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.  🙂

What I'm Up To

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!


What I'm Up To

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.


My Life

“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.

My Life

My Grand Keyboard

Just thought I’d share with you my wonderful new grand keyboard.

I found it on Craigslist for $350.  The guy selling it was from Traverse City, but was willing to meet us in Cadillac.  We hauled the 65-pound thing into Burger King (you should have seen the faces of the employees behind the counter), plugged it in, and I tested out all the keys and the foot pedal.  That’s the first — and probably the last — time I’ve played piano in a fast food restaurant.

Classes started up on Monday.  We are getting into the groove of things.  I’m glad to have this keyboard so I can practice my accompanying repertoire at home in the evenings.  I try to practice my solo repertoire only on the grand pianos on campus.  Better for my technique, you know.

Notice the wonderful set-up in the photo.  Yes, that is the dining room table.  Eventually, I’ll get a stand for it (probably on Craigslist again) and I wouldn’t mind a new pedal eventually too (this one is practically worthless).  But hey, we consider ourselves pretty fortunate: There aren’t many people who can say they have dinner with their keyboard every evening.


Student Composition Recital

On Friday, April 3, a Student Composition Recital was held at my college.  Two of my pieces were performed!  

From Random Pics 2009

Here’s my horn solo with French horn accompaniment…

From Random Pics 2009

And here’s my ensemble piece, featuring flute, clarinet, horn, violin, cello, and piano.  

From Random Pics 2009

My hubby managed to surprise me with roses as usual…  :]  They’re beautiful!