Recital Time, Round Two! + A Few Thoughts on Recitals for Piano Teachers

The end of my piano year has been so crazy, but good. I have this week and next of “regular” lessons and then a break until the Summer Session begins in July. Even then, I’ll only be teaching for 6 weeks/3 days per week. So my life isn’t too rough.

recital programs cute

I ended up having 16 of my students perform on Friday evening, and they all did a beautiful job. I know some of them were really cramming at the last minute, but nobody had to know that except for their teacher. I am so proud of them. I love my job.

balloons in the backseat

As much as I tried to keep it simple, we were still up until 1AM the night before crafting, and the back seat was full of balloons. Just in case you’re wondering, 20 balloons will fit in the backseat of the car, no problem!! :)

kevin craftingThanks, Kevin. You’re amazing. Thank you also to Kristy for calling me out on Instagram when I posted a pic of my programs. yes, Kevin’s been crafting again. :)

poor kevinJust for fun, here is last year at this time. To be fair, I helped a lot more this year than I did last year. Mostly because I wasn’t working another full-time job. Last year, Kevin took the whole afternoon off work and set everything up for me while I was teaching! Yeah, he’s the best.

recital refreshments piano

This year for the recital refreshments, I bought everything from Trader Joe’s!! It was awesome. The thought briefly crossed my mind that I should bake everything, but I’m quite certain that would have been disastrous. I also let some students bring cookies because I’m that nice. :) Of course, we recycled the drink dispensers from our wedding once again. They were a great investment!

recital venue piano

This year’s venue was a little bit ugly (music store showroom area), but I was thankful that it was FREE and that my students had an opportunity to play a nice grand piano. For many of them it was their first time. This pic was snapped while we were still setting up, but those seats were almost full. We had a great and extremely supportive audience. Go parents!!!

piano recital teacher corrie

Here are my thoughts and ideas on piano recitals for the benefit of other new teachers:

  • Keep them short. Nobody wants to sit there for longer than 60 minutes and watch other peoples’ kids. I think 20 students would be my max that I would allow in one recital, and that’s only because my students are extraordinarily adorable.
  • Keep them fun. A few balloons really go a long way in creating a festive environment. I don’t know why I decided I needed to decorate for recitals. None of my teachers ever did, but it’s been a great success!
  • Let the students use their music if it makes them more comfortable. Walk up on the stage with them and make sure their hands are in the right position (younger kids) if they need it. I do not care. I want it to be a positive performing experience for them. I even let several students start their pieces over, and that was totally fine. Most of my students are likely not going to Juilliard (though some of them may if they set their minds to it!), but I want them all to be lifelong lovers and performers of music!
  • Make it memorable. Take lots of pictures and video. Send them to the parents. This helps them remember that piano lessons are both awesome and indispensable! It’s better to advertise to the students you already have, right? I had Kevin take a pic of each student as they performed, and I’m thinking of making these postcards to send out at the beginning of summer break. I know my kids would be thrilled to receive a pic of themselves in the mail. They’re cute like that.

P.S. Wearing flats is overrated. For the second year in a row, I wore a pair of brand new heels. I haven’t fallen. Yet.

The crazy news is that since the recital I’ve already had two new inquiries. One of my piano parents must have posted something on Facebook or went home and called all of her friends!! I already have six students on a waiting list for summer lessons, so I have my work cut out for me deciding if I will be able to accept them all and scheduling them!! While I’m really flattered that they would do that, I want to keep the studio at a manageable number (for me) so that I can keep trying new things and growing as a teacher. Also, I want to be able to sleep in and go to CrossFit when I want. Sad but true.

Have you ever participated in a recital as a teacher or a student? What was your experience? What could have made it better? Do you have to do any other event planning for your job?  I’m sure it would’ve been better if your programs had ribbons on them! Haha.

Related: My First PIano Recital (as the teacher)



Belle @ The Esquire

So we went to a movie! We totally weren’t planning on it, but the weather looked rotten (again!!!) for going to the Rockies game on Friday. I was looking up movies for some reason… there is NEVER anything I want to see. And then Kevin suggested I look at the hipster/indie theaters, and said,”Maybe we’ll see your people there.” Whatever that means.

And then I saw Belle was playing!

belle movie

I had seen previews for Belle on a blog or something somewhere and had looked for it in the mainstream theaters in Denver, but I didn’t think of checking some of the other theaters like the Esquire.

So we scrambled, grabbed a quick salad, and made it to the 7:15 showing! Oh, and I might have strongly encouraged Kevin to change out of his preppy work polo.

