Monday, July 20, 2020

Carrie Mouse and the Piano Lesson is Here!

Today's the day! The sun is shining! The tank is clean! And we are getting out— The tanks is clean!
*shrugs* I just had to do it.

Anyway, Carrie Mouse and the Piano Lesson is here! Visit this page for purchase links and a free color sheet, and visit the bottom of this post for a chance to win a copy!

Carrie loves music, so she's excited to begin piano lessons! But piano takes a lot more work and patience than she expected. Will Carrie work hard to pursue her dream of playing "Oh! Susanna"? Or will piano prove to be too much for her?

U.S. Residents only.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Carrie Mouse is Almost Here!

Carrie Mouse and the Piano Lesson comes out next week!

I'm super excited about a music teacher, it's a story that's very special to me. So, to help you get excited about this book too, I want to share some fun facts about the book.

It's inspired by one of my students.

I had a student whose mom told me he was disappointed after his first lesson that he couldn't just sit down at the piano and play songs already, but he worked hard to learn the concepts he needed to play Star Wars music and did a great job playing a custom arranged Star Wars medley the next spring. (BTW, I'm pretty sure I've taught more John Williams in my studio than any other composer.) This was the primary inspiration for the book. I just decided it was best to go with something public domain for the song Carrie wants so badly to play.

Miss Legato's teaching method is loosely based on Step by Step by Edna Mae Burnam.

It's a series that's pretty much never used by anyone but me in my music circles, and it's kind of theory-lite, but I've had the best success with teaching kids to read music with this series. It teaches the notes one at a time, which is a lot easier for someone new to music to keep up with, particularly for auditory learners. (I have a much easier time teaching sight reading to visual and tactile learners.)

Miss Legato's statement "The more you practice, the faster you'll learn," is one I've used repeatedly.

Yep, trying to get kids to practice is a constant part of teaching music. I actually used a variation of this phrase with a student last week. Practice 40 hours a day!

(This book is a good excuse to go binge watch TwoSetViolin. 😁 Or...go practice.)

There is an object in Carrie's room that foreshadows the next Carrie Mouse book my sister and I have planned.

But I'm not going to tell you what it is. 😉

You're not going to find any five-stringed violins in this book.

I mean, this is about piano, so there aren't any violins, but the point is, my sister plays piano, so the illustrations of instruments are as accurate as can be on that scale. I've seen some really inaccurate portrayals of instruments in picture books and they always drive me crazy.

Music is amazing.

And teaching it is one of my favorite things. So is writing, so combining the two in this little story was a lot of fun, and I love the way Rebekah's illustrations came out. 

And I can't wait to share the book with you next week!

Monday, July 6, 2020

A Trip to Jekyll Island

This is going to be a quicker trip post than what I normally do, since we weren't there a full week and we spent most of the time at the beach, and because it's NaNo and I need to go do words.

Anyway, last week, we went on a camping trip to Jekyll Island. The beach isn't my favorite thing to do (at risk of sounding like Anakin, I don't like sand very much because it gets everywhere—it's almost as bad as glitter), but it's alright, and it was definitely nice to get away for a few days. At one point, the forecast was saying it was going to rain all weekend, but it ended up only raining the last evening we were there, and even that wasn't very bad at all. It was actually kind of nice, since it barely actually rained, but the weather changed enough that the temperature was more pleasant and it was less humid.

We brought our bikes (which makes me think of The Dumb Bunnies), and rode to Driftwood Beach, which is really pretty cool. Like I said, we spent most of our time at the beach, where my sister found a TON of sand dollars (and I accidentally stepped on a few), my mom and I saw a huge horseshoe crab (but didn't get a picture), while walking on the beach I FINALLY figured out a plot for the pirate book about Captain Herb's son that I've been wanting to write for 7.5 years, and I read the entirety of Terri Blackstock's Restoration series (the characters annoyed me in the first book, but by the end, well, the last book made me cry and that's hard to do). And of course I had to continue my tradition of doing this:

Also, the ice cream shop in the historic district closes at 5, so the last day we were there, we had ice cream before dinner. After all, it is vacation.

The craziest part of the trip was on the way home. The camper blew out a tire, and we discovered that the tools that came with our truck don't actually fit the camper. So we ended up sitting on the side of the interstate for over an hour before the HERO truck was able to get there. But eventually it came, and God protected us from getting hit while we were sitting there (we were on a curve, and you don't realize how fast interstate speeds are until you're stationary and they're whizzing past). Not the way we wanted the trip to end, but all's well that ends well.

And now to go do NaNo...

P.S. My mom avoids the front of the camera as much as possible. She was there...taking the pictures.