Friday, October 17, 2014

DIY Halloween Treats For Students -- Roundup

Here are some cute and easy ideas for gifts to give your students for Halloween! 
1. These cute magnetic spiders from Delia Creates would be easy to make.

Plastic Easter eggs painted like skulls for Halloween candy.
2. A pinner (I don't think it was me) suggests redecorating Easter eggs to make these skull treat holders. Or you can go with Martha Stewart's project, where the image is pinned from.

Bonus Craft Tutorial and free printable:  Candy Corn bowling! by
3. Make candy corn bowling sets, like Angel over on Fleece Fun.

4. An easy idea from Pimp My Dinner (found via Polish the Stars, via CraftsBits & CraftGossip on Pinterest).

Frankenstein Halloween Treats
5. Here's a similar idea from The NY Melrose Family.

Do you give your students little gifts around various holidays? Would you like to?


P.S. You can check out my Halloween Pinterest board here.

*I try to link back to the source, but if I've posted an image and you want me to remove it, just let me know.*

Friday, September 26, 2014

Posts About Business and Dreams

Do you know where this picture is from? I really like it!

Want some inspiration? Check out the links below!

A Pair & A Spare was one of the earlier blogs that I started reading. See some advice from Geneva here.
I really enjoy A Beautiful Mess. Here are 3 inspiring posts from that lovely blog: 1, 2, 3.

You can see blog posts that I think are peachy-keen over on BlogLovin.

Have you seen any super-inspiring articles on the web? Do share!


Friday, August 8, 2014

When Young Students Don't Listen

picture made with Adobe Photoshop
Do you have students who you feel like just don't listen to you? It can be really frustrating when students are disrespectful. Younger students especially need boundaries.

Here are some suggestions for helping young students listen:

1) When the student does listen, make sure to let them know that you noticed. Specific, positive praise is your friend here.

2) If the student insists on playing a different song than you requested, ignore him or her. It might help your patience if you remember that you're getting paid for that time even if the students isn't using it wisely.

3) Consider extra stickers and/or a special prize if the student does an exceptional job listening (be careful to ONLY reward with the extra/special incentive if the student is behaving well, otherwise this can just reinforce bad habits).

4) Notice if the student's behavior changes (positively or negatively) when the parent is not present. Sometimes there's a power-struggle.

5) Be patient (but not wimpy!). It could be that the student who's being problematic will become one of the students whose lessons you most look forward to. :)

What are your experiences with student behavior? How do you handle it?



Friday, July 25, 2014

Tap City 2014: tap as a musical instrument

I recently attended Tap City 2014. Fun! Remember my post on music and tap dance? Well, this festival really encouraged the musicality of tap dance. The festival offered opportunities to study both rhythm tap and Broadway-style tap.

It's great to get yourself in a situation where you can learn about your field in different ways. For example, I don't think the average person thinks of extreme musicality when thinking of tap dance. Yes, maybe the rhythmic aspect is thought of, but what about the different tones the taps make? Did you realize that where you hit the tap can make a different tone? Being attentive to these things in tap will likely help you and/or your student(s) to be more aware of such things when playing other instruments, and going to a festival like this can give you new perspectives and exposure to different teaching styles.
How about improv? Barbara Duffy taught a great workshop on tap improv, which could help with musical improv.
Also, there was quite a bit of scatting going on, especially in Brenda Bufalino's residency.

Have you ever attended a festival or workshop for another field that could be applied to your music teaching?


Friday, July 11, 2014

At the Movies: Vol. 2

I'm pretty excited about this volume of "At the Movies." The following episodes have lots of educational goodness! Who would have thought that students could learn so much about music from Batman?

Batman -- "The Minstrel's Shakedown"
"Music and electronic energy are both transmitted by waves." -Robin
Although this episode doesn't actually have a harp in it, it has references to music and is part 1 of the story that leads to....
Batman -- "Barbecued Batman?"
1 or 2 harps visible
Batman also talks about "sympathetic vibrations."

Some activities you can do with your student:
Bass clef and treble clef
Quarter note (hats) and eighth note (shirts/sweaters)
Identify songs/tunes that the minstrel sings

Also, one of the characters is called "Octavia." Get it? Like octave?