So cute:

esquire theater denverIt’s tiny! And adorable!!!

And they had good chocolate bars!!!!!! So happy since I didn’t have time to plan ahead any snacks. They had coffee too (I think it was Dazbog!!!) which I would definitely go for next time, but I shared Diet Coke with Kevin this time around.

dark chocolate esquire theaterBELLE is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mabatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.

I loved it. And I’m not going to lie, I loved that it was totally super PG. I hate it when they put random weird/gross/violent stuff in movies I would have otherwise loved. And there was at least one actor from Downton Abbey.

Sooooooo…. you should see it. I had a fun & busy weekend, but that’s all I feel like sharing at the moment. Have you seen anything good lately? Where’s your favorite place to see movies?




My Marvelous Mom!

Okay, so I’m officially the worst sibling of the day since I was the last of six to call or talk to you today (in my defense the phone line was busy half the afternoon), but…

Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful mom!!


My mom isn’t the one who taught me to love pointy pumps, Lululemon, and Anthropologie.

mom and matching daughterBut she did teach me that MATCHING RULES!!!!!!!!!

Thanks to her (and Dad, of course) I don’t have a favorite 80’s band, and I never watched cartoons.

wordperfect corrie anne

But I did spend hours writing the next great American novel on WordPerfect. Even if 95% of that time was spent composing lists of possible names for each character (see the printed list in front of me).

corrie mom

My mom taught me to love God, work hard, serve others, and that I can be whatever I want to be when I grow up. She supported me without being pushy throughout all of my years studying piano in high school, and my parents never once suggested that I major in something “more practical” in college. After all, what could be more practical than music? :) She encouraged me when I made decision to move to the Dominican Republic, and her phone calls and emails helped me make it through grad school and that difficult first year of teaching! And she even welcomed the handsome husband I found on the internetz with open arms.

Now if only I could beat your half marathon rowing time…


I’m just hoping for sub-2 hours, but then my mom had to go and do this last week! Sick. :)

Love you, Mom!!!

P.S. My mom doesn’t love camping either. Smart woman. Recap to come… Spoiler: it was cute, but the weather was rotten!!!!!!



Packing for Our Camping Trip: My Three Important Contributions

1. I made 4 great playlists! One for the drive, one for general camping cuteness, one for morning, and one for nighttime!! I tried to include a lot of songs I used to have burned on cd’s with friends for our trips back to Minnesota during college. Dubble A had some pretty sweet mixes although I spared Kevin from all the Destiny’s Child. Dilemma is strangely one of my favorite songs, and I’m pretty sure it was my first (customized) cell phone ringtone ever.

spotify play list

I bet you’re happy now that you don’t have to be in the car with us tomorrow. :)

2. I pulled out and ironed some of our wedding bunting for decorating the campsite. Yes, that’s a thing. I have pictures from the internet to prove it. You’d be surprised how many times I’ve been able to reuse that bunting during the last few years. :) I was actually thinking about sewing some new bunting, but I ran out of time. I’m trying to think of a way to reuse some of it in a quilt or something. But that’s a project for a day in the future when I have someone helping me.


Joanie, this pic is payback for the terrible old pics you’ve been posting on my Facebook when it’s not even TBT!! :) Who’s that man you are dancing with?!!!! Also, look how tiny my sister, Hannah is at top right!! Crazy!!! 

3. Shopping for plaid shirts, obviously.



Bonus: selected some books to load on to my Kindle for reading after dark. I rarely use my Kindle even when traveling, but I figured camping is the ideal time!

I was actually helpful too. I’m mostly joking, but I am a little nervous. My friends are all super shocked that I’m actually going through with it and actually going camping. And the weather is a little iffy, especially for Sunday. So anyways, my campground has wi-fi. Haha. And the dogs are going to have the time of their lives. I even bought them special treats because I know they will be extra hungry from all the running around.

What’s your favorite road trip or camping song? Have a great weekend!!!!!


Going Camping?!

We’ve been living in colorful Colorado for almost 3 years, and we’ve never once gone camping!

Yeah, I’m still not outdoorsy. I’m actually an indoorswoman! People tend to be appalled when they discover this about me, but we didn’t really move here for the mountains or the skiing.  I lived in the Dominican Republic for 3 years and went to the beach less than 10 times so this preference isn’t even really swayed by great weather. It’s not that I don’t appreciate nature, but I generally like to experience it differently. Like by reading about it in books. :) Okay, I’m exaggerating. The truth is that I have come around a little bit in the last few years now that it’s come to my attention that I like to exercise and that the outdoors can present some fun physical challenges. That and Pippa demands daily outdoor exercise so I made that commitment when I brought her home. :)

practice camping

We actually went “practice camping” once last year which went tolerably well (it rained).

