Have you ever gotten an idea and launched right into it, without stopping to think it through? This happened to me just a couple weeks ago.
Because my son will be a senior in high school this fall, one of my goals is to lighten my teaching schedule. I really want enjoy this last year with him before he heads off to college!
It occurred to me that hosting group lessons once a month in lieu of private lessons would be the perfect low-stress solution. Idea planted. Done!
But then I talked with my Upbeat partner, Sara Campbell. The first thing out of her mouth was "Will planning that every month actually be more stressful for you?"
Hmmmm...I hadn't considered that. I was only thinking about "teaching" time.
And then I realized....I hadn't really looked at this from every angle. What I really needed was to STOP everything and do some serious thinking.
Here's the point: When we take time to really think over new ventures BEFORE we dive in, we increase the odds of success.
Are you considering a new venture that involves preschoolers? I hope these questions will help you figure out if it's the right move for you!
1. DO YOU LIKE WORKING WITH YOUNG CHILDREN?
It sounds like an obvious question, but the truth is most people have age preferences. For example: teenagers. Some people LOVE teaching teens - and other teachers will avoid them at all costs!
Take the time to think about what ages YOU like to teach.
Yes, adding preschoolers might be great for your bottom line, but if you don't like this age group, you'll never find the success you're looking for.
2. HOW WILL THIS OFFERING BRING VALUE TO YOUR STUDIO?
Adding preschoolers will help YOU in several ways:
But this option would also benefit your students. Take the time to think about this option from the perspective of your families. How will it help them? What will they gain from preschool lessons?
One thing's for sure - you'll be helping youngsters develop a love of music early in life. That's invaluable!
3. DO YOU HAVE TIME TO INVEST IN A NEW VENTURE?
Starting any new venture is exciting! But there's always a learning curve. Do you have time to research everything?
You'll need to think about:
If reading that list got you excited, then teaching preschoolers is probably a good move for you!
4. HOW WILL YOU ADD THIS OPTION TO YOUR STUDIO?
I'll be honest - when I started teaching preschoolers, I didn't give this question enough consideration. I simply launched into what I was already doing - private lessons.
But there are several options to mull over: private, group, or partner lessons. Each choice has pros and cons. Write those down. Play around with them in your head.
I encourage you to think about what type of lesson YOU would enjoy the most. If YOU'RE happy and having fun, your preschoolers will too!
5. WHAT METHOD WILL YOU USE?
The GOOD news - There are LOTS of methods to choose from.
The BAD news - There are LOTS of methods to choose from.
Seriously though, take the time to do your research and find a method that fits your personality. Ideally, I suggest that you find a couple methods you would feel comfortable teaching.
The truth is that all kids are different. You might find that certain students would benefit from a different method. I know that often happens in my studio with older students. Preschoolers are no different. (See this post for more.)
ARE YOU SAYING YES TO PRESCHOOLERS?
If you decide that preschoolers are right for you, make sure you check out Playing with Preschoolers.
It's on sale for Valentine's Day!
Sara and I interviewed 7 teachers who are having great success with this age group. You'll learn:
Do you have any preschool questions? If so, let me know!
This week I've been sharing the truth about my first summer camp. Overall it was a big success! But I definitely made some rookie mistakes. This series is all about helping you avoid my mistakes!
(Did you miss the beginning of this series? Find Mistake #1 here and Mistake #2 here.)
MISTAKE #3 - I DIDN'T TAKE PICTURES
If you read my first 2 camp posts, you know that I did do several things right. I was very focused on registrations, daily plans, and activities. I was even smart enough to hire extra help.
But I never once thought about taking pictures.
This left me at a disadvantage on 2 fronts:
When the realization hit me, I was so bummed!
DO THIS INSTEAD
While you could take your own photos, you'll already be pretty busy! A smarter solution is to assign this job to someone else:
You'll love having this burden off your shoulders during camp week. Best of all, the photos will be invaluable to you when you're promoting your next camp. (Just make sure that your parents sign a waiver saying you have permission to use their child's photo.)
If you're planning your first summer camp, I hope this series has helped!
