Teaching

Three Things I'm Doing Differently in My Piano Studio This Year

Three Things I'm Doing Differently in My Piano Studio This Year

It's been a while since I've written anything about private teaching here. This is a big part of what I do during the week, even though I don't talk about it much here, and I know many of you teach privately, as well, in addition to the other things you do. 

I teach private lessons four days a week at a private school as part of their extracurricular and after-school programming. At the beginning of this year, I shared eight ways to continue developing your teaching skills this year.

A Fun Way to Incorporate Composing and Musical Creativity Into Your Teaching

A Fun Way to Incorporate Composing and Musical Creativity Into Your Teaching

Raise your hand if you tend to leave composing to those required college classes and the professionals who do it for a living.

Why is this? I think the biggest reason may be our own insecurity. I mean, how many of us grew up writing our own musical compositions? How many of us include this as a musical activity in our lives and work today?

If you had classical music training growing up, you probably didn’t spend much time composing or creating. Instead, the focus was likely on learning how to read and interpret what’s on the page (speaking from my own experience here).

The Secrets of Motivation: My 3 Biggest Takeaways from Daniel H. Pink's "Drive"

The Secrets of Motivation: My 3 Biggest Takeaways from Daniel H. Pink's "Drive"

I recently finished a book that’s been on my to-read list for a few years now - Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink. The book is based on scientific research by people like Edward Deci and Richard Ryan, Carol Dweck, and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, among others.

Before we dive in too deep, let’s talk about what motivation is.

Motivation is what drives us, what propels us forward, what challenges us to keep going; in more formal terms, it’s the "process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors” (source).

36 Ways to Use Rhythm Pattern Cards in Your Teaching

36 Ways to Use Rhythm Pattern Cards in Your Teaching

Rhythm pattern cards are a great way to teach new rhythmic concepts, reinforce familiar patterns, and build that all-important music vocabulary (the ability to understand and create your own musical patterns and sequences).

There are lots of different types of rhythm pattern cards out there - some you can buy, some you can download and print for free (like the set I'm sharing below!), and ideas for making some of your own.

They don’t have to be fancy! The ones I'm sharing today can be printed at home on white cardstock and cut into quarters (postcard-size).

How to Continue Developing Your Teaching Skills This Year

How to Continue Developing Your Teaching Skills This Year

As teachers, we’re never really done learning (and that’s a good thing!). 

John Dewey once said, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”

So true, right? The world is constantly changing and evolving and we need to be constantly changing, adapting, learning, and evolving along with it to be the best teachers we can be.

What do you want to learn this year? What kind of teacher do you want to become? 

I shared my answers to these questions on Facebook Live a few weeks ago. Watch the replay here, in case you missed it!

34 Meaningful Quotes for Music Educators

34 Meaningful Quotes for Music Educators

Sometimes, it's important to remember why we started.

Indulge me for a moment and ask yourself the following:

What first drew you to music?
When did you know you wanted to teach?
What are the pivotal moments that stand out in your memory - those particular students or experiences or revelations that propelled you forward, that fed your soul, that inspired you to keep going?

We all have our own answers and a whole collection of stories we could tell. This is one of the things I love most about teaching.

It's the heart behind what we do and the reasons why we do it that make teaching such a wonderful, life-giving profession (but maybe I'm a little biased?).

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.

7 Insider Tips for Aspiring Music Educators [Video]

7 Insider Tips for Aspiring Music Educators [Video]

Music careers in the 21st century are flexible and diverse, often incorporating more than just one thing. Many of us are freelancers, curating opportunities and crafting a creative career based on our varied skill sets and interests.

We're performers and teachers, writers and creators, collaborators and makers.

I decided to mix things up a bit and offer this post as a mini online workshop.

Today, I'm going to talk about designing and developing your music career, with a focus on music education and ways to incorporate that into the work you do. Because whether or not you pursued or are pursuing a degree in music education, teaching (in one form or another) will invariably be part of your future career, if it isn’t already.

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

Top 10 Posts of 2015

Top 10 Posts of 2015

I tend to do a lot of reflecting at this time of year. What did we do this year? How did we grow or change? What worked well? What didn't work? How did I do on my goals? What do I want to make happen in 2016?

With that comes an honest look at my blog and website and finding out what really resonated with all of you. I review search terms, blog topics, and popular pins on Pinterest, and look back on the most popular posts. I brainstorm content and themes for the coming year, start researching helpful resources, and outline a preliminary editorial calendar.

Last year, for the first time, I did a little round-up of the most-read posts in 2014 (read it here). Today, I'm continuing the tradition by featuring the top 10 posts from 2015. Enjoy!