A new piano teacher recently contacted me because she’s losing students and she’s not sure why. I suggested that she ask herself several questions over the Christmas break.
My plan was to put these in one post, but it got so long that I decided to divide it into a series. It’ll be much easier to read if I focus on one question at a time!
#1 - Do your students FEEL successful?
A couple years ago my son was in a speech club, which he was NOT happy about. And who can blame him, right? Most people hate speaking in public!
One night we listened to a speaker share tips on how to give our children more confidence. My biggest takeaway was when she said that “we all need a little victory. No one wants to do something they think they’re not good at.”
That was a huge lightbulb moment for me. It applies to everything! Speaking in public, playing on sports teams - and yes, even piano lessons.
We ALL want to feel successful and if your students don’t, it could be the very reason they leave your studio.
Ask the Right Question
We’ve all had students who are “stalled” in our eyes and yet they’re thrilled to come to lessons every single week. We don’t need to worry about those students!
It’s the other students we need to be concerned about - the ones who feel like they’re doing a bad job. Those are the students who quit taking lessons. And if a lot of your students who fall into that category, you studio could definitely suffer.
In fact, Philip Johnston devotes an entire chapter to this in The Dynamic Studio. Instead of asking “Is Julia progressing?” and then doing a quick assessment, Philip suggests that teachers ask an entirely different question: “How can Julia tell she’s progressing?”
Make Progress VISIBLE
Fortunately, there are lots of ways we can help our students see their progress! Here are a few practical ideas:
At first, it might seem overwhelming to think about doing this, but I think you’ll find the opposite is true.
With a little focused attention, you can easily help your students see their progress and this could very well stop the revolving door in your studio.
How do you help students celebrate their success? I’d love to hear your ideas!
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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.