Okay! Last lessons have been taught, recital is over, & schedule is done (or, as close to done as it will be)!  What’s next?  A little bit of time to recharge & then … well that’s up to you.

In the summer, I love hanging out on the deck with a cup of homemade iced tea & enjoying the smells from the garden.  The kidlets are running rampant with the other neighbourhood kids & every once in awhile one of them will run up to let me know they are still alive.  After about a week of reading novels & making all sorts of goodies in the kitchen, I’m rejuvenated & ready for something more.

That something more tends to be professional development.  During the academic year, it can be difficult to get to the professional reading that I wanted to.  I have developed a habit of collecting books during the school year & doing most of the reading over the summer.  If I’m on the deck, my iPad is usually close by so I can put notes into Evernote as I read.

Over the summer, my brain is ready to absorb the information & reading gives me ideas of how I want to approach things for the new year!  Here is my top list of books & articles that have either inspired me, taught me something new, or just make the list based purely on awesomeness!

Top 8 Music Educator Resources

Top 4 Books:

If you are like me, there is just something about a holding a physical book.  But, some of these books are available in electronic format as well.  Here are the top 4 … in no particular order.

  1. Studying Suzuki Piano: More Than Music (Carole L. Bigler & Valery Lloyd-Watts)
    • While I don’t teach Suzuki piano, I was interested in why this approach has such fanatic piano parents.  After reading the book, I completely understood why.  It also inspired me to take a closer look at how I approach teaching my beginner students.
  2. Mapping Music: For Faster Learning & Secure Memory (Rebecca Payne Shockley)
    • With many different examples using actual excerpts of scores, it was easy to see how this could be applied in lesson.  There are practice ideas that follow each score study (including information about the specifics of each score) which make each page a valuable read.
  3. The Practice Revolution (Philip Johnston)
    • How many different ways to get our students to practice can you fit in one book?  I don’t know.  I lost count fairly early on.  This is the book I go to when I want new ideas for inspiring students to practice.
  4. The iPad Piano Studio (Leila J. Viss)
    • When I was thinking of incorporating a travel music lab, this was one of the best resources I found.  I opted to purchase the physical copy as well as the digital for ease of access.  (At the time, the digital copy could only be read using wifi.)  If you want to go from newbie to app wizard, Leila will help you get there.

Top 4 Articles:

Sometimes a book is just too much.  Like when the kidlets have realized that they aren’t going back to school for several more weeks … & they are bored.  To which I answer, “Good!  Your choices are to go be bored outside or start on the long list of chores I will come up with.”  They typically find a 3rd option that doesn’t require either.  But before they reach that point, reading articles helps me keep my sanity & gets the creative juices flowing as well.

Again, in no particular order, here are my top 4.

  1. The Basics of Starting a Music Lab (Music Educator Resources)
    • Technically this is not an article, it’s an online course.  However, the modules make it possible to stop & start as needed.  If you are thinking of starting a music lab, this is a great place to start!  Jennifer will take you through everything you need to know including fee structures, equipment, & how to make it a success in your studio.
  2. Music Learning Theory (Tim Topham)
    • This article reminded me a bit of what I loved about “Studying Suzuki Piano” … using how we learn language as the inspiration for how we learn music.  This is the first article in a series by Tim showing the benefits of incorporating MLT (music learning theory) into the studio.
  3. Singing Games With the Full Solfa Scale (Colourful Keys)
    • Tying in with the above article (& other changes I have been making in my studio), singing games with students can be a great way for them to audiate what they are learning while taking a quick break.  This next year, I can see these games being especially useful with a few of my new students!
  4. The Varsity Player’s Handbook (Piano Pantry)
    • This is a series of guest posts about how, instead of bemoaning sports, we can learn from how they create community & experiences that keep families coming back for more!  I’ll admit that my scheduling would be SO much easier without the last minute changes from my student’s sports organizations …. but, that is out of my hands.  After reading this series of articles, I began to make changes in my studio to build the same level of commitment as the sports teams.

All of the above articles (& online course) come from sites that I follow on a regular basis.  These are the email updates that I am sure to click (unless I couldn’t wait & went online to read)!

What are your top choices?

As you look back (or forward) to your professional development reading, what are your top choices?  Leave your comments below.  I’m always on the lookout for new resources & ideas!

Have a great weekend!


  1. We seem to have a lot of similarities in our summer “to-do” lists!! I read the Bigler/ Lloyd Watts book years ago and need to go through it again. My mentor years ago trained as a Suzuki teacher, and this was her “go-to” book. One on my list that you might find interesting, as well, is Nicola Canton’s ” The Piano Practice Physician’s HandBook”. I also have a couple of re-plays of her FB live sessions that I want to watch. And my big event is finally going through Jennifer Foxx’s most recent webinar that I purchased months ago when it came out. So many wonderful resources are out there !!

    1. Kerry, I just watched one of Nicola’s trainings yesterday! It was great to get some ideas for the fall. I hope that you enjoy Jennifer’s webinar just as much … she always has great ideas!

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