Coming Soon…Spring 2015 Scheduling!

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Please check back here next Tuesday, December 16th at 10:00am for a calendar of my 2015 home studio teaching availability.

Once the calendar has posted, please send me an email listing a few times that would work for you. The sooner I hear from you, the better I will be able to accommodate your preferences!

Lessons will resume the first week of January!

 

Studio News: Bravo!

Congratulations are in order! On February 18th, Sophie, Karen, Sarah, and Picabo had the opportunity to perform at the CAPMT state conference as part of the Carnegie Hall Royal Conservatory Achievement Program 2012 California Celebration of Excellence Recital. The girls were invited to participate in the event because they each earned one of the highest scores in California for their exam levels last last year! Dr. Peter Simon, president of the Royal Conservatory, was on hand to give the keynote address and present the students with their certificates at the conclusion of the program. It was a big honor for the kids to meet him, as well as Dr. Jennifer Snow, the Chief Academic Officer of The Achievement Program.  Here we are with Dr. Snow after the performance…

While the conference was just a short drive away for me and for my students’ families, it was wonderful to hear some great performances by kids who had traveled from all over the state. Also, it is exciting to see that The Achievement Program curriculum is beginning to take root in California and throughout the United States!

Happy September!

Come on in and get inspired…

But first, you should wash your hands…

The hot seat is ready for you!

Wait! It doesn’t look like that anymore! This is much better.

a few hours at the sewing machine later...

Let the work fun begin!

hard work=fun!

Happy September, everybody!

Feels Like “Happy New Year!”

It is June 1st, but here in my corner of piano teacher land it feels a whole lot like January 1st. With the crazy race to the end of the semester finally complete, I sit here in that same post-holiday daze most people find themselves in come New Year’s morning. And it wouldn’t be New Year’s for me without lists! I don’t exactly bother writing resolutions in the usual sense, but I love looking back on the year and trying to think of all the highlights, changes, accomplishments…really, it is like retroactive resolution writing! I just look at all the good things that happened and pretend that I resolved to do them the previous year. Very gratifying, I tell you!
June 1st seems like a good day to apply this very activity to my teaching life, particularly because this past school year was one of many changes for my studio. Once I start musing it is tough to stop, so I warn you that this may turn into the first of several posts. Today we will stick to the concrete and tangible: (I’ll save my philosophizing for another day!)

Semester system billing

The biggest change I made last year was to switch to a semester/tuition system for my private teaching. I plotted out the entire school year calendar based on 36 lessons between September and May and had families pay a set monthly rate. Best decision ever.

Technique Practice Charts

I spent some time last summer planning out a more systematic way of introducing new technical elements for each of the National Music Certificate Program levels. I then created packets of weekly practice charts with checkboxes (oh the gratification of checking a box– no child can resist it!) to help kids track their technique practice. These charts still need some tweaking (summer project) but I’ll post them here sometime soon in case other folks find them to be helpful!

Lesson Notes in Excel

In the past, I have tried various systems of notebooks and such to keep lesson notes. This year I started doing my notes in Excel and though this is another work in progress area, I did a much better job of keeping track of student progress. Plus I could actually remember what happened at the previous week’s lesson!

Music lists on Sheetmusicplus.com

I wrote about this recently here. Ordering new materials became much easier with this system.

Ultimate Music Theory

I have been less than satisfied for a while now with the theory books out there and was thrilled to discover Ultimate Music Theory. As my students have started taking the NMCP Rudiments theory exams these books have been a huge help!

TonicTutor.com

TonicTutor.com is a charming music games website by Christine Donkin. This was my first year using the site and I found it to be a great means of getting my kids to practice ear-training and theory concepts on their own. It has been very neat to watch the site develop and I appreciate how quick the creators are to respond to input from teachers. Some of my kids really took to it and did their games consistently all year. Others were a bit more haphazard, and frankly I did not get into consistent routine with checking in myself. (New Year’s resolution maybe?)

MissLuba.com

Another really big change this year was my discovery of the internet. I mean, sure, I was already online all the time reading cooking and knitting blogs…But somehow it just never occurred to me until recently to investigate whether music teachers were out there in the ether too. I may save some of my poetic thoughts on this subject for my next “philosophical” New Year’s post, but really, I am just brimming with excitement over the amazing community I have discovered. Starting this site has been a fun adventure and I look forward to where it will take me in this New Year!

My Cozy Corner

Joy, over at Color in My Piano, started a great conversation about pianos and teaching spaces. I have enjoyed seeing photos of instruments and studios on many of my favorite blogs. So, I thought I would join in the show-and-tell!
Here is a shot of my “studio” (aka: one side of my living room in a small San Francisco apartment):

 

My piano is a Seiler upright, which was a gift from my parents when I graduated from Conservatory. We found it at the San Francisco Opera’s annual piano sale. Each year, the opera sells pianos that were used in practice rooms at the Opera House. I don’t know if many other organizations do such a thing, but here in San Francisco it is a great opportunity to find a gently used high quality instrument.

While I love my cozy corner, I dream of someday having a space devoted completely to teaching. That bookshelf you see on the left is overflowing with music (another bookshelf full of orchestral scores is on the other side of the room), and the little shelf on the right no longer holds all of my piano CDs which I like to have on hand to loan out to students. My current space also doesn’t allow for any sort of group lessons or studio class—something I would really like to offer in the future.
The good news is that in the meantime, I am blessed with a beautiful piano and very patient neighbors!