Free Webinar You Won’t Want to Miss!

Jennifer is giving a webinar you won’t want to miss–all about setting up Music Tech Time. You know I’m a huge fan of this studio set up and I’m sure you will learn a great deal. Come with questions! Jennifer will have plenty of answers as she’s included technology with her lessons for over 20 years. -Leila


MusicTechLabGraphicJoyTunes is hosting a FREE webinar this Wednesday that I will be presenting! When thinking about a subject for the webinar, I thought teachers might enjoy learning a bit more about starting a music tech lab in your studios. I have had a tech lab for almost 20 years now and it has been a huge benefit in my studio. And what better way to take advantage of the Piano Maestro app than having a lab students can go to before or after their lessons.

In this presentation I will be going through the Ins and Outs of Starting a Music Tech Lab. We will start with what you will want, need or consider having in your lab, go through some scheduling options and resources on what to use during lab time.

If there is anything specific you are hoping to hear during the webinar, please leave a comment below…

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Free Flight with Conference Registration? Yes!

If you are not a fan of booking flights, airplanes, rest stops, packing or lost luggage,Register-Now-Infographic2-837x1024 then is for you. allows you to remain in the safety and warmth of your own home, Lazy Boy and fuzzy house coat.

Especially if you can’t leave due to family situations, finances and additional obligations, is perfect for you.

So, what is It’s Continue reading

Got an iPad? Got Piano Students? Now What?

Keep calm

After the novelty of the iPad wears off and before the reality of students reappearing at your door sets in, it’s time to determine how and when you will use your irresistible tablet in your studio. Here are tips on … Continue reading

Keep Your 2015 Studio Relevant with Pianoflix


After you received your undergrad music degree, performed a stellar recital of the classics, turned in that lofty thesis, passed a professional accreditation exam or somehow earned shiny, new initials behind your name, you probably felt a great sense of … Continue reading

10 Must-Have Apps for Your New iPad!

Did Santa deliver an iPad? If so, you’ll want to get yourself The iPad Piano Studio book (details below) and your iPad all the top apps! The next couple of Frau mit Geschenk zu Weihnachtenparagraphs are packed with info which may overwhelm. Take a deep breath and remember: take it one app at a time. 

The Piano Mag–blog site of Clavier Companion–asked me to make a list of apps for the holiday season. Sounds easy, right? WRONG! Choosing 10 out of the dozens of favorites was almost impossible.

At the risk of dating myself and revealing my eclectic taste in movies, I’m feeling a little like Steve Martin’s character in “The Jerk.” In case you haven’t seen the movie, Martin plays a “dim-witted” poor man who finds riches and loses it all again. Upon discovering he’s lost everything, he declares, “All I need is this ashtray, this ashtray and this paddle game, this ash tray, this paddle game and this remote control, this ashtray, this…” you get the point. Just in case you want a throwback moment, I’ve included the scene below.

Why am I feeling this way? Because when asked to make a list of top apps for this year, I realized that all the apps included in last year’s list remain in the must-have column.  So consider the new list below an addendum. All I need are last years apps and…

1) Camera (free with purchase of any smart phone or iOS7-camera-icontablet)

It’s easy to forget one of the apps that I use the most—the camera. It is a terrific tool for

-Revelation: a digital mirror for reflecting hand position and technical issues

-Performance Prep: the focus required to perform for the camera simulates the pressure of recital and competition performances

-Magical moments: an easily accessed camera captures those priceless moments of fun during lessons.

Found on most smart phones and tablets

2) Pages (free with any new Apple device)

Recently, I enjoyed the opportunity to share the joys of teaching withPages the iPad on the East Coast. This was the very first trip that I did NOT bring a laptop and only brought my iPad Air in the LogicTech Keyboard case. I never missed my laptop thanks to the keyboard but also credit goes to the powerful Pages app. It creates documents that can be easily exported as PDF’s or Word docs and more. With the magic of iCloud the docs can be accessed on my laptop as well.

iOS only

3) Keynote (free with any new Apple device) Continue reading

A New Favorite Christmas Arrangement for Piano OR Organ!

Merry Christmas pic

Thanks to the wonders of social media, I stumbled across Paul Sweet’s dynamic arrangement of “O Come All Ye Faithful” a couple of months ago. When I heard his captivating performance featured in the video below it struck me that this piece could be a possible hit on the organ as well.

Here’s Paul’s performance of his arrangement on the piano

Here’s my performance of his piece that I arranged for the Allen Renaissance organ

Continue reading

An Edible Ornament that Lasts for a Lifetime?

Turning a candy cane into the shape of a “J” and attaching an Christmas Candy Caneappropriately shaped pipe cleaner can magically transform into a treble clef. No, I wasn’t clever enough to come up this idea! Credit goes to Mrs Dennis and her article posted at Music with Mrs Dennis. If you have not visited this creative and colorful blog, check it out. Music with Mrs. Dennis has oodles of ideas for the music classroom that can prove useful in the piano studio as well.