As always, make sure the parent(s) approve(s) of the selection if the student is a child.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Studio Inspo Roundup

Happy Fourth of July!  I have another roundup to share with you this week. Last time was a roundup of Independence Day ideas; today is a roundup of studio inspiration from my "Studio Inspo" board on Pinterest.
  • This way cool desk made from a piano.
  • Another repurposed piano, this time as a bookshelf.
  • This chair! I really like the bass clef on the left arm and the treble clef on the right arm.
Do you have a studio? Do you dream of having a studio?


Friday, June 27, 2014

Fourth of July Ideas

The Fourth of July (Independence Day in the U.S.) is one week from the posting of this entry!
To celebrate, here are some links to projects you might like to include in your lessons.
  • This composition activity.
These are just a few ideas. Do you have any special activities that you do with music students for the 4th of July?


Friday, June 20, 2014

Luncheon Gig (Wardrobe Inspo)

Luncheon Gig

Anna Field black shirt
$42 -

STELLA McCARTNEY dress pants

Accessorize flat shoes

Vince Camuto black handbag

Stud earrings

Cat-eye glasses

Do you ever use Polyvore? It's kinda fun to go on and put together outfits (there are more options than just clothing/fashion though). I might just post some outfit ideas here from time to time. Note that I included a bag idea that (hopefully) could work as a gig bag.
I think this outfit might be nice for a steady daytime gig in particular.
What's your go-to gig outfit?

Have a great day!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dreading Lessons?

Do you dread lessons? If you do, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
  • Do I dread all lessons or just certain ones? Is it because of the subject matter/instrument or is it a student/teacher clash of personalities (or a disrespectful student)?
  • What don't I like about lessons? Be as specific as possible, but don't be afraid to start out vague.
There are a few options for this:
  1. Take a break/vacation! Don't be afraid to take off all of December after your Christmas recital (if you have a recital then). December's often a busy month for musicians...and probably for your students too! Consider taking a summer break (all summer or just part of it) too. It's good to have a little break to refresh.
  2. Consider lowering the number of students you teach. You can kindly let the students/parents know that you are reducing your number of students, but that you recommend so-and-so, etc. Don't forget to thank them for studying with you!
Maybe teaching just isn't your thing. That's ok. If you don't financially need to teach and you don't like it, don't do it. Life isn't stress-free, but enjoy what you can. If you choose not to teach, think of it as more job opportunities for those who love it and you do what you love. The world would be pretty boring (and competitive!) if we all adored the same things, huh?

These are just a few ideas....what do you think? I think taking a short vacation from lessons is a good option if you're feeling burnt out/

How do you feel about teaching? What are your suggestions?


Friday, June 6, 2014

Clay harp decoration

Products used:
Sculpey clay
This stamp
This ink 

Step 1: Roll clay into a ball.

Step 2: Roll out flat.

Step 3: Stamp.

Step 4: Cut it out.

Step 5: Roll excess into long tube.

Step 6: Frame with excess.

Not pictured --
Step 7: Bake according to directions.
Step 8 (optional): Add a magnet to back.

If you make one, be sure to leave me a link!


Friday, May 30, 2014

"Why I Want to Play the Harp"

Here's an idea for a beginning homework assignment. Have the student draw a picture or write why he or she wants to play the harp (or any other instrument that you're teaching). There are several ways you can adapt this, depending on student age and interest. Student can:
  • paint, draw, or use a different art medium
  • make a collage
  • make a sculpture
  • make a mixed-media piece
  • write a song
  • write a poem
  • write an essay
You could even do several of these options at different times. How would you use it? Have you done anything like this -- either as a teacher or a student?


Friday, May 23, 2014

Things I've Learned... // Studio Recital

Things I learned from my 2nd studio recital...

1) Tell students to be there by a certain time. Make the time a little early, because at least one student will likely be late.

2) Clarify which students will perform, preferably in writing to avoid confusion.

3) Invite your friends! Friendly support is a great thing!

4) Make an announcement at the end of the recital requesting students to join you for a group picture.

5) Invite people ahead of time and send out periodic reminders.

Most importantly, have fun and encourage your students to do the same!


Friday, May 16, 2014

Window Shopping: Etsy

Text added with Adobe Photoshop Elements 7.0

Here are some interesting harp items I've seen on Etsy...

This nifty rubber stamp for making pedal diagrams.

Pedal diagram stickers from the same shop.

