I'm a big fan of digital music. It's a great way to customize the lesson for students and I love the convenience of immediate access to songs.
My go-to sites for digital music are Piano Pronto, Supersonics Piano, and Sheet Music Plus.
But just a couple weeks ago, I discovered a new online source of music - PracticeHabits Membership Community.
The music is beautiful. The website is easy to use. And best of all? It's a great value!
For a small monthly fee, you get:
I know what you're thinking - Are there any downsides?
Honestly, not really. If I had to pick one con - it would be that you can't view the music before you download it. BUT - you can listen to the song AND you can easily download it - for free, with your monthly membership. So it's really no big deal that you can't see it first.
Want a sneak peek inside? Okay! Founder, Chris Owenby, gave me permission to show you around. Check out the video below!
(Bonus! Christ gave me a coupon to share with you. Use the code "Tracy" at checkout to get 20% off your membership!)
Don't forget to get your discount!
Just use "Tracy" at checkout to get your 20% off!
Are you a member of the practicehabits community?
I'd love to know what songs are your favorites! Let me know in the comments!
Confession: When I was first presented the opportunity to teach online piano lessons - I said no.
And I almost lost my entire studio because of it.
Here's what happened. My husband got a job in another city and suddenly I was faced with a choice. I could start doing online lessons or lose all my students.
My first instinct was to say no to online teaching and that's exactly what I did. Truthfully, I was scared to death and felt really clueless in this area, so yes - I told all of my families to find a new teacher.
But as our move date got closer, I had second thoughts. My heart was so sad at losing those students - I'd spent YEARS teaching many of them.
So....I got brave. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and figure out how to teach online lessons.
I did it and you can too! (How? Check out the Upbeat Online Lesson Academy.)
Here are 7 reasons to consider adding this option to your studio:
1. Bad weather days.
We all have them at some point. Some areas get pounded with snow, many locations have tornadoes, while other places shut down with a heavy rain. Online lessons are a great solution to bad weather days.
2. Your student is sick.
We've all had students who have a little cold or a slight fever, but they still FEEL okay.
This is the perfect time to teach an online lesson! Kids don't bring germs into your studio AND they still get their lesson in.
(When students are simply too ill for a lesson, video lessons can be a great alternative to watch when your student feels better.)
3. Your student's sibling or parent is sick.
Ever had a cancellation because your student's mom is sick and can't drive? Or maybe your student has a brother who's ill and the parent has to stay home? Online lessons to the rescue!
4. You're sick.
What about those days that YOU'RE a little under the weather? Perhaps you FEEL okay, but don't want to risk getting your students sick. Online lessons are a great solution.
5. Your student's family has a conflict.
We've all had families with 2 kids who need to be in 2 different places at the same time!
This is the case with one of my current families. The mom absolutely loves being able to leave my student at home for her online lesson while the mom takes her other child to soccer practice!
Convenience is a big plus for many parents.
6. Your student moves.
People are transferred all the time. When your student moves to another state, you'll be grateful you can offer this option! I know I was.
7. You want more income.
If you need more money and you live in a small town, online teaching could be the perfect solution. It's a smart way to build your studio!
Bonus Reason - Your own child is sick.
When my son was younger, there were many times that he got sick and I had to cancel lessons. If I'd known how to do online lessons then, I would have saved myself a lot of time and money.
Registration is NOW OPEN for Online Lesson Academy!
Sara Campbell and I are SO excited about this coaching group because we're offering more than just action steps. Our goal is to give you real help and accountability. We'll make sure that you AND your families feel equipped to have successful online lessons!
In the Online Lesson Academy, you'll learn everything you need to succeed in this area: equipment, set-up, policies, teaching tips - we’re going to cover it ALL. We’re also including plenty of templates for you AND your parents.
Our goal is to make adding online lessons easier than you ever dreamed.
Register now - Registration closes soon! We'd love to have you join us!
Welcome to Day 12 of the 12 Days of Inspiration!
Today we're talking about tricky personalities - Stinky Students, Talkative Kids, and Know-It-Alls. It’s just a day in the life of a piano teacher!
Instead of addressing "Vivace Influenza" or "Accidental Amnesia" like Nicola Cantan’s fabulous book, The Piano Practice Physician’s Handbook, I'll be looking more at personalities.
So in the spirit of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and her delightful “cures” for difficult children, here are 12 solutions for teaching tricky personalities:
1. The Chatterbox
You know that student who will NOT STOP talking? Yep - I’ve had her too.
Try This - Set a 2 minute timer at the beginning of your lesson. Your student gets to talk about whatever she wants during that time. BUT....once the timer goes off, it's time to focus on piano. (This trick has worked wonders with one of my Chatterbox!)
