Music, My Life, Travel

Boston Trip

I just thought I’d share a few photo highlights from my recent Boston trip. My friend Amy Chaplin (of and I drove well over 10 hours from our respective homes in Indiana and Ohio to receive training in the Piano Certification Course sponsored by the Gordon Institute of Music Learning (GIML).

Here is a photo of Amy and I standing in front of Brookline Music School, which is hosting the training.

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Brookline Music School is a nonprofit which has been in operation for over 90 years. Their building is a beautiful old Victorian home.

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We are learning so much. Each day, we arrive at Brookline Music School by 9am. The day’s activities wrap-up at 4:30pm. We have a 45-minute lunch break each day. It was like being back in school!

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Each evening, there are reading assignments and other assignments. It’s a very intensive course. We are learning so much.

During class, we move, sing, chant rhythms, listen to lectures, discuss, share, ask questions, etc…. It’s wonderful.

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Our teachers for this course were Marilyn Lowe, Jennifer Fisher, and intern Janna Olson.

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Marilyn is the author of the Music Moves for Piano method, the only piano method to-date that is based on Edwin Gordon’s work.

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We spent class time listening to lectures, discussing learning theories, and participating in movement and singing activities.

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In the evenings, we studied and read from Dr. Gordon’s tome, “Learning Sequences in Music.” Eating cannoli made the studying even sweeter.

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Each day, we were assigned to compose a melody in a particular mode (major, harmonic minor, dorian, phrygian, etc.). The following day, we shared our melodies with the group.

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Between the two weeks of training, we found time to explore Boston.

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Here we are exploring the Harvard campus in Cambridge.

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And here is a group of us enjoying dinner at a classmate’s home nearby. (Thanks for hosting, Rachel!)

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Here I am with Marilyn, after receiving certification.

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And here I am with my travel buddy, Amy Chaplin of

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By the way, Amy and I used to find a place to stay during the course. This was our first experience using Airbnb, and I can happily say it was a positive one. We stayed in a third story of an old Victorian home. Our apartment was absolutely perfect for us. I definitely intend to use airbnb for future trips.

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Here is a group photo of our entire class.

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In upcoming weeks and months, I look forward to incorporating what I learned into my teaching. Music Learning Theory (MLT) is an incredible philosophy with huge implications for our teaching. There are going to be a number of things that will be changing about my teaching going forward as a result of becoming more familiar with MLT.

Music, What I'm Up To

Piano Studio Room Remodel

Paul & I bought a house.  How exciting!

Most of the house has been beautifully updated.  However, we did want to do some updating ourselves to the family room  downstairs, which is going to be my piano studio room.

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The walls have paneling.

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And those light fixtures are straight out of the seventies.

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It is a nice, large room for my studio, though!

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Love the fireplace.  The tile flooring is nice, too.  Lots of potential.

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The doors lead to this patio which is under the deck.

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This weekend, my mom and sister (plus her two boys) drove down to help us paint the room.  Here is a photo of the room with a coat of primer and the trim painting white.

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Notice my new light fixtures?  And the three paint samples on the wall?  We decided to go with the top paint sample. We ended up removing the mantelpiece over the fireplace.  The wall around the fireplace will be painted blue to create an accent wall.

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Here is a photo of the room with a coat of the light gray on the walls.  It’s coming together!

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My sister and I, proud of our handiwork!  The paint job and the new light fixtures really brighten up the room.  Can’t wait to get my piano in here.

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Later, I’ll try to share photos of the rest of the house.


Music of the World camp

Last week, I held my third and final summer music camp for my students.  This one was called the “Music of the World” camp.  My goal for this camp was for my students to realize and appreciate how different the rest of the world is from our own American culture through experiencing the culture and music of four specific countries.  Each day, we visited a different country: Australia, China, Ghana, and Peru.


Students decorated their own African drums made from recycled canisters (coffee, oatmeal, etc.).


For Australia, we made our own didgeridoos.


We made gongs when we visited China.


And we made Andean panflutes out of straws and tape when we visited Peru.


Some students said this was their favorite camp of the summer, mostly because they got to make their own instruments!


Music, What I'm Up To

Conference Fun

Last week, I attended the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP) — an awesome conference for piano teachers that takes place in Lombard, Illinois (which is about 30-minutes west of Chicago).  Here is a photo of me with my 3 roommates (including my cousin and a friend from grad school) plus a new friend from Vancouver.


One evening, we had dinner at a delicious Italian restaurant.


During one of the sessions the next day, I ran into the same two ladies again.  They are familiar with my blog about piano teaching and have even used my music history curriculum for their own music history camps!


The next night, my roommates and I ate at a Greek Restaurant.  Yum!


In the exhibit hall at the conference, I browsed lots of books and games for piano teaching and even was able to meet some composers of music for students to play.


I learned so much at the sessions I attended.  I have already started using some of the things I learned as I taught lessons so far this week!

My roommates and I are hoping to attend this particular conference again when it is held again in 2015.  🙂