why I love teaching piano

I just love teaching piano. It can be so rewarding and fun and energizing. Especially when my students love and enjoy it, too. In my mind, joy is a great indicator of how the lessons are going (obviously there are other factors - but really, if both you and the student are dreading lessons, I think it's safe to say they're not going so well...). If, overall, both you as a teacher and your students find joy in piano lessons, then I think you have success.

Think about it. What about teaching is a joy to you? Here is my little list I have compiled from my experience:
  • receiving cute thank-you cards from my students (aren't those the best??)
  • having a parent tell me their child has progressed so much with me
  • working on a challenging piece with an advanced or adult student, and helping them to really make music
  • when my students come to lessons with their practice card all filled up - they practiced every day - seriously, who can't love that?
  • when you realize your students look up to you, or they laugh at your jokes and think you're funny
  • when a student reaches a level where they can play really fun pieces
  • seeing that boost of confidence in a student when they have learned a piece well or achieved a goal
  • helping my students to LOVE music & the piano
  • feeling so energized and excited after teaching a great lesson
These are the things we should strive for! Let's be honest though, this is the ideal, and lessons don't always go this way. On the flip side we've got times like these, where teaching is not so much a joy:
  • when that one teenage boy is ten minutes late AGAIN and didn't practice yet AGAIN (even though you know he really has talent!)
  • when, despite your many efforts, a teenage student arrives to lesson with attitude AGAIN, and acts like she hates you (and I thought I was likeable...)
  • when the student doesn't even want to be there
  • when an overbearing parent tries to veto your assignments you've given the student (for no good reason) (yes this has happened)
  • when you send an oversensitive little student home in tears (after the nicest possible critique)
  • not being paid by the parents, and needing to physically go knock on their door for the money (that is a whole post in and of itself!)
  • waiting for no-shows (which I am doing at this very moment...)
For me, teaching should be a joy or there is no point. When teaching is not a joy, it becomes a chore and it is hard, let's be honest! However, I think that when we work harder to become better teachers, to be more organized, professional, prepared and positive, then the chances of it being a joy go way up. And that is what we should be continually striving for, right?

That is our hope with this blog - that by sharing insights, experiences and ideas, we will all be able to become better teachers for our students, that we will be able to bring the JOY back into teaching piano.

What makes teaching a joy for you? Any great stories to add to the lists above (I'd seriously love to hear them)? What do you think we can do to achieve more joy in our teaching? I'd love to hear from you!

hello, blog.

First post: ready go!

We are super excited to start this new blog. This blog came about for several reasons...

1. (since we have parallel lives) Janina and I were talking and found out we both wanted to make a cool blog. So we joined forces.
2. Julie & Julia is our new favorite movie. (yes, both of ours. we really do have parallel lives. we have rented it multiple times.) Julie makes blogging cool.
3. we both love piano and piano teaching.
4. we wanted a place where piano teachers could come together and talk. and help each other with teaching dilemmas/questions. and inspire each other. and commiserate about our students who don't like to practice.

So there you have it! We really hope you will visit often and leave some lovely comments. Aside from our posts of amazingness (hah), we will have some *awesome* regular contributors who will be posting periodically about different topics. We hope you will join in on the discussion, take our quizzes and polls, and tell us what you think!

Happy teaching!


Resources for Teaching Music Appreciation

Resources for Parental Participation

Sager, Jeanne. "Just Another Reason Helicopter Parents Need to Back Off." Strollerderby: The Mother of All Parenting Blogs. www.babble.com, October 2, 2008.
Zeigler, John M. and Nancy L. Ostromencki. "Tips - Your Child and Lessons." The Piano Education Page. pianoeducation.org, August 2, 1995.

Resources for Teaching Beginning Theory

Campbell, Anya. "Bea's Keys." Notes of Joy. Wordpress.com, March 3, 2010.
Campbell, Anya. "Playing for Jelly Beans." Notes of Joy. Wordpress.com, March 30, 2010.
Fink, Jennifer. "LEGO Rhythms." Jen's Piano Studio Blog. Wordpress.com. May 18, 2010.
Pfeifer, Robyn. "Making Music Fun." Teach Music Lessons, www.musicteachingsuccess.com. April 8, 2010.
"Food for Major Triads." Heidi's Piano Studio, http://heidispianonotes.blogspot.com. May 18, 2010. 
"Piano Preschool Snackmats." Heidi's Piano Studio, http://heidispianonotes.blogspot.com. May 18, 2010. 

Online Theory Trainers, Games, and Quizzes
Free online music theory drills & theory concepts to explore
Online piano games
Music information, quizzes and games
46 online music theory lessons
theory lessons, trainers, staff paper generator  
Ear training

Printable Worksheets & Tools
free tools, worksheets, sightreading genie, dictionary of terms, infinite supply of manuscript paper, rhythm machine, articles, music crosswords and games
AWESOME website with free printable worksheets, fun composer bios/crossword puzzles, etc.

fun & creative printable worksheets and certificates, teaching ideas

Ideas for Lessons
Music Education Lesson Plans: Music Theory
resources for music educators, lots of fun game ideas
creative, practical and up-to-date resources for the independent music teacher
a blog about teaching piano lessons
teaching resources, games, activities, ideas
wonderful ideas for lessons!

Theory Software
Piano & Music Theory Software Reviews
Review of Alfred's Theory Games
Have fun with music composition!
Jazz fun!

Resources for The Intermediate Student: Technique

Wickham, Natalie. "KMTA Conference - Beyond Scales and Hanon by Elizabeth M. Grace." Music Matters Blog. musicmattersblog.com, June 12, 2010.

