Saturday, August 18, 2018


I kept a student's theory book for the week to check a bunch of pages.  She sometimes writes me notes, and today I found a good one!
It says, "Found a pencil! Victory! (I'm at my cousin's house.)"  How cute it that?

In other news, it was an exciting summer because I got a new piano! Out with the old...
It's the piano I've had since I started taking lessons.  It's a Winter, circa early 70's?, and I gave it to one of my students who doesn't have a piano.  My dad thinks they paid $800 for it in the mid-70's, so we figure they got their money's worth.

And in with the new!!! I saw an ad on Facebook that a music studio about 40 miles away was having a going out of business sale.  I drove down, hoping to get some good deals on method books and repertoire (which I did).  The owner said she needed to sell her pianos, too, and after thinking about it for a week or so, and asking the Bank of Dad for a loan, I made an offer.  It was lower than she had hoped, but if no one else bought it, she'd sell it to me for that price.  This is a Kawai from Japan, built in 1978.  Growing up, my piano teacher sold this brand at her store, so I feel like it was meant to be.

The only other update I have is that it is time to set my fall schedule, and it always stresses me out.  I have students who have been MIA all summer, yet they want prime spots during the school year.  Ugh... it seems like piano lessons fall to the bottom of the scheduling priority for families, after football/dance/art/soccer/and whatever else they are studying.  Sigh...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Adult Student

I have an adult student who comes on Wednesday evenings, either at 5:30 or 7 PM, depending on his meeting schedule.  He is awesome, and I love his lessons.  He actually practices!

He came in last night at 7 and said, "I have to tell you something that you've probably never heard from a student before:  I had a couple glasses of wine with dinner.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to play!"

It was too funny! I had a beer with my dinner, which I usually don't do if I have children coming for lessons.  But it was just David, so I felt okay about it.  Apparently, he did, too!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


A new adult student started lessons tonight.  He was wonderful!!! I am so excited for him, and I hope he sticks with it.  He had some experience with music back in middle and high school, and a little after college, but nothing stuck.  He did really well understanding fingerings

Sunday, November 11, 2012

New Updates

Oh, I can't belive it's been almost a year since I have written.  So many things have happened, both good and bad, with my studio this year.
In my last post, I wrote about a new student (not the middleschooler) who came to his first lesson 15 minutes late.  Well, we had a bunch of lessons over about 6 months, but no lessons over the summer.  This fall, I counseled the parent out of continuing lessons.  It was really more her problem than the child's--she was rarely on time, they came without books, skipped lessons altogether, etc.  It's for the better, and maybe when the little one is older, they'll try again.
The student, M, who I wrote about last year also quit lessons this fall.  It was very sad.  I cried at her last lesson, and so did her mom.  It's true that she just wasn't progressing.  And she was getting frustrated.  I don't know why.  I had tried a couple of different strategies with her, but nothing really worked.  She's going to try the flute, and I hope that she experiences success with it.
I have 13 students this school year, which is a good number for me to handle.  I wish they weren't quite spread out over 4 days, but it is what it is.  I guess it's good that I only teach two or three lessons a day throughout the week.
I enrolled some boys in a Boys Only Recital sponsored by our local Music Society.  They boys did really well, and it was great for them to hear other boys play.  The advanced ones were really amazing, and I know it inspired my students.  I am sometimes concerned that the other teachers in the society won't appreciate my studio practices, but it works for me and my students and their families.
Our Christmas recital is coming up in a couple of weeks, on December 3 and I hope that we're all prepared.  Yikes!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fall/Winter Updates

Time just flies by.  I am continually amazed that the only constant in life, time, just never seems like it is.  So much has gone on the past few months.
First, the students who inspired this blog have quit piano.  It was rather abrupt, which I was unhappy about (I found out on their lesson day), but I suppose that life's circumstances sometimes get in the way of piano.  The mom said that her parents had been paying for the lessons and they decided they could no longer do that.  I heard from a friend of the parent that she was just "tired of fighting the kids all the time" to practice.  And I heard from someone else that the parents are in the process of divorcing.  Any one of those things could have happened, and I actually suspect it's all three.  It's very true that the students weren't progressing--I could tell they spent very little time at the piano between lessons, but they are sweet children and I do miss seeing them.

Of couse, I immediately got requests from other families (who were referred by the above mom!), and I took two new students, both boys, which I always find interesting.  One of them had one lesson, arrived 15 minutes late, and then went home the following week sick from school and didn't have a lesson, and then last week was still on Thanksgiving break.  The other just had his first lesson on Thursday and it went very well.  He's a middle-schooler and has been playing for some time.  He came from the same teacher as the students who caused me to write this blog in the beginning, and I am seeing the same weaknesses.  Interesting...We're going to tackle that right away this time. 

I shuffled around a few other students because of scheduling things, and that's working out well.  On Mondays, I have 45 minutes free from 6-6:45, which is a perfect time to eat dinner and then teach two more lessons.

We're gearing up for our Christmas recital on December 18, and that's exciting.  I've worked a lot on my studio website, and even added a page for "virtual recitals".  I think families like sharing this with relatives far and near. 

One thing I noticed with a student, M, is that the same Christmas book she had last year and struggled with, she is still struggling with.  This was a real eye-opener for me, and I'm not sure what to do about it.  Does it mean she's not progressing?  I know that she works more slowly than others, but I'm spending a lot of time thinking about her playing. Her mom plays piano, and I think we'll have an email discussion about it.  I find that keeping parents in the loop is always appreciated, and since they see things day-to-day, whereas I only see the kids once a week, they can often have helpful input.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Getting ready for fall

Things are working out well with the fall schedule.  I had one student choose to not restart piano lessons; she's going to try tennis instead! I don't begrudge it when kids don't come back to piano, especially when they give it up to try something else.  I think that being a kid is all about exploring different interests and different opportunities.  I know there are plenty of people who feel exactly the opposite and that kids need to pick one thing and devote everything they have to it, but that's just not my thinking. And since I'm friends with her mom, I know that we'll all stay in touch and that maybe she'll come back to piano someday.

I will have 14 students, and two of them will come every other week.  Two others, who are taking lessons on an evening that I have a school meeting once a month, will miss that one week each month.  It's not ideal, but it happened this past year with my Monday students, and it actually worked out better than any of us thought.  Both sets of parents told me that they liked having the break once a month, and since we all knew the schedule ahead of time, I was able to assign the kids a little extra work when they had two weeks between lessons.

Monday: C&S, K&D, K&K (every other week)
Tuesday: R, Z&J
Weds: J,J,&D
Thurs: R&M

I stress out about stuff like this every year, and every year it works out.  Why do I stress?!?! In other news, I printed out membership applications for two music associations, one local and one national.  If I have this active a studio and plan to continue it, then I should join some professional organizations.  So that is something different for me.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cutting loose

When is it time to cut loose a song that a student is not making any progress on?  I did it this week with the brother/sister duo who inspired this blog, and I have to say, it felt pretty good.  I am sure it felt even better to them.  Why should one song frustrate kids to the point they don't want to play?  I'm pretty sure it was the wrong song at the wong time, and I'm willing to say that to the kids.  Some I've picked, some they've picked, but no one is to blame.  Certainly, we've learned from the experience, and that's good.  But it's also good to take a step back, simplify, take a breather from what frustrates us.