Pedagogy Resources

•June 4, 2013 • Leave a Comment


I wrote this for some friends of mine who wanted a list of my music teaching.  I thought I would share it in hopes that someone else could use it.

Practical Piano Pedagogy.  This is one of the most helpful practical resources about the paperwork and organisation of teaching music that I’ve come across.  It includes forms and brochures as well as tips on lesson planning and invoicing students.

Music Mind Games is one that I don’t use things from directly but really helps give creativity in teaching a boost.  This is helpful for both class and lesson settings.  When I can’t come up with a new way to work on something, I look it up in here.

The Big Book of Music Games, Grades K – 5.  This one includes lots of flashcards you can copy as well as game boards.  This is a time saver, and keeping the music bingo game on hand for unplanned extra teaching time can be a life saver!

Meet the Orchestra is a great music coloring book by Dover.  I use it for an activity during listening with younger children.

Meet the Orchestra is a great introduction to all the musical instruments.  I use it a page at a time for a two minute spotlight for general music education.

The Magic Flute: An Opera by Mozartis a glorious picture book of the opera.  I read/show the pages while playing various pieces in the background.

Specific to Violin teaching (I have a huge list… so let me know if you want more):

I Know A Fox With Dirty Sox Violin Book.  This makes pre-twinkle and initial set up much more interesting.  It’s also a fantastic sight reading exercise for younger students… easy rhythms with duet parts so you can have them read a line by themselves, and then make them learn chamber playing by playing with them.

Group Lessons for Suzuki: Violin and Viola
has been invaluable for my group lessons.  Every time I’m not sure which step to take next this is a good one.

Fun Improvisation for…Violin, Viola, Cello, Piano is one that I have not incorporated yet, but from skimming it I think I’ll be using it a lot.

If you only buy one of these, I would buy Practical Piano Pedagogy. It’s well worth the price. It is so helpful with setting up and getting started and having a place to start from for each situation that comes up

Call of A Coward by Marcia Moston

•January 25, 2013 • 1 Comment

call_of_a_cowardCall of A Coward: The God of Moses and the Middle-Class Housewife by Marcia Moston grabbed my attention from the list of books Thomas Nelson had available to review.  I am happy to report that the book lives up to the honesty of it’s name.  One of the most striking things about this book is Moston’s openness in sharing her own heart with the reader.  Her husband Bob visited Guatemala on a missions trip and Marcia had a lingering thought in the back of her mind that he would come back wanting to move there.  The quote at the very beginning of the book sums up her story well: The problem with promising God you’ll follow him wherever he leads is that you just might have to go.  I supsect it would be easier if you were certain of his calling– like stepping out the door and seeing the lilac bush on fire and hearing a voice commanding you.  But when it’s your husband who is delivering the message– well, that leaves a little room for wonder.  At least that’s how I felt when my husband rocked my comfortable, middle-class afternoon with his belief that God was calling us to pack up and move to a Mayan village in Guatemala.

Moston’s writing is a little bit different than many other missionary autobiographies I have read.  She is writing to communicate primarily the struggle in her own heart and how God changed her heart.  She does talk about the difficult logistics of daily life but that is not her focus.  It was both refreshing and convicting to read an account that was introspective.  Moston wrestled with where her heart landed on simple daily issues and also in larger picture applications.  The combination of soul searching and vision makes Call of a Coward stand out.  There was not guilt tripping about one’s own heart: just frank dealing with the author’s own.  I think the book was much more impacting that way.  Delivered through daily often humorous anecdotes, Moston shows her struggle of faith in the daily little things.

One of my favorite examples is the story about an older woman watching Moston through her window.  Moston at first was thankful for the opportunity to illustrate her faith then the lady stole some expensive wood from h er yard.  Moston describes the following conversation in her mind: “Stealing is stealing,” my ethic said.  “But I have much  more than she does,” my conscience said.  “I am not a socialist,” my analyst offered.  “No, but you are a Christian,” my heart responded.  by that time the woman had long gone.  (page 97)  Simple, daily, and no big “you should” application to others.  It was also fun that it took place in a Mayan culture.  I was fascinated by Mayan culture as a kid after reading Incans Aztecs Mayans.  Reading this book made me want to track down that one.

I do recommend this book.  Thank you Thomas Nelson for the chance to read and review it.  I enjoyed it.  A real woman in a real place with a real heart.  Read it!  At 184 pages it is a quick read that will leave you challenged but encouraged.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for completing a review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion here is my own.


•January 23, 2013 • 2 Comments
Photo Credit: Jordan Baker

Photo Credit: Jordan Baker

So it’s 2013.  Yes it has taken me all of the last 23 days to think about that and plan this post.  I love this picture.  It’s my reading corner in my room.  You can’t see the big comfy chair right next to the heaps of books and cup of tea.  The art on the wall is a piece my brother Cooper did for me several years ago.  One of the reasons I like this picture (other than the fact that it’s my favorite place to sit at the end of the day and it has my brother’s art in it) is that it is a good image for this year.  Too many books!  Just the thought makes me smile.  It represents my goals for this year:  too many but exciting.


