Incorporating the iPhone or iPad in Piano!

I have had my iPhone for almost two years now. My husband surprised me with it for Christmas 2010. We had purchased a tiny little phone with a flip keyboard for our daughter as she approached junior high and prepared to ride the city bus. Even though it was the cheapest little phone at the Bell store with the littlest and more basic plan, it was still nicer than my ancient phone. My husband didn’t think this was very fair, so the night before Christmas Eve he removed my phone from my purse and went and traded it in. Imagine my panic and distress to be running around last minute shopping on Christmas Eve and discover my phone gone! He was almost busted! 😉
Anyway, on Christmas morning both me and my daughter were very surprised—and I was a little relieved to find out I hadn’t lost my phone!
I hadn’t been pining for an iPhone or really considering it, but now I can’t live without it. And it has been quite handy for my studio too! Here are some ways I’ve used it:

Recording my students for feedback–this was especially helpful to them in preparing for recital and exams
Finding youtube videos of piano pieces or orchestral arrangements to share with my students and use with Fun With Composers
Receiving text messages from parents if they are stuck in traffic or unable to make it
Music Theory apps

I admit, I am still discovering new ways to incorporate it. I am sure there are teachers out there who have many more uses and I sure would love to hear about them. At a recent teacher development meeting we were even asked to bring an iPhone, iPad, or laptop if we had one for a session on technology. When I looked around at each table I noticed that almost 50% of each table had an iPad. Now, I sure would love an iPad, it would be easier to see what’s on the screen and someday I do hope to get one, but for now I am finding that my iPhone can pretty much do everything the iPad can–just in a smaller version.

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Group Piano Teaching

I have been teaching piano lessons for over 15 years and I have taught Music for Young Children for almost 6 years.  Even before I taught MYC, I felt that incorporating group lessons into the year of private lessons was important, but now that I teach MYC I feel it’s VITAL that my private students have the opportunity to play in ensembles, mentor each other, empathize, be inspired, develop relationships and learn new skills.  Each year I try to do 3 or 4 group lessons that incorporate ear training, ensemble playing, keyboard improvisation, theory, Fun with Composers or music history.  Each group lesson is always a little different with a specific focus.  But I just saw this wonderful youtube video on weekly group lessons and heard a little about Paul Coates and his weekly masterclasses and wish I could offer a group lesson each week.  If I can’t do each week, I am nonetheless inspired to continue offering group lessons as often as I can throughout the year!
And I can’t wait to get more ideas for group lessons from the Calming the Practice Monster workshop that is coming next month!

Summer Fun and Preparations for the Fall!

Wow! I can’t believe it’s August already! Where is the summer going? I had all these plans and so many things I wanted to do. And I have done some of them, I suppose. I completely re-organized all of my music and now everything is neat and orderly in Magazine folders with labels on my bookshelves. My registration binder (or bible!) is all cleaned out and organized with the registration for the fall and ready for even more new registration!
Last summer I made a floorstaff carpet and, this summer, I still hope to make a floor keyboard carpet! But there are already so many exciting things around the corner that I’m not sure I’ll have time! Next week is the MYC teachers semi-annual professional development meeting in Red Deer. Then the following week I am hosting the Edmonton APTA teachers for a coffee meet and, the day after that,  participating in a Royal Conservatory iScore webinar and, before we know it, lessons will begin on September 10th–the very same day Paul Coates and the Practice Monster should be arriving in our city to do a fun-filled and inspiring workshop about turning practice into exploration!
It’s not the summer of lounging and reading that I thought it would be, but is sure has and will continue to be crammed full over fun over the remaining three weeks!
And for those of you still on the fence about piano lessons or music classes, check out the schedule on my MYC website: http://www.myc.com/teacher/MMiller