Friday, August 1, 2014

80+ Pinterest Boards For Teaching Piano

Let me start with an apology, because if you click on any of these links, you are going to hate me. I'm so sorry. You are about to be sucked into a black hole of endless piano teaching resources. Every link you click will provide you with several more links to follow. If you love your work, as I do, you may never escape!

Here follows a MONSTER list of links to Pinterest boards with teaching ideas, in no particular order. I guarantee that within just a few minutes, you'll discover a great idea you want to incorporate into your teaching plans. I also guarantee that you can't click on just one board. I've bolded a few of the notable boards that are buried within the list, but there are fabulous ideas in all of these.

If your Pinterest board is not here, and you'd like it to be, please leave a link to it by using the linky tool at the end of the post. You can help to spread the word about this directory by pinning this post! Also, I'd LOVE to have you follow my own board which is no. 1 on the list, of course!

Again, I'm so sorry! ;-) 

1. Laura Lowe: 

2. Carrie Zak:

3. Beverly Cox:

4. Desert Valley MTA:

5. Mallory Harris:

6. Diane Hidy:

7. Kelly Bordeaux: - several boards

8. Debbie Lumpkin:

9. Saralyn:

10. Piano Gal Val:

11. Midnight Music:

12. Marina Hayes:

13. Elizabeth Piturachsatit:

14. Mary Miller:

15. Ninn:

16. Emily Matthew: - several boards to explore

17. Teletha Newell:  and

18. Carla Lowery: - several boards to explore

19. Deb Gough Wensel:

20. Natalie Shaw:

21. Pamela Robinson:

22. Angie Lewis:

23. Kathy Davis:

24. Patti Kolk:

25. Brittany Wilbourn:

26. Natalie Beebe:

27. Claire Westlake: - many boards to explore

28. Emily Zook:

29. Nicole Rich:

30. Marianne Marlor:

31. Lori Nielson:

32. Lana Hughes:

33. Ashley Caldwell Brown:

34. Amber Salas-Zuniga:

35. Tami Baird:

36. Julie Williams:

37. Amy Losee:

38. Penny Wiese:

39. Kathleen Hayes:

40. Jessica Grant:

41. Nicole Lookabough:

42. Jessica Hansen:

43. Carri Corbitt:

44. Patti Widener:

45. Heather McCook:

46. Shana Eliott:

47. Alta Joy:

48. Jessica Finch:

49. Andrea Dow:

50. Kristen Taylor: - lots of boards to explore

51. Wendy Stevens: - lots of boards to explore

52. Cammie Call Titus:

53. Kamalani Hansen:

54. Leslie Thackery:

55. Susan Paradis: - lots of boards

56. Laura:

57. Natalie Wickham: - several boards

58. Andrea Dow / Teach Piano Today:

59. Jenny Boster:

60. Gail Fischler / The Piano Addict:

61. Heidi Neal:

62. Wendy Chan: - many boards

63. Carolyn Medrano:

64. Barb Wagner: - several boards

65. Melody Payne:

66. Rhonda Hunter:

67. Heart and Soul Music Studio:

68. Alicia Dunlap:

69.  Janice Potvin:

70.  Karlyn Peterson-Lundquist:

71.  Maria Wonch:

72.  Deanna Lodge:

73.  Jennifer Hewitt:

74.  Christy Hollinshead:

75.  Kelly Nelson:

76.  Tiffany Shepherd:

77.  Clavier Companion:

78.  Rachel Thomas:

79.  Tim Topham:

80.  Nadine Reece:

81.  Jennifer Foxx: - 3 boards

82.  Leila Viss: - several boards

83.  Heather Nanny: - many boards!

84.  Sara's Music Studio:

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Last Year's Incentive Program: Earning Composer Cards

I'm astounded to realize that it's been over a year since I posted here. I guess I was busier than I realized! Two part-time jobs, a middle school-aged daughter, and too much responsibility with organizations I belong to caught up with me, especially when I started to add more frequent trips out of town to visit with my parents. So, I've cleared out some space in my life, and I hope to get back to writing regularly here. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with the online piano teaching world!

