The Five-Year Banner

2021-2022 is going to be one of the most exciting years in the studio. I have on my wall a beautiful banner, with company logo, set aside for handprints of students who have achieved the five-year mark. This year, some students who joined me during Pfafftown Piano's opening year will achieve just ...
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Coronavirus and Online Lessons

Coronavirus: Hey, I'm here. Going to disrupt your plans. Piano Teacher: Uh oh. Who are you? I can still have people in my home and teach piano lessons, right? Coronavirus: Maybe for a while, but you might want to plan on feeling a life-altering, paralyzing fear of online lessons coming your way. ...
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How to Practice

Let me tell you about a student of mine. Every week, I see pictures of this student on Facebook living her young life. She loves to dance, and she loves horses. She goes to school, does homework, and cares for pets. She lives with her mom and dad, hangs with her grandparents, and does things that ...
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Change's Choice

Change is inevitable, and a pal of mine. I happen to be a person who loves to inhale the freshness of Change, and I look forward to its coming around regularly. Change and I get along well. We have a mutual respect, and my perspective is optimistic; that Change isn't necessarily restrictive. This ...
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Spider Fingers: Strategies for Tiny Hands

Tiny students have tiny hands. They are so cute on the keys, and they're teachable, but how does a tiny student learn to build strength in those itty bitty fingers properly? There are several techniques parents and teachers can use to get precious fingers positioned properly for piano practice. So, who ...
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To My Students with Love

Happy Valentine's Day to the three- and four-year-olds, kindergarteners, early elementary kids, middle schoolers, high school young adults, adults-of-students-turned-students-themselves, and grandparents who I see in my studio week in and week out. It's no secret how much I love you all, but in ...
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Welcome, Dozer

When I opened the studio I knew it would be modeled after Separk Music's original location on Fourth Street; specifically, there would be dogs present. Whenever I needed music, I took the short walk from my Fifth Street workplace down to Fourth Street to the cozy shop where Charlie Parker, a ...
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100 Likes Later

Yesterday, July 27, 2018 the Pfafftown Piano Facebook Page hit 100 likes. One year ago at the same time I was drumming up business, hoping for enough students to fill the studio. I have been teaching and performing music, piano, voice, handbells and organ since I was 13, but never in my OWN studio in ...
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What Do I Practice Over the Summer?

In a few days it will be summer break time. For some, summer break will mean the end of a year of piano lessons. If a school year of piano lessons followed by a break over the summer is the proverbial "two steps forward and one step back," our year at Pfafftown Piano has strongly challenged that. I'd ...
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It's December UnRecital Time!

I pretty much enjoyed all my piano recitals as a young student (except for that one time - yikes!), and only felt the slight increase in adrenaline that made me laser-focus and do better than I would have done in the relaxed comfort of my own home. Sounds backwards, I know - to do better under ...
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No-Stress November

I rented a violin, my younger child's life's dream-come-true (according to her). She begged for a solid year and we ignored it until we started whispering the what-ifs, "What if she's great?" and "You started at a young age, after all." and "We could do a short-term rental and see how it goes." The day ...
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Do I Have to Practice? New School Year Resolutions

It's that time of year. The summer is winding down to a hot blah, the crisper mornings inspire us to take on something new, the young and not-so-young are donning backpacks and taking new classes. So why not take a dance class, do Goat Yoga (Google it), or learn to play an instrument, right? "If I ...
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Music Proven to Influence Us

In grad school, I participated in a study about how music affects one's mood. The conclusion was as expected. Music does influence a human being. Ann Johnson, Ph.D., states that everything we hear around us is not just sound waves of different amplitude. According to her words, every wave includes some ...
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Gearing up for Fall 2017

August is one of my absolute favorite times of year; the return to routine. Scheduling returning and new students absolutely thrills me, and I cannot wait to connect that final piece of the puzzle that creates a lovely fall schedule for myself and all my students. It is a time of new beginnings. Each August, ...
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How to Practice

Let me tell you about a student of mine. Every week, I see pictures of this student on Facebook living her young life. She loves to dance, and she loves horses. She goes to school, does homework, and cares for pets. She lives with her mom and dad, hangs with her grandparents, and does things that most families do; vacations, school plays, family dinners, anniversary celebrations, checkups at the doctor, birthday parties. And every ordinary week, when this student comes to play for me, something extraordinary happens.

The extraordinary is in-person, real-life proof of the best practicing strategy I can recommend. Do a LITTLE at a time, and do it EVERY day. When I first started teaching this student, we discussed parental involvement, over time ridding the parents of any practicing responsibility whatsoever, which they loved. When this kiddo created a method of practice that consistently worked for her, she stuck with it. And boy, does it show! How does she do it? Ready for the big secret?

She practices while a beloved game, Star Stable, is loading. 

How long does it take for a virtual game to load? Long enough for her to go over a piece or two, work out a couple problem areas, and continue on with her game and her day. But when short, concentrated practicing sessions like this continue, a solid foundation builds. With each short session, she works out some details, and then with the brain break until the following day, she processes and roots her learning deeply. The next day, instead of starting over from scratch, she is building upon what is already there firm and secure. 

Try it this week: do a LITTLE at a time, and do it EVERY day. It'll be like magic, I promise!

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