Don't freak out, but yes - that's really my cabinet. Sometimes it's organized and sometimes it's not. BUT...no one ever knows because I can close the doors. Phew!
Brilliant, huh?! Moving that into the music room was such a good move on my part! (Go me!)
At some point, every business needs to change and grow - but when you're a piano teacher, where do you start?
I started with that cabinet, but you might need a different starting point. I can't wait to share 4 low-stress ways to make BIG changes in your studio right now:
1. Get rid of the clutter.
Organizing isn't hard - but KEEPING things tidy. Now THAT'S the challenge!
I'll let you in on a little secret - if you have piles of books. games, or anything hiding in the corners of your music room, it's not "hiding" from anyone!
As you can see in the picture above, I have piles of stuff too BUT my music room definitely LOOKS clean and organized. Oh the blessing of having a pretty cabinet! 😀
Remember, first impressions really do count and banishing the clutter will significantly improve the look of your studio - instantly!
Where do you start if you've fallen into the Clutter Trap? You'll get the quickest results if you:
The next couple weeks.think about what storage boxes and organizers would help you manage your "piles" better. Keep an eye out for sales!
2. Dress for success.
Oh my goodness! If I hear another teacher whine about having to look nice for piano lessons, I'm gonna go crazy! 😮
Yes - dressing nicely is something I'm passionate about. Teaching piano is our BUSINESS and to be successful, we must dress appropriately!
Think about it. People get dressed differently for different things. How you would dress for a wedding or a day at the beach? Or what you would wear if you going on a winter hike in the mountains? Of course you'd wear different clothes for each event.
As piano teachers - we need to dress for WORK! Even if we’re teaching from home. 😀
One thing I know for sure - the way we dress affects our mood and our focus. It also affects our students. If they notice you’re wearing old jeans and a sweatshirt, THEY'RE automatically going to be laid back and relaxed too.
And it absolutely affects our reputation! If we want to keep new customers and attract new ones, we need to treat teaching piano as a business - because it IS our business! That means we dress for WORK.
No - you don’t have to wear a dress or high heels. 👠
Yes - it's fine to wear jeans. (But not grubby, disgusting ones!)
The point is to look put together. So wash your hair. Put on makeup. Toss on some jewelry! And for crying out loud - wear shoes. You would never trust a doctor who was walking around in the hospital barefoot! 😮
Take care with your appearance and it could transform your business.
3. Do something different.
Bored students can kill a studio faster than just about anything. (Gasp! Shocker!) It's true - no studio can survive this!
Fortunately, it's an easy fix. Though it does take some effort!
I've found that nothing brings more life to a studio than SURPRISES. So get your thinking cap on and do something different. SOON!
✅ Here are a couple ideas to get you going:
Here's the point - students will get into a rut if you never change up your lessons. Create a few simple surprises and watch the smiles light up your studio!
Happy students make happy families. Happy families tell their friends how great you are and THAT builds business FAST!
Are you with me? Great! I've got some fabulous planner pages for you to help you map out YOUR goals!
4. Motivate yourself!
Since we're talking about getting into a rut....
If YOU'RE bored - your students will be bored. That certainly spells disaster for any piano studio.
We ALL need inspiration and motivation. That's one of the reasons why I created Upbeat Piano Teachers. I wanted teachers to be able to get ideas and encouragement anytime - anywhere.
So what inspires you? Think about it and make your professional growth a priority! Do you love to read books? Hit the library and check out some business or productivity books. 📚
We also have a lot of YouTube videos that you can watch. Click here for dozens of videos to watch.
Just do something to keep yourself excited and upbeat!
You've got this!
How do you improve your business each year? I'd love to hear!
Other posts you might enjoy...
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......not so long ago, I decided to take preschoolers OFF my schedule!
Yes - Sara and I created a fabulous webinar all about preschoolers, but it wasn't 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. Before long, my son will graduate 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!
Note: Some of links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.
Yes, that's a crazy cat tape dispenser and it was one of my Christmas presents this year! Funny, right?!
Organizational tools are kind of a running joke in my family. In fact, every Christmas Santa fills my stocking with notepads, pens, and sticky notes.
Because that's what I love - I'm all about planning!
My Approach to 2017
It seems like every year my goal-setting process changes. This year I'm doing a combination of what's worked in the past and I'm adding something new. (Because remember? Planning is fun for me!)
1. Yearly Focus
Some people chose a "word" for the year. In fact, I've read 2 books on the idea: My One Word and One Perfect Word.
Last year I chose the word "adventure" and this year, I've actually chosen TWO words: Jesus and Health. I know everything else in life will fall into place if I make these words my focus for 2017.
2. Projects to Accomplish (Not Goals)
The truth is that I have dozens of things I want to do in 2017, but if I set all of those as my goals, it'll be an epic failure. I won't even remember what half of them are!
Instead, I made a list of all the projects that I hope to accomplish this year. Each month, I'll take baby steps to bust out those things on my list.
By setting just 4 big projects, I know I can succeed!
3. Daily Habits
I'm a BIG believer in the power of daily habits. A few years ago when I set out to write 101 Piano Practice Tips, I got it done through daily habits. Every weekday, I'd write 3 tips.
That faithful consistency not only helped me write my first book, it also taught be a powerful lesson - daily habits can change your life!
4. Power Sheets
My "something new" for this year is PowerSheets. To be honest, I was surprised when I got my package in the mail. I thought this was more of a calendar type planner, but it's not that at all.
Instead, it's more of a way to set and track your priorities, goals, and ideas. I just love it!
