Confession: A couple weeks ago, I didn't feel like teaching piano.
This particular morning started off great! There time to pray, read the Bible, jump on the treadmill, and have breakfast.
But while making the bed, I somehow turned wrong and pulled a muscle in my back. It hurt SO bad! Within moments my excitement to teach piano was gone. Physically, I knew I’d still be able to teach, but my joy had gone right out the window!
Clearly, I needed a reset.
It happens to all of us at some point. Maybe there’s a physical reason we don’t feel like teaching. Perhaps we’re just not in the mood.
Either way, the show must go on! Here are 10 quick ways to reset when you don’t feel like teaching. I hope these ideas help you the next time you're having a tough day!
1. Be kind to yourself.
Instead of wallowing in your frustration, do something that puts a smile on your face! Light a candle, put on some music, and allow yourself to let go of the guilt.
Beating yourself up for the way you feel will only make you feel worse. There are better ways to get through the day and it all starts with being kind to yourself.
2. Figure out the problem.
If you can figure out WHY you don’t feel like teaching, then you’ll be able to adjust your attitude fast! Here are some questions to ask yourself:
◆ Are you tired?
◆ Stressed about dinner?
◆ Unprepared for lessons that day?
◆ Do you have a headache?
◆ Did you get into an argument with your child?
Take the time to figure out what’s really bothering you!
3. Find a solution.
Now that you know the problem, figure out a solution.
4. Don't compare yourself to others.
This is not the time to hop on FB or Instagram and look at the highlights of everyone else’s life. We ALL have days when we don’t feel like teaching. Just focus on your situation and determine to reset!
(Remember, I may have created Upbeat Piano Teachers, but I don’t always feel upbeat. No one does!)
5. Do something completely different at your lessons.
Instead of teaching your typical lesson that day, do something FUN and out-of-the box. Your students will love the surprise and that alone will make you feel better!
Maybe you could have a Game Day or Duet Day? What about spending the entire lesson working on composition?
Here’s the key - Plan something that YOU think is fun to do. If you’re having a good time, your students will too! (This book is wonderful if you need some creative ideas.)
6. Create a reward.
Everyone needs a little motivation! Give yourself something to look forward to once teaching is over.
Maybe a hot bath or some reading time with a tasty latte. Text a friend and see if she can meet for dinner and/or dessert once your teaching day is done.
7. Remember your why.
In our Upbeat Planning Academy, Sara and I talk a lot about the importance of knowing your WHY. This is a critical element to keeping your attitude in check!
Here’s an example: Let’s say you’re suffering from Piano Teacher Burnout and you crave a vacation, BUT you need the money. Instead of being frustrated, celebrate the fact that you’re supporting yourself and your family. “Needing money” is a wonderful “why” and it's nothing to be embarrassed about!
(This book is one of my favorites and really helped me clarify my “why.”)
8. Get a new perspective.
It’s easy to get into a rut when we teach 20, 30 or more students every week, but look at it from a new point of view by stepping into the shoes of your students.
Each student only has ONE lesson each week and they deserve your best! They need you to be upbeat, energetic, helpful, and focused. Thinking about this always helps me to get my attitude in check.
Another great idea is to ask yourself this question often: How do you want to be remembered? No one wants to be remembered as a grumpy, nagging piano teacher!
Do some serious thinking and BE the person you want to be. Create moments that will bring wonderful memories!
9. Consider canceling some or ALL (yikes!) of your lessons.
Some teachers may disagree, but I think it’s okay to cancel lessons on occasion.
Yes - this is extreme and I don’t recommend it when you’re simply tired, but the truth is that some days we’re not up for teaching - and that’s okay.
Maybe your dog died? Perhaps your mother was diagnosed with cancer? It could be that your child got bullied at school and the whole situation has you completely stressed out.
While you don’t want to cancel lessons often, there are times when canceling might be the best thing. By giving yourself the necessary time to refocus and regroup, you’ll likely feel up to teaching again much sooner.
10. Pray and/or read the Bible.
As many of you know, my faith is a big part of my life. When I’m having a tough day, reaching out to God always helps.
Right now I’m reading through The Daily Walk Bible. I love it because the reading plan is so practical.
Each day features an overview to help you understand the reading. Then every 7 days, you read a short summary to help you see the big picture, plus that allows time to “catch up” if you’ve fallen behind on reading.
If you struggle finding time to get into God’s word, the pretty yellow Write the Word journal (pictured above) has helped me.
Each day there’s a key verse to write out, along with space to journal, take notes, write a prayer - whatever!
Do you need practical help setting your day up for success?
The Make Over Your Morning Course made a huge difference in my life a couple summers ago. Shortly after I finished that course, I was so motivated and encouraged that I created Upbeat Piano Teachers!
What is Make Over Your Mornings? It’s a 14-day online course that includes videos, a workbook, and step-by-step projects designed to help you maximize your mornings. You’ll experience more success in your business, more order in your home, and more joy in your life.
