051 – Take Notice: Your Year In Review (and some exciting updates!)

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Episode Summary

In true new-years fashion, we’re going to have a brief chat about taking time to look back and notice what all life has brought in the past year before looking forward to the year ahead. You’ll also get a sneak-peak into what you can look forward to here on the podcast in 2023!


Items Mentioned

Digital Organization Coaching (In-Person RETREAT or Online via Zoom)


Dates are OPEN for the online coaching: get more details or sign-up here

Year in Review 2022 (Natalie Weber, Music Matters Blog)


2022 #1 Episode (as of 1/9/2023)

Episode #034 – How to Teach Students to Play Happy Birthday By Ear


2022 #1 Teacher Talk Episode (as of 1/9/2023)

Episode #030 – Teacher Talk with Laura Harding, Emily Suszko, and Laurie Bender


2022 Guest Host Episodes

Episode #036 – Natalie Weber: 7 Teaching Inspirations from My Third-Grade Teacher

Episode #037 – Sara Campbell: Market Your Studio Like a Pro

Episode #038 – Janna Williamson: Ingredients for Effective Intermediate Teaching

Episode #039 – Dr. Kate Boyd: Preparing Students for College Auditions


Welcome to the first episode of The Piano Pantry Podcast in 2023!

I’m your host, Amy Chaplin, an independent music teacher just like you. Besides teaching piano, I especially enjoy the business side of running a studio, including all things organization and productivity-related. I also find deep joy in the simple things in life, like keeping home, cooking, reading, and fostering relationships – especially around my table.

That’s why, in this podcast, we talk about a variety of teacher-life-related things, from organizing our studios to getting dinner on the table and all that comes between.

Today, in true new-years fashion, we’re going to have a brief chat about taking time to look back and notice what all life has brought in the past year before looking forward to the year ahead.

You’ll also get a sneak-peak into what you can look forward to here on the podcast in 2023!

Before we dive in, I’ve got some exciting news!

As a teacher who spends the majority of your work time focused on your students, how often do you say things to yourself like:

  • “I have got to sit down and get this email inbox under control,” or
  • “ugh, I cannot find that file, I know I saved it somewhere in this downloads folder,” or
  • “ah! my photo account is almost, full, and I know if I just took time to delete some images, I wouldn’t have to pay to upgrade for more space,” or
  • “I save so many things on Facebook that are cool ideas, yet I never go back and do anything with it!”

I know you, teacher friends – your eyes are bulging, and you’re frantically shaking your head yes to at least one of those!

My question to you is, when does that stop? When is it time for you to actually commit yourself to getting your digital work life under control? The answer is it will never come if you don’t make the time, and I’m here to help.

Last year I launched a digital organization coaching series in two formats: a 3-day in-person summer retreat in my home and online via Zoom, where we meet for eight consecutive Fridays for one hour.

Due to the very personal nature of the coaching, it is done in a small-group setting.

With each format only offered twice a year, as you can imagine, space is extremely limited.

The first online series of the year just opened for registration and will be held from January 27 to March 17. Visit the link in the show notes for more details or to register. LASTLY, since space is so limited, you can place your name on a special email list to be part of the first to be notified when future dates become available before registration is open to the public.

I can’t wait to see you there!

The turn of a new year can sometimes leave us feeling a bit frantic. After the holidays, it’s like we’re suddenly supposed to have all these new goals that we will hold over our heads for the next 12 months of life, like losing weight, finally publishing a new product, or growing our studios.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s is nothing wrong with goal-setting and the role it takes in us accomplishing things that are important in life. However, after spending year after year setting forward goals that can sometimes make us feel inadequate or like we’re never doing enough, what if we prioritized looking back first?

While I always keep a list of projects and goals and am continually adjusting where they fit on the list of priorities, several years ago, I stopped making formal goal lists on day one in January and instead took that time to look back at highlights from the previous year.

The first time I did this, it was completely eye-opening, and I was shocked and ashamed for making myself feel like I hadn’t done enough when, after really sitting down and laying out what life brought and what I accomplished, I had done a lot of really great things.

