How to Register Your Own Domain Name and Point it to Any Website

I just gave a workshop last weekend to our local music teachers association on setting up your own website. Regardless of whether you are designing your own site from scratch or are using a pre-designed website from another provider (like Music Teacher’s Helper), you will definitely want to set up your own domain name so that people can easily access your studio website. Here are some step-by-step instructions on how to register your own domain name and then redirect it to any other website:

1. Go to 1and1.com (I selected 1and1.com because a friend of mine has used them with good success for domain registrations and their price is only $6.99/yr.)
2. Click on the Domains menu option.
3. Type in your domain name of choice.
4. Follow the on-line instructions to complete the registration process. Be sure to write down your password so that you can use it later!
5. Wait for approximately 24 hours to let the registration process take effect.
6. Go to 1and1.com
7. Click the Customer Login link at top of page and enter your domain name and password.
8. Click on the Manage Domains link.
9. Check the box beside your domain name and then click on Destination.
10. Select Forward Your Domain from the drop down menu.
11. Enter the URL for your studio website (i.e.teacherspianostudio.musicteachershelper.com)
12. Select the HTTP Redirect option.

After that you should be good to go! Try typing in your studio name to make sure that it redirects you to the appropriate website.

Amazing Grace: The True Story – A New Musical

I first read about this new musical, Amazing Grace: The True Story, in a news magazine and was thrilled! The story of how it came to be (nine years in the making!) is fascinating. I’ve been following their website and subscribed to their newsletter so that I could stay up-to-date with the progress. From everything I’ve heard and read, the script and music are Broadway-quality and the cast includes famous Broadway performers from such shows as Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables. The story is “The Epic Saga of Storms, Slavery, Romance & Redemption Based on The Life of John Newton.” A CD recording is due to come out sometime next spring I believe, but for now you can listen to the concept recordings.

The World Premiere of the show is scheduled for May 2 – September 29, 2009 at the American Music Theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I just received a limited-time discount code to allow $50 tickets to be purchased for $35! Just mention this discount code when you call the box office to order tickets: AGDIS35

I would sure love to go, but Pennsylvania is a bit of a trip for me, so we’ll have to see if it works out. If you go, you have to promise to tell me all about it!

Piano Camp Planning

Next week will be my week of piano camps and I’m sitting here at my dining room table with papers scattered around, jotting down ideas and finalizing the daily outline while the strains of Vivaldi’s Oboe Concertos quietly escape the speakers of my CD player in the background. There are always so many ideas and possibilities to consider, it’s hard to narrow everything down into a concise lesson plan!

Our local music teachers association is organizing a Music Olympics festival next month and my week of piano camps will be spent, in large part, preparing for the event. We’ll be meeting for two-and-a-half hours each day Monday through Thursday. And since I’ve got one group from 10:00-12:30 and another group from 1:00-3:30, I’m having an open lunch time where everyone can bring a sack lunch and hang out together and visit while we eat. Should be fun!

In preparation for the Rhythm Marathon event at the Music Olympics, I’ve been working on specific ideas to help my students develop rhythm skills. I downloaded these wonderful rhythm flashcards from D’Net’s music blog and now I’m devising a variety of ways to use them. I also found this idea for a rhythm game using body percussion that looks pretty fun. (There is a whole page of music lesson plans on this site, contributed by different music teachers. I’ve only looked through a handful, but some of them have some really good ideas!)

I’ll be sure to take pictures during the piano camps and post them here so you can join in on the fun [at least in a virtual-sort-of-way!]!

Don’t Slam on the Brakes!

Lately I’ve found myself using the same analogy with a number of my students because it seems to be very effective. I tell them to imagine that they are riding in the car with one of their parents and are approaching a stop sign. Then I ask whether their parent waits until they are right at the stop sign and then slams on the brakes. (One observing parent quickly jumped in and jokingly commanded, “Don’t answer that!” :-) ) Or I present option two – the brake pumping option. This is when the driver pushes repeatedly on the brake while the poor passengers are jolted forward and backward numerous times. And then, option three – a slow steady depressing of the brake pedal until the car rolls to a stop right as it reaches the sign. All joking aside, the student of course responds that option three is the preferred manner of approaching a stop sign.

Thus it is with ritardando. At the end of many pieces of music a ritardando should be applied. This allows the performer and the listener to anticipate the ending. It also prevents the feeling of a musical “slamming on of the brakes” when the performer inappropriately ends a piece abruptly. A ritardando should be gradual and fluid, not uneven and jolting. The students seem to relate very well to this analogy and I’ve started seeing some good progress in the execution of their ritardandos.

No Such Thing As Piano

This is a great point by Mike over at the How to Practise website. I’ve noticed how often my students, who play well with dynamics at their lessons, often can’t get the same good sound when they perform in other venues. I’m definitely going to start using this principle of “no such thing as piano” with my students – in fact I even incorporated it into a student’s lesson yesterday! – and see how they do.

BTW, if you haven’t checked out Mike’s website, be sure you carve out about three hours (or maybe three days!) and treat yourself to all kinds of helpful information and practice tips. It’s loaded, and I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of everything the site has to offer. Not to mention that I love the colors and layout of the site!

New Blog: Journey to Self-Publishing

Things have been a little quieter on the piano teaching front this week, but I’m ready to officially announce the launch of my new blog – Journey to Self-Publishing. Yes, I’m in the process of writing a book and after considerable thought I’ve decided to go the route of self-publishing. The thought is both exciting and scary! I know it will be a ton of work, but I think it will be a wonderful learning experience. That’s why I’ve decided to launch the Journey to Self-Publishing blog. I hope it will be a great way to record my experiences and also provide helpful information for others who are interested in writing and publishing their own book. (And if you’ve done any self-publishing, I can definitely use lots of advice!) So, feel free to stop by my new virtual home and say hi!