If you’re ready to put some excitement and fulfillment back into your life, check out Make Over Your Mornings. (You can try the first day for free!)
Find out more about it here.
Note: Some of links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.
The Upbeat Book Club is diving into our new book and we'd love to have you join us!
It's fun, it's free, and best of all - you'll get motivation to keep you going! (Click here to see selections from the past.)
Here's the Scoop
Current Book:: The Piano Practice Physician's Handbook by Nicola Cantan
Start Date: October 9, 2017 (That's this week!)
How long will it last? This session will last 8 weeks, ending in early December.
What's the reading schedule? Join our FB group to get in on the discussion and download the reading schedule.
What do you need to do?
Registration is still open!
If you're looking for a simple way to add fun to your piano lessons, consider surprising your students with a story. It's a great way to engage kids and get a few giggles too!
Here are some of my favorites!
The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield
One day a bear cub finds a strange object in the forest. He bravely touches it and is suddenly startled by the odd sounds.
But.....he's also intrigued.
And so begins this wonderful story about a bear who discovers a piano and learns to master the instrument.
This book is about much more than the piano. It's a lovely story about friendship and is a must-have for your collection!
Mole Music by David McPhail
Mole lives a simple, quiet life until he hears someone playing a violin. From that moment on, Mole is never the same. He determines that he can learn to play music too!
Through daily patience and practice, he see success! Soon others are enchanted by his music in a way that Mole never realizes.
It's a great way to discuss the importance of practice and the impact that our music can have on others.
Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo by John Lithgow
If you're looking for giggles from your piano students, this is the book for you!
It's a story is about a little boy who goes to a concert at the zoo. Before long, he falls asleep and dreams that the animals storm the stage - becoming the musicians! They end up playing all sorts of instruments in a concert for the humans.
It's a creative story and the illustrations are delightful! Just what you'd expect from John Lithgow! And of course this one is great too!
The Cardboard Piano by Lynne Ray Perkins
We've all had times when playing the piano made us feel.....different.
If you have students struggling with those feelings, grab this book and start talking about it!
This is a story about a girl named Debbie who takes piano lessons. She creates a cardboard piano for her friend, in the hope that her friend will love playing the piano too.
Unfortunately, things don't go the way Debbie planned and both girls learn a life lesson: just because you're friends with someone, doesn't mean you always have the same interests. And that's okay!
(This is a great book to get discussion going, but I recommend it for your older students, not preschool.)
Other posts you might enjoy....
What are YOUR favorite books? What would you add to my list?
As piano teachers, one of the best things about summer is that most of us have extra time on our hands. If you’re like most people, that means you're excited to tackle some big projects!
Do any of these sound familiar?
I'll be the first to admit that summer projects are great, but here’s the truth. Unless you tackle those projects right away, they'll likely hang over your head the entire summer and depress you.
Let's do something TOTALLY DIFFERENT. Instead of choosing something TO DO - I encourage you to take something OFF your list.
Here's the idea -
Let’s fast-forward to September. You’re about to launch into a new school year and you're hoping it's your best year ever.
What could you take OFF your schedule this summer that will make you happy in September? What can you let go of that will get you excited?
Here are some ideas:
1. Is there a family who always pays late? Is is time to let them go?
2. Maybe it’s a student who never practices and they need to move on.
3. Could you move 3 current students into a small group class? That would take OFF some teaching time, but you’d still be getting paid for those students. (Another idea: if you have any slots open for fall, start those new students in a group class instead of private lessons. You'll decrease your teaching hours AND increase your profit at the same time!)
4. Home - Is there a chore you could delegate?
5. Do you hate grocery shopping? Try the online shopping at Walmart. I have a friend who recently gave it a try and said it she'd definitely do it again on busy weeks!
6. What about cooking? Can you share the responsibility with your spouse? Even doing some basic freezer meals would take daily prep OFF your schedule on busy teaching days.
7. Maybe you have a monthly subscription to something that you never use. Cancel it or put it on hold. Come September, you'll be glad to have that extra money in your bank account!
My Personal Example
This is going to surprise a lot of you, but.......I’m taking preschoolers OFF my schedule!
Yes - Sara and I just created a fabulous webinar all about preschoolers, but it's not the right season for me to do this. At this point in my life, I simply prefer to add older students to my roster.
(And yes - I'm still teaching a lot of kindergarteners!)
It won't always be this way though. Fast-forward a couple years to when my son graduates from high school and it'll be the perfect time for me to add preschoolers back to my studio!
Make Smart Choices This Summer
Let me clarify - I’m not saying that you shouldn't tackle summer projects. We ALL have things that need to be done, but we need to use wisdom when planning the months ahead.
And truthfully, sometimes the smartest choice might be very simple: Take something OFF your list!
If you need help managing your time, this is how I learned to maximize my mornings!
Hi there! I'm Tracy Selle. A Christian wife, mom, and author of 101 Piano Practice Tips. I'm also a piano teacher and founder of Upbeat Piano Teachers.