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Six Secrets of Successful Music Teachers

What makes a successful music teacher? I have observed and listened to many very successful teachers over the years. I am so fortunate to personally know many outstanding teachers, and I have learned from them. These are teachers of all ages who have studios full of students, including beginners and long-time advanced high school students. Here is what I discovered:

  • They have goals.
  • They are flexible, but not door-mats.
  • They don’t rigidly follow method books.
  • They don’t complain and they don’t make excuses.
  • They are willing to learn more and keep up to date.
  • They love their work and they do more than just teach.

Teaching music is hard. There are so many factors that we as teachers cannot control. Music is enjoyable,  yet it is hard to learn to read and it is hard to learn the coordination involved in playing an instrument. We teach because we love it and we want to share our love of music. It’s also how we make our living. This is a lot to balance and it is understandable that we get frustrated at times. However, we stay positive and carry on! I hope everyone reading this has a great teaching year!


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Practice Plus App Review and Giveaway



It’s been a while since I have heard from the folks at Dynamic App Design, who made Metronome Plus, my favorite iPhone and iPad metronome app. Well,  they sent me this great new app that has just been released and now I have a new favorite. I found it easy to use, with music teachers and students in mind.

Let’s face it, I don’t have a lot of time at a lesson to fiddle around with an app, trying to remember how it works. Maybe if I were a 5th grader it would be easier.

Practice+ is a music practice app for musicians, teachers, and students.  All the fine features of Metronome Plus are here, but much more has been added.

Here is the exciting part that is such a helpful practice tool. Let’s say I have a tricky spot I want to speed up gradually. Usually I have to set my metronome, play it, go back to the metronome, reset it, and play again.

Now, I can set the metronome to the number of measures I want to practice and to increase the tempo after each play-through.

I tried this out with a section of music I am working on.  First, I set the starting metronome tempo to 80. Then in the top left box, I set the measure numbers to 2. In the middle box, I set the number of clicks I wanted the metronome to increase after each play-through loop.  The first time it was 80, the second it was 81, etc. I could have set it to increase more after each loop.

The box on the right shows how many times you have played the loop and what tempo range you used. The metronome speed is easily changed using the big plus and minus signs on each side of the metronome.

The loop practice feature really raises a metronome app to an entire new level!

Another extra is the recording feature. A teacher can record a tricky passage and email it to the student.

It also has a tuner, which will come in handy for piano students who play a band or orchestral instrument.

This app is $3.99 in the app store. Trust me, (having observed someone develop an app), it takes months to write the code for an app, and I think the price is very reasonable.

To learn about more features in the app, go to
The iTunes link is here.

Today, I am happy to be able to give away this great new app to 3 lucky winners! [The contest is over!]

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below by Saturday, August 23, at midnight CST. The winners will receive a code to redeem the app from the Apple iTune store. I will email the code to the winners after the deadline. Be sure you are using a valid email address when you comment.

This app requires iOS 7.0 or later. It is compatible only with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. If you’re not sure what iOS version you are using, go into Settings>General>About>Version.

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JoyTunes iPad Webinar With Leila Viss Today!





If you use or are interested in using the iPad in your piano lessons, you don’t want to miss today’s (Wednesday, April 30th) seminar. It is at 10:00 Denver time (MDT) so there is still time for you to sign up for this free webinar, if you do it now. If you can’t watch it today, JoyTunes will send you a link to watch it later. The title of the webinar is “The iPad is More Than a Treat: It’s an Essential Teaching Tool.

JoyTunes, the developers who bring you the wonderful iPad music games and apps that children love, are sponsoring Leila Viss in today’s webinar. Leila is a super nice music educator who wrote the book The iPad Piano Studio, a great resource for music teachers. Leila sent me a copy of her book, and although I have been using an iPad in my studio since the iPad first came out, I found a lot of helpful advice and information all packed into one handy book.

You can learn more about JoyTunes at their website. They are a friendly bunch who will be glad to help you if you have any questions.
Disclosure: This post is my personal opinion. I wrote it because I like using the iPad in piano lessons. I was not compensated or solicited in any way by the JoyTunes developers.   




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Saturday Solos Giveaway!

Saturday Solos413x319I am excited to announce that my talented fellow blogger and knowledgeable tech guru, Jennifer Fox, has written the very first review of one of my piano books, Saturday Solos! In celebration of this exciting event (for me!) she is having a giveaway of a digital copy of Saturday Solos! Plus, it is on sale right now.

So hurry over to Jennifer’s blog, read all about the book,  and enter the contest. The link is

This digital copy comes with an unlimited license, so you can use it forever to print either the entire book, or print out certain pieces for students and put it in their binder. If you want to save ink, don’t print the cover or the index. The cover is cute, but it takes some ink!

Sometimes I print the entire thing at home and take it into Office Depot or Staples and ask them to spiral bind it for me. I print the cover on card stock and then include another piece of card stock for the back cover. I keep on the look out for sales on color copies and/or binding because I can really save that way. Also, if you are a member of MTNA, there is a big discount on binding and color printing at Office Depot. Regardless of how I print it, the costs involved with the book are deducted from students’ book fund. 

The music in Saturday Solos falls between Primer and Level 1. It is a good book for the student who has finished Primer but is having trouble with reading steps and skips. It is appropriate for elementary children up to about 4th grade, although I had a 5th grade student who loved it!


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