Resources for The Intermediate Student: Repertoire

Resources for Teaching Articulation

Fink, Jennifer. "Playdough Articulations." Jen's Piano Studio Blog. Wordpress.com, May 3 2010.

Resources for Ear Training

Fink, Jennifer. "Listening TWISTER!" Jen's Piano Studio Blog. Wordpress.com, May 4, 2010.

Resources for Technology in the Studio

Campbell, Anya. "Building a Free Studio Website." Notes of Joy. WordPress.com, May 19, 2010.
Schweitzer, Karen. "137 Tech Resources for Teachers and Students." So You Want to Teach? Hope for Educators. www.soyouwanttoteach.com, May 21, 2010.

Resources for Your Studio Space

Banasiak, Natashia. "Studio Makeover." Notes from A to G Piano Studio.Wordpress.com, May 4, 2010.
Campbell, Anya. "Teaching From Home." Notes of Joy. Wordpress.com, February 25, 2010.
Lowe, Laura. "Five Tips for Studio Organization." The Piano Studio. Blogspot.com, January 22, 2010.

Resources for The Joy of Teaching

Campbell, Anya. "Fostering the Joy of Teaching." Notes of Joy. WordPress.com, March 8, 2010.
Campbell, Anya. "Spread the Joy!" Notes of Joy. WordPress.com, March 22, 2010.
Greer, Amy. "What's Love Got to Do With it?" American Music Teacher June/July 2005.
Morin, Joy. "The June Forum: Making Your Vocation a Vacation." Color In My Piano. colorinmypiano.com, June 8, 2010.
Wickham, Natalie. "KMTA Conference - Fostering a Love of Music by Nancy and Randall Faber." Music Matters Blog. musicmattersblog.com, June 11, 2010.

Resources for Setting Up Your Studio: Finding Students

Resources for Setting Up Your Studio: Studio Policies

Campbell, Anya. "Make-up Lessons Due to Snow." Notes of Joy. Wordpress.com, March 1, 2010.
Zeigler, John M. "Preparing an Effective Studio Policy." The Piano Education Page. pianoeducation.org.

Online payment system for music teachers.

Contributor Bio: Janina Herbert

Janina Herbert

she is from:

she is:
Mediterranean; happy; awesome

she attended:
Brigham Young University where she got her bachelor of music degree in piano performance, studying with Dr. Richard Anderson and Dr. Jeffrey Shumway

working on her Masters in Piano Performance, studying with Dr. Irene Peery-Fox

her studio:
she has taught for five years in Connecticut, LA and Utah; soon relocating to Idaho Falls to set up her studio there

she loves:
her husband Matt and son Aaron; chocolate in any form

she recently:
won an international piano competition in China!

read more:
read her more complete resume here

her posts:
click here to read all of Janina's articles on this blog! 

Resources for Method Books & Repertoire for Beginning Students

  • Johnson, Rebecca. "There's a new series in the music store - how do I evaluate it?" Clavier Companion. ClavierCompanion.com, September/October 2009, Vol. 1 No. 5.
  • Zeigler, John M. and Nancy Ostromencki. "Piano Teaching Methods." The Piano Education Page. PianoEducation.org, updated February 7, 2010.
Book Chapters

Resources for Ideas for Summer Teaching

Buys, Ann, editor. "Sharing Summer Ideas." PianoMorning. blog.pianomorning.com, May 10, 2010.
Wickham, Natalie. "Summer Is Just Around the Corner!" Music Matters Blog. Musicmattersblog.com, May 6, 2010.
Welles, Sheryl. "Marketing Summer Camps." Notable Music Studio. sherylwelles.blogspot.com, June 3, 2010.
Wickham, Natalie. "Summer Plans." Music Matters Blog. Musicmattersblog.com, June 3, 2010.

Resources for Practicing & Motivation

Fink, Jennifer. "Steps to Success." Jen's Piano Studio Blog. Wordpress.com, May 24, 2010.
Lowe, Laura. "Mystery Cards." The Piano Studio. http://lowepianostudio.blogspot.com, May 20, 2010.
Lowe, Laura. "This Year's Practice Incentive." The Piano Studio. http://lowepianostudio.blogspot.com, August 6, 2009.
Mohns, Mariel. "Practice Doesn't Make Perfect..." Fenwick Piano Studio. http://fenwickpianostudio.blogspot.com, July 19, 2010.
Morin, Joy. "3 Ways to Motivate Busy Students." Color in My Piano. colorinmypiano.com, September 4, 2009.
Morin, Joy. "A Peek into the Incentive Program Prize Box." Color in My Piano. colorinmypiano.com, June 3, 2010.
Savage, Barbara J. "A Practice Incentive Program." The Piano Education Page. pianoeducation.org, January 6, 2010.
Zeigler, John M. and Nancy L. Ostromencki. "Tips - Your Child and Lessons." The Piano Education Page. pianoeducation.org, August 2, 1995.
"Monster Candy Jar Practice Incentive." Heidi's Piano Studio. http://heidispianonotes.blogspot.com, May 25, 2010.
"Motivation and Piano Parties." Heidi's Piano Studio. http://heidispianonotes.blogspot.com, May 3, 2010.


Resources for Teaching Beginning Technique

Resources for Teaching a FIRST Lesson

Resources for Balancing Teaching & Family

Lowe, Laura. "Balancing Parenthood and Piano Teaching." The Piano Studio. Blogspot.com, March 17, 2010.
Lowe, Laura. "Life Organization for Piano Teachers: The Evening Meal." The Piano Studio. Blogspot.com, January 28, 2010.
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