Last year, I created a practice incentive program for my students that was fun, and a bit different. The students earned composer cards for various accomplishments. It was a bit like collecting baseball cards. Each student worked to earn a full collection of 40 cards, and once they succeeded, they got a $5 gift certificate to a local frozen yogurt shop. Here's how it worked:

For cards, I used the composer cards from Layton Music Games and Resources. There are over 40 free printable cards here with pictures of composers on one side and quick facts on the other. If nothing else, all of my students learned how to pronounce their names this year!

At the beginning of the year, each student chose a composer to make a poster about, and I featured a different student's poster on my bulletin board every few weeks. I made it a point to find a piece (simplified if necessary) by that composer for the student to learn.

Unfortunately, my incentive did require me to have a set of 40 cards printed and cut apart for each individual student. That's awfully time-consuming if you have a large number of students and no minions to do your grunt work. However, if you have a moderate  number of students and an 11-year-old daughter (aka minion), it's a bit easier. (wink)

My students bring a 3-ring binder to their lessons. Plastic baseball card sleeves provide a great way to keep up with the card collection.

This incentive worked quite well, and seemed to appeal across a wide variety of ages. Let me know if you try it!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Thoughts On Marking In Student Scores

I have a colleague who does not put markings on her students' scores. She wants them to notice dynamics, etc. without marking. She's very successful with her approach, and it's gotten me thinking about whether I'm making my students dependent on me. I mark a lot! So, I've developed a new approach that works for me. See what you think.

I just can't join the pristine page club. I mark my own music all the time. So, I am now having the student always mark their own music. Having them mark for themselves encourages them to own the problem themselves. I do insist that they use pencil, not pen or marker.

I'm also now making it a point to communicate overtly what the ultimate goal is -- that they see the expression marks without needing to highlight them. This is a principle of teaching that I find so helpful in general. Always make sure the student understands what the ultimate expectation is. They need to know before beginning the learning process what success looks and sounds like.

What are your thoughts about marking students' scores?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Fun End of Year Rhythm Activity

It's summer, and that means I have time again for blogging! Sometimes I feel that the school year is like a steady crescendo of activity from mezzo forte in September to fortississississimo by spring. Whew! I'm happy to be back to the peaceful mezzo piano of summer.

A few of my students last week enjoyed a fun rhythm activity that you might enjoy using as well. Are you familiar with The Cup Song? My 10-year-old daughter recently learned this rhythm trick with a cup from friends, and here she is:

She told me that it came from a song in the movie Pitch Perfect, but a little research revealed that the cup rhythm actually originated with Rich Mullins, a Christian artist.

Wherever it came from, it's great fun! So, on our last day of lessons, I had my daughter come in and demonstrate the rhythm (most of my students had heard it before). Then, I surprised them by asking them to notate the rhythm on paper. Depending on the level of the student, I asked them to treat the first two notes as either quarters or eighths. I also asked them to put an accent mark on each note that called for the cup to hit the table. A few of them needed a little help, but it was a great learning activity!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Left-Hand Alone Repertoire for Intermediate Students

One of my early intermediate students has developed a chronic problem with tendonitis in her right hand. After months of babying it, she is still no better and will now have to wear a cast for a period of time. This means that we've been searching out and playing repertoire for the left hand alone. In case you find yourself in a similar situation, I thought I'd share some of the resources we've found.

Vagabond Clouds just happens to have been composed by a friend of mine, Judy East Wells. She is a member of our local MTA and has published several pieces with Alfred. This is a beautiful piece, long-lined and lyrical. Because it covers a wide stretch of the keyboard, you'd never guess from the sound that it was for left hand alone.

