NCKP 2021 has begun!

A few months ago, I mentioned this summer’s 2021 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP) virtual conference. The pre-conference sessions officially began TODAY (yay!). I’ve been happily enjoying some wonderful virtual sessions already this afternoon, and am so excited about the programming over the next few weeks. The NCKP planners have chosen a wonderful app that allows for connecting with other attendees while enjoying the virtual presentations. It’s the next best thing besides being in-person with my teacher friends and colleagues.

In this year’s NCKP, I am involved with two different sessions. The first is a presentation about a personal project with my young daughter, Aria, and our first year of Early Childhood Music sessions at home together. (I’ve been putting my ECM certification through the Gordon Institute for Music Learning (see GIML.org) to good use recently!) This session will take place during the pre-conference this Friday the 16th from 1:05-2:00pm EDT. Here’s the full description:

Music is Child’s Play: Lessons Learned from My Youngest StudentThis session has it all: storytelling, lessons learned, pedagogical insights, and baby videos! Piano teacher Joy Morin shares videos and research documenting her daughter’s first year of developing “preparatory audiation” according to the stages outlined in Edwin E. Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT). Come hear the lessons babies can teach music teachers everywhere and gain insights that can transform our pedagogy of young learners.
The second session I am involved with is a panel discussion along with four wonderful colleagues: Lynnette Barney, Christopher Oill, Tony Parlapiano, and Clinton Pratt. This session will take place during the main conference on Saturday, July 31, 2021 from 4:00-4:50pm. Here is the full description:
Teaching Students to Fish: Developing Independent Learners From the First Lesson. “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Our long-term goal is to teach our way out of a job, right? We want our students to be independent learners from the start. This session features five experienced teachers who offer engaging, practical, and out-of-the-box teaching strategies so your students cast their own lines!
If you are attending NCKP this year, I hope you will look for these two sessions in the schedule! I would love to see you there virtually and connect with you via the NCKP app!
If you haven’t registered for NCKP but would like to, you’ll find info about it here.

PS: It’s that time of year! I’ve started receiving inquiries from a few piano teacher associations about speaking on their 2021-22 program. So far, I am booked to speak in Livonia, MI, Columbus, OH, and Holland, MI. If you’re in any of those areas and would like to attend, let me know and I can send you the details. If YOUR local association is working on programming, please feel free to pass my name along. I have a list of presentation topics available here and am available for in-person or Zoom presentations. I would love to speak for your piano teachers association this year! Thanks for considering me.

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Transitioning Back to In-Person Lessons During/After the Covid-19 Pandemic

[Just for fun…here’s a selfie taken after chopping off 12 inches of pandemic-time hair and donating it to Wigs 4 Kids!]
Hello readers!
I hope you all are well. Here in Michigan, we are in the midst of BEAUTIFUL summer weather and it feels as if the worst of the pandemic is behind us (which I would certainly like to believe is true!). The current full vaccination rate in the state of Michigan is 46%, which is also the current rate in the U.S. as a whole (as of June 2021). In my local county, the full vaccination rate is even higher at 60% and the rate of reported Covid-19 cases per day is down to low single digits.
With these facts in mind, I have started transitioning a few of my students from online lessons to in-person lessons at my home studio. (You might recall — 75% of my students are in Ohio from before I moved and they will remain online.) I am taking a number of precautions, because I would much prefer to err on the side of caution and keep everyone healthy if I can help it!
In case you happen to be in the same position and might find this useful, below is the wording I used to communicate my precautions and expectations to parents via email.

Hello students, 

I just wanted to send a note to let you know what to expect when it comes to precautions for our in-person lessons. Even though the Covid-19 rates are low in Michigan right now, I’d still like to play it safe and err on the side of caution. I am excited to be able to be back together in-person with my students, and I hope you are too! 

Just so you know: My husband and I have both been vaccinated, and so has my mother-in-law who sometimes watches our 16-month-old daughter. 

And here are the precautions we will take here at my in-home piano studio:
 
– Please ask your student to use the bathroom at home before leaving home. But if needed, the bathroom here will be available to students. 
– Anytime 5 minutes prior to the lesson start time, students may be sent to the front door where I will welcome them. I prefer parents don’t come indoors unless necessary, but we can chat on the porch before the lesson time starts if you’d like! During the lesson, parents are welcome to wait in the car or run errands. 
– An air purifier will run during the lesson time. Surfaces will be cleaned with antibacterial wipes between students. 
– When students enter, they should be wearing their mask (and I will be, too). Students will be asked to remove their shoes and wash their hands using hand sanitizer. We will use hand sanitizer again at the end of the lesson before I send them out to your vehicle. 
– Should the student (or anyone in the family) get sick or learn they were exposed to someone with Covid-19, please notify me. I would prefer to err on the side of caution and keep everyone as healthy as we can! And I am happy to accomodate an online lesson as needed for any weeks we decide not to meet in-person. 

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns as we go along. 

Thanks so much! 
Joy

For any and all studio communication, I think it’s important to use a friendly yet professional tone and use clear, concise language — and that’s what I tried to do in my email above!
In case you haven’t seen it, there is a helpful resource from MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) you might be interested in checking out as well: Legal FAQs for Reopening Music Studios.
PS: Stay tuned because tomorrow I will share a free printable poster for reminding students to remove their shoes, wash their hands, etc. when they arrive at your studio! Update: Visit this post to view the printable poster!

Your turn: How are lessons going in YOUR neck of the woods? Are you teaching online, in person, or both? I would love to hear from you! I’m sure we all have plenty we could share about our experiences over the past year or so.

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