Every year, piano teachers around the world are on a hunt. They scour the nooks and crannies of their music credenza, surf online for tintillating content. What are they looking for? Why Christmas books, or course, to share with their eager students. Around Oct., I begin to pull the piano books out to prepare for the Christmas season. I want to find a book that is comprehensive, easy for beginners, and has the standards of Christmas songs. It is with delight that I use a beginning Christmas book for my students. Love it. Expressive yet rich. User friendly and challenging at the same time. Add it to your library: Simply Christmas – 30 favorite Christmas Songs and Carols. You or your students won’t regret it. These songs are a present for a lifetime.
Most adults and parents have no idea where to start when it comes to trying to find the right piano teacher. What do you look for? Where do you start? What do you expect? As an educator, parent, and author of A World Where Everyone Plays, Bernadette Ashby, will shed some insights on how to find the right piano teacher for your family.
This year we had over 100 Simply Music teachers converge in San Diego to attend the annual Simply Music International Symposium. They flew from all around the world to train and be encouraged in their aspirations to be the best teacher they could be for their students and studio. It definitely was an amazing time. Here are some of the subjects that we covered:
Worship Workshop – Ray Nelson and Earnest Almstaden
Keynote Speech – Neil Moore
Duets/Songs for Children – Elizabeth Gaikwad
Songwriting Tips – Kristin Fairfield
Play A Story – Lyndel Kennedy
Reading Rhythm/Notes – Laurie Richards and Diane Correia
Scale and Transposition by Gordon Harvey
Playing the Blues – Ray Nelson
Intro. to Ragtime – Earnest Almstaden
In addition, we had an amazing teacher’s recital that would have wowed your socks off. Even piano teachers perform for others. It’s a privilege to organize and emcee this event. What a fabulous community of teachers I belong to. I am so blessed.
Join “Simply Music Live!” as author/editor, Bernadette Ashby, of A World Where Everyone Plays shares her excitement about her newly released book – a collection of inspirational breakthrough stories and impossible dreams that have come true through the medium of music and piano playing.
It’s been over ten years since I took a long awaited vacation with my family for over two weeks. We traveled to Florida and visited Walt Disney World, the happiest place on earth, and ended with a cruise to the Bahamas. It was very tiring but my family and I had a blast.
It’s always my desire to bring experiences and seasoned teachers to my studio for more training. Kristin Fairfield is a Simply Music teacher from Oakland and was more than happy to sub for me while I was gone. She did a fabulous job and so many parents and students had such a great report when I got back. Here’s a quote from an adult student:
I am so inspired after my lesson with Kristin, I am going to start composing music!!!! Thanks for going on vacation and getting a sub Bernie, things happen for a reason Thank you God!
Because she is a singer/songwriter in the Bay Area, I wanted her to teach my students about composition and improvisation. She did just that. I am so thankful because my student’s are growing in their music writing journey. Thank you, Kristin!
Here’s a message from Kristin:
What a joyful experience it was for me to teach composition at For the Luv of Piano studio last weekend!!! It was an absolute pleasure to share some of my composition exercises. I understand that composition can be very challenging and I was so pleased that everyone was open and honest about exploring this area with me-someone they just met!!
Everyone was so warm and friendly I felt right at home. It was truly an honor to work with all of you-not just with composition but with everything we worked on. I’m excited for everyone to feel a little more at ease with expressing the “music within”. Mrs. Ashby will hopefully be sharing some video with me of your songs and once again-thank you everyone for making my substitute teaching experience at For the Luv of Piano so delightful!!
It’s always a fine line when it comes to your children. How far do you push them? As a piano teacher, I wanted the best for my own children. And so music was not an option. My oldest started piano lessons at 7 years of age. She’s still taking piano lessons today but not with me. Believe me, we’ve had our ups and downs, and days when we’ve all wanted to throw in the towel. But all three of my kids know that piano lessons are a non-negotiable. They’ll know they’ll take piano lessons till their 18.
Here’s the result. My two oldest are now part of a band called Crown of Thorns. They lead out in their piano playing and singing. I couldn’t be a prouder mom. And they are having so much fun. If Piano Teachers manage it right, music can be a gift to their kids for the rest of their lives. I see it in mine and I am so thankful.
For the Luv of Piano studio had Master Educator, Nancy Reese, join us in learning about her Breakthrough Piano Technique. She traveled all the way from Idaho to join 16 students who participated in this event. Through observatory learning, my students had so much fun learning how to make the “piano play you” instead of learning how to play the piano. In just a matter of minutes, student’s playing was transformed by learning how to “inhale/exhale” with our elbows. As a teacher, I was awed by not only Nancy’s easy going manner and her teaching abilities, but by her knowledge in helping students to relax and free up the musician within.
I had two hours of private lessons with her myself and I was amazed by what she could accomplish in that short amount of time. I had been struggling with a passage in a blues piece for a few years now. As she worked with me and showed me how to unlock the passage, I was able to play it with ease and quickness. Sometimes it’s not about practice but unlocking the right technique to execute the song. Who needs piano technique? I do and so do my students if its delivered by the right teacher and the right way. Thank you Nancy for sharing your passion with us.
Wow, over 50 students performed at the For The Luv of Piano Studio Student Concert. With a showing of pieces in the genres of contemporary, classical, blues, and accompaniment, the audience was duly impressed with the broad spectrum of performances. And to boot, added compositions and songs that were improv’d make the afternoon a delight to listen to. So proud of my students.
I’m on a journey to share the joys of learning how to play the piano for the young and old. Snippets of encouragement and inspiration is shared on this blog. If you have an interest in piano or in my studio For the Luv of Piano, then read on…
With my new book being released in Jan. 2011, A World Where Everyone Plays, the demand for speaking at events increases. In April, I spoke at CHEA (Christian Home Educators Association) once again. There were over 1000 people that attended. The subject was a little different this year because of my new adventure in writing. I spoke about what it meant to write in the real world. I’ve always hated writing and despite my efforts to gain A’s in my English coursework throughout high school, college, and graduate school, I never excelled. So how is it that, I am able to birth a book that has sold close to 2000 books to date? Here’s my journey in a snapshot: 1. Have a passion for what you are writing about. If it weren’t for the fact that I love to play and teach the piano, there is no way I would want to write a book. Passion is what drives you even when you don’t feel like it. 2. Write for a purpose. I knew because of my experience and success with learning/teaching the piano that the world needed to know that they could do it too. They needed to hear the message that they are musical. 3. Get a mentor. Accountability is key when writing. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my publisher. 4. Edit for Publication. Because I knew it would go public, I worked night and day to make it near perfect. The result has been astounding. I’ve received so many great reviews. If you would like to purchase a book, it is available on Amazon.com.