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Showing posts from July, 2019

On Screentime & Reaping Benefits of Technology

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There is a lot of marketing, research and branding out there, some telling us how to let our kids get ahead with technology, and others to stay away from it at all costs because it's rotting our brains! What's the real scoop in all this? How can we incorporate the advantages and benefits of technology into our daily lives while maintaining good brain health? And perhaps even more importantly as parents and teachers, how can we do this for today's kids?

Well, last month, I joined in a teacher chat on the Piano Parent Podcast with fellow teacher Judy Wilkins, and the podcast host, Shelly Davis to talk about this exact topic. In the course of our discussion, I found myself really glad that we were talking together, and enjoyed the down-to-earth and actionable tips that Judy shared that were still flexible enough to fit a range of family & personality dynamics. 

You can listen to the full episode in the player below, or go check out the shownotes on the podcast's website

Studio Piano Parties

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5 times during the year, this studio hosts a Piano Party, previously called a "bonus studio-wide group class," open to all students who would like to attend. Heading into this coming school year session, I've decided to re-name them "Piano Parties" because it's less of a mouthful, and is a better descriptor of the fun I am hoping students will have at these events. 

What do we do at Piano Parties, you ask? Well, each one has a distinct musical focus on a topic that may not always get the spotlight in lessons:
In July, we do a Rhythm party. With so many new students in the studio trying out lessons, and everyone feeling the energy to move around with the warm weather, summer a great time to reinforce rhythm reading & awareness by pulling out some of the more physical movement-based rhythm activities. In September we'll start off the school year with some Improvising. Students will learn how to rely on the chords, scales & timing we practice during …

Summer Reading List

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What better time than Summer to discover some great books?! Today's post is a book list that shares some titles that tell the stories of musical artists or composers, some that have fun with music, and some that explore having positive self-esteem (very important for artists who are in the habit of being vulnerable by putting themselves into performing situations). As a former children's bookseller, and an avid reader, connecting with people about books is one of my most favorite hobbies. 

If you're looking for a way for your summer reading to get your piano kid out of the house, just head to your local library! Here in McPherson, the library's summer reading program gives kids a free book just for signing up, as well as entry into the drawing for the big prize. If they complete a reading log, they can earn more prizes AND more entries into the drawing. If you haven't checked that out already, you can learn all about the Summer Kid's Programming here, there are …

Local Summer Concerts

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We're going to go down memory lane with Ms. Dawn for a minute here: One of my favorite things about summer as a kid was walking up to the local park with a picnic on Wednesday nights to watch the concerts performed by the Temple City community orchestra. This was a fixed point in our week during the summer that we hardly ever missed. Sometimes we would even get McDonald's for our picnic (I'm positive that had absolutely nothing to do with me liking Wednesday nights so much). While we were there, I remember pretending to conduct the orchestra, making friends with the kids the next picnic blanket over & running around together, bringing friends for play dates, and when I got older bringing a book to read while I would lay there listening to the music in the summer evening air. Those Wednesday nights are surrounded with the hazy glow of summertime nostalgia for me, and I'm sure that they played a much larger role in growing my love of music than I realized at the time…