Author Archives: Musicteachingadventures

8 tips for Scheduling Piano Lessons This Fall

8 Tips for Scheduling Piano Lessons This FallAt the beginning of every fall semester there is always a week or two full of the hassles and worries of scheduling students.  Somehow things always seem to workout in the end and everyone finds a time that works, but until that point most private teachers find that stress is running high.

Here are some tips they may not eliminate all stress but help reduce some of the pressure.

1. Although there are always those last minute changes I try to make a mock schedule in July.  This helps me not over fill my studio. Though I will still take one or two students if I appear full I do not guarantee a weekday time, thus these families are aware they may need to come on Saturday once school starts.

2. Offer your parents Saturday for lessons. You may be surprise who is willing or even eager to come on Saturday. For best results be willing to teach Saturday morning.

3. Families who have taken from me for a while usually know I will reserve the same general time for them. Make it easy for yourself and put these students in your schedule first.

4. Schedule families with siblings taking first. Try to make it easy on parents. They are busy enough as it is. Try to keep their trips to your studio to one a week if possible. They will greatly appreciate this.

4. Usually I do younger students first and older students later. So much better for the little ones. Also try to put longer lessons later in the day. If you fill up 3:14 to 4:00 with a 45min and have an open slot at 4:00 instead of 3:45 you might deter a new family with a young child. Schedule wisely.

5. A few ears ago I started scheduling students who had taken longest first. When necessary, I kindly explained to newer families that the longer you take the more ‘seniority’ you have in requesting lessons times. Every single family I have ever had has completely understood this policy and has actually been grateful to know that the longer they take they may very likely get a lesson time they like better. 

6. What to do if a family wants a different lesson time than you can offer. I simply have them tell me 2 or 3 preferred times and let them know that as soon as one of those times open up they may take it.  You never know when someone else is going to suddenly move away or simply need to change times.

7. Worried about loosing students over scheduling? Don’t. Instead make yourself such an enthusiastic teacher with unique opportunities that everyone wants to be in your studio!

8. Be flexible. Realize these are not set and fast rules. There are sometimes you may need to bend.

 

Over the years I have wanted a calendar system that worked well for scheduling lessons but never could find anything. I tried office supply stores, online, and using the computer. In the end, I found nothing I liked. The computer was easy to edit, but I wanted something I could easily grab and cute! So this year I made my own. I am currently working on corresponding materials to help with the business side of teaching and organization so check back soon for more.

Scheduling Students- 8 tips for making it easier

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Ferris Wheel Match Up-Treble Clef notes

This is an excellent game to practice a student’s treble clef notes. One of my students last spring needed to review her treble clef notes so I created this game with this goal in mind. I love how simple and short this game is, but how useful it is in reviewing or solidifying music notes. It is an easy game to add in just a few quick minuets at the end of a lesson.  (For directions please download the file)

 

Reviewing Treble Clef NotesDownload Now!

Making Repetitions in Piano Practice Fun

As teachers we all know that a student is going to need to practice a new concept several times if they’re really going to learn it, besides isn’t this half of practicing?  But how do you get young children to understand this concept?  Try this.

Get a set of plastic animals.

The goal is to collect 5 animals (variation: Collect as many as you can throughout the lesson.)

Each time a child plays the section correctly they choose an animal to place on the piano. Young students love this and I no longer hear any complaints about repetitions!20130818_KDS_02364

Favorite animal sets have been

Pets

Snakes, Lizards and Frogs

Birds

Fish

Sea Animals

Horses

Dogs and cats (each dog is a different breed)20130818_KDS_02359

Go get your own set of animals this week and try this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep your Students looking forward to their lessons with this simple idea

One on the things my younger students (ages 4-9) enjoy is the weekly prize box.  Each week they are given a simple assignment to complete.  If they complete the assignment by the following weeks lesson they are rewarded by picking out of the prize box. I have given assignments from practicing 5 days a week to anything related to their lesson.  Students are motivated when the realize that they don’t get to select a prize with out completing their assignment.  This is such a simple tool to add to your studio but adds just that extra touch to lessons and can set your studio apart.  You will be amazed at how young students are affected by having a prize as a reward.  I have found it valuable to occasionally switch the choices I have in my prize box.

 

Usually I include:Looking Forward to piano lessons

Stickers

Coloring Sheets

Recipes (choose ones directed for children. I am always amazed at how popular these are)

Instructions for drawing animals etc.

Mazes and hidden pictures

Instructions for simple paper crafts

 

Occasionally I addLooking forward to piano lessons

mini erasers (these are usually a huge hit and only cost about $1 for a pack)

Holiday themed Stickers

Once a year I usually include candy for a fun surprise.

 

Try to pick coloring sheets and stickers based on what is popular at the time.  For example if I know I have several students that like a recent animated film produced I will look for coloring sheets on this theme.

This only takes a few minutes but can add a nice simple addition to your studio that doesn’t cost much.

Need Suggestions on recipes and other resources to print for prize box? Check out my Pinterest board on this theme.

Motivating Students

 

 

Catching Bugs-Learning C and G

When working with very young students I have found it beneficial to drill just a few notes at a time.  I like to make sure a student knows a few notes well before adding more notes. So I decided to design games with just the notes I wanted to drill.  Some of these games are designed to correspond to what students are learning in their method books, while some of the games I designed were for a student who was struggling with a particular ‘set’ of notes..

 

I personally enjoy using a combination of  landmark notes and intervals to teach reading.  Catching Bugs was designed to drill the important landmark notes of middle C and landmark G .

I like to use gems to cover the bugs when they draw the corresponding note.  You can find colored gems such as these at any craft store.  For full instructions please download the file. Make sure you print the game files in Landscape mode. Enjoy!

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