While I was in Las Vegas last week for the NATS Conference, I got a chance to review a planner that a friend of mine, Nancy Bos, has put together. Nancy is a prolific writer and an excellent teacher, and I’ve been looking for something that would help
me us focus on our energies more efficiently in the studio. So I bought myself a copy to review it. If I thought it’d be valuable, I’d ask my students to buy it.
And then I went to the national meeting on the last morning of the conference and entered a raffle. Would I win CDs? A t-shirt? Would I win a new iPad? Would I win free registration to the 2020 conference in Knoxville? (That’s what i was hoping for!)
I won 5 copies of the practice planner. In red. And I’m thrilled with the planner I bought (in blue), so I’m giving them out to people. You can do with it what you wish. There’s a section on writing down when and how long you practiced, a section on setting goals, a place to take notes, staff paper to write out exercises (or have me write them in your book), a place to keep track of your repertoire (both things we’re working on and dream pieces), and a journal section that you can fill out as you’d like. I’ve given out 2 copies so far, and I’m planning to give out the rest this week.
If you’re interested in the book and you didn’t get a copy (for example, you didn’t have a lesson last week and aren’t having one this week), then you can purchase a copy on Amazon. More info is here. If enough people are interested, I can contact Nancy and buy in bulk (10 copies or more).
I am using the book for my own goal setting, journaling, and record-keeping.
I also purchased iPad Pro and Apple Pencil to take notes at the conference and have started keeping lesson records on it, which is life-changing. Plus I’m moving a lot of my sheet music to it, and that is also life-changing.
Other things that I came across at the workshop and recommend:
Appcompanist: This is MINDBLOWING. We’ll be using it in the studio, but if you want to use it at home, you’ll have to get your own. IOS only for now. Android coming later. Free download and demo. Not cheap but incredible.
Voxercise: Free download (both IOS and Android) will give you 3 free vocalises (glides on a hum, on a vowel, and on a trill) and 3 breathing exercises. Additional exercises are $4.99 for a pack or $13.99 for all 5 packs. I just accidentally bought one pack while I was writing this (oops). They’re pretty basic. But if you need to warm up somewhere, they’ll do the trick. It also tells you if you’re sharp or flat!
Things I hope to accomplish this summer:
- Updating my own vocalises to be given out (this was last summer’s goal, but I ran into a glitch with the software)
- Possibly putting vocalises onto a YouTube channel that would be available to my own students
- Actually creating official studio policies. I had very specific policies when I had my Milwaukee studio. I haven’t done the same thing here yet because I haven’t has any many students, my needs are different (I’m performing more, so I need to adapt some things to allow for that), and my client base is somewhat different. In Milwaukee, all my students were ages 11-18, with the occasional college kid coming back in the summer for a touch-up. Now, I range from 11-70, and I have to take some things into account. But I definitely need to set some policies in place – I can’t expect people to read my mind. I’m pretty reasonable, though.