Author - Leila Viss

How two teachers created a dynamic Baroque Bash and guess what’s coming soon!

mrbach

How do you invite 21st-century digital natives into the culture and music of powdered-wig times? You hold a Baroque Bash! I did last year and blogged about it. It never dawned on me that other teachers would follow suit and amplify my ideas into something bigger and much better!

Here’s Hannah Greiner to tell us more about the Baroque Bash she produced with fellow teacher, Susan Hamblin-Dennis.

Make sure to watch the video at the end of the post…there’s something coming soon that will help your studio GO Baroque!

-Leila


For most piano teachers, their personal experience with piano lessons as a child probably revolved around learning technique (scales, chords, arpeggios, etc.), repertoire, sight reading, and ear training. These lessons would be at a teacher’s studio, and these activities would occur on the piano bench.

In my lessons, a teacher would sometimes offer stickers for playing a piece well. One of my teachers even offered a “treasure chest” with goodies from the dollar store if I earned enough “A’s” on my assignments (this was such a highlight for me!).

Any historical information was generally taught from a textbook or from the teacher explaining the background behind a piece.

As a piano teacher now, there are SO many resources and ideas from creative teachers around the world, and many activities can happen “off-the-bench.”

My colleague, Susan Hamblin-Dennis, had an idea to implement Leila Viss’s “Going Baroque” idea for our piano students.

We loved Leila’s idea of exposing students to what is typically a “boring” era in music. We wanted to find ways to immerse our students in the Baroque environment and make it fresh and relevant to them.

There were several important aspects we wanted our students to experience: Read More

Group Piano: What it IS and What it ISN’T

what-it-is

On the fence about whether group instruction is right for you? Not sure what format you should use? Good friend and colleague, Marie Lee has some strong opinions on this topic as she should. I consider her an expert in group piano instruction–check out the programs at her Musicality Schools. You can learn more about her experience here or just keep reading and hear what is and what isn’t group piano class.

-Leila


As piano teachers realize that YES, they can make a good living teaching piano, the subject of group classes comes up as a way of increasing studio size and income. But what exactly IS a group class? And what is it NOT? Read More

Feeling the BEET with Edwin Gordon’s Music Learning Theory

feel-the

Edwin Gordon’s highly recognized and esteemed research leading to the Music Learning Theory (MLT) is defined as

“An explanation and description of appropriate ways students learn one or more styles of music.” p5 of Quick and Easy Introductions by Edwin Gordon

It is not a teaching method that you purchase and follow exclusively. YOU can apply and integrate MLT into your current teaching method, NOW. This is great news! You don’t need to reinvent your approach to enhance it with the MLT philosophy. Keep reading and I’ll explain how. Read More

Can you carve out a career by ear?

jdmpcldp

Jake Mirow is one of those students you don’t forget. Don’t get me wrong, I treasure all my current and former students but Jake was different. In fact, that’s how Jake came to my studio, because his mom and dad knew he was different and that he needed something different.

What does different mean? Jake has an uncanny ability to play by ear with style and flair. The best way to explain it? He’s hard-wired differently than most.

Example? After seeing the movie Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey in 2009, Jake returned to his lesson and played a jaw-dropping medley of the soundtrack. It’s like his ears have a photographic memory?!?

Mmm….what does a classically trained pianist trying to get over her own fear of improvising do with a student like Jake? Read More

Two Big Changes for Me and The Benefits for You

300-du-seal-lamont-logo

Opportunity knocked two times this spring.

#1

The first opportunity that will make a significant impact in my work week is a position banner-192-20130306132137I recently accepted at the University of Denver, Lamont School of Music. I’m pleased and honored to be heading up their Piano Preparatory program. I’ll be collaborating with Chee-Hwa Tan, colleague, good friend and brilliant pedagogy professor at the university. I’ll also be working with and mentoring graduate students as we provide group and private lesson instruction to youngsters around the ages of 6-11. I’ll be working in this beautiful building on the lovely DU campus.

How does this change for me benefit you? Read More

What happens when the regular recital venue isn’t available?

img_7600

When God closes a door He opens a window.

It’s a cliche, I know, but it seems so fitting for my recital experience this spring!

Two composers holding their original cover art and recital trophies

Two composers holding their original cover art and recital trophies

Earlier this year, I learned that after a decade of presenting recitals at the church where I hold a full-time organist position, I would not be able to this year.