2. The Silent Student
Silent kids are often SHY kids. Some tend to be quiet all the time, while others are only shy around adults. Either way, silence can make teaching difficult. (Actually, this is something I'm experiencing with one of my students right now.)
Try This - First, avoid yes/no questions. I've found that silent students often resort to nodding or pointing, so you're better off asking specific questions.
Second, as odd as this sounds, I've had the best success when I ask my Silent Student a question and then look away. (I might start writing in their assignment book.) By looking away, it "forces" my student to answer me. Yes, it feels a little rude - and it's really hard to not look at them - but it often works.
3. The Stinky Student
Have you ever had a student come straight from football practice without showering? Oh my! This was once a HUGE problem with one student, but I found a solution. Best of all? It works EVERY time!
Try This - As you sit down to start the lesson, grab some yummy smelling lotion. As you rub it on your hands, dab it right under your nose. Now you'll be smelling your wonderful lotion instead of your student. (Did I mention this works EVERY time!)
4. The Indecisive Student
Perhaps these students are just trying to be polite or maybe they honestly don’t know what they want. Either way, it makes teaching a challenge.
Try This - Simplify the decision by giving an “either-or” choice. Nick Ambrosino addresses this in his book series. It really got me thinking about the way I interact with my students AND my son. Narrowing down choices for students can really help!
5. The Know-It-All
We’ve all had students who...well...argue with you. It’s no fun for teachers, but it happens.
Try This - Pick your battles. Not everything is worth fighting about, but some things are. You decide what's important - then get some backbone and stick to your guns!
6. The Whiner
You know those students who simply look at a piece of music and immediately launch into - That’s too hard! I can’t play that!
Try This - Have your student play only part of the song. Maybe even just a few measures. At the end of the day, everyone wants to feel victory and focusing on smaller chunks of music will get kids there faster. (This can also work for #12 The Perfectionist.)
7. The Heartbroken
Maybe you have a teenage girl who just broke up with her boyfriend. Or perhaps her grandma died or her dog is sick. At some point, nearly every student arrives at their lesson feeling heartsick.
Try This - Give your student a piece of chocolate and ask her if she wants to talk about it. If she does, listen. If she doesn’t, move on. Perhaps it could be an easy favorites week? Or you could spend the lesson working on composition - let her spill her heart into creativity.
Heartache is tough, but it's part of life. Being compassionate is always the right choice.
8. The Disrespectful Student
Try This - First and foremost, continue to be upbeat and polite. Treat your student with kindness - regardless of the way they treat you. (I know it's not always easy.)
Second, don’t hesitate to make gentle corrections. It’s not polite to argue with an adult.
Finally, it’s completely appropriate to discuss their behavior with parents. After all - we teach much more than just piano!
9. The Silly Student
We've all had students who want to laugh and be goofy at their piano lesson. And of course, younger kids often fall into this category.
Try This - One of the best ways to help the Silly Student is to keep lessons fun by including games and movement. These students will also benefit from sticking to a routine during lessons. For example - It'll be easier for them to learn a new song, if they know a fun app is coming up next.
10. The Distracted Student
Teaching piano is hard enough, but if your student isn't paying attention, it's nearly impossible!
Try This - Play detective! Try to discover what distracts your student and make a serious effort to eliminate that. Sometimes it's obvious. For example, most kids enjoy my cats, but they can be a big distraction for other students. In those cases, I make sure my cats are in another room during lesson time.
Like the Silly Student, sticking to a routine also helps distracted students because they know exactly what to expect next.
11. The Sleepy Student
Kids are busier than ever these days! At some point, probably all of them will fall into this category.
Try This - Surprise your student by doing something out-of-the-ordinary and FUN! Play a game or have “duet day.” Maybe you could work on a composition or read a book. You could even simply watch YouTube videos with the goal of finding new music to learn.
One other idea - If you have a student who's alway tired, ask the parent to give them a quick snack on the way to piano lessons. It's usually a good pick-me-up.
12. The Perfectionist
No one likes to make mistakes, but some students take it more personally.
Try This - Stressed out students often need a simple distraction. One great way to change direction is using more apps. When I interviewed Judy Naillon for Technology Boot Camp, she said something I’ve never forgotten - “When you play a game and get the wrong answer - you just want to try again!” This is exactly the attitude our perfectionist students need to develop and we can help.
Or Try This - Have The Perfectionist play only part of the song. Maybe even just a few measures. At the end of the day, everyone wants to feel victory and focusing on smaller chunks of music will get kids there faster.