Broken Arm Blues by Carolyn Miller was one of my student's fall recital pieces, and is a surefire winner for a pre-teen or teenager. Nocturne for the Left Hand by Catherine Rollin in another beautiful, lyrical piece with great opportunities for sensitive dynamics and phrasing. Both of these links take you to sites where these are available as digital downloads, great if you need something in a hurry.

Left Hand Solos, Book 1 comes from a series by John Schaum. These are nicely-arranged classical tunes, and they're on the Federation list.

Grand One-Hand Solos for Piano, Books 3-4, by Melody Bober are just right for my student, and I'll be ordering these soon. Alfred has provided some nice videos for these which make it really helpful to choose the right level. There are now five levels in this series. Books 1 and 2 provide teacher duets, but starting with level 3, they contain student solos.

One Piano, One Hand by Paul Sheftel sounds interesting - you can listen to snippets here. I've always enjoyed teaching his pieces, so I think I'll order this one, too. Pepper has it, and has many of the other pieces I've mentioned as well.

I hope you'll find these resources helpful! I'm getting no kickback from mentioning any of these pieces, and none of the links are affiliate links. If you know of some other great pieces or books to add to my list, please share them in the comments!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Studio Makeover

I'm happy to break my long blog silence with some pictures of my newly renovated studio! The photography's not great. I need a new camera, but I'm not going to wait until I get one to share the pictures since I'm greatly pleased with my new space! I don't even want to post the before pictures. You'll just have to take my word for it that this looks MUCH better!

This needed to be a makeover on a budget. Thanks to lots of internet research that turned up great sales and D.I.Y. ideas from Pinterest, I kept the cost down. The draperies 75% off! We already had the paint. Keep reading for D.I.Y. ideas.


I'm not digging the lime green file boxes anymore. They're just cardboard file boxes I covered with fabric to hold music. I'll fix them soon.  The art above the piano is actually a super large photocopy of a Clementi manuscript. I glued it to black foam core. You can get extra large copies made at most office supply stores. The whole project cost less than $20. Here's a tutorial for how to do it, and here's a closer shot.

I'm really proud of how this wall came out. I sewed the table cloth to cover a folding table. The front panel lifts up, and I have plastic bins stored underneath. The bulletin board had an oak frame which I panted black. The bookshelf is actually particle board. I tried painting it via these instructions. The exterior of the shelves seems to be holding up well, but when I tried to put the inside shelves back in, they scraped the paint on the inside. So, Modge Podge came to the rescue! I decoupaged the inside of the unit with old sheet music - it's actually an ancient score of the opera Othello. I found it for 50 cents at the Salvation Army store. Kinda sad, eh? At least some music lover can know that their old score is now bringing new life to a room where children are learning to love music. I also used pages as the background on the bulletin board. The turquoise notebooks are covered with fabric, thanks to this tutorial. It was cheaper to buy some fabric than to buy all matching binders. Finally, the turquoise box on top of the book shelf is a tissue box that I covered fabric to be a check drop box.

The art wall above the sofa features photography by my friend Kay. You can find more of her work here. I fell in love with this study she did of an old Remington typewriter. Earlier, I had purchased (again from the Salvation Army) an old college typewriting textbook from the 1930s. I framed some of the pages to go with the photos. I suppose it seems a little strange to put a typewriter on the wall of a piano studio - I certainly don't want my students to sound like they're typing! But, my room combines my love of writing, old things, and music, so it seems perfectly appropriate to me.  

I'm feeling really excited to get started with my new teaching year! I hope your studios are shaping up, too.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Cristina Beck who was chosen by to be the winner of a free download of Michael Dulin's Christmas At Our House! Cristina, you'll be receiving an email from Alberti Publishing soon!

If you really wanted this book, but didn't win, don't forget that you can purchase your own copy, or anything else you'd like from Alberti Publishing at 30% off until the end of December. Just use this code at checkout:  MDN280.

Thanks to everyone who participated!


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