Sara Campbell and I have also created a FREE summer camp checklist to help you have a successful summer camp. Just print it out and you'll have peace of mind that you're not forgetting something important. Phew!
DID YOU HEAR THE NEWS?
This month there's a Free Group Coaching Bonus that comes with Group Lessons 101. (For those who register by 3/31/18.) Another great resource included with Group 101 is Sara Campbell's Music Blast Plan. You get daily schedules, a supply list, resources - it's all been done for you!
But you better hurry! The Coaching Bonus goes away soon!
OTHER CAMP POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY
Yesterday's post was all about me going overboard with the size of my first summer camp. Today I'm sharing another mistake that a lot of rookies make.
MISTAKE #2 - I CREATED MY OWN CAMP PLAN
I thought organizing a camp would be easy. Plan a few activities. Do some crafts. Simple, right? Wrong!
For that first camp, I really should have researched what was working for other teachers. Instead, I simply brainstormed what things "might" work.
My big activity mistakes:
DO THIS INSTEAD
My camp would have been much better if I had:
In the end, I think it's important that your first camp be stress-free. You'll already be a little nervous because you're a rookie. There's no need to make it tougher by doing it all yourself.
A SNEAK PEEK AT MISTAKE #3
Make sure you come back tomorrow! I'll share the big thing I forgot all about. I'll also share how it impacted my marketing afterward.
If you're worried you might forget something - this free checklist has you covered!
And don't forget about the Free Group Coaching Bonus that comes with Group Lessons 101. (For those who register by 3/31/18.) Another great resource included with Group 101 is Sara Campbell's Music Blast Plan. You get daily schedules, a supply list, resources - it's all been done for you!
OTHER CAMP POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY
A teacher recently posted on Facebook:
I am starting to plan my first week-long (5 days) Music Summer Camp ever and I'm a little (ok...a lot!) nervous about it! I'm looking for some insight and advice on how to run a wonderful, fun music camp.
It made me think back to my first summer camp. Between you and me, I was pretty nervous:
Fortunately I got over my fears and overall my camp was a huge success:
But it was far from perfect.
This week I'm writing a series about my 3 BIG rookie mistakes. Today's post covers Mistake #1 AND how you can set yourself up for success!
MISTAKE #1 - MY CAMP WAS TOO BIG
For that first summer camp, I went all out. I packed 12 kids into my 2-room studio. Not only did I have a huge group, they stayed a long time - 5 HOURS a day for a FULL WEEK!
Yep - I went a little....overboard.
I'll give myself credit for being organized.
But at the end of the day - it was too many students for my first camp. And definitely too long.
DO THIS INSTEAD
I would have saved myself a lot of stress if I had:
In the end, I think I could have earned the same income, but with a LOT less stress!
A SNEAK PEEK AT MISTAKE #2
Make sure you come back tomorrow. I'll share with you the big mistake I made with planning camp activities and what you should to do differently.
(And don't forget about the Free Group Coaching Bonus that comes with Group Lessons 101. Valid only if you register by 3/31/18.)
OTHER CAMP POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY
At some point - we all need more income.
Just a few years ago, I was in this situation. Within a very short span of time, our dog had expensive (!) medical problems, my husband took a significant pay cut, and my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It was completely overwhelming.
While I was grateful that our dog made it through, my husband didn't lose his job, and our son was still alive, it was absolutely one of the hardest times in my life. Both emotionally and financially.
I remember one day, finishing up a piano lesson, and feeling good that something was going right. My students were doing fantastic and it felt like I was making a difference in their lives. Plus - I was having fun!
At that very moment that I decided I needed to transition from "hobby to career." Seriously - I remember actually making a decision. I just "decided" and then I got to work.
You can do it too!
I know it's only January, but NOW is the time to start crafting a plan if you want to earn more money this summer.
Here are 4 things you can do to UP your income:
1. Start a referral policy
When I needed to get more money, the first thing I did was enlist the help of my current families by offering a referral credit.
But there was a twist.
Parents are busy. They won't hurry to pass your name around unless you give them a really, REALLY great incentive.
