Music. Experience it. Live it. Make it.

This is what Dorla’s Piano Studio is all about.  Music.

Sometimes we get bogged down by recital deadlines, practice requirements and performances, but when it comes down to the last line in the score, it’s all about the music.

Experience it.  Of the many ways available to experience music, participating in a group is at the top of the list.  This is one of the many reasons DPS offers group lessons for beginners. It’s fun.  Children play music games, they sing together, they make music together, play for each other and learn from each other.

Live it.  When you wake up in the morning singing “Mouse, Mousie in the Housie”, “There’s a Worm At The Bottom Of My Garden” “Wake Up Pointer Panda” or any of your songs from music class, you know that you are living the music! It might me annoying at times to have a song stuck in your head, but that is exactly what needs to happen in order for you to play it on your instrument.

Make it.  Each and every lesson should be about making and creating beautiful sounds. Even if you are playing only one note at a time – you should make them the best.  No banging! Instead, tell a story with drama and flair.  So what if you can only play Hot Cross Buns?! Play it in a way that is unique. Improvise, change the ending, change the key.  Whatever you do…make MUSIC.

No More Dead Composers!



This is was my motto for about a week.

I was trying to find new repertoire to practice and thinking about an audience that would want to listen.  My audience (family, friends, students) seem quite young or not interested in Classical music. A few even believe Beethoven was just a dog in a movie when I mention the name!

That’s when I decided to only practice music of musicians that are alive. John Lunn (Downton Abbey Suite) and Yiruma (White Shadow) were my choices and I have enjoyed every minute of their music.

And now? I feel like I’ve been eating sweets all week.  Downton Abbey is a fine piece of music and the piano score is great.  But it really needs to be connected to the PBS series.  And White Shadows? Well, it is a beautiful piece but it’s missing some meat and potatoes…


So I pulled out Schubert’s Fantasie in f minor (4 hands) and I have the privilege of playing with Murray Perahia and Radu Lupu on my iPhone.  This piece has a lot of meat and potatoes and is a great mix of repertoire with Lunn and Yiruma.

But wait! Schubert is dead! (1828 to be exact…)

As I said at the beginning of this post.  That was my motto for a week!

Spring Recital 2012

4 year old airline pilot handing out boarding pass (programs)

I always enjoy piano recitals especially when my students perform!  However, a few years ago I realized that I was maybe the only one enjoying the recitals.  Who wants to hear 30 different pianists you have never heard of? Plus you don’t even recognize the pieces they play!  So when I moved to my new studio I decided to have several recitals in which only 8 to 10 students perform. THAT was a great idea.

recital certificate inside passport for each student

This year thanks to TeachPianoToday I decided to do a little extra.  Last year a seriously fun music educator shared her Mission: Music incentive, I prepared it for my students, they participated excitedly during the year and I used a travel theme to tie in their challenges around the world map with the recital.

cake pops and water: refreshments for a musical day

 It was a lot more work than usual because of decorating (which my mom and friends did…), baking cake pops (my mom did this too…), decorating 150 cake pops (I did this at 5 am…with my mom…), printing boarding passes for 5 recitals, printing passports, and so much more!  However, the children enjoyed  the extras and many parents shared lovely comments.

at the piano

Now the Spring semester is over.  Time to finalize plans for the summer session and plan ahead for Fall.

Thanks everyone for a lovely musical year!

3:00 pm recital

Family Music for Toddlers

playing resonator bars

Today we completed an awesome semester of music with toddlers!

Every Thursday morning ten little ones brought their grown ups into the studio for 30 minutes of nursery rhymes set to music.  We danced, we hopped,  we went this-a-way and that-a-way…all day long!   Well, even if the class was not all day long, I received reports of their singing at home. Wonderful!

Allee Galloo galloo

Each  week we confirmed the notion that “nursery rhymes lend themselves to musical activities because they are rich in rhythm, meter, inflection, and song.”*  Most importantly, though, the children and their adults had a delightful time clapping, tapping, jumping, skipping, and singing, the best way we know to build musicality!


*Musikgarten – All Together Now! Nimble & Quick, card 2

Happy New Year!

Being an Independent Piano Teacher is very rewarding.  However, being an Independent Piano Teacher is a lot of work. Even though my husband takes care of the studio bills, yard maintenance and anything else required from a a handy man, I still have to schedule the students, plan the lessons for the different age groups, order books, plan a yearly incentive, organize all the studio stuff, sweep and mop the floors, vacuum the rug, and clean the bathroom!

Oh wait…I also need to teach…

So here is what I have planned so far for this New Year:

Pre-piano 2 will be  singing and dancing through Musikgarten’s Music Makers: Around the World and Sing and Play for the piano introduction part of the class.

Group Piano 1 will be using  Music Makers: At The Keyboard book 1 and Music Discoveries for a little bit more of theory and pre-reading skills.

Group Piano 2 and 3 will be working on Music Makers: At The Keyboard book 2 or 3 and A Dozen a Day Mini Book or Preparatory level for additional reading exercises.

This year, because my Group Piano 4 has had some changes, I’ve decided to transition them into a traditional note reading method book while continuing aural activities, singing and dancing.  The Mayron Cole method will be the core of this class.

The rest of my planning is for private piano students.  Most of them prepare for The Piano Guild  which would be their classical music repertoire, A Dozen a Day (listed above), a book of fun repertoire/recital pieces, and a worship song book.  Those who are not preparing for a specific medal (GUILD) have different classical repertoire books such as Mastering the Piano or Kabalevsky’s Opus 39.

Would you like to share your piano plans?