Events, opinions and resources definitely worth your consideration



If you are part of Tim Topham's Inner Circle, take advantage of your membership and join the Youve-Found-Your-Tribenext Mastermind event.  I'll be there and am looking forward to chatting about creativity and apps. It's scheduled for this Saturday at 8-9am Melbourne time which makes it Friday at 4pm my time (Mountain Time.) Here's a link to figure out what time it will be for you!

If you want more details on Tim's Inner Circle, here's my past post that includes my Google Hangout with Tim. It also features information on the benefits of the Inner Circle and how to sign up. Or, just sign up here, right now, and you'll be set for Friday afternoon.

Reminder: Bring your iPad to the Mastermind and come with questions. Will I see you there?


Speaking of the iPads and apps, I can't wait to release a new product in my Piano Teacher Planning Center called Rhythm: Make it Count. Here are the details...

Why this resource, now?

So, you’ve dipped your studio toe into technology? Perhaps you’ve even added Off Bench time knowing that having extra time to reinforce your instruction is worth the effort. But you’re still Rhythm Make it Count Facebook (1)wondering: “Now what?”

Here’s my first attempt to bring you an official, organized and I believe efficient answer to that nagging question.

What is it?

The downloadable PDF, Rhythm: Make it Count, is a compilation of iPad app assignments and off bench activities and games exclusively related to rhythm. I chose and isolated rhythm first (yes, there will be more of these theme-related resources to come!) because if rhythm is understood, then improvisation, reading, ensemble playing and all things related to music falls into place IN time and at the RIGHT time!

The easy-to-use resource includes:

  • Reproducible Level 1 weekly student assignment sheet (quarter - whole notes, 3/4 and 4/4 time.)
  • Reproducible Level 2 weekly assignment sheet (dotted quarter, 16ths and syncopation.)
  • A Get Inspired! Episode dedicated to performances highlighting rhythm in unique ways with a reproducible list of guided questions.
  • Additional innovative ideas for Off Bench activities and suggested games to use in private lessons, Off Bench time or group lessons.
  • Printable large icons of apps to hang in your studio to ease the assigning process.
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to easily implement the plan in your studio.

How is it of value to you?

It will save you oodles of time and anxiety. A plan will be in place for your students on and off the bench that will offer reinforcement and engaging student activities. I know this because Amy Watt, friend and rookie Off-Bench teacher is helping me design this.

Stay tuned, it will be released soon...


Still not sure about adding technology or how to incorporate creativity into your teaching? Then consider working with me. Now's the time for last minute advice and strategies! Learn more here. Here's what Kelly Koch (her studio is featured in the photo above) stated after our FaceTime consultation:

Leila offers a Studio Consultation, but really it’s so much more!  We received a online-730x730consultation for our Lab/Lesson format, which was a little outdated.  Our students were stale on our lab and we asked Leila for ways to improve it.  Not only did she give us SO many ideas, she helped us after the consult (many times) on our purchase of iPads, apps and accessories.  She is my silent partner in the studio!  It was an excellent investment for Minds On Music and we know it will pay dividends for us this fall!


Looking for some fresh teaching repertoire and tips on how to introduce new music to your students? You can get both by joining the Composer Community Discussion Group. Recently, they added a Thursday's Teaching Tip to their conversation threads. Here's fellow blogger and co-author of Bucket Drumming for Piano Teachers Heather Nanney's teaching tip video that she produced to go along with her "flashy solo" for beginners. She packs the video full of excellent suggestions!


Bradley Sowash held a free online group class. Yes, you heard me right, a group class online. He guided us through creating a gospel style improvisation of "Amazing Grace." A number of us were involved in the class and were called upon to play (if we wanted to!) Other viewers could just sit back and listen and learn.

I can't tell you how much fun I had after the lesson. I'll I wanted to do was practice but work got in the way. Below is my creative effort following Bradley's tips. If you can't view the video click here.

If you are interested in developing your improvisation skills, if you've always wanted to but didn't think you could, then I can't recommend Bradley's instruction enough. Yes, I do work with the guy so I might be partial but, this online group lesson venture is his thing. I'll be there learning right along with you all. Sign up here.


Many have asked if I will continue using Piano Maestro and if so, which payment plan will I choose? Last evening I signed up for the Studio + Home option. You can learn more about all the options here.

The app is no longer free for verified teachers and their students. It came as a surprise to mepm and to many other teachers who were spoiled with the free access. I paid for the annual plan for this year and then will determine if my students use it enough to justify the cost for next year.

For so many reasons, I find this app extremely valuable to my Off Bench time as do my students. I don't believe the students take advantage of it at home as I would have liked. This year I'll push more home use of PM and see if it's worth the price tag.

The lesson for all of us: FREE is not always best. In hindsight, JoyTunes should have charged us a long time ago for their extremely valuable tool. The announcement of the new fee structure was poorly timed. Us teachers became addicted to it and now that it's not free, the adjustment is that much harder.

It's a reminder, though, that good things are worth paying for.


Some good things are also free! Check out my freebies at the Piano Teacher Planning Center. The newest is a letter to parents about using the iPad in piano lessons.