What A Lesson Looks Like

Last Updated on 2022-11-27 | Originally Posted on 2021-10-08

Introduction

Many prospective piano parents ask me how I teach. I prefer to answer with what a lesson looks like since that removes a lot of the variables that go into this very loaded question. Just to simplify this a bit, I’m going to describe here what a lesson looks like for a beginner. I teach intermediate and advanced students as well, but they tend to be much more customized since they involve older students.

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Two Tough Conversations with Prospective Piano Parents

Last Updated on 2022-11-27 | Originally Posted on 2021-01-29

Introduction

As a piano teacher, I find myself doing lots of things besides teaching lessons. For instance, I’ve added sanitizing skills to my arsenal! That includes supplying hydrogen peroxide and clean clothes to make sure the piano keys stay Covid-free! One of the more normal side activities is to speak to parents about teaching their kids. This happens a lot at the beginning of each semester. Turnover is part of the business due to the number of families that move into and out of our area each year.

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Find the Best Christmas Sheet Music

Last Updated on 2024-02-17 | Originally Posted on 2020-11-21

This post has no affiliate links. In other words, I don’t get any compensation as a result of purchases made using these links.

Introduction

Christmas songbooks that are sold in the mass market, like at Sam’s Club, on Amazon.com, or at your local bookstore, are not thoughtfully compiled with piano students in mind. You’ll get a lot of songs at a reasonable price, but the arrangements will vary in difficulty from page to page. They’re often too complicated for beginners, but too easy and boring for advanced students.

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Lead Sheets in Action

Last Updated on 2022-11-02 | Originally Posted on 2020-08-19

Introduction

When I came back to piano teaching in earnest several years ago, I learned about the types of skills progressive teachers teach their students. One of them is lead sheets, sometimes called fake sheets. It’s certainly nothing that I studied with any teacher privately or in college. However, I did remember having to “fake” my way through playing from them as the unwilling jazz-band pianist.

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Music Reading Through Rote Teaching

Last Updated on 2024-02-17 | Originally Posted on 2020-08-16

Introduction

I was asked by Sarah Folkerts to write a long-form blog post that became Music Reading Through Rote Teaching. She works with Nicola Cantan on the Colourful Keys Website and the membership site Vibrant Music Teaching. It all started as a result of my trying to reconcile how something sounds with the musical notation.

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How to Succeed in the Recording Process

Last Updated on 2022-11-10 | Originally Posted on 2020-05-01

Introduction

This article was originally intended to help my students prepare for their first recorded recital in May 2020, two months after lessons went online due to Covid-19 confinement. I’m repurposing it to preparing for any recording because it’s a different preparation process from live playing. You might say, yeah, it’s actually easier because you can record yourself as much as you want, and then just choose the best take. However, that flexibility can actually make the recording process much more difficult!

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Video Recording Guide

Last Updated on 2022-11-16 | Originally Posted on 2020-04-13

Introduction

This article is specifically intended to help piano parents in my studio to make online recordings for recitals and festivals. As so much of music-making has been in 2020, these events have been online-only since March. We might as well get used to doing it well!

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Music as a Focusing Tool

Last Updated on 2022-11-16 | Originally Posted on 2020-02-19

Introduction

We live in a distracted age, where focus can be as fleeting as the obedient dog who loses it when he sees a squirrel in his peripheral vision. Music is a place where multitasking just doesn’t work, so it makes sense that it might be a good focusing tool for children. Music activates brain cells on both sides of the brain. Parents have to love that fact, but the child just wants to have fun. Is it possible to have fun while giving the brain a healthy workout? In my experience, the answer is a resound yes!

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Sonatina Celebration 2019 Success

Last Updated on 2024-02-17 | Originally Posted on 2019-11-15

The Scenario

Seven of my piano participated in the annual Sonatina Celebration held at NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) on November 9, 2019. I didn’t post on last year’s festival, but you can read my first go-round at the Sonatina Celebration in 2017.

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Halloween Piano Party 2019

Last Updated on 2024-02-17 | Originally Posted on 2019-11-01

It’s said that you can’t officially call something an annual event until you do it at least twice. With that, let me present a summary of our Second Annual Halloween Piano Party. We always seem to have some type of drama before starting. Last year, we couldn’t get into the building because the door code didn’t work. This year, the code worked perfectly!

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