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How to Make Ornaments with old CD’s and Sheet Music

What you’ll need

  • CD-ROMs. As many as you can find. 
  • Old sheet music. Never say “no” to anyone who wants to give their old books to you. The yellowed paper is perfect for all kinds of crafts including this one.
  • Mod Podge. Get the bigger container, I had to run back to Hobby Lobby for another.
  • Sponge brushes
  • Ribbon. Figure about 15 ft of ribbon for every 10 ornaments.
  • Stickers if you like. In keeping with the neutral theme, I choose gold and silver stars, notes and music signs.
  • Gems. These definitely add some bling!
  • Glitter. Again, I just chose silver and gold in the large glitter so that it was easy to sweep up. Watch out, kids seem to get carried away with the glitter!


  1. On the back side, add a greeting of your choice.
  2. Turn over and cover the front side with a thin layer of Mod Podge.
  3. Cover the front with torn up sheet music. No worries, if it sticks over the edge. Trim the edges with a scissors when the ornaments are dry.
  4. Add stickers. Remember to add stickers sparingly to make room for other decor like glitter and gems.
  5. Mod Podge over this layer by dabbing it on with the brush.
  6. Add glitter and gems.
  7. Mod Podge over this layer by dabbing the brush.
  8. Let dry.
  9. Trim edges with scissors.
  10. Add ribbon.
  11. Enjoy!

Take a peek at the slide show below to see what each stage looks like.

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

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

Wisdom For A Decade

Here’s a post that I needed to hear today from my dear friend, Laura. We shared a dorm wing in college, the year 1992 as it was the year we both had babies a month apart, Colorado as our home state until just recently when she moved to Florida, the same Lord and the same passion to write, blog, speak…we also share the same star fish necklaces and call ourselves “star sisters.” May these nuggets of wisdom last you for decades.

88 Creative Keys in Denver: Should We Do It Again?

carter 2

My son is on the left, and nephew playing the bass line. They were lucky enough to be jamming with the lovely Wendy KA!

Since I’ve already offered plenty of posts about the 88 Creative Keys Camp at, I’ll limit this to two points:

First, I can’t resist listing at least 8 (88-80) highlights at the Denver 2014 camp

1) Seeing a kiddo’s eyes light up when he became privy to the secret of the pentatonic scale. While some of the other topics we covered were tricky for him, this 10-year-old was “all in” once he realized that a nickels-worth of notes were worth their weight in gold.

2) Meeting and befriending the campers of all three tracks. Everyone had such interesting backgrounds and diverse reasons for attending our camp. I made so many friends for life and look forward to reconnecting.

Read More

Tech Tuesday:

No time to write a post myself about this upcoming online conference but thankfully Jennifer Foxx has a terrific post that will fill you in on all the details. There’s still time to register but hurry, it starts tomorrow!

Clavier Companion Magazine Winners!

First, thanks to all who stopped by and left a practical teaching tip. I’ve The Piano Magazine NovDec coverincluded them below and also your kind words just because I do so appreciate them 🙂 Start reading and share in the wise insights of fellow teachers. 

-Practical tip: teach your students how to read and realize charts to reinforce theory and give them a practical skill!    -Henry

-Here is my tip for the world of piano pedagogy – People become interested in learning to play the piano because of the music they enjoy listening to. It stands to reason then, that the piano lesson be centered around learning how to play music the student enjoys. Thanks for all you do, Leila!     -Fame 1444

-Every day is a gift…so give every student something to smile about.     -Roxanne

-Using Fake Books for theory lessons and applied keyboard harmony eliminates the somber approach by substitution of fun learning of left hand accompaniment patterns, added harmonies in the melody and improvisational technics for youngsters and adults in their silver years.     -Deidre

-As music teachers, we often have the unique privilege of working with one student at a time. That 30 minutes or hour may be the only time during the week that the student has the undivided attention from an adult. The opportunity this time provides to be a positive influence on a student’s musical and personal development should be taken seriously. I have found that the more I understand my students as people first, the better I am able to assess their musical abilities and help them achieve their highest potential.     -Jennifer