After I calmed down and stopped fuming about it–my friend and I made a pact that you can hold on to feelings like this for no longer than a week–I told myself I had to begin thinking outside the box and beyond the closed door.

My thoughts

Another church sanctuary just wouldn’t be the same.

I’ve held informal recitals at the local Whole Foods but it’s noisy and not the intimate setting I wanted for my event.

Then it came to me Read More

Marie’s Secret Sauce for Getting New Students

18280622_711295362386866_1600936195_n

NEWSFLASH! Marie Lee (good friend and featured here at 88pianokeys.me) is writing a happy-music-camp-01group teaching resource for the Piano Teacher Planning Center! I, along with many others, can’t wait to learn from this long-time expert in group teaching.

In this post, Marie gives us a taste of what’s to come.

Even if you are not interested in teaching piano in groups, you will want to read Marie’s article for great tips on how to grow your studio during the summer. She shares her “secret sauce” –a brilliant way of getting more students in the door during the summer months. Also, keep reading so you learn how to market this “secret sauce.”

Take it away, Marie… Read More

Paul Myatt: One more reason to attend 88 Creative Keys Workshop

paul-myatt-e1482873337862-300x297
Launching an independent, tech-savvy, creative-based piano studio has been a dream come true for me.

Some dream bigger.

Over the last ten years, I’ve had the itch to move out, rent space, teach more group lessons and hire fellow teachers but I haven’t followed through for multiple reasons. Those who do are such an inspiration to me.

Some dream even bigger!

Paul Myatt not only co-founded and directs a successful, multi-teacher school, he’s franchised it! His Forte Music Schools which feature innovative group teaching, are located throughout Australia, New Zealand and have spread to the United Kingdom. I first saw Paul in action at Tim Topham’s blog. Follow this link to learn Paul’s Five Secret Ingredients to Successful Group Teaching.

Listen to all or part of this video to see and hear Paul in action. Read More

Share your sizzling hot summer studio plans in STYLE

2019-2

Andrea West has just rolled out irresistible graphics for your summer programs. With all the options and variety I believe you’ll find it difficult to choose just one! In addition, she’s created a free template to help you produce a professional looking summer brochure. 

Here’s Andrea with all the details.


Many of us are still planning our spring recitals, while some are basking in the afterglow of another successful event.

Regardless, we all know that looming just around the corner is…SUMMER.piano-is-a-journey-01

It’s that laid back time of year when parents try to find a balance between a flexible care-free schedule and just enough structure to keep their kiddos from getting bored. That’s why so many parents look to camps: vacation Bible school, sports camps, and of course, your Piano Camp (or at least lessons!)

It’s definitely time to promote your summer music program to interested parents if you haven’t already.

Begin by sharing the fun and exciting things you’ll be offering with your current student families. If you are looking to add new students, remember that enthusiastic referrals from your current students who adore you is your TOP marketing strategy. Providing your families a colorful brochure, flyer or email showcasing your summer program will make it easy for them to share the news with others.

In addition, you’ll want to generate excitement through your website and social media outlets like Facebook.

To help with these tasks, I’ve created some special cover art for your summer camp brochures. They are formatted so they can also be used on your website and on Facebook.

There are a variety of eye-catching designs to choose from that will grab the attention of your students and their families. All you have to do is add your studio branding with a title and your personalized content.

If you want help on how to do this, enter your first name and email address below to get a template you can use with the design of your choice.

Check out all the designs in the slide show below

Read More

New Arrangement for Piano Solo: “It is Well”

it-is-well

Perhaps you know the tragic story behind the lyrics of the hymn, When Peace Like a River? They were penned in 1876 by Horatio G. Spafford after losing four daughters in a shipwreck. His wife survived the wreck. This was just one of many tragedies this couple endured. You can read more about their life here.

Unfortunately, and as you know, tragedies are a common occurrence. I’m surrounded by family and a community in which I witness the faithfulness of saints—despite dire circumstances—on a daily basis.

Photo by Joanne Alberda

Photo by Joanne Alberda

“A river might bring to mind a damaging flood, but the paradox of being flooded by peace is the rich insight of the poet.”   – Joanne Alberda

The testimony of saints who persevere and profess “it is well” although it may seem anything but, inspired me to write this arrangement. You’ll hear calm waters, ripples growing into rushing rapids, the rolling of sea billows and the trumpets resounding.  The simple yet profound tune composed by Philip Bliss, lends itself to wonderful possibilities for harmonic and rhythmic color! Read More