Watch Two Piano Concerts Live from Your Own Home! recently announced that they will be airing two upcoming piano concerts live on their website and on YouTube. What a fabulous opportunity for those of us who can’t make it to these performances in person!

Marc-André Hamelin will be performing on Tuesday, October 6, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. CDT at Bass Performance Hall (in Fort Worth, TX). His program is as follows:

MOZART Sonata in D Major, K. 576
DEBUSSY Images, Book II
HAMELIN Variations on a Theme by Paganini (2011)
SCHUBERT Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960

Garrick Ohlsson will be performing on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. CDT at Bass Performance Hall (in Fort Worth, TX). His program is as follows:

BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, op. 110
SCHUBERT Fantasy in C Major, D. 760 (“Der Wanderer”)

Scherzo No. 4 in E Major, op. 54
Etude in E Minor, op. 25, no. 5
Etude in G-sharp Minor, op. 25, no. 6
Nocturne in C Minor, op. 48, no. 1
Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, op. 23

Free Wolfie iPad App Webinar this Wednesday

Have you heard of Wolfie? One of the teachers in our local association [of MTNA] first mentioned it at a meeting we held last year to discuss studio technology and apps. I was fascinated by it, but didn’t yet have an iPad, so I couldn’t check into it much. Thanks to a couple of generous gifts, I was able to purchase an iPad mini earlier this summer, so I’m in the process of figuring out the best ways to utilize it in the studio. Wolfie seems pretty incredible with its database of musical scores, ability to track where you are playing and turn the page for you, handle annotations you want to make on the score, and keep track of the progress of students in your studio that are using the app for their own piano practicing!

Wolfie iPad App

These things sound fabulous, but I’ve only caught a glimpse of them in action, so I was excited to learn that the creators of Wolfie will be conducting a free webinar this Wednesday (11:00 a.m. CST) for teachers who want to find out more. I’m looking forward to learning more and seeing how I can implement this in my studio this year!

(If you’re interested in attending, just visit the Facebook Event for the Free Wolfie iPad Webinar and click the link to register.)

Welcome to Fall Special Coupon!

I know I’m a few days after the official beginning of fall, but I’m sure enjoying the gorgeous days! So, in honor of another fall of teaching, I’m offering a special sale in the Music Matters Blog store. You can get $5 off any order by entering the following coupon code when you checkout: 05355663

By far, the favorite item in the store is 5 for Fun! Games and Activities for the Private Piano Lesson. These are tried and true games that we have used for years in the studio. Last year, my students loved perusing this book and selecting games they wanted to play as part of the e.p.i.c. practice incentive. But I also find myself referring to the book to pick out specific games to help reinforce a concept I’m working on with a student.

The coupon will be good until next Friday, October 10, so have fun picking out any item you’d like! Hope you all are enjoying a lovely fall of teaching!

Two Great New Resources!

Many moons ago I, like most music teachers, dreaded the “b” word. We love to teach, to play, to create. But, by and large, we do not like to do bookkeeping. I don’t mind finances at all, but I had such a difficult time collecting money from families or reminding them when they had overdue lesson fees, etc. Then in 2006 that all changed. Music Teacher’s Helper came on the scene and that has forever changed! This is probably the best money I spend every month because once I have everything set up for the year, I create automatic invoicing and the whole process is seamless. Families receive their invoice on the first of each month with their lesson fee amount plus any additional materials, book, or event fees. They can pay on-line or check their account at any time for details.

My posts about MTH always seem to turn into sales pitches, but the main reason I’m posting is because they have finally revamped their IOS app, and I am super thrilled! I do a lot of business from my iPhone, so it’s been a pain not having a working MTH app to record student payments, update info, etc. The new interface looks great, and I can highly recommend the whole MTH package to any teacher looking to make the business side of their studio operations a headache-less venture! (When you click on the links in this post for Music Teacher’s Helper, you’ll receive 20% off your first month and Music Matters Blog will receive a small commission that helps keep this site running.)

I am still pretty much in love with Piano Safari – the latest and greatest (in my humble opinion :-) ) piano method on the market! The students who started and are still working through it have done so well and truly enjoy making music at the piano. Even though they are learning more musically rich music via rote teaching right from the start, the approach to reading rhythms and notation is thorough and effective.

So I was excited to see that the Sight Reading and Rhythm Cards for Level 3 are now available! What’s even better is that if you order the package of all three sets of Sight Reading and Rhythm Cards (and believe me, you want these no matter what method you are using with your students!) are available for 20% off for a limited time. There are so many great ways to use these cards in the lessons (this week we’ve been having fun using rhythm instruments to play the rhythm patterns while selected rhythms from my keyboard provide a steady – but fun – beat in the background!) and the students enjoy having easy-to-manage exercises that they can work on and achieve success in their sight reading endeavors. I have a few students working through the Level 2 books and cards right now, so I’m excited to check out this new set of cards for Level 3!

Van Cliburn Finalists

Even if you missed the live coverage, you can still catch the archived recordings from each round of the Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition! Here’s a rundown of the winners:

First Prize: Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Gold Medal and Van Cliburn Winner’s Cup:
Vadym Kholodenko

Second Prize: Silver Medal
Beatrice Rana

Third Prize: Crystal Award
Sean Chen

Audience Award:
Beatrice Rana

Steven De Groote Memorial Award for the Best Performance of Chamber Music:
Vadym Kholodenko

Beverley Taylor Smith Award for the Best Performance of a New Work:
Vadym Kholodenko

John Giordano Jury Chairman Discretionary Award:
Steven Lin

The Raymond E. Buck Jury Discretionary Award:
Alessandro Deljavan

Jury Discretionary Award:
Claire Huangci

Watch the Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition

One of my early music inspirations was the CD “World’s Favorite Piano Music” by Van Cliburn. I think because of that and because of the opportunity I had to hear him in person at the 2006 MTNA Conference, he will always have a special place in my heart. The piano competition he began in 1962 is getting ready to hold its fourteenth event.

30 of the finest pianists from around the world will be converging on Fort Worth, Texas, May 24-June 9 to participate in the competition. And the rest of us around the world are privileged to be able to tune in to watch the live webcast on the Cliburn website.

And for those who are in Fort Worth or close enough to make the drive, you should check out the wonderful free events open to the public that are being held in conjunction with the competition. If I was closer, I would sure love to get in on some of these!

The Inaugural World Pianist Invitational

Destined to take its place among the world’s premier international classical music challenge events, the World Pianist Invitational is a two-part competition.

Phase I – which officially launches this week – is an online entry activity through which aspiring competitors, aged 5-29,will submit a video recording of their classical piano performance to a blue chip panel of international judges. From those submissions – and we are capping the entries at 2,500 – five finalists across five age groups (25 performers total) will be invited to participate in Phase II – a live concert performance at the world renowned Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Washington, D.C.

Sounds like a pretty exciting new event for pianists! You can find out more on the World Pianist Invitational website.