MY FAVORITE PRESCHOOL STORY...
It was an ordinary day at school, but not for my student. I'll call her Katie.
I was walking Katie to her makeup lesson and she was over-the-moon excited! Literally skipping all the way to my room with a BIG smile on her face.
Truthfully, I thought it was a little odd. Katie liked piano, but her excitement was a bit...over the top.
Fast forward 15 minutes and she looked at me with those big beautiful eyes and asked "When is my makeup class going to start?"
I was confused. "This IS your makeup class."
Then she reached up and patted her cheek "No, my MAKEUP class."
Oh my! Katie thought we were putting on makeup! Isn't that the cutest thing? And yes, her mother did give me permission to pull out the cosmetics the following week. To this day, thinking about it all still makes me smile!
Here's the point - preschoolers have a different mindset. They DON'T always think the way we expect them to. If we want to teach them successfully, we need to change the way we think.
If I could start over with this age group, here are 4 things that I'd do differently:
1. I SHOULD HAVE RESEARCHED MORE.
There are plenty of teachers who are successfully teaching preschoolers. I wish I'd spent more time learning from them first.
Sure I researched different curriculum, but there was a lot more I could have done to prepare. I wish I had asked teachers about:
To be honest, this is the very reason that Sara and I created Playing with Preschoolers. Hearing what worked for different teachers was a game-changer for me!
2. I SHOULD HAVE ADJUSTED MY MINDSET.
Don't judge me, but I went into preschool lessons thinking I'd teach piano at a slower pace. It honestly sounds dumb now, but I really didn't think that teaching preschoolers would be that different from my other elementary students.
Boy was I wrong. I needed a different mindset in many areas. Especially the idea of "piano lessons" verses "music lessons."
That alone would have helped my attitude AND my success.
3. I SHOULD HAVE CONSIDERED ALL MY OPTIONS.
First off, whether you teach preschoolers in private lessons, group lessons, or partner lessons - there is no WRONG answer. It's completely a personal preference.
My problem was that I defaulted to private lessons without really considering my options. The rest of my studio is private lessons, why would I do anything different?
That thinking was a mistake.
Again, I should have researched more. In hindsight, I would have chosen partner lessons. But of course, if you're looking to UP your income, a larger class might be the right choice for you.
Whatever you decide, the important thing is to give serious consideration to ALL the options.
4. I SHOULD HAVE CHOSEN TWO METHODS.
This was by far my biggest mistake: I decided on ONE curriculum, expecting it to work for ALL my students. When it didn't work for each student, I was left feeling frustrated and stressed out.
I'm not sure why I didn't consider this earlier. With my older students, I use different methods, depending on the child. I TOTALLY should have done this with preschoolers. Epic fail on my part.
Of course, if you're teaching to a full class, your program will obviously be geared toward a larger group.
But if you're planning on private or partner lessons, go ahead and find a couple methods that you like. Then you'll be ready to go to Plan B at a moment's notice!
NEED HELP GETTING ORGANIZED?
This FREE Rainy Toolbox will help you keep all your ideas organized. Being ready at a moment's notice is SO important when teaching preschoolers!
Click here to get it for free!
I have a couple friends that I meet routinely for coffee. Well, they do coffee. I'm a tea girl.
A couple weeks ago, we were scheduled to meet and I literally couldn't get myself out of bed. I was so tired, I kept resetting the clock for 15 more minutes. Then again - 15 more minutes. Finally I just texted them and said I couldn't make it.
I was just too. tired.
Fast forward to last week and something weird happened. I've never been one to bounce out of bed at 5am, but on Wednesday, I did. I woke up around 6:30 - without the alarm clock - and realized - I feel good. Really good.
It was kind of.....weird. And it made me realize that hadn't felt "good" in quite a while.
The combination of a busy season of life and the recent time change has been tough. I feel tired. And unmotivated. I don't feel like myself.
I know exactly what the problem is - I need to rework my morning strategy.
Because even though I don't always bounce out of bed, I do LOVE getting an early start to the day. It feels fabulous to check off some of my priorities before breakfast.
Here are 3 things I'm doing to revamp my mornings:
1. CHANGE-UP MY MORNING ROUTINE
We all go through different seasons of life. Routines need to adjust accordingly.
My morning routine always includes quiet time (Bible reading and prayer) and I like to get in a short workout. This is where I've been struggling recently.
At the end of the day, plans are great, but plans that include "fun" are much more successful!
To "up the fun" in my quiet time plan, I'm adding in a good book - 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life. And as far as the treadmill goes - It's probably going to be doing a walk/jog with a good Hallmark movie!
I'm also going to come up with a reward system. Something like....workout 4 days this week and (insert reward here!) I'll have to spend some time thinking about that!
2. PRIORITIZE EXERCISE AND SLEEP
Okay, so technically I've listed 2 things here: exercise and sleep. But they really do go together! When I get daily exercise, I sleep better. Period.
As far as actual sleep, I've found that 7 hours seems to be perfect for me. That will be my focus for the next couple of weeks. Which means when the alarm goes off - I need to get UP!
How can I prep for this? I'll put away the electronics early and curl up with a good book instead. Training my brain for sleep will pay off.
3. MAKING OVER MY MORNINGS - For the 3rd time!
Starting Monday I'll be revamping my mornings with Crystal Paine's Make Over Your Morning program.
This will be my THIRD time going through it and I'm SO excited! The first time, I did it with a good friend. Round #2 was with a few friends, and this time I'm teaming up with some Upbeats!
If you're interested, you can click here for more information. And before you ask - no! You DON'T have to get up early. But you can if you want!
***If you decide to do this, please let me know! I've started a little FB group where we can encourage each other. We can cheer each other on!
Note: Some of links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.
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
do you have a student who loves to color?
Each keyboard on the Color a Key Practice Chart represents one week of potential practice.
Have your students color a white piano key every day they practice. It's a colorful way to track their hard work!
I've also included another chart with longer keyboards.
Click here for instant access!
Other Posts you might be interested in
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.