Mrs Dennis was kind enough to shoot a video of how she made the candy cane treble clefs. My students watched the video to learn how to make these tasty treble clefs in the studio during Music Tech Time.

Unlike Mrs Dennis, who generously crafted them for her students, I made my students make their own as part of a Christmas gift to their parents. After their treble clef ornament was finished, students wrote a holiday sentiment on a tag, and threaded the tag and a silver or gold bell on a colorful string. The string was then tied in a knot which was glued to the bottom portion of the “J.”

What you will need to create the candy cane ornament:

Continue reading

Skitterbug: the best thing since sliced bread!

Pulling out a pre-sliced piece of bread from the plastic bag and popping it in the toaster isdigital-pr a breeze. Finding a knife and a cutting board to cut a piece from a loaf not to mention cleaning up all the crumbs left behind is much less convenient and more time-consuming.

Likewise, sending a link of your glossy studio website to a potential customer is easy. Designing the elegant website with a drop down menu, a photo gallery and an option to pay online can be hard!

I live by this mantra: any activity associated with technology that stumps me for more than 15 minutes–30 minutes at the max–requires outside help. Analogy: if I don’t have a serrated knife to slice properly or a cutting board to protect the kitchen counter, then it’s time to find someone who does. Enter Skitterbug!

Skitterbug-Logo-Quando-Final-copySkitterbug specializes in virtual assistance for performing arts professionals and small arts organizations. In a nutshell, Bryn Sowash–founder of Skitterbug– and her team will help you tackle the large OR the small projects for your studio, your camp, your store–for any type of arts-related business you’d like to promote. As an online presence is essential for any endeavor in today’s market, Skitterbug is THE resource for you and will not only assist but carry you through until the project is completed to your satisfaction.

Here’s my recent experience with Skitterbug:

Since I’m involved in a number of endeavors, I determined I needed to “house” all of them under one site called Although I consider myself quite savvy, I do get stumped. I emailed Continue reading

The Perfect Keepsake for Your Students!

QR code postIt will be hard to outdo the Christmas gifts given to my student families last year. The idea came to me when I saw that it was possible to link a video to a QR code and print the codes on stickers.

FYI: A QR code (short for Quick Response) is a specific matrix bar code (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR bar code readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded on a QR code can be text, a URL link or other data like a video.

I bribe my students with Music Money. (Read more about it here.) They are given the chance to shop and spend their hard-earned cash various times throughout the year at my studio store and as a result, they accumulate many trinkets and gifts.  Because of this bribery system, it seemed appropriate to give the parents of my students a gift instead for the holiday season. A handmade item crafted by their adored, budding musician seemed appropriate and definitely more meaningful than any store-bought item. This line of thought triggered the idea of students designing cards with QR code stickers for their parents. Continue reading

Free Christmas Piano Solo and More!

Garden ColorIt seems my creative juices kick in on occasion. In fact, I’ve recently arranged a couple of hymns but need to make time to notate them. Hopefully it won’t take me 11 years for that to happen. Read on…

This setting of “Go Tell it On the Mountain” was originally conceived in 2003, and was finally notated in Finale this year. I still find it appealing after all these years, so I figure you might, too.

Make sure to sign up HERE for my newsletter (if you haven’t done so already) to receive your complimentary score. The score will be delivered in the upcoming newsletter out by this weekend. If you don’t see the newsletter in your inbox by Monday, November 24th check your spam folder. If you still didn’t find it, then contact me and I’ll email you the link to the score.

MERRY CHRISTMAS and THANK YOU for hanging out with me at 88pianokeys!

Looking for more Christmas arrangements for the upcoming holiday season?

As the season is short, I try not to add too many Christmas books to my already full shelves but each year I can’t resist the temptation.  Here are some I purchased this year that I know you and/or your students will enjoy as well.

From James Koerts, Koerts Music10702096_10152561006137981_3210811240333681638_n

Koerts keeps kicking out great arrangements for church musicians. Here’s a digital edition that will only take space on your iPad in the forScore app but not your book shelves!

Sacred Christmas Volume One

From Wendy Stevens, Compose Create

You can count on Wendy Stevens to provide innovative and imaginative arrangements and she has not let us down this year with her setting of  “Oh Christmas Tree.”

O Christmas Tree

From Larry Shackley, Hope Publishing8622

The title intrigued me so I purchased Shackley’s latest release. Turns out the hymn arrangements are fresh and energetic. Shackley writes in his foreword: “In this collection you’ll find carols from several countries and centuries, all interpreted with the harmonic and rhythmic colors of Celtic folk music.”

Celtic Hymns for Christmas

One more piece of good news! For those of you who have not secured your copy of The iPad Piano Studio or have a friend that would appreciate the book as a gift, below is a promo code for a 20% discount code.

Hurry as the offer ends November 30th!


iPad Revolution-Book-Comp-4 2