Friday, March 23, 2012

NEW! Teacher Zita's Website

Now that I am on spring break from the Community Music Center and spring is around the corner (we hope!), I am finally getting organized!

I have a new website that will be especially useful for my bookkeeping and for private students.  So if you are one of my private students, I will be updating your information (phone number, address, email).  Then if you like, and it is ok with your parents, I will give you a user name and password. You can log onto my site and log your practice hours for the week - I LIKE this feature! :)

I am just setting it up, but if you want to take a look, the address is:

Stay tuned for more!

Happy Spring!

Keep practicing! :)

Teacher Zita

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Grand Staff Poster Contest

Dear Piano Students and Parents:

I have had several students tell me they are working on their Grand Staff posters! :)  If any of you would like to print a grand staff from the internet, try printing the above image or try this link:

You can also draw your own grand staff! 

The only rules are that your poster be a learning tool. It should show the grand staff (see above) with all the notes on the grand staff with their note names. Once the contest is over, this poster should be kept at your piano to help you remember your notes! Please email me a picture of your poster or bring to your lesson. I will post images of the posters on my blog (anonymously) and then we will vote!  The deadline to get your posters in to me will be April 8th.  Winners will be chosen by April 15th.

Good luck! :0)

Teacher Zita

Monday, March 19, 2012

Breaking News! New Recital Date!`

Hi Piano People! :)

I was getting concerned because the end of year piano recital on May 20th had gotten so full.  And amazingly I was able to book an extra two sessions on Sunday, June 17th at 5:00 and 6:30! :)  I have some new beginner piano classes starting spring term, but they will not fill all the slots.

So if any piano students would like to come to a more relaxed recital and have extra time to practice, please see me about switching your date and time.

On the other hand, if you are happy where you are, that is fine too! :)

Teacher Zita :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hey Students and Parents, winter term is nearly over!  Spring is around the corner! Yay!

March 19th through March 25 is the end of the 12 week term.  If I missed a lesson, make up week will be the last week of March.  Spring term begins Monday, April 2nd.  (Sunday students - I am taking April 1st off for my daughter's 22nd Birthday!)

Just to review my financial policy (for my memory as well as yours!):

My rate for piano lessons is $20/half hour.

There are several payment methods you can choose from, but I would encourage you to consider paying at the beginning of the term for the entire 12 week term. I prefer not to have to think or talk about payment - Just want to think about music!

However, if that is not an option for you, you can choose what works best. 

In hardship cases, I will always slide your fee. My students have always been more important to me than my pocketbook!


Option 1:  Prepay for the entire 12 week term at the beginning of the term (Spring term for private students begins Monday, April 2, 2012)
1 student:  $200
2 students: $400
Option 2:  Prepay for the month in advance. (Due on the first lesson of the month)
1 student:  $75
2 students:  $150
Option 3:  Pay as you go – $20 per half hour for each student

I take cash, check or Paypal (If you wish to use Paypal, let me know and I will create an invoice template for you)

Teacher Zita :)

Grand Staff Poster Contest!!!

Dear Students/Parents:

Learning to read music is like learning a foreign language.  The best way to learn your notes is to constantly be reminded of their presence!

I have been brainstorming with students and several of them of come up with clever ways to display the grand staff.  I encouraged them to make their grand staff as large and colorful and creative as they like and then put it right their at the piano, so when they practice, it will be staring them in the face! :) (By the way, did you know the space notes for the G clef staff spell the word F-A-C-E? Well now you do!)

So students start your engines!  Either bring me your work of Grand Staff art for me to take a picture of, or email me a picture. I will post it on my blog the last week of March and we will vote for the best Grand Staff!
The Grand prize will be a gift certificate for Portland Music Company.  There will be smaller prizes  for runners up!.  You will all be winners because it will improve your note reading!
Deadline for submitting your work is:  April 8th. Winners will be chosen April 15th!  :)

My email address is:

Have fun! Learn to read music!

Teacher Zita :)

Spot Work

My students are preparing for their end of the year recital in May.  This is an exciting time for students and their teacher, me! :)  Each student was encouraged to thoughtfully pick a piece (I would play several) that they love and would enjoy practicing.  Now we are getting to the point where the notes and rhythm have been learned and we are working on phrasing and expression. 