So why would we even do this? Well, Kevin James is a pro camper, canoeist, and general outdoorsman. Once when we were dating, he took a trip to the boundary waters in Minnesota and wasn’t accessible by phone for days. That seemed crazy to me, but apparently he’s done it many times over the years. Yes, I know that was normal before like 2005.

Anyways, Kevin is such a giver and cheerfully goes with me to the ballet, the symphony, bookstores, libraries, and coffee shops galore. I figure it’s about time we did something a little more in his element.

Plus we’re taking THE DOGS!!! Boyd is going to be such a hot mess and is likely to interfere our hiking plans. He can generally only make it around the block before he’s huffing & puffing. The good thing about having Boyd with us is that he breathes so loudly!! He’s sure to scare away any wildlife. :)

Also, I chose a campground based on Yelp reviews complaining that it wasn’t a real camping experience in nature. Haha. I saw that as a good sign. I’m willing to give camping a try, but not in one of those places where bears are lurking around. No thanks.

Full disclosure: we were supposed to stay in vrbo house like we usually do, but all the places I wanted were booked up for the weekend. So I gave in:

plaid shirts


He knows me so well. :)

fanny pack!!!!!! pinkJust trying on some gear at Dick’s Sporting Goods over the weekend. I thought it would be a good idea to go to the mall this weekend since that’s basically the opposite of camping. I actually didn’t end up buying a thing… I love online shopping, but I kinda miss the whole thing of going to the mall with my friends (or even Target). I know it’s cool for girls to say they don’t like shopping, but guess what, I still love it! :) 

Anyways, what are your thoughts on camping and making it fun? My top two complaints about camping are that it’s a) cold and b) smelly (I hate campfire smell). I did camp occasionally as a child, and I enjoyed it then. I think mostly for the junk food. Although there was one particular campground that was right next door to a library. Not joking even a little. :)



Brothers & Sisters! (Since Sibling Day Is A Thing Now!)

I have no idea why Sibling Day got all crazy on social media this year, but I’m going to embrace it. Sibs ARE awesome, important in our lives, and I love having 5 of them!! 3 boys & 3 girls! I actually think it’s a good idea to take a day to celebrate them. But we’re going to have to find a way to incorporate cake and possibly bunting…. maybe a few poms poms.

You should check out this TED talk on the sibling bond. The speaker mentions the interesting fact that our siblings are the only family members who are with us our whole lives! Even longer than our spouses and parents. He also points to evidence that ALL PARENTS HAVE FAVORITES. I knew it!! :)

I can’t even get into writing everything I’ve learned from each of my sibs and from being part of a large family. Of course, all of us were super annoying at times, but we worked together and learned from each other. And if that didn’t work out, we bit, pinched, and punched. Haha. :)

kelly corrie

My big brother & me! We’re the closest in age out of any two sibs in the whole family! I think we’re dressed in our Easter attire here, so I thought it was timely! By the way, they’re selling little ruffled anklets like the ones I’m wearing in the pic at Target these days….. I’m basically vintage now. So happy Kelly made it out to Colorado this year to visit with his family — best time ever!!!

lu and me

Loved growing up sandwiched between two brothers. Can you believe I got Luke to match me???? Something fun about Luke and me is that we actually were at the same college together for a year? Or two? That was pretty cute. We would eat together in the dining hall sometimes, and he ended up marrying one of my El.Ed. classmates. Can’t believe I haven’t been to his house in FLORIDA yet. He’s the only one of us who managed to get out and go somewhere truly warm! Smart!!!

