The Piano Sensei Way

The Piano Sensei Way

The Piano Sensei Way is a podcast where I help piano teachers minimize stress and maximize success! I share my way of doing things, which in my opinion is the best way! It’s similar to Mr. Miyagi in the movie The Karate Kid where he tells Daniel to wax the car, sand the floor, and paint the fence. Daniel thought he was crazy just doing Mr. Miyagi’s chores for him. But Mr. Miyagi knew what he was doing! He was training Daniel’s muscle memory so he could defend himself! Similarly, I am so confident in my ways, if you trust me and try it, you’ll see the results!

Episodes

June 11, 2024 46 mins

How do you help parents motivate their children to practice? Is there such a thing as a parent who is too involved? Should parents sit in on lessons? Barbie Wong joins us to discuss how to educate and engage parents so their children will thrive in piano lessons! Lots of great tips and stories in this episode!

10 Ways to Inspire Kids to Make Music — Mini Guide https://barbiewong.com/inspire/

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Every Good Boy Deserves . . . ? We’re all familiar with these sayings, but maybe every good teacher should think about the usefulness of mnemonic devices for reading music. Samantha Coates is here to explain and demonstrate how these traditional teaching tools are confusing and a waste of time! 

Samantha Coates is an internationally regarded piano pedagogue and presenter. In addition to runnin...

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Amy Immerman, Founder of Cincinnati Music Academy (a school that she helped grow to 750 students), joins the show to discuss motivation! Is it our job to motivate students? How can we help spark motivation? How can parental involvement help? We both talk about our own practicing and motivation growing up. Amy describes some engaging practice games, a 100-Day Practice Challenge, how events keep students excited, and ad...

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April 30, 2024 56 mins

Prompted by a lively discussion in the Facebook Group Piano Teacher Central, I decided to host a live debate on YouTube! This is the recording of our “debate” on counting. The teachers who joined me were Mike Langer, Brian Lotter, Jeff Millis, Val Muller, Harrison Richter, and Jordan Thomas. It was a very thought-provoking discussion where we discussed the meaning of “counting”; if and how it h...

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This is the second of a two-part interview. In the last episode, Jordan interviewed me about teacher pay, asking me about fair rates, negotiating, benefits, living wage, tuition rates, and teacher raises. In this second episode, Jordan asks me about other aspects of running a studio such as: What do you look for when hiring a teacher? Do you train teachers? If so, how? How much leeway do you give teachers for how they...

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To shake things up, our guest, Jordan Thomas, interviews Clinton! It all started with Jordan’s FaceBook post in Piano Teacher Central about the feasibility of a multi-teacher studio business model as opposed to a solo studio. Jordan is a solo teacher and has been considering expanding, but has questions about how to make it work. I answered some of his questions in his FaceBook post, but we decided to discuss it...

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Jake posted in the group “Piano Teacher Central” on Facebook about setting expectations for piano students in his studio. It was quite the lively discussion as there were strong and varying views on what kind of standards we should set, and what we should do if students don’t meet those expectations. Despite Jake being fairly new to piano teaching, I tended to agree with his ideas and was impressed a...

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After I posted in the Piano Teacher Central Facebook group saying “slow, slow, slow to keep the flow, flow, flow,” Pablo Martinez shared it in his Instagram to his followers because he was just thinking the same thing! We linked up in this episode to share stories and ideas on effective practicing. We learn about Pablo’s journey and how he had to rethink how to practice due to an injury. He had to ma...

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February 20, 2024 34 mins

Do your students want to take the summer off or want fewer lessons, resulting in reduced income for you? It can be frustrating, stressful, and depressing to have to struggle for income in the summer when your students drop off or take breaks. Don’t worry, The Piano Sensei Way has solved this problem! Not only can you maintain your income in the summer months, but I show you how to actually increase it! And you&r...

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I was so impressed when I watched Mikey Ashmore’s students in a studio music video he posted on Facebook this past Halloween. I contacted him and he agreed to come on the show to talk about how he came up with this idea and how he pulled it off! You’ve got to see this video and listen to my interview with him, it’s so fun! He walks us through the steps of writing custom parts for the ensemble, rehear...

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Teaching theory is a must . . . and it’s even better in groups! It’s more fun, students get social activity, they gain encouragement and support from their peers, and you can increase your income! Based on the Cooperative Learning Theory, students learn faster in small groups. You can also maximize your effectiveness by teaching several students all at once! Glory St. Germain joins to give us lots of infor...

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Is there only one way to finger scales? Do C, G, D, A, and E always start with left hand 54321? Zac Adamson says “no!” We discuss alternate scale fingerings and how they can help students (and you!) play with more natural ease and flow. During this episode, he demonstrates specific scales and their alternative fingerings on his piano and I try them out on my piano! Zac has created a diagram for you to use ...

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This is my recent interview on the Ultimate Music Teachers Productivity and Profitability Podcast with host Glory St. Germain! Topics include: my various roles as a music educator, improvisation, enforcing policies, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, how to make lessons engaging, retention, performance anxiety, and more! 

Glory's podcast

Clinton's podcast

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Tiffani is back by popular demand! We talk about being confident in your policies in order to protect your business, produce efficiency, and increase satisfaction! We both share examples and stories of how confident policies helped our studios. We discuss many tips on how to be confident including: explaining the protection, efficiency, and satisfaction to clients; practicing in front of a mirror (yes, really!); role playing; telli...

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Tim Topham, internationally recognized leader in music education and founder of Top Music, joins the show to talk about his approach to delay method books and reading in order to focus on creativity and musicality first! Tim says, “Why don’t we leave the method books alone for a few weeks and do improvisation, creativity, musicality, and skill training first, before we introduce reading? I’m not agai...

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Christopher Oill joins the show to talk about creativity, composition, connecting to students, and how to balance structure with freedom. Using creative things like improvisation and storytelling can help you connect with students on a personal level, strengthening your relationships and, therefore, increasing student retention and engagement! Chris is such a fun person to talk to because he’s smart, innovative,...

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Rescheduled lessons, cancellations, and students who want to take the summer off, oh my! Don’t you want to reduce your stress so you can focus on teaching? Having a flat rate tuition with no makeups lessons makes everything easier on students, parents, and you, the teacher! In this episode, I walk you through the details on how to institute a flat rate tuition and why you will want to convert, if you haven&rsquo...

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Do your students practice? Do they know how to practice? Are you sure they're doing it effectively and efficiently? In this episode I talk with Michael Richey of the Tennessee Music Academy about how the main goal of a piano lesson is to teach a student how to practice! We talk about introducing a piece, beginners, transfer students, motivation, student readiness, and he gives us 5 tips: 

  1. Frequency over duration
  2. Planning
  3. ...
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Is your Website working to get you more students? In this episode, we discuss some important tips to make sure you’re including and excluding the right things!

The goal of your website is not to impress people with your credentials, talk about your policies and pricing, or get them to follow you on social media. The goal is to get them to contact you! How? By following these tips:

    ...
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In this episode, I talk with David Frego about the Dalcroze Eurhythmics philosophy. David has many years experience teaching piano and music, incorporating Eurhythmics. He is a Master Teaching Artist with the American Eurhythmics Society and leads teacher training sessions all over the world. We discuss the history of Dalcroze, the philosophy, the concepts of Time, Space, and Energy, and the four pillars of the philos...

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