plan Tag

vision_highwaySummertime is just around the corner! What a wonderful time to examine where you are now and where you want to be, as well as take some needed time to relax, enjoy the weather and spend time with family and friends! As I wrap up the end of my teaching year, I am taking some time to reflect on the last year and envision the future of my studio.

Recently I read the book, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. This book is told from a dog’s perspective (Enzo), and is a lovely fictional tale with a message for living a rich life, sticking to ideals, and creating vision. Since I am a dog lover and my dog’s name is Enzo, a friend suggested that I read it. If you haven’t already read the book, I highly recommend it for your summer reading list!

One of the most poignant statements for me in the book was –

“That which you manifest is before you.”

What if you injured your hand and couldn’t play your instrument? What if you developed a chronic illness? What if you were diagnosed with cancer and needed months’ long treatment? These are questions no one wants to face. Especially, small businesses or those who work for themselves. Health insurance is expensive and disability insurance even more so. After all, we think we are invincible. Things like...

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One of the challenges in scheduling piano lessons is that most of my clients are school aged children.  This means that by the time a student gets out of school and over to my home studio it is typically 4:00.  Most school aged children–especially the younger ones I tend to work with–are at their best if their lessons are over by 6:30 or 7.  And since we live in an area where people tend to go camping or skiing on the weekends (myself included), Friday and weekend lessons are not a viable option.  This means that I really only have about 12 hours of weekly teachable time (and income earning potential).

This past year, I’ve tried to get creative by expanding my studio offerings, and I have also observed many fellow studio owners in our area that have done the same.  Here are some ideas from my experience:

Time management is an essential component of managing a studio. In addition to managing and planning the details on the business end, many studio owners take an active role in the lesson and class planning. In this month’s blog, I will summarize points from Marienne Uszler’s book, Time Flies…How to Make the Best Use of Teaching Time.

Like last month’s blog on the use of repetition in practice (Self-help Pedagogy: Part 1), the first step is to determine how you use lesson time by video or audio recording yourself teaching a variety of different lessons. Then, review the recordings and make a timeline noting how much time was spent on each activity.

In order to plan an effective music lesson for the Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced leves, Uszler suggests that the following six elements must be present:

parent conference Since I opened up my studio ten years ago, I have required all parents to attend a year-end parent/teacher conference. The conference is always scheduled the week after spring term ends. This year it will be the first week in June. Every parent is required to attend in order to register for lessons in the next year. Parents sign up for 30-minute time slots per child. Students that are age 15 or older may join their parents but it is not required.

I really enjoy meeting with the parents to discuss how the year went, goals for next year, and areas that are in need of improvement. Another item of business in the conference is scheduling lesson times for the following year. Usually parents are thinking ahead and know what their child’s school and activity schedule will include. Some are already asking for lesson time changes in preparation for next year. For advancing students, it may be time to discuss and recommend a longer lesson time. This really helps in jump starting my planning for the fall and eases my job in August when putting together my final schedule.