Piano Teacher Adventure: MLT in Boston

Where to begin…

It all started with a foggy early morning departure from my home in Indiana. I gently woke my husband to say our goodbyes, anticipating the two weeks we were about to be away from each other – the longest time ever.

John Denver’s words seem to fit the scene,

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go, I’m standing here outside your door, I hate to wake you up to say good-bye.

But the dawn is breaking, it’s early morn, the taxi’s waiting he’s blowing his horn. Already, I’m so lonesome, I could die.

So kiss me and smile for me. Tell me that you’ll wait for me. Hold me like you’ll never let me go.

Of course, I didn’t leave on a jet plane, just my trusty 2007 Ford Focus. Off I went to pick up my partner in crime.

Joy Morin of ColorInMyPiano.com


After a long 16-hour day on the road full of traffic jams and several hours of intense downpouring rain, we made it to our Air BnB.

Bright and early the next morning, we weaved our way through traffic and Boston’s bumpy, crooked streets to find our home for the next ten days.

Brookline Music School, our awesome host.


We were both lucky to receive Teacher Enrichment Grants through Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) to attend a piano certification course/professional development workshop put on by the Gordon Institute for Music Learning (GIML).

Dr. Gordon’s work was not about the best ways to teach music, but how we learn, thus impacting the way we teach.


Our Days

The morning was spent with our instructor, Jenny Fisher, diving into the tough nitty-gritty of Music Learning Theory (MLT) and Dr. Gordon’s book Learning Sequences in Music book. It was difficult but incredibly fascinating, intense, and revealing.


After a much-needed lunch break, each afternoon we were honored to have Marilyn Lowe herself help us learn how to apply MLT to piano study. Her series, Music Moves for Piano, is the only “piano method” currently based directly on Dr. Gordon’s research!


We were all supported by another incredible MLT teacher who came all the way from Albert, Canada! Janna Olson was “interning” and taught portions of the class. She was invaluable and incredibly knowledgeable.

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We continued this cycle for two whole weeks! I’m so glad we had such an amazing group of colleagues/classmates to learn alongside! Brookline Music School alone enrolled five teachers in the course. We were lucky to get to observe some of their early childhood classes that already incorporated MLT and Music Moves. One teacher even made the trek all the way from Adelaide, Australia!


After a hard first week, we had a much-needed weekend to catch up, process, and clear our heads.


It’s Time to Explore Boston!

We couldn’t wait for a reprieve, so Joy and I headed into Boston to check out the North End on Friday night as soon as class was out. If you’re unfamiliar, think of Little Italy. I was so excited to make some purchases at an authentic Italian deli!

I was so excited to make some purchases at an authentic Italian deli!

The North End was absolutely beautiful. We had a plan that included a cannoli (or two!) from Mike’s Pastry and a famous lobster roll from Neptune Oyster Bar. We put our name in at 5:30, went to eat cannoli, explored the North End, and three hours later were seated to eat the most succulent lobster roll ever. The photo doesn’t do it justice but it was totally worth the wait! It’s famous for a reason as it houses 8 ounces of lobster!

Saturday, Joy introduced me to a wonderful thing…it’s called a FOOD TOUR! How have I been missing these all my life?

We took the Bites of Boston tour of the South End. I would recommend it to anyone! We also took the “Duck Tour” around the city. The “duck” is a vehicle modeled on the WWII duck that can go from land to water.

Sunday we spent more time exploring Boston with a couple of friends from class. We walked part of the Freedom Trail and checked out the Harvard Campus.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that we didn’t eat a bad meal the whole two weeks. We ate Persian, Thai, woodfired pizza, Venezuelan, and more!



We did it!

After another full week of classes, we were all happy to receive our certificates!




It was wonderful making new friends!

As we were leaving we wanted to make sure we got a good photo in front of the school and being a little silly I was displaying the weight of all the books I’ve carried to this class the last two weeks!



Home Sweet Home

Willie Nelson’s song seems to come to mind at this point, wrapping up how I felt not only about being anxious to head home but about the wonderful time we had making music and new friends!

On the road again.
Just can’t wait to get on the road again.
The life I love is making music with my friends.

And I can’t wait to get on the road again.
On the road again.

Goin’ places that I’ve never been.
Seein’ things that I may never see again.

And I can’t wait to get on the road again.
On the road again.

Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway.
We’re the best of friends.
Insisting that the world keep turning our way (to MLT I might add! LOL).

And I can’t wait to get on the road again.

As I dropped Joy off at home in Ohio and before my final trek home to Indiana, I was blessed to share a final meal with my friend and her husband (a fellow cook and food lover). Paul spent a lot of time preparing an incredible authentic Brazilian meal for us in honor of the Olympics in Rio.


I hope to share more on how I begin to apply Music Learning Theory to my own teaching in future posts but I’m still trying to process all I’ve learned so don’t worry if I don’t post details right away.

I will say there is a short video recap from Joy and me coming soon, so stay tuned!




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