Spruce Up Your Teaching Routine With This Fun App (+ Creative Ways to Use It!)

Spruce Up Your Teaching Routine With This Fun App (+ Creative Ways to Use It!)

We all get into ruts in our teaching from time to time.

With all the planning and preparation that goes into teaching week to week, choosing repertoire, dealing with the administrative responsibilities, and all the other things that come across our plate on a given day, there’s only so much time you can spend planning, crafting, and creating innovative lesson plans and teaching strategies.

The struggle is real, y’all.

A few weeks ago, I was in the midst of planning my first studio class for my piano students and searching for a fun game/musical activity that would get everyone up and moving and work for students at different grade levels.

Enter the Decide Now! app.

Developing Aural Skills in the Piano Studio

Developing Aural Skills in the Piano Studio

Aural skills (also known as ear-training) is a fundamental facet of musicianship. Learning to listen, identify, discern, and understand music without notation present helps develop the inner listening skills needed to become a well-rounded, well-versed musician.

Finding the steady beat
Recognizing strong and weak beats
Discerning meter and tonality
Understanding rhythm and tonal patterns
Recognizing dynamics
Discerning articulation
Feeling interval distances
Understanding cadences
Recognizing chords

Aural skills "help musicians at all levels to become more discerning in they way they play, sing and listen to music" (source). 

We all remember those 8 a.m. aural skills classes in college - sight-reading, singing intervals, singing bass lines, spelling chords. But what kinds of aural skills experiences are we giving our students before college? How can we incorporate aural skill activities in our weekly studio lessons

The Ins and Outs of Using Evernote

The Ins and Outs of Using Evernote

Paper clutter. Even in our modern, digital world, paper clutter is still a problem. There's that note a parent left on your desk last week. That receipt from your most recent music purchase. That Post-It you wrote to yourself reminding you to call the piano tuner. A draft of Sunday's bulletin. Unopened mail.

The problem is that paper clutter equals mental clutter.

Researchers suggest that when your home or work space is cluttered, it hinders your ability to focus. It also limits your ability to take in and process new information (source). 

Though it might seem innocent enough, clutter can become a distraction, overwhelming your brain with visual and tactile stimuli, and may lead to feelings of guilt, anxiety, and frustration (source).

Sherrie Bourg Carter of Psychology Today noted: "Clutter inhibits creativity and productivity by invading the open spaces that allow most people to think, brainstorm, and problem solve."

What if I told you there was an easy, free way to save papers, notes, photos, business cards, receipts, Post-Its, and even web clips in one convenient location? Stay on top of projects. Keep everything organized. Make collaboration a breeze. Keep good records. Never lose a piece of paper on your desk again.

8 Valuable Resources for Music Teachers

8 Valuable Resources for Music Teachers

You can never have too many teaching resources, right?

It seems I'm always looking for a piece of sheet music for this student or a fun concept-based game for that student. I'm also continuously searching for ways to streamline the business side of my teaching with helpful studio management tools, bookkeeping support, and email shortcuts.

Whether you're a studio teacher, K-12 music teacher, or children's choir director, I hope you find at least one thing on this list that's helpful to you!

Here are eight of my favorite resources for music teachers:

Wave Accounting

This all-in-one online accounting system that features free (unlimited) invoicing, ability to accept credit card payments, automatic billing and reminders, accounting support, and more. Wave is the perfect small business tool!