Learning songsRecitalsUncategorized

Getting students excited about recital repertoire

Chances are your studio is already well into recital prep. Students are learning or mastering new repertoire, you are working out the last details on the program, & parents are checking their calendars to ensure they will get their budding performers to the venue on time.

How can you get your students excited about their recital repertoire? This is my top 6 tips to making recital prep a time of celebration!

Student retentionUncategorized

Practice During Spring Break? Yes. Really.

Surprise the Teacher

We all know that practice tends to drop off during vacation times. Between family trips & a more relaxed home schedule, piano practice tends to fall through the cracks. I used to exhort my students to continue practicing over school holidays so that they could “keep up their progress”. When we got back to lesson, I typically got a long list of reasons why the student had not practiced over the break.
Rather than continuing to stress about the practice or lay the blame game, I decided to do something different. Hold a studio challenge!

Group LessonsStudent ProgressStudent retentionUncategorized

Surprise your students with how fun music history can be!

Music History Group Lessons

I have a deep, dark secret. I don’t spend nearly enough time on music history in my studio. But, it’s something I want to change & have rounded up some tools to help do that!
This month, my students are delving into the interesting world of classical music composers. I’m giving you access to all the activities & materials I used to make this group lesson a success!


Teaching Precocious Preschoolers

Teaching Precocious Preschoolers

With only so many teaching hours available, one of the groups that has been a blessing to add to my teaching schedule has been preschoolers. In some ways, this group is like junior high students. Teachers either seem to love teaching preschoolers or loath it. In my teaching years, it was the same for junior high teachers. Thankfully, I find it invigorating being around these often precocious and energetic young ones.

Learning songsProfessional DevelopmentReflectionsUncategorized

Play It Again, Sam!

This is the first in a new series of book reviews on the blog.
Lately, I have been wondering about the role of repetition in both lessons & practice time. In my own practice, it has been enlightening to see the natural patterns I fall into. Especially since some of them, as a teacher, I really do know better. As a teacher, it’s painful sitting through a song that once again a student has obviously put NO thought into during a week of incorrect practice. (“Why is the starting note still incorrect?” “I didn’t realize.” “It was written in bold on your practice page.” “Huh.”)

Student ProgressThe admin side of teachingUncategorized

In Praise of Incrementalism

We are getting into the 3rd month of a new school year & it’s feeling … well, not so new anymore. Routines are set (or not set depending on your point of view). The weather may be changing, but unfortunately it also tends to lead to dropping many of those awesome routines we have set in place back in September.

Then, I listened to a podcast that go me thinking … how can I help my students (& myself) stay motivated during a time of year that lends itself more to snuggling on the couch with a cup of tea & a good book, rather than sticking with our routines & goals?

Music LabThe admin side of teachingUncategorized

Setting Up a Music Lab: Lessons Learnt

Anytime we try something new, there is always a time of transition. This year, my students & I embarked on a new way of doing things in our studio. Granted, we always do something new each year … but, this year it was a BIG one. Setting up a travelling music lab.

After 3 weeks, I thought I would share the successes, the surprises (good & bad), the tweaks, & lessons I have learnt so far. Thankfully, overall the transition has been amazingly smooth & overwhelmingly positive.

ProductivityStudent ProgressThe admin side of teachingUncategorized

It's the most wonderful time of the year …

Right around this time, Staples always seems to have a commercial with “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” playing in the background.  I tried one year to sing the song while in Staples with my kids.  While they didn’t have frowns on their faces, they certainly didn’t join in.  But, it did seem…

Student retentionUncategorized

With These Piano Parent Stickers… Home Practice is Sure To Improve! — Teach Piano Today

Each year, I try to help my students practice more efficiently.  But, the fact of the matter is that without parent involvement there is only so much I can do.  Especially with my youngest students who are unable or struggle with reading my (fabulous) practice notes. Once my kids entered school, I developed a whole…