This post was updated in July 2022.
I spend a lot of time in the car.
While my students don't live particularly far from me, I live in Los Angeles, and traffic is ubiquitous.
Over the last couple of years, the one thing that has made all that driving more bearable is podcasts.
I love to keep a mix of genres in my app: news, business, professional development, inspiring, entertaining, and just plain fun! Below I have compiled a list of some of my favorites, sorted by category.
I'll keep this list updated as I discover new ones too! (Updated July 2022)
If you've been in the online piano teaching space for a while, you are probably aware of most of these, but if you're not, you should definitely be subscribed to these!
The TopCast with Tim Topham--this is by far the best podcast out there for piano teachers. Tim covers a huge span of topics from teaching ideas, to business and marketing. It's really a one stop shop for running a successful piano teaching business.
The Vibrant Music Teaching Podcast with Nicola Cantan--this one is new on the scene, but I love that the episodes are short and sweet. They're about 15 minutes long and get right to the point. You leave each episode with something actionable that you can apply to your business and teaching right away.
The Piano Parent Podcast with Shelly Davis--this podcast is actually directed at parents of piano students, but I think it's a great one for us to listen to as teachers as well. You'll get lots of insights on how to communicate well with the parents in your studio. Definitely recommend this one to your studio parents too!
Key Ideas with Leila Viss--a mix of teaching ideas from Leila Viss and fantastic interviews with industry powerhouses.
There are a million business podcasts out there, and it can get really overwhelming trying to choose one to listen to. Here are a few of my favorites:
Teach Music Online with Carly Walton--Carly Walton has a gift for making technology accessible for even the tech hesitant. Each episode is packed with great business and teaching ideas for online or hybrid teachers, and even those who teach mainly in person.
Music Lesson Business Academy--this podcast is exactly what it sounds like. Danny Thompson owns a music academy in Southern California, and this podcast is full of great advice and in the trenches experience.
The Music Studio Start Up
Happier with Gretchen Rubin--I never miss an episode of Happier. It's kind of like Real Simple Magazine, if it were a podcast. Each week you get tips, hacks, and ideas to make your life happier, healthier, and more efficient.
Happier in Hollywood--This is a sister show to the Happier Podcast, literally. It's hosted by Gretchen Rubin's sister Liz, and her writing partner Sarah. It's a fun look into what business in Hollywood looks like, but even those of us who don't work in television can get a lot of great ideas from this show!
Just for Fun
Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness--Before it was a show on Netflix it was an awesome podcast! Jonathan has this actually really great podcast that tackles all kinds of topic from the difference between British and American English to the impact of family separations at the border on children. He's also interviewed all of his fellow Fab Five cast members.
Office Ladies--This rewatch podcast of The Office with Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey is so much fun. I've learned a lot of fun behind the scenes things, and they often have great guests including fellow cast members, guest actors, directors, and behind the scenes people like the props master.
Lately I've been getting a lot of my news from daily podcasts. Any news outlet you prefer has one at this point. I listen to UpFirst from NPR.
May is a crazy time for students, teachers, and parents. The school year is wrapping up, there's testing, recitals, programs, open houses...you get the picture. We have a lot going on!
A few weeks ago Gretchen Rubin did a feature on her podcast about surviving a "Season of Stress." I love this terminology because it reminds us that these crazy times only last for a time. It's going to end eventually!
If you have the chance to listen to this episode, I'd highly recommend it! It's full of lots of great ideas.
This spring has definitely been super crazy for me! Here are a few things that really help to keep my from losing it when times get nutty:
1. Stay organized. As much as possible.
When I'm in the middle of a stressful time, it can be really easy for my stuff to get out of hand. It feels so much easier to just drop things wherever than to put them back where they belong, but it doesn't take long for things to get out of hand, and clutter is a huge stress amplifier!
I'm not saying this is the time to reorganize my closet or clean out the garage, but it is a time to keep things where they belong. I do the dishes before I go to bed. I fold the laundry and put it away. I hang my keys up when I walk through the door. These little things don't take a lot of time, but they make every day tasks so much easier.
2. Meal Plan and Batch Cook.
Eating well and staying healthy is really important during seasons of stress. These 2 strategies help me to make sure I'm eating well.
Not everyone loves to meal plan, but it's a necessity for me. If I don't have a plan or some easy, healthy food in the fridge, my options are really limited.
I like to use Real Plans. The app is really fun to use, the recipes are great, and it's really customizable, which makes it great for everyone!
Some people love to batch cook full recipes and just live off of the leftovers. There are certain recipes that I might do this for, but in general, I tend to batch cook components of meals. I'll roast up a bunch of extra veggies, roast a whole chicken when we only need half of it, and my favorite trick: make a huge batch of shredded pork, chicken, or beef in the Instant Pot, and reimagine the leftovers throughout the week.
3. Take some time for myself.
When things get busy, it's really easy for me to put myself last. I spend all of my energy on other people, and I don't realize I'm burning out until it's too late and I'm getting snippy with people.
I am definitely not a morning person, but a trick that has helped me find time for myself is to get up earlier. If I get up before everyone else, I have time to take a walk, spend a little time reading, and plan out my day before the responsibilities of the day begin.
What are some strategies that you find helpful during seasons of stress? Let me know in the comments!
I was recently gifted 2 heavy boxes full of music books and sheet music by one of my former piano teachers. A lot of it will be very useful to use with students, but some of it is just plain fun!
I got a lot of vintage Century Music Publishing Co. sheet music, and I though I'd share a few gems with you.
I know you're supposed to save the best for last to keep readers engaged until the end, but I just have to start with this one!
There's these two technical sheets:
and this 1960 edition of Glow-worm:
If you've never heard this fun piece, you can listen to it here: m.youtube.com/watch?v=XpaEmEizXqghttps://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XpaEmEizXqg
There's lots of Chopin and other great pieces. I'll share more in future posts. For now, do you have a vintage sheet music collection? What are your favorite treasures?
I teach piano in California. Here are some of my thoughts.