Category Archives: Practice/Lesson Ratings

What’s in the containers??


My favorite summertime piano key toppers!


Some cool shades, a few tasty popsicles, and some totally awesome flip flops!


Don’t you just hate it when you can’t explain the enharmonics of B major and C-flat major?? I know! me, too!


A very yummy D major scale!…what’s that thing on E?


A bright and sunny G major scale!


A very happy E major five finger scale!

Memorization Fun

Our piano lesson key chains include the Memorization card.

This year my students have Piano Key Chains that we use for a variety of things; one of which is memorization. My students are encouraged to memorize pieces they are currently working on. For each piece they can play from memory (with all the dynamics and articulations in place without prompting from me) they get a hole punched in their “Memorization Card” on the key chain and 3 bonus beads on the Practice Chains.

Joseph, Annabelle, and Claire are my top 3 memorizers so far this fall.


Claire has 2 holes punched in her memorization card already!

Practice Chains


This year we made treble clefs and other shapes to add to our practice chains.


Everyone’s Practice Chains look wonderful! The beads are stacking up already.



They may look empty now, but just wait. My students are such fantastic practicers they will have their chains filled with beads in no time at all!


Piano Highs and Lows


The road of progress has become a tree.

We all know by now that piano has its ups and downs, highs and lows. Sometimes piano is great fun; the music is easy, practice goes smoothly and quickly and progress is noticeable. Other times, it’s not so warm and fuzzy. On the uphill practice isn’t much fun anymore and it takes longer, the pieces are harder, and progress isn’t as easy to notice. These are the moments when pianists are on the uphill. And it doesn’t matter how good you are or how old you are. ALL pianists go through this. Even the professionals. We all feel discouraged sometimes. Its normal.

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The road we had last year will become a tree this year with lots of branches and turns…but only one of those branches will lead to advanced skills in piano and its the one with all the highs and lows; the fun and the not-so-fun times.

The tree is my latest project in the studio this summer.  It’s not nearly done yet. There are many more branches to design and paint along with tons of leaves to add. I have lots of work and planning to do in order to finish it….kind of like my students when they learn a new song.

Motivation, focus, desire, practice, mistakes, fun, and sometimes hard work– that’s what it will take from me to get our new tree finished.

PracticzPal Metronome

IMG_6711Here is the latest gadget in our music world. It the PractizPal Metronome. I have been looking at this for a long time and finally decided to splurge and place an order along with several of my students. They arrived yesterday.

IMG_6714Although the graphics are old-school, this is a great device for my students. It not only acts as a metronome, but its a timer and record keeper. Students can use it to keep track of how many minutes they’ve been practicing each day and how many minutes are left in their session. Then it logs the time in a bar graph. You can toggle through the graphs to see a record of an entire year of practicing.

It’s easy to handle and was designed for kids to use. There is a coupon for a free “skin” on the package. The skins are like the ones you can put on your cell phones- they have zebra stripes, leopard print, piano keys, and other designs. You can buy a skin for $15.

Overall, I definitely like it and will recommend it to my new incoming students this fall. If the manufacturer updated the graphics and added a flashcard game, we’d be all set! I’d use this thing forever!

My Seiko metronome was around $35 and PractizPal is around $50. (I think you can get it for $45 on Amazon) You can’t beat the ability to time and countdown practice sessions and record a daily practice log- my Seiko certainly can’t do that.

Piano Lessons: 3 Phases & Why You Should Stick Them Out

This is a must-read. From a first-hand perspective, it really sums up WHY sticking with piano is so important. Especially in the Middle School years!

Zac James

When I entered the 2nd grade, my parents started me in piano lessons.  My mom, being a vocal major graduate of Huntington University, had always wished that someone had pushed her harder in piano lessons.  She committed to getting my brother and I through piano lessons all the way through until college, by making it a part of school.  I didn’t realize it as a 2nd grader, but I would end up being extremely grateful she kept me in piano lessons all that time.  I’m now a Music major graduate of Cedarville University, and my major instrument?  You guessed it – Classical piano.

I’ve had so many conversations with people who quit after 3-5 years, and wished they had stuck with it.  Seriously, for every person I’ve met who says something like “Man, Zac, I’m glad for you, but I don’t miss piano lessons at all”, I’ve talked…

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