Musings for the New Year

After a long hiatus, I’m excited to be back to posting on Music Matters Blog (though I anticipate it will be much more sporadic than before!). The New Year is in full swing, and I’m thrilled to be entering it with an incredible husband, four wonderful children, a studio full of amazing families, and an awesome support network of family, friends, and colleagues! I have lots of ideas and thoughts to post in the coming days, but for now, I thought I’d share a few videos with you:

Christmas Recital 2013 – There is a Redeemer

Julian’s and My Wedding Video

Julian and Natalie-Wedding Ceremony from IanGVideo on Vimeo.

A Shorter Version with the Highlights from Our Wedding

Julian and Natalie’s Wedding (Short Version) from IanGVideo on Vimeo.

Our Story (the video that we showed at the beginning of our wedding)

Julian and Natalie from Positive Motion Studios on Vimeo.

Happy New Year to all of you! I’d love to hear about your plans for the year and any special new things you are doing in your studios!

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder…?

Thanks to all of you who have e-mailed, texted, or left comments to find out how I’m doing. I am so grateful for each of you! Just so you know, I did not drop off the face of the earth. I wish I had time to write the whole story (stay tuned for the book! :-)), but here’s a very brief synopsis of what has been going on in my life the last nine weeks.

On August 21, God brought Julian Weber to my doorstep. Literally. He spent about 5 hours talking with my dad, sharing his story, and ultimately asking for permission to pursue a relationship with me. Life has been a whirlwind since that day, and as of October 4, I am engaged to a man I have come to love with all my heart.

Through many challenges leading up to and following the death of his first wife, God has walked with Julian and his four children (whom I have also grown to love very dearly!) and brought amazing redemption and restoration in his life. Though different on the surface, God has so faithfully and lovingly walked with me for 30+ years, building a foundation in my life and preparing me for this exciting new adventure! We praise God for all that He has done and is doing in our lives, and would love your prayers as we prepare for our wedding on December 21.
“This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” Psalm 118:23

In light of this, I hope you’ll forgive my long absence from the blog and any negligence in responding to e-mails. It’s about all I can do to keep up with the studio and teaching, various other responsibilities, planning a wedding, and preparing to be a wife and mother in a couple of months. But I am loving the adventure and am confident that this is what God has called me to do. I do look forward to continuing Music Matters Blog, and have so much I’d love to share with you as soon as I am able!

Back in Business!

After a couple of weeks with no computer I finally “bit the bullet” and forked over a big chunk of my hard-earned savings to do something I’ve been considering for years. I officially converted my studio to all Mac-based technology.

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Having owned three Dell laptops and being fully invested in PC software, this was a huge step. But within 10 minutes of setting it up the night it arrived, I was completely in love! :-) This is quite possibly the best technology decision I’ve ever made. Here are some of the reasons why:

* As soon as I logged in with my Apple ID, the MacBook was synced with my other devices (iPod Touch and iPhone). That means all of my calendar and contact data, notes, and reminders were populated without me having to do anything!

* I can specify specific items/data to be stored in my iCloud account, thus making it accessible anywhere via the Internet while also providing an offsite backup.

* I’m using the Apple Mail program now rather than Outlook and I love how it organizes the inboxes and provides the option for mail folders to be either “On My Mac” or in “iCloud.”

* The design is sleek and beautiful!

* I can work on it for an entire afternoon and still have battery power to spare.

There’s so much more that I haven’t even tapped into yet! If you can’t tell, I’m thrilled to back in business technology-wise in the studio. And just in time for all the year-end projects that need to be wrapped up. I have lots of things I’m eager to share in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

When Teaching Beats Doing Laundry

I really appreciate this quote that I came across this morning by Carol Barnier, one of the featured speakers at our local homeschool convention:

“It’s always been important to me to give people something they can take home and use right away. Whether it’s teaching fractions to a distractible student or reconnecting with the heart of a prodigal who is walking away. . .if you don’t take away something that makes a difference in your life, you may as well have stayed at home and gotten the laundry done.”

~Carol Barnier

The more I teach, the more I realize that it’s impossible for me to give every student everything they need musically. If that is my goal, I will fail every time. But if our aim as teachers at every lesson is to give the student something they can take away that makes a difference in their lives – musical or otherwise – we can truly make a lasting impact.

Why So Quiet?

You may have noticed that the posts have been quite a bit more sporadic than usual this year. It’s just been a little harder for me to keep up with everything, and one of the reasons is because of the new book I co-authored and released at the end of November: Born to Deliver. Kathy Brace and I did a video shoot a number of weeks ago and the official book trailer is now done! This will give you a bit more of an idea of what the book is about and why it’s been so quiet around here:

Off to the Slopes!

It will be another quiet week here on Music Matters Blog because the studio is closed while I’m in Colorado enjoying the snowy slopes! In the meantime you might be interested in checking out a series of posts I wrote last year on Teaching Tips from Snowboard School:

Introduction

Part 1 – Be a Pro

Part 2 – Give Students a Vision of Success

Part 3 – Plan a Systematic Approach

Part 4 – Build Confidence By Teaching Mastery of Fundamental Skills

Part 5 – Provide Ample Time for Individual Practice

A Picture and a Video and a Quote (or Two)

After our fabulous weekend in Kansas City, my students and I thoroughly enjoyed our first experience participating in the Multi-Piano Concert! We got back late Sunday evening, so I’ve been scrambling to get everything done this week and thus the blog has been a bit quiet. However, I thought I would share with you a picture from the weekend and a couple of quotes I came across in a TED video I watched last night.


Aren’t they a great-looking bunch of students?!

One of the organizations that I follow is Character First.They send out a monthly e-newsletter that always has great articles and insights into how to address character in your own life and in your work with others. One of their leaders, Dr. Nathan Mellor, recently spoke at TEDxOU in a presentation called, Listen Up, Corporate America: Less Rules, More Character.

One of my aims as a piano teacher is to provide an environment where good character is promoted and praised. I’ve mentioned this before, particularly in the post, “Teaching Students to Play Beautifully,” but it’s a constant challenge to determine the best way to teach students with this in mind. Videos like the following one provide lots of thought-provoking insights and illustrations:

Here are a couple of the quotes that I really like:

“Your job should not define you, but the way you do your job reveals who you are.”

“Actions reveal beliefs. If you desire to change actions, you must challenge beliefs.”

In particular, a realization of the first quote was the impetus behind the character evaluation that students are required to complete at the beginning of each lesson as part of our Project 28 studio practice incentive theme this year. This has been a very helpful tool, but I still want to do a better job of encouraging students to view their piano practicing and lessons as an opportunity to develop good character that will transfer into every area of their lives!