  • Get Back into my “What I Read This Week” Posts.
  • Post More Reviews (2 a week would be awesome)
  • Participate in the Nightstand posts: setting monthly reading goals.


In between the gardening and crafting and teaching music lessons a good book (ideally read in a hammock or my comfy reading chair) will make it back into my daily routine.  I’m still amazed at how much busier looking for work is than actually having a full-time job.  I’m thankful to be gaining music students and being a teacher’s assistant at a Montessori school.  Well, there is my crazy reading goals list.  I’ve started off the year with one music teaching book and the rest are fantasy.  More on that later this week.

A General Update

•December 17, 2012 • 2 Comments

Wow.  Life has spun crazily!  All of the sudden I am a music teacher.  I am so excited to be actually doing what I love.  Losing my job was definitely NOT the highlight of my year but the jewelry business, making scarves and teaching music that has followed is awesome.  I am especially excited to be adding enough students that I will hopefully be able to work fewer jobs and have more free time.  I have several reviews in the works that will hopefully appear soon.

Since I have been absent from the blog world for several months I am going to post pictures of what I have been up to in the time between.  I have done four craft shows and two jewelry parties.   I have been reading, though not as much.

An online friend made my day, sending me very thoughtful gifts from the Rabbit Room Community Christmas Exchange.  Such perfect books!

I am in the midst of creating Christmas gifts and hoping to get them all finished in time.

Until Later!  For now, it’s just good to be back.

I’m on Etsy!

•September 16, 2012 • 2 Comments

I have begun a new project.  Well, really I’ve expanded a hobby.  I am now selling jewelry on etsy.  Two of my cousins and I are in it together.  We all make jewelry, one photographs, one writes and I do the administrative part.  Anyway, if you are interested, check it out on etsy.  Here are a few examples of my work.  I’d love feedback!

Running For My Life

•September 5, 2012 • 1 Comment

I read Running for My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games during the Olympics.  I read it before Lopez Lomong raced so I was pretty excited to watch him run.  It is an incredible story.  The beginning is heart wrenching.  Reading about a six year old little boy being ripped from his family and put into a hut with other boys with soldiers trying to turn them into child soldiers affects the reader.  Lopez tells of his dramatic escape and what life was like adjusting to a new family in the United States.  He tells of surviving refugee camps and of running.  Running was a critical part of Lopez’s life before he knew that it was a sport.  For him it was a way to survive.  I am hesitant to say much more about the plot because it is such a great book that I want you to find out the rest of the story yourself.

There were a few things about the book that were startling to me.  I am not sure I have ever read an autobiography or memoir of someone coming from such a devastating background to America with so little critique of America.  Lopez’s enthusiasm for and about America took me completely by surprise.  There were of course the reflections on wealth and plenty and his struggle with realizing that the food and resources he had could change the lives of many back in Kenya and Sudan was really the only time he even discussed the anything “negative.”  I am not saying that it was good or bad (after all, it’s his story) but it was certainly surprising.

I studied history in college and had a couple classes where the child soldier issue came up.  Reading this story was pretty startling anyway.  It was especially shocking  that he was only six years old when the soldiers took him.  This is a remarkable story and I definitely recommend this book!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for completing a review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion here is my own.

From the Library of C. S. Lewis

•August 30, 2012 • 2 Comments

Reading  From the Library of C. S. Lewis: Selections from Writers Who Influenced His Spiritual Journey (A Writers’ Palette Book) cover to cover is not the ideal way to use this book.  I did enjoy the exposure to many different works that influences Lewis and especially appreciated the footnotes about the various authors and connection to Lewis.  I was expecting this to be more of an annotated bibliography.  It covers 18 different categories: God’s Love, Our Love of God, The Life and Sacrifice of Christ, Knowing God, Community and Loving Others, Self and the Soul, Sin and Temptation, Grace and Redemption, Suffering, Prayer and Contemplation, Faith, Living a Devout Life, Obedience and Will, Humility, Truth Apologetics and Christianity, Fantasy and Imagination, Creation Poetry and Writers, and Heave Death and Immortality.  Each topic features excerpts from different influential authors, preachers and theologians that influenced Lewis.  If you are looking for a list of Lewis’ library, this is not it.  If you are looking to get exposed to primary influencers on Lewis’ theology this is definitely the book for you.  I will use this as a resource as I read Lewis.  I am currently reading The Problem of Pain with my friend Heather and am looking forward to getting back into that using the section on suffering as additional research.

I liked that I got to read pieces of influences.  I did not like that they were quite short.  Few were over two pages which did not get much room for context.  All in all I would recommend it if you are interested in a taste of C. S. Lewis’ theological influences.  Be prepared to add many books to your “to read” pile.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.