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
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!
Note: Some of links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.
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!
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!
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.