This cute little pill case (which has both harp and ballet!....see this post about music and ballet).

This pretty hanky has been sold, but it looks like there's a similar one available.

Have you ever shopped on Etsy? What are some of your favorite finds?


Sunday, May 11, 2014

At the Movies: Vol. 1

app used: beFunky
Greeting readers!
Today I'll be sharing a list of some movies with harps. These might be nice to add to your lending library if you have one. Of course, make sure they're age-appropriate and you might want to make sure that the student clears it with his/her parent(s) before watching, depending on the age of the student.
So, here's a non-exhaustive list of movies with harps:
 The Bishop's Wife
The Princess Diaries
And of course, any movies with Harpo Marx
What are some harp-containing movies that you recommend?
Have a great day!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Oops...I forgot to title this one too

Hopefully I'll be blogging more soon, but here's a quick check-in.
Any Easter gigs? Hope your Easter was great!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Harpy Easter!

photo edited with Adobe Photoshop Elements 7.0

Have a great Easter!
Are you gigging?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Oops...I didn't title this post

Hello there!
Is there anything in particular that you'd like to read more about on this blog? What's been your favorite post(s)?
Have a great weekend!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Gibson App

App used: Rhonna Designs
Have you heard of the Gibson Guitar App? I'm a fan! It's a free tuner and metronome...and some other stuff, but I usually just use those two functions. This is a great source for both you and your students. Now, I'm not sure how accurate the tuner is, but it does the job just fine for me.
If you have a smart phone, you don't have to worry about dragging around an extra tuner or metronome to gigs and lessons. If you don't have a smart phone, you can also use it on an iPod touch.
What apps and other resources do you recommend?


Friday, March 28, 2014

Learning From Your Students & Parts of the Harp

Apps used: Repix, Phonto
Do you know what a string rib is? How about eyelets or bridge pins? (Check out this glossary to find out about string ribs and bridge pins.)
I didn't know what these were called until a harp student (at that time three years old) asked what they were when we talked about the parts of the harp. I then had to do a little research. But now, because of a three-year-old, I know more about the harp and include these parts in discussions of the parts of the harp. If you don't know an answer, don't be afraid to tell the student that you don't know, but you'll try to find out (and then try to follow up on that). Depending on the student's age, you can also suggest that the student research it. You can even suggest some places to look, such as, Harp Column, Sylvia Woods Harp Center, Harp Spectrum, etc.
What are some things you've learned from students?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Rubberbands as Tuning Aids

Apps used: befunky, Phonto
It's easy to get the tuning key on the wrong string. To avoid broken and mistuned strings, (and irritation), try the following tip for your students. Temporarily color-code the side of the tuning pin opposite the string. Two options are: rubber bands in pink and purple meant for braces (not ones that have already been used with braces though!) and ponytail holders in red and blue. Just put the corresponding rubber band where needed, and you have a guide to help make sure the tuning key is on the intended tuning pin! It's temporary, but the rubber bands seem to stay in place when they should.
What about you? How do you help your students with adjusting the correct tuning pin?
Have a great day!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Music and Dance Part 3: Tap Dance

Apps used: Over, BeFunky

Thanks for checking into part 3 of this little series about dance and music! (See the first two here and here). Today's post is about tap dance.
Tap dance is very much like percussion with the feet along with dance style. Time steps were actually originally used to set the tempo for dancers! Tap training not only teaches students about rhythm, but also teamwork stage presence. Tapping can expose students to many  American/Broadway classics.

Tap and rhythm? Have you seen Fred Astaire dance with a metronome in this movie?


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Dance and Music Part Deux (2): Ballet

Apps used: BeFunky, Over
Thanks for checking back after my first post in this series on dance and music!
This installment will be on ballet. Ballet training can bring many benefits to the musician. Music and ballet are very closely related (just read Apollo's Angels...which I'm still working on). Many major compositions were ballets (The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, etc). Through dance, students gain experience feeling the music and the beat. In group ballet classes, students must work together, building teamwork. At recitals, students gain experience with stage presence. Through rehearsals, students learn the value of practice, hard work, and dependability.
Dance classes aren't just for children! If you're an adult, you can still reap the benefits of a ballet class. And if you don't want to perform, not all adult classes require a performance.
What do you think about the relationship between ballet and music?