However, there are always places that give them trouble.  I call these spots "speed bumps".  Many students tend to practice the same way. First they play their scales and then they take out their recital piece and play it from the beginning. When the get to the so-called "speed bump", they grimace and sigh and say something like "wait", or "no" and then go back to the beginning and do it again hoping the speed bump will just disappear!

There is a better way!  I work with them to isolate these spots.  We often mark them with a pencil, a star or an arrow or something.  I encourage them to sit down and just practice that spot, very slowly.  They can do this several times a day for however long - even 5 -10 minutes. Hands separately is especially effective.

Then when they have conquered the spot, go back to the beginning and play through.  See if the speed bump has been smoothed out.  More speed bumps may emerge!  Repeat the process. :)

I am pleased to see several students using this method on their own. Way to go!! :) 

Monday, March 12, 2012

I am so excited!  I have created a new blog where I can talk about music with other music teachers from all over the world!  My friend Nikos Pachakis, classical guitar teacher in Nikaia, Greece came up with this idea recently.  He has a fantastic blog about classical guitar: Classical Guitar with Nikos which he updates daily.  Check it out if you have a fascination with this beautiful instrument.  I was very impressed with his blog. Alas, it is in Greek!  I told Nikos that people from other countries would like to learn about guitar too, including English speaking Americans!  So we came up with a blog where we can talk about music, share ideas and share information about our homelands and cultures.  It is geared toward students.  Nikos can practice English and maybe you and I can pick up some Greek in the process. Check out the new blog here:  Music Teachers Talk all over the Planet!

Vive la musique! (Long live music, in French) :)  Teacher Zita

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Stellar Blog by Star Piano Students!

Hey, just wanted to suggest you check out the blog that Felix and Stevie run with their friend Will. It is called "Tri-Met Wednesdays". I am most impressed! You can find it at:
P.S. Be sure to go to "Bus Stories" and read about my recent Tri-Met adventure! ;)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Elvis, the Piano Dog

Meet Elvis, my loyal companion and greeter of piano students. He is 10 year -old one-eyed minpin. Piano music soothes him and provides excellent nap music!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Note Reading Practice!

Click Here For Note Reading Site

End of Year Recital and Important Dates to Remember

Dear Students:

It is hard to believe that winter term is drawing to a close! Spring term is just around the corner, so I do hope the weather warms up!

Here are some important dates to put on your calendars:

Winter Term ends Saturday, March 17th.

Spring Term begins Monday, April 2nd.

If you are a private student, I will be teaching over Spring Break, unless you tell me otherwise.

This term my focus was on recognition of notes on the Grand Staff and sight reading. I thank you all for your

patience, hard work and upbeat attitudes. We made a lot of progress!

And now for the fun part!

(Drum Roll!)

The end of the year piano recital for my students will be Sunday, May 20th and the Community Music Center. There will be three times available: 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Please see me to sign up for a section. I will not be separating the kids according to level for this recital, so each section will have more variety. I will, however be limiting the amount of performers for the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. recitals so that we have some breathing space between each group. The 7 p.m. section, therefore, will run close to an hour and a ha.f

Please email me if you have any questions.

Thank you!

Teacher Zita :)

Anya and Zita in Concert at CMC!

I have a friend named Anya Kalina. She is from Russia and has a beautiful soprano voice. Her parents are both opera singers. I met her a couple of years ago when I was the accompanist for a female choir she sang in. We became friends and have been starting to perform together. Last weekend I accompanied a musical she wrote and directed. She is very talented and a nice person too! :)

Anya and I have put together a musical concert which I think you might enjoy! She will be singing some classical, some opera,and some Broadway songs with me, Teacher Zita accompanying her on the piano!

It will be held Sunday, March 18th at 4:30 p.m. at the Community Music Center in the auditorium. There is no admission, but we will accept donations to cover the cost of the auditorium rental. :)

I hope to see you there! :)

Teacher Zita

New Keyboards in the Piano Lab!