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Finding Time to Play

October 22, 2017

by Cathy Smetana

I am, first and foremost, a teacher. I do not have a church job, or play for weddings, or do a lot of accompanying. I do not currently have a significant other with whom to share expenses and chores; in spite of my best efforts, my cat Pablo simply blinks imperiously at me when I suggest he could use his big fluffy tail to help with the dusting. I love to teach, and teaching pays the bills, so . . . I teach. A lot. Six days a week during the school year and four-to-five days in the summer, until the middle of August, forty-plus private students, …

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Learning Styles and Teaching: Recognizing Similarities and Differences

June 1, 2017

Music and the Brain: Melissa Wenszell, April 6, 2017

June 1, 2017

Developing Your Online Presence

October 18, 2016

by Hanno Strydom

I delivered this presentation, Developing Your Online Presence, at a MacPhail Music Learning Lab Idea Exchange on October 18, 2016.

This session is loaded with ideas about why and how to develop an online presence for yourself or your studio. With real-world examples and demonstrations of some of the key tools—like one of the most popular drag-and-drop website builders and YouTube—you will leave equipped to start your own website, blog, video blog, or YouTube channel. The session also includes a discussion of the costs involved and the equ…

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ENVoY Training Part 2

August 9, 2016

by Candis Parrish

In my last post, I emphasized the importance of non-verbal communication and outlined some of the factors the go into the way teachers present themselves in the classroom. This post will cover some practical things you can do in the classroom to improve your non-verbal communication.

Getting Student Attention with "Above/Pause/Whisper"

Try this technique to get the students focused on you:

  • Speak louder than students
  • Pause for a second
  • Whisper a few words

Teacher voice should be two steps above student voices to start.  Then pause.  Then whisper a few w…

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ENVoY Training Part 1

August 9, 2016

By Candis Parrish

Do you ever feel like you’ve planned a standards driven lesson that’s both engaging and fun, only to have it fall flat because you spend more time dealing with behaviors than teaching your class?  Have you tried management systems like breaks and timeouts with limited success?  Learning how to effectively use non-verbal signals can help you successfully manage student behavior while keeping the focus on what’s really important: the learning. 

ENVoY (Educational Non-Verbal Yardsticks) is a management system that teaches how to utilize your body, voice, eyes, a…

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Incredible Music Teaching Apps for Ipad

August 9, 2016

Jeremy Hanson recently shared some apps that he uses while teaching piano. Click on the image below to view the pdf where you can click on each of the links to learn more. 

Highlights from NCKP 2015 (National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy)

October 29, 2015

By Cathy Smetana

In July, I was one of several hundred piano teachers to descend upon Lombard, Illinois for the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy.  I’ve attended this conference (or one of its predecessors) many times, and 2015 was one of the best years ever.

The conference is offered every other year and officially runs from Thursday-Saturday in late July or early August, depending on the year.  One can register for the entire conference, or day at a time.  There is a discount for early registration.  An optional pre-conference seminar is typically offered on Wednesday.  The c…

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“Inspiration through Connection”

October 19, 2015

By Beth Turco 

During your lessons with students, do you feel the pressure to pack in all the information they need to know about technique, music theory and fundamental skills at the instrument? Isn't is difficult to remember to nurture the student's love of music? And how exactly can we accomplish that? On Friday, October 9, Richard Tostenson answered these questions and many more in his engaging workshop, "Inspiration through Connection."

In his charismatic and humorous style, Richard offered a winning formula about how to ignite a student’s love of music, through an approach t…

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Idea Exchange: Tips for Teaching Older Adults

August 10, 2015

By Tamra Brunn

The MacPhail Music for Life™ program is expanding at MacPhail Center for Music and we currently serve over 1,000 adults age 55+ in our student body! Earlier this month we gathered together a panel of experienced Music for Life teaching artists—Jeanie Brindley-Barnett, Joey Clark, Jerry Rubino, Andrea Leap, and Guna Skujina—to share teaching tips for older adults. Experiences ranged from leading choirs to individual lessons to group piano teaching and more. Attendees jumped right in sharing their experiences, asking questions, and getting tips to br…

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Finding Appropriate Chamber Music Repertoire for Any Ensemble

July 29, 2015

by Jeremy Swider, Chamber Music Coordinator, MacPhail Center for Music

Do you coach chamber music ensembles? Are you in a student chamber ensemble? Do you have trouble finding music of an appropriate level of difficulty for your group or the groups you coach?

Jeremy Swider, Chamber Music Coordinator at MacPhail Center for Music, has put together the following set of resources to help teachers and students find chamber music of appropriate difficulty for any group. While some of these resources are Minnesota-centric, there are many here that will be of interest…

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Music Theory Tutorials

July 17, 2015
By J. Anthony Allen
Last summer, David Birrow and I made a series of music theory tutorial videos. Our hope was the these videos would serve to supplement lessons by teachers, who often find themselves explaining these concepts to students. We wanted to make a clear set of videos that went through the first few principals of music theory in a fun and friendly way. There are accompanying written and aural practice exercises on the MacPhail website
Video 1: Intro to Scales and the Major Scale
I’ve found this video really handy when I’ve got a student learning a passage in…

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