As we head into December, & all the extra activities that tend to crop up, it can be hard to avoid burnout. This is a time of year when our studio families might say no to participating in “extras” in the studio & our students don’t practice as much as they typically would.
Rather than overload ourselves, let’s give ourselves, our studio parents & students some grace.
I’ll admit that this used to happen to me much more often. It led to health issues, anxiety, problems sleeping & even wanting to snap at clients.
Are you feeling like there are too many things to get done & not enough time?
Are your clients & students perhaps feeling the same thing?
We can’t control anyone else’s schedule. We can only could ours. So, that means we can be part of the solution for other families instead of yet another activity with more expectations.
Avoid Burnout Before it Starts
What is coming up in your schedule that is stressing you? Is it something that can be cancelled, delayed, or must be done for that deadline? One of the hardest things is being honest with ourselves.
Do you HAVE to …
- Create handmade gifts for your clients or will thoughtfully purchased items work?
- Put on a recital with all the bells & whistles or would a smaller event still let students shine?
- Create resources for the group lesson or are there ideas online that you can use in a flash?
While I love giving gifts as a thank you to the incredible families in my studio, one year November & December were crazy busy. So many of my plans went up in smoke & the gifts I wanted to give weren’t ready. Yes, it was embarrassing not showing up with a gift on that lesson. But, it was just me that was embarrassed. Not a single client got upset.
Instead, I took a bit of time before I went back to teaching to create gifts & write personal, handwritten notes for each of my studio families. They were blown away that in January they were getting a gift! And, it was meaningful because it wasn’t lumped in with everything else.
It wasn’t until I began teaching online that I started doing Winter recitals. Everything about being online was so much less time & effort that it was possible to get through that checklist during this season.
As much as I love creating unique resources for my group lessons, you better believe that I’ve purchased resources from others when I didn’t have the time … or, wouldn’t have created something that was nearly as amazing as someone else.
5 Tips to Avoid Client Burnout
Are you noticing a trend of decreased practice in your studio? Are students stressed about upcoming studio events (like a recital)? Or, perhaps parents are cancelling last minute?
Rather than bemoan the change in routine, change it up with these FIVE tips!
1. No to little practice?
Improvise with elements from the song or review concepts with games. Choose a pattern-based song a few levels below what your student can sight-read.
2. Check in with students about their upcoming schedule.
If their schedule is really busy, look at:
- Songs that can be set aside until January
- Lessons missed due to school concert, etc.?
3. Recital cancellations
Find out why clients are cancelling.
Is there an alternative for students that are already going to be elsewhere? For example, a video call to grandparents or mini recital at home works great for celebrating seasonal music!
Is there a way to modify what the student plays so they feel more confident?
Lastly, make a note of why clients are cancelling. This can give you insight into scheduling or handling the recital next year.
4. Lacklustre enthusiasm for upcoming events
Build enthusiasm over several weeks. Create a teaser video … or release small details at each lesson in the upcoming weeks.
Point out the benefits to your clients. When I held studio group lessons in my home, parents loved getting last-minute gifts or finally relaxing with a cup of coffee for a bit. If you are online, parents can have a mini-date elsewhere in their home while you make sure their kids are laughing & enjoying time together.
5. Celebrate the wins on social media!
Add photos & videos of the small (& big) wins to your studio social media pages! Give parents a chance to brag … & their kids a reason to go outside their comfort zone during lessons & as they practice.
Enjoying the best of the season
These are tips that I remind myself of each year so I can avoid burnout. It’s so easy to get excited about all the wonderful parts of this season, while not realizing how much it can add up. Right?
Whether you teach in-person, online or hybrid, choose what activities & events will have the biggest impact in your studio. Especially in December, less really IS more.
What are you doing to make December as stress-free as possible … for both you AND your clients?
NOTE: This article was originally published on November 30, 2018. It has since been updated with more information & stories.