The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.
~William Ward

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Nurturing with Love and Nature

I am a naturalist, and I turn to the healing and therapy of nature in my teaching approach. My studio is nature-based, with many of the theory games, techniques, and the atmosphere of my studio expressing the combination of my passion for teaching and nature.

Here are a few examples of a normal day at my studio.  There is never a dull moment!   

Photos above:  Sand play theory activities for keyboard and note identification.  

Photos below:  (Left) Using stones for rhythm study. Small sticks represent the barlines. Students clap various rhythm patterns with the use of a metronome. (Right) Our studio mascot is a tortoise!  It reminds students to take their time and pay attention to details. Nature piano students, Dylan and Jackson, brought their tortoise to piano lesson!

Nature theory game identifying the keyboard. Theory worksheet are also nature themed and include nature facts.

(Left) Students are allowed to bring nature finds to piano lessons as a means of communication before or after piano studies. (Right) Nature student, Jackson, brought his pet tortoise (our studio mascot) to piano lesson!

Turtle Mania! (Studio mascot, turtle on practice beads as a reminder of slow/detailed practice, and turtle rubber stamp.) More practice beads on right.  The piano bead handmade with polymer clay.

Students learn to identify birds and an appreciation of nature along with keyboard and note recognition.

Note Recognition Theory Game


Students and parents admiring the honeybee observatory!

Honeybee Awareness Day! 
 Students had a honeybee themed Performance and Theory class.  Their performances included honeybee songs that they composed, and they played honeybee theory games created by the lovely Georgina Wilson of Greeside Music!  Following that, they attended a Honeybee Festival together at Phinzy Swamp Nature Park.

(Photo above-left) Robert's artwork in harmony with our studio mascot!  (Photo above-right) Dylan- includes nature artwork in his piano theory homework assignment! Way to go!!!

Getting "outdoors" after piano performance class.  (Above): Students are painting music totes to keep their piano and theory books organized for lessons each week.  

Nature themed Studio T-Shirts


Earth Day Awareness!
(Above- center)  Earth Day Concert performance at Phinzy Swamp Nature Park.  (Above-left):   Earth Day Workshop/Master Class Cake.  (Above-right) Piano is Captain Planet approved during Earth Day Festival at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park.

Honey Bee Letterbox and informative books to accompany the Suzuki Solo Honeybee.  When students do background reading on the topic or composer of their solo, it helps them to connect with the piece.  The letterbox clues are based upon facts studied regarding the piece.  To find where the letterbox is hidden, students correctly answer the clues.


Stamps hand-carved by students.  This is done while quietly listening in on another student's lesson, or while listening to classical CDs at home.  The stamps are used as a personal letterboxing ID when stamping into the journal of the letterboxes that they find, along with a brief message.  To learn more about letterboxing, see:  

Lovely flower pots handcrafted by my darling students after performance class! Students were given cards that I jot down things that I wanted them to work on, such as their bow before performing, (card 1), rest position on the bench and getting ready above the keyboard -elbows slightly out- (card 2) etc. Other cards were challenging areas that they were to work on for their Earth Day solos. Students planted a seed in their pots and were to successfully complete the tasks on their cards before the seed sprouted.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

AU Building where we had our performance class!

Fun with students at Augusta University for our Suzuki Performance Class!!! Many thanks to Elizabeth and Jared Hegwood for arranging this location for our class, and some of our future classes to come! They are outstanding instructors at AU and highly dedicated parents at my piano studio!

Students performed their pieces beautifully! After their performance practice, we watched "Le Mozart Noir"......icing on the cake for our study and research of the composer Joseph Boulogne Chevalier de Saint-George.

Books, CD, etc., that I found and purchased during my research of Joseph Boulogne. Shared them during performance class, and have them at my studio for students to enjoy.

Beautiful smiling faces!

Photos below (left)It was wonderful watching the movie on a big screen!  (right): One among many of the excellent commentators during the movie.

This adorable giraffe is in the Augusta University building! Couldn't pass up a photo op! I love anything nature related

Beautiful fountain!
AU campus is still breathtakingly beautiful!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges

(Black History Month)

Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges was a champion fencer, a virtuoso violinist and conductor of the leading symphony orchestra in Paris. -Wikipedia

Birth: Saturday, December 25, 1745 (Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe) 
Death: Monday, June 10, 1799 (Paris, France)

For more information:

Chi-Chi explores the remarkable life of Joseph Boulogne Chevalier de Saint George.

-->VIDEOS: The life and music of an 18th century superstar, Joseph Boulogna Chevalier de Saint-Georges. An archetypal romantic hero, Saint-George was spectacularly gifted, but destined to be an outsider.
The Black Mozart
Episode 1 -
Episode 2 -
Episode 3 -
Episode 4 -
Episode 5 -
Episode 6 -

Black Mozart in Cuba -

Le Mozart Noir / Joseph Boulogne, Le Chevalier Saint Georges

Monsieur Saint George, Virtuoso, Swordsman, Revolutionary.

(For children 5-9)
Before there was Mozart

The Other Mozart - The Life of the Famous Chevalier de Saint-George

-->SHEET MUSIC (for piano):
Adagio in F minor

Voice solo with piano accompaniment
Scena from Ernestine

-->AUDIO (Various CDs can be purchased at Amazon). Here are a few of his pieces, among many, online:
Joseph Boulogne, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges Violin Concertos

Violin Concerto No. 11 in G major (1777) ~ ii. Largo

Saint-Georges - Symphony Op. 11 No. 1 in D major (Overture; 'L'amant anonyme') 1. Allegro

Allegro Moderato, Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat Major for Two Violins

*Piano - Adagio in F minor

*Piano - Rondeau-Sonate G083 -

*Voice/Piano Accompaniment
Aria from the Opera 'Ernestine' -


Joseph Boulogne

Monday, November 30, 2015

Fun After Piano Performance Class

Parents, students and I work *hard* as a team at the studio. We also know how to have a good time! ;-) I truly love...

Posted by Graham's Suzuki Piano Studio on Monday, November 30, 2015

Friday, August 7, 2015

Suzuki Piano Basics Workshop and International Friendship Concert

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Louisville Suzuki Piano Institute