Tag Archives: piano lessons

Payoff of Prepwork

Yesterday, I got home from work about 5:45pm and my first piano lesson was at 6:00pm. As I drove home, I knew I would be close on time, but I thought I would make it.

But I wasn’t panicked. I wasn’t stressed. I wasn’t nervous.

Why?

Because I was ready.

I had done all my prepwork/paperwork the night before. All the assignment sheets were printed, the lesson plans were printed, the room was cleaned/straightened up. I was ready.

This is my goal everytime, but we will see how that works.

This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!

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Patience and Persistence

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Pistol Pete

Last night was a great night of lessons. I got home from work, fed the dogs quickly, changed clothes, and got ready to greet my first student.

Oh, and I put the dogs outside. This is very important.

The students had all practiced very well, so all their songs were prepared and ready. It was an exciting night of lessons because the musical alphabet was introduced. Flashcards were also given out.

Remember, the dogs were outside. Our dogs are normally inside dogs, but they stay outside during lessons so as not to distract me or the students.

We have a lab puppy who is growing bigger every day. And he’s eating a ton of food. Seriously.

We usually give him a bowl of food in the morning, one bowl around dinner time, and another bowl before bed. He’s a very patient dog. But he loves his food. I’ve worked with him to sit by his crate to wait for his food.

So now in the evenings, he will start sitting outside/beside his crate. This is his signal to me that he’s ready for his third bowl of food.

He did this last night several times, but I just wasn’t ready to give him the food yet. When I did give him the food, he sat by his crate and waited for me to put it down. Then it was gone.

Cool. My job was done. Or not…

A little bit later, I was sitting at the kitchen table working on my iPad. Pistol Pete (our lab) went into his crate, grabbed his food bowl in his mouth, and brought me his bowl! I looked at my husband like “is this for real?” and he said to go ahead and give him another small bowl. I did, and again it was gone very quickly.

Then a little bit later, he brought me his bowl again. He’s catching on quickly…

Musical moral of the story: I hope all my piano students will be patient and follow the practice steps I give them. At the same time, I hope they will be persistent in their desire to learn more.

This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!

Keeping Piano Lessons Fun

I just finished giving piano lessons, so I’m still thinking back over how they went. (The students did great, by the way; it’s the teaching part I’m thinking about.)

I always want my students to love music and love playing the piano. I try to make the lessons fun, too. I know that scales and chords can’t be all that exciting by themselves, so I try to explain and give examples of how that element is used in music. (say church music, for example)

I’ve explained to students before how inversions play such an important role in hymnplaying. They look at me like I’m kidding. But then I play a hymn and show them what I mean. Then I say something like, “See? Chords and inversions are so cool! You can do so much with them!”

You can see their eyes light up, either with understanding or amusement at their teacher. But that’s ok. I don’t mind. When they get up to play a hymn in church and use an inversion, they will see how much fun it is.

Our excitement in lessons tonight was me killing a HUGE mosquito with my shoe (while jumping up and hitting the wall) and recording a song using my iPhone.

Yep, fun stuff! (You should try it sometime!)

This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!

On this day…25 years ago…

Today’s date holds a special meaning for me.

Nope, it’s not my birthday.

Twenty-five years ago, on October 3rd, I started taking piano lessons. I was seven years old, and my mom dropped me off at my teacher’s house and watched me walk up to the door. According to my mom, I rang the doorbell then turned and waved excitedly at my mom, and sort of bounced up and down with excitement.

I don’t remember all of that, but I do remember that I was very excited about learning to play the piano. I had been wanting to learn how to play since I was five.

I would sit in church and watch the church pianists in awe, wishing that someday I could play like them.

My dad told me that if I really wanted to play the piano, I should pray for us to be able to get a piano. So, of course, I prayed with child-like faith. And on Christmas Day when I was six, I got my answer to prayer. You can see my huge smile in the picture below.

My Christmas present - a piano!

I was one very excited 6 year old!

I’m very thankful to say that twenty-five years later, I’m still playing the piano. And I’m the one now sitting at the piano with little girls looking up to me. I don’t take that responsibility for granted.

I can’t say that I’ve enjoyed playing every day of those twenty-five years. Have I ever wanted to quit? YES! Have I gotten worn out? YES! But, with the Lord’s help, I haven’t quit. And, for the majority of those twenty-five years, I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

I couldn’t have done any of this without the support of my parents. They never complained about paying for lessons, or driving me to the teacher’s house, or hearing the same song played over and over and over and over.

I was telling my mom the other day that this twenty-five year anniversary was coming up. She said that all the money and time that they invested was totally worth it. She never once regretted it or thought about how she could have used that money elsewhere.

Also, my sister (and my closest friend) encouraged me. Part of her “encouragement” was by playing my hard-practiced songs by ear without practicing…but that just motivated me more. She also was there when I wanted to quit and helped me keep going. (Thanks, sis!)

There have been five private piano teachers over those twenty-five years, and they all influenced me both musically and socially and spiritually.

Throughout the years, there have been numerous people (too many to count or name) that have encouraged me in my piano music.

Playing for a Cystic Fibrosis Benefit Concert in 2011

Playing for a Cystic Fibrosis Benefit Concert in 2011

Lastly, my husband is my constant supporter. He thinks it is “so cool” that he can have a private concert anytime he wants.

Twenty-five years (yes, a quarter of a century) have come and gone, and I still love playing the piano!

Here’s to twenty-five more years!

This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!

Musical Pop-ups

On-the-Go Pianist

So yesterday was one of those days where I truly felt like an on-the-go pianist. From the time I started my day until I went to bed, I had the following “musical pop-ups”:

(in random order, unless I can get them in order)

(remember, these are not complaints; just an idea of how music follows me throughout the day)

1. Received emails with comments, notifications, likes, etc. from my recent blog posts. (I love all of these…keep them coming!)

2. Sent text to soloist for Sunday to check on music for their solo.

3. Received text back from soloist that music with recording should be emailed sometime that day.

4. Realized I needed another set of piano books for student coming that night, so I ran to the music store on lunch to grab the books. (Yay, they had them all in stock!)

5. Received emails from soloist with sheet music and audio recording.

6. Put my headphones in and listened to the recording.

7. Emailed soloist about practice.

8. Emailed driving directions to parent.

9. Prepped for lessons – filled water bottle, grabbed Listerine mint strips (love those things!), made sure pens and pencils were handy.

10. Gave three piano lessons.

11. Worked on lesson plans for upcoming students.

And all this is in addition to work, commuting to and from work, quick run to the grocery store (after lessons), putting away the groceries, eating dinner, cleaning up the kitchen, and feeding and taking care of the dogs.

But I was on such an adrenaline rush after teaching, I was glad to go to the grocery store and walk it off.

I’m looking forward to more musical pop-ups this week!

This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!