So, what does this look like, and how do you go about it? Honestly, it can be whatever you want it to be. Maybe it’s just scrolling back through a year of photos and choosing 12 that bring light to important moments. If you’re one for journaling, maybe it’s taking an hour to sit down and write out a reflection from this past year.

In a recent blog post, Natalie Weber of Music Matters Blog shared how every year she compiles a document that lists a review of 7 items from the past year, including items produced, speaking engagements, travels, books read, births, marriages, and deaths. I’ll post a link to that blog post in the show notes.

I’ve done mine a little differently every year, but some consistencies I’ve kept are to track all my goals accomplished (both personally, professionally, and for my studio) in a document in Notion and then to go through all my photos and create a social media series that I also save in my photos library recapping highlights for the year.

If you’ve never done something like this, I implore you to consider giving it a shot. Highlights don’t have to be just about accomplishments but can also be important life memories like marriages, new friendships, and deaths. A couple on my list this past year included the baptism of my 14-year-old nephew, reuniting with my paternal cousins and childhood piano teacher, and seeing my parents get to build a new home in our town and sell my childhood home they lived in for 40 years.

Take time to celebrate what life brought in all shapes and forms. I promise the exercise will be revealing, rewarding, and renewing.

Before we wrap up this first episode of the year, I also wanted to share with you what you can look forward to in the coming year on this podcast, including a couple of exciting new twists!

With new episodes dropping every Tuesday morning, this next season of this will continue to deliver short 8-12 minute solo episodes focused on tips and ideas that are clear, simple to digest, and easily actionable.

By popular demand, you’ll also get to continue enjoying a series of teacher-talk episodes every five weeks, where I have casual conversations with all kinds of piano teacher friends.

If you’re new around here, jump back into the episode list right now and download the most popular solo episode so far, #034 How to Teacher Students to Play Happy Birthday By Ear, and the most popular teacher talk episode, #030, which was a chat with three piano teachers who attended an in-person retreat in my home this past summer, Laura Harding (a teacher from Minnesota), Emily Suszko (a teacher from Michigan), and Laurie Bender (a teacher from Illinois).

While much of this podcast will continue as usual, in true Amy fashion, I can’t let things stay exactly the same. So, in 2023 I am sooooo excited to announce I’ll keep things fresh by bringing you even more guest host episodes.

What was that? Were you wondering what a guest host episode is? Let me explain.

In the fall of 2022, due to a month-long trip to Europe my husband and I took, I invited four wonderful teachers to share with you in their own episodes, which were wildly popular. If you want to check them out, scroll down the episode list to find #36, 37, 38, and 39 to hear from Natalie Weber from Music Matters Blog, Sara Campbell from Savvy Music Studio, and two YouTube teacher stars, intermediate teaching guru Janna Williamson, and Dr. Kate Boyd (who is otherwise known as “The Piano Prof”).

Rather than hearing the guest hosts all back to back, however, you’ll hear the voice of many of your favorite content creators more regularly, and boy, oh, boy, do I have a great lineup you won’t want to miss! I’m dying to tell you names, but it’s more fun keeping it a surprise, right?

The second surprise is that after a 50-episode run of sharing a fun fact about myself with you at the end of each episode, I’ll now instead share one tiny tip, trick, or favorite product starting with this one.

Resist the urge to begin your workday with email. Instead, start off with that one thing you absolutely have to get done today, whether it’s doing all your lesson plans for the week, recording a song for a student (or a podcast episode!), getting a setlist put together in ForScore for next weeks church service, sending invoices, or whatever! Our email inboxes can be very demanding if we let them be, so don’t! There will always be time for that. Start with what needs to be done and leave email for after.

Alright my lovely friends, before I say goodbye, I just wanted to shout out to all of you who have taken time out of your precious days to rate and review this podcast. I’ve noticed the influx! If I could give you a big hug, I would. You’re gems.

I’ll talk to you next week, but in the meantime, find me online on Instagram at amychaplinpiano or on Facebook at Piano Pantry.