Happy New Year 2021

Happy New Year!

I have to admit, I didn’t quite know whether to cry, celebrate, or just go to sleep last night as the clock struck 12 and the ball dropped. But as I lay in bed this morning, it dawned on me. All of us will experience years that are hard. All of us will experience years that are filled with joy. What was so different about 2020? We ALL were entrenched in a year that will be mostly remembered for its difficulty.

And as I scrolled through my mental calendar, realizing how many lives I’ve lost close to me, the loneliness of shut-downs and the anxiety and fear caused from worldwide sickness, I realized that much of the hard would have happened with or without a pandemic. But somehow the pandemic put us all in this boat where the turning of the new year is simply a declaration of survival, rather than a celebration of all that was and will come.

And so as I lay in bed this morning, I realized that if nothing else, my hope is that this last year has taught us kindness. Empathy. Creativity. And the realization that even if your battle looks different than your neighbor’s, you can still walk alongside them and weep together. Because we were all facing the same pandemic. It just manifested itself in different ways.

A blog popped up in my email this morning and struck me hard.

Life is Pain – and you get to choose: either the Pain of Discipline or the Pain of Disappointment.

(Ann Voskamp)

And although this may not be your feel-good statement of the year, I encourage you to embrace the pain of discipline. Embrace the beauty of taking care of yourself and showing up for your students. Whether walking through the studio door or through the zoom waiting room, we have the opportunity to step into our student’s lives and cheer them on in the high moments and weep with them when its low. Life is pain, but our perspective will determine our response.

And in this year of searching for each person’s story within their eyes rather than their smile, we have the opportunity to be in community. To lift one another up and to pour ourselves into our students and their families. To learn to deal with our pain together.

I’m filled with hope realizing that we are all a work in progress, and 2020 taught me things about myself I couldn’t have learned in any other setting. I’m filled with hope in realizing that I learned more about my students than time itself could have taught.

Today I’m sharing a printable to allow you to start the new year with each student in joyful contemplation. I realize that some students are great talkers, while others need prompting to open up and dig a little deeper. I’m hoping that this page will allow you to come together with your students in the new year and choose to reflect on the good and bad. Diminishing either the good or bad will not lead us to a disciplined 2021.

Contemplation is good for the soul, and when you add dice, colorful paper, and a listening ear, our students can be invited to safely prepare for the new year with us.

But before you open up conversation in your first lesson after the new year, I want to give you a snapshot of what is to come here at the blog … I am excited for the possibilities!

~ Book suggestions for students and teachers. Reading is power!

~ Holiday themed resources that will have your students begging for more!

~ Teacher interviews and timeless advice.

~ Simple organization tips to make your teaching life easier.

~ Encouragement as you do the important work of shaping lives to love music and to be better humans!

In case you hadn’t picked up on it yet, this rainy, sad looking Ohio New Year’s Day has made me a bit sentimental … Looking for other words of encouragement that have come out of 2020? Check out some of my favorite here – 

Our Healthiest Selves

Mental Energy… Friend or Foe?

The Perfect Method Book

Living Life Well

When Life Gives You Lemons

House Renovating and Piano Teaching

Confessions of a Piano Teaching Hoarder

Looking forward to what is to come in the New Year and walking together through the good and the hard,


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