This blog post details exactly how I made a referral policy work for me. Try it. You have nothing to lose.
2. Offer summer Camps
Parents want their kids to do fun activities during the summer. Why not offer a piano camp? It's fun AND educational.
Better yet - If you offer a MUSIC camp instead of a piano camp, your students could bring a friend and you could really UP your profit. (Some of those kids might have so much fun that they actually register for piano lessons.)
Check out this post and this post for tips on how to have a successful summer camp. (And of course this is a wonderful resource!)
3. Teach online lessons
You probably know that online lessons are great for make-ups, but they're also a fantastic way to build your studio.
With the power of the internet, you can literally teach students across the globe!
One warning - Don't fall into that trap of thinking you should charge less money for online lessons. Why would you? You still have the same qualifications, lessons are the same amount of time, and you're teaching the same material. Don't lower your rate. In fact.....
You might consider charging a higher rate. That's what I'm doing right now. Yep, my Skype-only students actually pay MORE.
Why? When I lived in Dallas, my rates were higher. After we moved to a smaller city, I needed to lower my lesson fees, but I kept my Dallas students at the same rate even though they transitioned to online lessons.
Online lessons could certainly be a game-changer if you need more money. Definitely consider this option if you want to build your business.
(If you're uncomfortable with this, Teaching Online Lessons will get you up and going in no time!)
4. Consider adding Lab time
Piano labs are a win for everyone. YOU earn extra money, while your students get more learning time.
All too often, teachers rule out piano labs because they worry it'll cost too much to implement. That's not the case at all!
The truth is that labs can add extra income - with no extra time or expense on your part. Learn all about here.
BoNUS IDEA - CONSIDER TEACHING PRESCHOOLERS
Adding preschoolers is a great way to UP your income - both now AND in the future. Remember, if you are successful with those young kids, you can move them right into your piano studio. And hopefully keep them for years to come!
If you're serious about making more income in 2019, I hope these ideas help you out. Remember - NOW is the time to start making plans. Summer will be here before you know it!
Catch our Valentine's Day sale now!
Last year I started doing something different during lessons and it's been so successful that I wanted to share it with you.
I'm the type of teacher who likes to change things up and keep it fun for students. Using games and apps at the END of a lesson is one way I do that.
But then I got a idea - What would happen if I reversed that process and began using games at the START of the lesson.
Would it be a good warm-up for my students?
Or would they get "too silly" and lose their focus once they sat down at the piano?
As it turns out, starting with games as been a brilliant move and I wish I'd done it years ago!
1. Games are a great review.
When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. By starting with game-time, you're giving students the chance to review notes BEFORE diving into music. This is true for both physical games and apps.
Even something as simple as playing around with Iwako Erasers is a great way to review keyboard geography.
AND best of all - students are reviewing notes at a face pace, so you're really getting their brain warmed up for music!
2. Games are a great way to introduce new concepts.
Have a student who hasn't learned fractions yet? Rhythm Pizza to the rescue!
Need to introduce new note values to a student? Kitty Rhythms will help!
Of course, all students are different, but many will process concepts quicker if they see new notations BEFORE they're presented in their music book. Games are a perfect way to accomplish this.
3. Games are fun!
We both know that the best students are those who are excited about piano lessons.
If you start lessons with a game, kids will be thrilled to dash into your studio. Can't you just hear them thinking: I wonder what game we'll play today?
And of course, students that are engaged during lesson time and will definitely practice more at home. That's a win for everyone!
But What Will Parents Think?
I'll let you in on a little secret: For years, I felt guilty about starting the lesson with an app.
I felt like the music should come first and didn't want parents to be upset with me for "playing games" first instead of teaching music.
I've come to realize that if something works - you go with it!
The best part about this change is that I'm not the only one who sees students doing better--they see it too.
Then your entire studio benefits!
Do you start lessons with a game or save a few minutes at the end? I'd love to know what works for you!
Other posts you might enjoy...
10 Ways to Reset When You Don't Feel Like Teaching
4 Ways to Improve Your Studio When You Don't Know Where to Start
Easy Ways to Add Group Lessons
Note: Some of links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.
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.