder of what it means to be a good judge.

Marcia Vahl wrote three excellent articles on Compose Create:

 

Also check out:

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