Years ago, I was a junior high teacher at a special needs school. It came with lots of joy when a student would have a breakthrough behaviourally, developmentally, or academically. But, it also came with its challenges.
While most students eagerly await winter break & the change in routine, for many special needs students this can be a time of stress. At the school, we always knew that December & June were going to be tough months for both students & teachers. For students, the upcoming change in routine tended to lead to anxiety, more frustration with routine tasks, & a big focus on what the new routine over the holidays would be. For teachers, it required a lot more patience & an eagle eye as we did our best to keep things from escalating. How do we help our piano students transition to the upcoming winter break?
This is the question EVERY teacher would love to hear at the end of each lesson. After all, a student who feels lesson flies by is much more likely to continue taking lessons & even tell their friends about how awesome piano is. Sure it can get a bit awkward when you get to listen to the following conversation.
With the end of the year just around the corner (or so it seems), many of our students will be getting a bit wiggly on the bench, perhaps a bit teary-eyed at staying inside on a sunny day, and in general wanting to do something just a little bit different.
One of the favourite warm-up activities we did in my studio this year was rhythm warm-ups. I wanted my students to feel a steady pulse as they played piano, but I also wanted them to improvise with rhythms so when they saw them in their music it was easier to recognize. I wanted a warm-up that kind of did it all. This week, I am sharing the warm-up with you!
This was a week that reminded me how important is to work WITH parents, not against them. When things are just not going well with a student, one of the best things we can do is open up the lines of communication with a parent.
We are heading into our 6th month of winter and I’ll admit some days it can be difficult to remember the positives. How do we make sure we continue to celebrate those small wins that make lessons so rewarding?
We want our students to love playing music! And, we don’t want them to be stuck figuring out the basics for Every. Single. Sound. It’s annoying. It’s frustrating. And, that goes for both student and teacher. So, how can we help them move beyond the basics?
This month has been all about getting ready for recital season & part of that may be giving gifts to your students or families. There is something about giving families a thoughtful present that lets them know how much they are appreciated.
But with all the tasks involved in putting on a recital (let alone helping students prepare their repertoire beforehand), combined with end of year assessments/reviews, & keeping students engaged when they are more likely wanting to be outside … well, those gifts may just seem like more work than they are worth.
Here is a list of ideas that are homemade & look like you spent days & days prepping Martha Stewart-style … but in reality you only invested a couple hours.
We all know that practice tends to drop off during vacation times. Between family trips & a more relaxed home schedule, piano practice tends to fall through the cracks. I used to exhort my students to continue practicing over school holidays so that they could “keep up their progress”. When we got back to lesson, I typically got a long list of reasons why the student had not practiced over the break.
Rather than continuing to stress about the practice or lay the blame game, I decided to do something different. Hold a studio challenge!
One of the best types of information we can have as business owners is, “What do our clients really think of us?”. This is the information that they share with others they meet, as well as provides the backbone for reduced churn rates & higher student retention … which leads to higher profits.
This is my guide to finding out what your clients REALLY think.
This month on The Unfinished Lesson, we will be looking at ways to retain clients. With registration coming up in many studios, it is important to remind students & parents alike why they just HAVE to stay with you for another year.
Find out best tips for increasing your re-enrollment rates & tracking your success!