Getting Through the Winter Lull

lazyIs it just me, or do students seriously start lacking some motivation during the winter months? The “newness” of the year has worn off, holiday recitals are behind them, and the end-of-the-year spring recital is too far in the distance to really care much.

It’s frustrating for teachers.

So how do we as studio owners motivate our students and keep them moving forward instead of getting stuck in a rut? Here’s a few ideas:

  • Plan a winter event. It can be something informal and more laid-back, but still give your students something to work towards. Ask a local coffee shop if you can bring in a digital piano and have some students play their favorite pieces one evening, or talk to the library about having your dance students perform a number in the children’s section.
  • Hold a contest. In my group classes, we tape up a large cut-out of a pizza in the studio. Students earn “pepperonis” for their pizzas when they practice five times each week. When the pizza is full, the class earns a pizza party. Incentives don’t need to be extravagant — students can earn small prizes such as stickers or songs on iTunes on a weekly basis.
  • Provide a recording opportunity. If you have recording equipment in your studio — or access to someone who does — have students work on a few songs and create their own album.
  • Teach composition. The winter is the perfect time to teach a unit on composition. Students can compose their own solos and learn them just in time for the spring recital!
  • Do ensemble work. Students may be more motivated when they are accountable to someone besides you, the teacher. Duets/trios/quartets are also very rich sounding and fun to play!

How about you? What ways do you motivate your students when they fall into the middle-of-the-year lull? Share in the comments!

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