In 2016 she released her first how-to book for musicians entitled, “Me? Teach Piano?” You may purchase this book on Amazon (click here).
I’ve been a writer since before I was ten. It wasn’t that I was amazing with words or anything (trust me: Mom always catches plenty of “Amanda-isms” in my writing before it hits the public!). I just loved a good story, and I wanted to be a part of creating more.
“Me? Teach Piano?” was a totally different field, being a non-fiction, educational-type book. This was definitely not something I initially set out to write. But in a matter of just a few months, several of my friends/former piano students began quizzing me on teaching piano. I wrote at least two long letters with different tips and pointers plus had a serious “Q&A” phone call. I guess you could say that was the seed that planted the desire for me to help many others teach piano (cause… I’m a teacher. And I even like teaching others how to teach).
When it came time to write “Me? Teach Piano?” I approached it completely differently than a piece of fiction. Usually, ideas go from… well, ideas… to more ideas and more. But when it came to funneling the lessons I’ve learned about teaching into a booklet, I didn’t really know where to start. So, I gathered the information that I had given my friends (you never know when a letter might be returned to you, do you? ;)). But then, I sent out emails and texts to various pianists I knew with, “If you had any question about teaching, what would it be?” The responses I got pretty much built my booklet. I organized their questions by topic and set to answering them in the five chapters that make up “Me? Teach Piano?”
In a way, I treated writing “Me? Teach Piano?” like writing a very long letter to someone I really wanted to help succeed (hence, there’s a light-hearted feel to it). I am still amazed with how smoothly the actual writing process went, though. I’m not much of a “binge-writer” where I sit down and write thousands of words at a time. But when it came to this, the Lord gave me clarity of thought and plenty of ideas and my fingers flew.
Now, for the publishing part. “Me? Teach Piano?” actually sat for about eight months after I did the final edits before I started publishing it (long story short, we were building a house and getting it finished in those months). In that time, I had published “Journey to Love” (fictional novella about a girl from the orphan train) which gave me a head-start on formatting “Me? Teach Piano?”
One of my favorite parts about publishing “Me? Teach Piano?” was how God provided that amazing cover design that the world sees. I can’t even draw a stick-person and though I have a few sisters who draw well, my idea wasn’t their style. Not knowing where to begin, I posted an “ad” for it on several FaceBook pages, contacted a few artists, and did a lot of praying. It was actually my sister, Elizabeth, who found my artist (“You know, my friend’s little sister draws cartoon-style…”). When I emailed Sydney to see if this was something she’d be interested in, she replied a very enthusiastic, “Yes!” saying that she’d been praying for a way to use her art for God’s glory. Wow. You just can’t get any better than that! She was great to work with.
Elizabeth (same sister who suggested Sydney) drew the whimsical interior designs, and the rest is pretty much history. “Me? Teach Piano?” is out there, and I pray that it aids and encourages many upcoming teachers!