In the past, I've had several notebooks for different subjects, but with PowerSheets, I can track my year objectives in one handy binder. And the quality is awesome!
I'd love to know what plans you have for 2017 and any resources that you use. I'm always open to learning new tips and tricks!
Today Matters by John Maxwell
My One Word by Mike Ashcraft
One Perfect Word by Debbie Macomber
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If you're anything like me, you've set some goals for 2017. This post will help you save time so that you can actually work on achieving those goals!
The Problem with Facebook
Don't get me wrong - I absolutely LOVE Facebook. But the way FB works doesn't really jive with the way I work.
See....I'm more of a "stalker." That sounds terrible, but surely you know what I mean! I love reading what people post, but I don't always "like" or comment.
Facebook rewards interaction. When you engage in posts, FB thinks "Hey - Tracy likes this person, let me show her more!"
On the flip side, If I never "like" or comment on someone's post, FB thinks "Tracy isn't interested in this person, let's show her less."
In the end, FB often shows me things I'm not interested in, simply because I'm not interacting.
Fortunately, there's an easy fix for this!
Create a Custom List
If you don't know what a custom list is, don't worry. Most people have never heard of it, but let me tell you - it's saved me a TON of time!
A custom list is simply a list of your favorite people and pages. That's right - FB will let you create your very own list! And best of all - it's easy to create!
(But there is a trick to finding your list once it's created, so make sure you read that part at the end of the post!)
Here's how you do it:
Open up FB on your computer and look on the left side of the screen. Under "explore" click on your "friends list."
Once there, you'll see that FB has already created a lot of lists for you.
To compile your own list, at the top of this screen, you'll see a button to create a list. Click there, name your list, and start adding friends.
You can also add pages that you like to see. I LOVE that you can add both!
On the image below, you can see my custom list is called "My Favorites! (Not very creative, I know, but it works for me!)
I also have a list of Piano Teachers that I follow. You can create as many custom lists as you'd like.
What if you forgot to add someone? No problem! You can easily go back and add people to this list anytime. Or take people off.
Just repeat the process by looking on the left side under "explore." Find the list name that you created and click on it. In the upper right hand corner, you'll see a button to "manage list."
You can easily add people or pages.
Now that your list is created, when you go to FB, don't waste time scrolling through the feed that FB gives you. Instead, go find your custom list and scroll through that. Trust me, you'll love seeing all your favorites!
To find your list, go to FB and click on your friend list. (This is where you went to create the custom list. in the first place.) Just click on your list and enjoy catching up with your favorites!
It's easy to find your custom list on a computer, but FB has changed their format and sometimes it can be hard to find on phones and tablets.
On my iPhone, I have to go to Explore and then click on "Feeds" to find my custom list.
I hope this saves you a lot of time! Let me know if you have any trouble and I'd love to know what you think!
The 5AM Miracle by Jeff Sanders
The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran
Make Over Your Mornings by Crystal Paine
Make lessons more fun!
Young students need LOTS of activities to keep them engaged. This toolbox will keep you organized AND save you valuable time!
Includes worksheets for every season!
Success! Now check your email to download your Rainy Day Toolbox!
Last week I wrote about the importance of connecting with your students on a personal level.
Yes, it takes time and effort, but it's completely doable and will stop that revolving door in your studio.
My Secret to Connecting (in 2 easy steps!)
Simple yes, but seriously effective.
All of this is tracked in my student folders.
I’ve written about my folders before and you can read the full post here, but this is where I keep track of everything. Not just what students are working on, but everything associated with that child.
In the 2 images below, you can see where I noted "French horn test" and "foundation repair."
Students were worried about those things, so I wrote them down and most importantly - followed up the next week.
(No judgment on my handwriting. I’ll be the first to admit that I write like a 2nd grade boy! But remember - this is MY folder, not the student's notebook. I try to much neater in those!)
This is such an easy way to get involved in the lives of my students - outside of piano.
What about you? How do you connect with your students on a personal level?
Read Question #1 here.
Did you miss the Book Club announcement? We're reading this book starting in January! (Add it to your Christmas list!)
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(Today I’m continuing my series about why students might be leaving your studio. If you missed Question #1 and 2, you can find the beginning of the series here.)
#3 Do you connect with each student on a personal level?
When I was a little girl, part of our Christmas tradition was visiting Santa. Every year I would go with 2 of my friends to a local department store to see Santa and Snow Queen.
But this was no ordinary Santa.
This was THE Santa.
He “remembered” you. I'm not kidding.
Well....actually, it turned out that Santa and the Snow Queen were rigged with a microphone and headset. But still....
Kids would first talk with the Snow Queen, then head to see Santa, who was several feet away. Since Santa was listening to the conversation with his headset, he would call you over - by name!
It was the most amazing thing! (And pretty impressive some 35 years ago.)
(That's me in the back with a bow on my head.)
I fell in love with this Santa because he “knew” me.
The same thing can happen with your piano students if you simply put in a little effort.
Many of you are probably doing this already, but if you’re losing students, ask yourself these questions:
Taking the time to really know your students is one of the most important ways to keep your studio thriving. Why?
Everyone benefits when you get involved personally:
But a warning - you can’t fake interest. This takes genuine effort and a heart that truly wants to connect on a personal level.
I know what you’re thinking - But how in the world do I keep up with 30, 40, 60 students? I already have so much on my plate!
Next Tuesday, I'll let you in on my one-minute habit that has changed everything!
And here's a fun way to connect with your student - Christmas jokes! Get the PDF here!
If you missed Question #1 in this series, read it 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.