josiah and me

I can’t stop calling Josiah white. I don’t know why. I haven’t returned to my natural Irish roots since coming back from the Dominican (seriously – it definitely helps living in sunny Colorado). I love that he decided to go to college in CO, and that we get to see him a good bit. I was his “mom” dropping him off at college in the pic above. I think I did a great job!! I didn’t cry or anything. Josiah and I have an agreement where the two of us can make decisions for the family. If the two of us decide on something, the consensus is reached! One vote for the oldies from me, and one for the young ones from Josiah. It actually works REALLY well. :)

hbear and me

Love my Hannah Elizabeth-Rose! I finally got a sister just when I didn’t want one. I was hoping Josiah would be a girl, but by the time Hbear rolled around… I was happy to be the only girl and not impressed with that little screamer. Thanks for ruining my life. Just kidding. More like thanks for finally being (almost) big enough to wear my clothes, and I can at least wear your baggy xc sweats. Your visits to Denver are huge highlights of my year… good thing you decided to run xc if you know what I mean. ;) ;)

aj n me

Yeah, I still have a little sis who I can tote around on my back!! It’s pretty cool. AJ is sweet, hilarious, and the true BABY of the family. We will tease you about that for LIFE. Or at least until we are in our wheelchairs, and you are pushing us around. I love that you are super girly and mom’s little clone. Don’t even get me started on my favorite AJ jokes!

Okay, so we have a bonus sib!!!!!!! Someone who has been in our family longer than one of our “blood sisters.” Someone who spent a lot of time sewing our wedding bunting.

kelly and lisa

Love this happy pic of my brother and my sister-in-law She is now an extra-official member of the family because she’s become a running addict. We also have our own secret language… so there’s that!!

I hope I didn’t make any math mistakes in this post guys….  I get a little confused about peoples’ ages… I was home schooled. Just kidding, Mom!!!!! :)

So I love big sentimental posts… can’t help it. I could’ve made this twice as long. I hope my sibs don’t read this, because if they were decent sibs, they’d do a word count of their respective paragraphs in an attempt to determine who’s my current favorite. :)

Do you have sibs? Wish you had more? I always wished for a sister closer to my age, but they’re growing up now so it’s all working out! And we never had to fight over the one bathroom at Mom & Dad’s so we can be thankful for that!!!


Sewing Pretty With Hello Kitty!

Finally took the plunge and bought the cute little sewing machine I’ve been talking about for a few months!

sewing machine hello kitty janome

Almost buying a $100 throw pillow (with tax & s&h) was the last straw that got me to buy it! Now I have a goal to learn to sew some pillows! And I have a million other overly ambitious ideas.

I’m proud to announce that I put it together myself, learned to thread the bobbin, and thread the machine tonight. That took me a good hour and a half of reading the manual and watching awesome YouTube videos. The only problem is that I eventually broke the needle. :( I kept jamming the machine. So I’ll try again tomorrow after I can get a new needle!!

By the way, I really have NO prior skills so it should be interesting. Kevin could probably learn twice as fast, but I’m trying not to ask him for help. I’m just seriously not good at that type of thing. For example: I struggle folding brown paper grocery bags. That’s not an exaggeration. I sometimes get frustrated and just smash them. I guess it’s also time to sew reusable grocery bags…

paleo comfort foods 2.0 coconut flour biscuits

After CrossFit this morning, I made these awesome Coconut Flour Biscuits 2.0 from the Paleo Comfort Foods blog. They are a lot more like “normal” biscuits than other coconut flour biscuits I’ve made, but I still used two biscuits per sandwich.

helen gillet denver public library

We also checked out the Weekend Music Series free concert @ Denver Central Library. Helen Gillet, an avant-garde cellist was performing, and it was a lot of fun! She was a great performer and just had a ton of energy! It looked exhausting!!!!! Her music reminded me just a little bit of Regina Spektor. While I was there, I took the opportunity to check out a bunch of sewing books (that are way above my skill level).

colorado ballet practice space

On our way back to our car, we walked by the Colorado Ballet rehearsal space, and there was totally a dancer sitting outside. I mean, he was sitting talking on his phone with his toes pointed! In some kind of special socks!! I choked and didn’t manage to snap a pic. I considered asking Kevin to walk past again, but it was pretty cold out. :)


Headed over to Jo-Ann Fabric for some of the basics like thread and scissors! It’s kind of scary in there!!! Just tons of crafty ladies in their element, and I’m all like… do I need a thimble??

polka dot fabrics

Can you tell what type of fabric I gravitate towards? Haha. I actually have a hard time finding fabric that appeals to me in Jo-Ann’s/Hobby Lobby/Michael’s because I prefer either the more vintage or specific designers. I may not craft, but I’ve seen a lot of crafts online!!

home depot denver

Kevin got the last laugh by taking me to Home Depot. We’re hoping to put wood floors in the bedrooms sometime soon!! No more carpet!!!! So we checked that out, and he had to pick up some painting supplies for odd & end jobs.

Do you sew? Or do any type of crafts? Wish me luck trying again tomorrow!