-I have been teaching piano for more than 20 years and find the methods evolve to adapt to new learning styles & technology is becoming a headliner in the studio. Teachers need to keep reading & studying!     -Bernie

-There is always something new to method books to discover, new articles, even new ways to practice a certain piece. Sometimes it’s so easy to want to give up but at the end of one’s musical journey is a reward that is worth treasuring your whole life.     -Hannah

-My practical tip is to print off address labels with common practice directions (like “Play the left hand 3x PIAR” – perfectly in a row) so that you don’t have to continually rewrite the same directions for students. This has saved me TONS of lesson time!     -Lori

-I sing a rhyme to help the children learn their scale fingerings: right hand going up — 1 – 2- 3 SWING Climb up the tree. And coming down: Little to the thumb, 3 – 2- 1. (as in little finger to the thumb). It has helped a lot.     -Lynelle

-Leila, I have to second every word you said in praise of CC magazine. I am even more of a dinosaur, having subscribed to both parent magazines, Clavier and Keyboard Companion, for longer than I care to admit. I met the original founder of KC, Richard Chronister, at several workshops in the 70’s and ’80’s and corresponded with him as one of the users of his and David Kraehenbuhl’s Keyboard Arts course. I still have my early issues and I still go back and mind them for relevant teaching principles and tips. And congratulations to for joining the big dudes of piano pedagogy in CC! I have just received my dinosaurial print copy of the latest CC issue, and will now look through it for your first article. Yay, and way to go.     -Kathy G

-Always put yourself in your student’s shoes – set aside your preconceived ideas and biases and really listen to what your student needs. Allow yourself to discover alongside your students and you will continually learn, grow, and become immersed in the journey with them. This is so rewarding, you will continue to love teaching each and every day.                                                       -Leah

-My practical tip is … Each student should feel as if they are your ONLY student. The amount of care, attention, and focus you give them should make them feel as if they are your best, your favorite, your most exciting student. Make them feel special, and they’ll want nothing more than to be back at your bench, week after week.    -Leia


And the winners are (not based on tips, but on a random drawing):








Looking for a way to update your teaching?

Check out The iPad Piano Studio: Keys to Unlocking the Power of Apps

PS: thought I’d share my latest iPad accessory:

photo 2



Sight Read Plus App Giveaway

Oh my, sorry for the delay. I’ve been away.

The winner of the SightReadPlus app is…


Please claim your prize by leaving a comment below and I’ll give you the code for the free app!

Congratulations and thank you Melissa Harris of Cape Cod Music Apps, for providing the code and the wonderful app.

FYI: I am NEVER paid to provide review posts at I’m happy to share my thoughts about apps I find worthwhile.


Need to keep track of all these great resources. Reblogging the post will help me (and you) find it fast!

World War II Vet Still at the Piano

In honor of Memorial Day and a very special Veteran…

It has been my privilege to see Don Fullerton for a good number of years at my piano bench. He usually arrives every other week and we spend the hour rehearsing ensembles with his friend Stuart. Here’s a video of one of their latest accomplishments as the self-named “Octogenarian Duo”. Don is in the blue playing the secondo part.

At 85+ years old, Don not only enjoys playing duets, he plays Chopin, Gershwin and others, and can also play any tune by ear (especially those from the 40’s and 50’s) with style and pizazz. His smile and enthusiasm for life never stops even though his body doesn’t always enjoy “keeping up” with his activities.

Don is a World War II vet and has many stories. As an 18-year old, he rode past German camps on a tank and his right ear (his riffle ear) suffers from significant hearing loss.

As I walked out with my cart of groceries today–the Friday before Memorial Day, two fine gentlemen were collecting money for Veterans of Foreign Wars and handed me a poppy after I gave some pocket change. It reminded me that this is not just another holiday weekend, this is a time to remember those who have served our country…

Don playing at Whole Foods, entertaining the crowd

I am privileged to honor Don for his time as a soldier for this country and grateful that he continues to pursue his love of music at my piano bench.

Thank you Don for you service, your smile and your inspiration.