Today I wanted to share with you one of the internet’s best kept secrets: The Store @ Julie Duda Music Studio.

Julie Duda is a piano teacher just like you and me in Pennsylvania. She’s super creative and brings tons of innovation to her piano studio.

I had a chance to meet Julie a few years ago and we’ve been great friends ever since then. Since I first met her, I’ve watched her transform her studio from a small part time endeavor, to a thriving full time job.

In addition to teaching a full load of piano students, Julie has also created an incredible online shop where she sells super clever piano games and piano teaching resources. Once you explore her website and store, you’ll see why she has been so successful.

Julie was formerly a school music teacher and director, so she has a very holistic approach to teaching music and is also great at accommodating a variety of learning styles.

Julie really thinks outside of the box as a teacher and she challenges herself to try new things every single week in her teaching. It’s such a huge inspiration to me and to other piano teachers.

Julie wanted to share some of her favorite products with you, Very Piano readers! Click here to download a super cute cat game, a “how to get unstuck” problem solving sheet and some clever tally mark practice stickers.

Julie’s store includes games, teaching resources and marketing products. Here’s what you can find there:

GAMES

It’s no secret that we love games around here in my piano studio and Julie shares that same enthusiasm to make learning fun and engaging.

However, Julie takes it to a whole new level! Julie challenged herself to create a new game for her students every single week this school year and you can find them all in her store.

She really has a gift for using everyday kid interests like llamas or tacos and turning them into something that will help kids love learning. She’s also great about incorporating the season’s most relevant sports into games and lessons. Kids LOVE the sports-themed games.

I have a pretty big collection of music games in my studio, but I find that they definitely become too routine and repetitive after a while. I also find that it’s a ton of work to make sure that games are age and level appropriate for the majority of my studio.

It’s nice if a game suits a handful of students, but it’s simply too much work to find different games to accommodate all of the different levels and abilities that come to lessons each week

Julie makes sure that her games can be modified for almost any level of student. Julie’s routine in her own studio is to include the same game into every lesson of the week, which is so incredibly efficient!

She is also really mindful of creating games that can be played quickly so that they don’t take up tons of lesson time. For her timer games, you set a 2 minute timer and students race against the clock.

My studio recently tried her Time For Dogs game and my students and I loved it. Here’s how it works.

Once you purchase the game, you get an instant download of everything you need. Time For Dogs includes an instruction page + 16 pages of flashcards. You just print the cards on cardstock and cut them apart and end up with 96 flashcards. (I laminated mine as well so that they will last a long time.)

The flashcards for this game are in 4 categories: music symbols and terms, treble and bass notes on the staff, piano key names and finger numbers. There is also a set of 6 “dog trivia” cards that you incorporate into the deck.

For younger students, you could use the finger number cards or the piano key cards. Older students would do well with the notation cards or the music term cards. In either case, you shuffle your selected category of cards and include the 6 dog trivia cards in the stack.

Then, you set a timer for 2 minutes. But, not just any timer. Did you know that on YouTube you can find all kinds of thematic countdown timers. This was news to me! If you search 2 minute dog timer on YouTube, you’ll find several cute dog-themed videos that show a clock counting down from 2 minutes. The instruction page includes a link to a dog timer as well, so you don’t have to do much searching if you’re short on time.

The students have to name as many cards as they can in 2 minutes. Of course, students LOVE that special element of having a cool video timer to play their game to. The other really special element of this game is the dog trivia cards. They’re not hard trivia questions, just silly dog-related questions that any kid can answer like what’s a good name for a dog or what sound does a dog make when he is happy.

The first time I played this game with one of my students, I didn’t tell her about the trivia cards ahead of time. When the first one showed up, she laughed and laughed! It really surprised her to see such a fun and silly question incorporated into her serious note naming practice.

This game and many of the others in the store are also easy to use in online lessons. I have a mix of in person and online lessons this year, so it’s been nice to have some consistency in what we can do in lessons.

I’m super excited to use this cute spaghetti-themed game in my studio in the coming weeks. It’s an add-on to the kid’s game Yeti In My Spaghetti. My kids have had this game for years. It doesn’t get played much, so it’s time to move it in to the studio and turn it into a musical game!

Teaching Resources

Julie’s teaching resources are just as much fun as her games.

Here was another neat newsflash for me. Did you know that you can custom print your own Post It Notes? I’m pretty sure most of us have a collection of Post It Notes around our pianos and we probably write practically the same them on them on a weekly or daily basis for all of our students.

Julie created tons of Post It Note templates so that you can print commonly used reminders and tips for your students. You just print out her template page, stick individual Post It Notes onto the squares on the template, then run that page through your printer to print the custom Post Its.

She also has tons of cute sticker templates that you can print on standard labels. Each product tells you exactly which labels to use and how to print them.

There are stickers for things like reminders to use the correct fingering, practice dynamics, and watch the tempo.

You can also find tons of other printables for things like practice challenges, goal setting and practice tips.

Marketing Products

Julie keeps a full studio with a waiting list, she’s clearly doing something right in the marketing department!

Definitely follow her over on Instagram or Facebook and you’ll see how she is really great about highlighting special moments for her students. She has tons of printable photo prop signs to mark all kinds of special milestones for students. You’ll see her happy, smiling students posing with all of these signs and it makes perfect sense why she is in such high demand for piano lessons.

You can find photo prop signs for things like:

  • Celebrating a birthday on piano lesson day
  • Completing a book
  • Completing a first lesson
  • Getting a driver’s license and driving to a lesson
  • Celebrating a “piano-versary”, the date a student first started piano lessons
  • Winning a studio game

There’s also a helpful set of signs to use in online lessons and a variety of sports and holiday themed printables.

Don’t forget to download Julie’s free products by clicking here. Also, be sure to scour her store! You’ll probably spot several free resources as you’re browsing!

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