Tag Archives: music

Creating Composers

This week, I held another summer camp for my piano students.  It was called, “So, You Want To Be A Composer?”  I came up with all kinds of creative ways to compose and notate compositions, and we had a fun week!  At the end of the week, I gave them each a certificate saying, “Congratulations!  You are now a composer!”  🙂

Here’s where all the magic happened:


Music in the Manor

Today, I attended a meeting of the Toledo Piano Teachers Association. It was our last meeting of the year, which traditionally is held at the Wildwood Metropark’s Manor House. The manor is a big, beautiful house built in the 1930’s by the Stranahans, a wealthy family who owned the Champion Spark Plug Company. The Stranahan family eventually gave the house with all its gardens and wooded land to the city to make it into the park it is today. The manor is open for tours or can be rented for various events — such as our TPTA meeting. Instead of a presentation about piano teaching, our last meeting of the year features a performance of some kind. Today, we heard the Gesalt Trio, a group of young musicians from the Cleveland Institute of Music. The pianist was a student of a couple of our organization’s teachers as she was growing up. Here’s the room where the performance took place:


The other rooms I peeked into look just as beautiful. I’d like to come back another time for a full look at the whole house and the gardens! (Psssst — Mom, we need to see if there are any geocaches around here!)

Piano Teaching Studio Tour

Today I’m proud to take you on the penny tour… 🙂

My husband and I feel so blessed to have found this adorable old house to rent. 

Follow me up the front stairs towards the porch, and you’ll pass this pot of pansies – my favorite!  I bought them on clearance at Wal-Mart for a dollar each, and put them into a couple of pots we had lying around.

After walking through the enclosed porch, we are now in the living room which also serves as a waiting area for the piano studio.  And, yes, you can see my Kawai from here!  We are using the dining room as my piano studio, since the kitchen is large enough to hold our small dining room table.

I love all the woodwork in this old house.  They don’t make ’em like they used to!!

The fireplace in the living room is non-functional, but I love how it looks!

The dining room teaching studio has a built-in drawers and cabinets, perfect for storing sheet music and music games!

Perfect fit!

…some random stuff I hope to use during monthly group lessons and Piano Readiness Classes.  🙂

That doorway leads into the kitchen.  The door on the right is a hallway leading to two bedrooms and the bathroom.

My studio bulletin board currently features some of the thank you cards I received from students before we moved away.  🙁  Hopefully soon it will also feature photos of new students here in Ohio!

Here’s where I sit while teaching.  It’s just a folding chair for now, but eventually I hope to replace it with a comfy computer chair.  The bookshelf is the studio lending library.  The little filing cabinet and the black binder on top of it helps keep me organized.  🙂

The piano came with this little stool.  I’m think I’m going to ask my mom to help me make a cushion for it, because it does get rather hard after awhile.  The good thing, though, it that it is adjustable in height which is great for young students!

The ivories (yes, real ivories!) are in near perfect condition.

I love my piano teaching studio!  I couldn’t have imagined a better setup.  What a blessing!


My Piano Purchase

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated this photo blog, and a lot has happened!  Paul and I graduated with our master’s degrees, and have freshly become Ohioans.  There are a lot of photos I didn’t put up in the meantime but rather than go back and do those, I’m jumping onward to the present.  Here’s the full scoop on my recent piano purchase!

I’ve been shopping on Craigslist for quite some time, and I learned that a lot of piano shopping is about personal preference.  My husband and I looked at an absolutely breathtaking Knabe (this one is fun to say: “Kuh-KNOB-ee”) from the 1920’s, for example, but as soon as I played a few notes I knew it wasn’t the piano for me.  Somehow, it just didn’t grab me.  I wanted to find something that I would love to sit down and play.

Then, we looked at a 5’7” Kawai…..

The owner was asking $3500.  It was built in 1966, and the inside parts and the finish are all in original condition.  I could see it probably needed a little bit of work, but I really, really liked the touch.  It was fun to play!

I hired a registered piano technician to inspect the piano for me before I bought it.  The technician confirmed that it does need some work, but we were able to talk the owner down to $2500.  My new piano was delivered Friday!

Sorry the photos are a bit grainy…I used the camera in my iPod Touch.

And here I am enjoying my new piano!  Part of me still can’t believe I’m now a piano owner.  How cool is that?!

A photo tour of the house we are renting is coming soon – stay tuned.


“Childhood Favorites” Recital

On campus, we held a fun little “Childhood Favorites” Recital as a collegiate chapter Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) event.

Here is the piano.

Paul helps with set-up and demonstrates his wild piano-playing abilities (or lack thereof).

The performers look ready!

This piano grad student starts things off with “Little Indian Lance,” complete with a feather band.

Next, I serenaded the crowd with “Holiday Parade.”

Other performers followed with hits like “Clowns,” “Minuet in G,” “Malaguena,” and more.

Loretta & I then played “C.S. Theme and Variations”….what a riot!

And the piano professors rounded things off with a lovely Fauré duet.

Curiosity Almost Killed the Kitty

This is my baby baby grand piano.  And this is my cat.

It is a toy piano.  The black keys are not real.  They are just painted on.

The cat is not a toy.  She is real.

The cat is very curious.  She wants to learn to play the toy piano very badly, but she is easily distracted.

She wants to know how the piano works inside.  She thinks that when I press down a key, a little mouse runs inside the piano and plinks the string.  “How does he know which string to plink?” she wonders.

I try to explain to her how the mechanisms inside the toy piano work, but she likes to believe her Mouse Theory instead.

I am bound and determined to teach this cat how to play the toy piano.

Some of the time, she is a good student.  We are slowly making progress.