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.


Fossil Finding

There is a park near Toledo where you can find and take home fossils.  We thought this might be something my nephews might enjoy, so we visited there with our visitors last week.


This employee proudly showed off his fossil collection to us.


Then we started some digging ourselves.


We did manage to find a few brachiopod fossils, which look a lot like shells.  The boys mostly had fun running around and climbing the dirt piles.


They were pretty dirty by the time we were done!



Fun at the Imagination Station

On the Fourth of July, we visited the Imagination Station — the science museum for kids where Paul now has a job.


Here, Dalton mimics the image on the window from the Grossology exhibit.


Playing Operation!


Lance LOVED the play area where he could dress up as a firefighter.


I think Dalton liked the grocery store area the best.  Notice how full his cart is!


We took a break at lunchtime to eat outdoors.


Another exhibit in the museum.


We even witnessed a science experiment involving liquid nitrogen and tons of little plastic balls!


What a fun day!  Later that night, Dalton asked three times: “Can we go back to the museum?”



February Fun

I found some fun photos from February.  Paul & I went with Mom & Dad to see the Titanic exhibit at the GR Public Museum.


The Titanic exhibit was awesome.  Photos weren’t allowed in that area, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.


We saw quite of few of the regular exhibits, too.


And in conjunction with the Titanic exhibit, they also had an exhibit going about sunken ships in various lakes (particularly the Great Lakes).  It was pretty interesting.  Paul enjoyed playing this interactive game:


In the stuffed animal area, Mom almost got bit by this possum. haha.


We walked through the furniture section…


And the old Grand Rapids town area…


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Getting tickets at the train station…


Boarding the trolley…


Admiring the whale skeleton from below. DSC_20130223_112529

We also managed to catch a free ride on the carousel   More pics about that tomorrow!


Food, My Life

Toledo Adventure

To celebrate Paul’s freedom from schoolwork and grading, we took a little adventure into Toledo earlier this week.  We first visiting a used bookstore that I had heard good things about:


It was HUGE inside, and there were lots of great books to browse.  We took a little stack of books home with us.


Then, we went for lunch at a Korean restaurant.  The food was DELICIOUS.


It was fun to get out-of-town and do something fun and different!