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Promoting A Message of Body Positivity in My Music Studio  

“Look!” said my 4-year- old piano student. “I set up the bench for us!” And he had. He'd set the bench  exactly like I do when we're going to share it. I set it sort of cockeyed to the piano so that he can sit up close where he needs to and I can sit farther away. He said, “I did it this way because you are fat and need to be farther away, and I am thin, and I need to be closer.” His nanny cringed in the background, her little charge having called out something that in polite society we “aren't supposed to…

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Teaching Piano to Preschoolers 

I'm really not an expert on this topic. I have, however, learned a lot through trial and error, and this year and last my studio has gotten a huge infusion of Pre-K children whose parents have asked for private piano instruction. And so, people who know this have asked me for advice on teaching their preschool students. This is meant to be a survey of my thoughts on it and a list of things that have worked for me.  Truthfully, a long time ago, I'd have said that no child should start piano before first…Read more

How to Quit Piano Lessons 

Well, folks, we've made it. The recital is over. There are only a few more weeks of school left. The end of the year is upon us. It's the time of year when, as activities are winding down, parents start to think about which of those activities their kids will commit to for the upcoming school year. It's one of the times of year when I'm likely, as a private music teacher, to see turnover in my studio.

I've thought about writing this for a long time. Through online teacher communities and attendance at…Read more

My Cabbage Patch Kid Plays Piano 

Every now and then one of my piano students' parents asks me, "We have all these old piano books... what should I do with them?"

That question always torments me. On one hand, I understand that pianists tend to accumulate a whole lot of music and though I seem to consistently fail at decluttering, other people are quite good at it and don't want books hanging around that their kids aren't going to touch ever again. On the other hand, there's a part of me that wants to scream, "Keeeeeeeep themmmm!!!!" 

Some…Read more

Metronomes: Talk About Skills That Are Not Intuitive 

I will make a huge, slightly embarrassing, admission here and say that it's only in the last 3 or 4 years that I've been any good at teaching students to use a metronome. I've always tried, but my success rate has been dismal. I've personally been huge on using my own metronome for years, but teaching others to use it has always been tough for me. I continually set goals for myself as a piano teacher, and one of the goals I've had for the last two years is to encourage more consistent metronome use among…Read more

How "Dance Moms" is Making Me a Better Teacher 

Wow... it's been a while since I posted something. I've thought about posting a whole lot, but life got away from me post-songwriting camp, and I simply haven't been back. So here I am to remedy that.

Embarrassing disclosure: I love reality TV. I don't love it all, but I obsess over Project Runway and Celebrity Rehab and Toddlers and Tiaras and... well... all that stuff. If I've got a day when I'm sick and stuck on the couch, I like to put on a season of something new and just watch the catty drama unfold. I…Read more

The A Team: Lyrics & How Much Do We Hear? 

My primary job is teaching private music lessons. I have mostly piano students, a few guitar, and a couple of beginner vocalists. I also do group classes here and there. I come in contact with a lot of kids. This time of year is just insanity, but I'm finally breathing a sigh of relief. Even though the school year doesn't end for the Arlington School District for another couple of weeks, my studio has officially started its summer schedule. The kids take six lessons over the summer, and that's it. Everyone…Read more