More Posts from 12 Days of Inspiration
1 Powerful Way to Stay Focused and Productive at Colourful Keys
2 Things Every Music Teacher Should Do on Their Break at Mallory’s Music Studio
3 Ways to Reduce Stress at Music Educator Resources
4 New Year’s Resolutiopianosaurusrex.nz/reset-your-music-studio/ns at Violin Judy
5 Ways to Reset Your Music Studio After the Holidays at Pianosaurus Rex
6 Things That Should Happen at a First Piano Lesson at A Very Piano Blog.
7 Tax Deductions for Music Teachers at Sara's Music Studio
8 Questions to Bring Your Studio into the New Year at Fun Key Music
9 Ways to Increase You Studio Retention at Woods Piano Studio
10 Impressive Benefits of Learning Piano By Ear at Piano Picnic
11 Finds for the New Year at Piano Pantry
12 - You're reading it right now!
Those of you who know me know I LOVE learning about productivity and planning. (That's one reason Sara and I offer our Planning Academy for Piano Teachers.)
I'm ALL about finding ways to maximize my time, so I can enjoy more time on the things that matter - my family and friend. Yes, teaching is fun, but I really want to enjoy life outside of piano too.
That's why I'm SO excited about this new productivity course from Crystal Paine. You've probably heard me talk about her before. I absolutely LOVE her courses (especially Make Over Your Mornings. I have no doubt this one will be great as well. (And the whole course is only $17!)
Best of all? if you register now to get on the waiting list - you get exclusive freebies!
I just signed up! Have you?
The course starts on January 1 and includes:
I'm SO excited and I'd love to have you join me! Let me know if you register!
I'll start with a confession: Sometimes I run out of time for theory.
Don't judge me.
Actually, I'm hoping you'll sympathize. Surely I'm not alone!
As you know, trying to fit everything into a 30-minute lesson is nearly impossible.
Of course, I do have some students who take 45-minute lessons and WOW! It's fantastic. That little extra time makes a world of difference.
Unfortunately, I can't move everyone to a 45-minute lesson. At least not right now. But let me tell you, this is definitely in my future plans!
In the meantime, I'm going to try a new idea this semester and see how it works.
What I'm Doing Now
Here's another confession: I don't have a specific routine for theory.
Maybe that's the problem. I'm definitely a "planner-checkbox-kind-of-gal" and I think it's time to get a more intentional plan of action in this area.
Right now, I tend to discuss theory concepts when they come up in music. (My preferred method is Piano Pronto.) And of course, I love playing games with students. So yes, I'm covering the basics, but I think my students would benefit from a deeper focus.
(And then I can check off that box. Because again, the planner in me needs that!)
Hello "Theory Week"
Instead of "squeezing in" theory here and there, I'm going to devote a full lesson to theory once a month. So 3 weeks out of the month will be learning music as usual and one week will be focused on theory.
I'm guessing we'll still be at the piano quite a bit that week, but it'll be looking at music from a "theory perspective" as opposed to simply learning another song.
I've heard other teachers do this with great success and I'm excited to try it out. (If you've done this, I'd love to hear any suggestions and/or advice.)
After all, experimenting is good. Sometimes we'll discover a solution that works great. Other times, our idea will completely flop! But if we never explore, we'll never know. (This book really helped me apply that concept to my studio.)
What Will My Students Think?
Honestly, I'm not sure how kids will react to this idea. You know I'll do my best to keep "theory week" fun and engaging - hopefully students will enjoy the change of pace.
I'll keep you posted.
Are you a planner like me?
Finding more time for theory really boils down to a time management issue, right? If you're looking for more ways to maximize your time management outside of lessons - I think you'll love this new productivity course from Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom.
You even get a cute printable just for getting on the waiting list!
4 Weeks to a More Productive Life starts on January 1st and costs less than $20. Included with that price you get:
Other Posts You Might Enjoy
3 Reasons to Play Games to Start a Lesson
4 Ways to Improve Your Studio When You Don't Know Where to Start
10 Ways to Reset When You Don't Feel Like Teaching
The Upbeat Book Club will be diving into a new book next month 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:
January Book: Thinking as You Play (Teaching Piano in Individual and Group Lessons) by Sylvia Coats
Start Date: January 8, 2018
How long will it last? This session will last 10 weeks, ending on March 17, 2018.
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?
Grab your book right away! Take note that this book is not available in Kindle, so you'll need to go ahead and get a physical copy. Or put this book on your Christmas wish list! Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get free 2-day shipping! (Make sure you cancel before the month trial ends to avoid a charge.)
Join our FB group! If you want to get information through email, register for our newsletter.
Oh - and find your highlighters. This looks like a great book!
Registration is now open for Upbeat Piano Teachers! We have webinars about everything from growing your studio to using technology to teaching group lessons and summer camps!
Enroll now to get lifetime access and an invitation to our FB Mastermind group!
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.