Supercharge Your Piano Studio This Year With This one Easy Tip

Supercharge your piano studio this fall with this one idea and see it grow.I think all piano teachers discover at some point that students dread theory books. Early in my career I found that it was not worth the effort to keep re-assigning theory pages, because students weren’t doing them. Instead I started looking for another way to teach theory through games.

I found that students loved learning through games and were effectively learning theory without even realizing it, better than with theory pages! So I started using games every week instead of giving theory books.  Planning a music theory game every week has helped my students not only become better musicians but also they look forward with excitement to every lesson. Parents then see how much their children are learning while enjoying their lessons and are quick to refer other families to my studio.  Though I started out with the goal of teaching music theory in a fun and engaging way, I reaped so many other advantages from this idea. Student’s love taking lessons and rarely if ever want to quite piano lessons, so I increased my retention rate, and my studio has grown because parents want to share how much their children are enjoying their lessons.

Using Music Games in the Piano StudioI personally think there are two keys to including theory games successfully in piano lessons.   First is using a different game every week. The game can still be reviewing the same concept but if we as teachers always use the same 5 games, then students are eventually going to become board. Lessons have become predictable. The second valuable key to successfully including games in lessons is planning ahead. I personally like to plan the skills I want to teach and plan the accompanying games for an entire semester in either August or December. By planning ahead I know what I need to have prepared for each lesson and will not be scrambling at the last minute to gather the necessary games.  The second benefit of planning ahead helps make sure that I am not needing to invent a game that a student will enjoy and will teach the skills I want them to learn all at the last moment.  Need more game resources for your students? Subscribe and receive a new free game each week.

 

How have you used games in your studio? Which games are your student’s favorites?

 

 

 

Search and Find for Preschool Piano Students

Simple and fun Preschool Piano GameRecently I started teaching a preschool boy. In the past I have always had a small handful of preschool piano students. When I first started teaching children ages 4-5 there were very few resources for teaching preschoolersso I always had to start from scratch. Since then I have found a few resources to use as guides.  Andrea and Trevor Dow over at Teach Piano Today have created WunderKeys, an excellent resource for preschoolers which I am currently usuing. I am enjoying using this program  and as always I enjoy adding to excellent resources with my own games.  This week I created a search and find for my preschooler. The game way huge hit, and since we played it before the lesson it helped get the after school jitters out.  I printed cards with treble clef, bass, clef, quarter notes, whole notes, and half notes. I then hid them around the room. I then instructed him to find 3 quarter notes etc until all the notes/symbols were found. (I do not call the notes by their proper names with this age. Instead I use One, Too-oo and No no won’t go. More on this later)

 

Download the search and find cards here.

5 Key Signature Games to Keep your Students excited about music lessons

Keep your students looking forward to their lessons each week with a new game. Need something to get you started? Here are 5 key signature games. Look for more games on other topics coming soon!5 Key Signature Games to play with your students

In my studio I like to gradually introduce key signatures in correlation to their scale. For example I start with the Keys of C G and F. I gradually add a new key signature each week usually through a game. Below are the five games I most commonly use with my students. They have all been a huge hit with the kids!  Get these games today and help complete your lesson plans for this fall!

 

Pizza Keys Key Signature Game

 

 

 

 

Pizza Keys covers C,G,D,A,E,F, and B flat. It is played in the style of bingo/tic tac toe.

 

 

 

 

Cupcake Key Signature Game

 

 

 

Cupcake Keys covers the Keys of C,G,D,A,F and B flat, Players draw the cupcake chords until the winning player covers all keys in the cupcake tin.

 

 

 

 

 

Cherry Keys Key Signature game

 

 

Cherry keys is a step up from pizza keys and cupcake keys. It adds the key signatures of E flat and E. The first student to draw and correctly identify all the keys wins.

 

 

 

 

Ladybug Key Signature Game

 

 

 

Ladybug Keys Covers the Keys of C,G,A,F,B flat and E flat. It is a great game to add to your stash if you have a student who is needs more practice with keys but is ready for a fresh new game.

 

 

 

 

 

S'more Key Signature Game

 

 

S’more Keys is the most advanced of all the key signature games. It covers all key signature and not only asks for key signature identification but also to name what key signature has a certain number of sharps/flats. Children love collecting the items to build s’more and seeing who has the most s’mores at the end of the game.

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!