We hope you’re having a great week. We’re excited to announce this week that the new features we’ve added to Music Teacher’s Helper have now moved out of Beta and are part of the new version. If you see a green bar near the top of your dashboard, you are able to switch between the two versions. If you’re new to Music Teacher’s Helper within the past four weeks, you’re already using New version.

Here are a few fixes made this week:

  • When exporting the fees and credits, the details were not being included for some teachers.
  • We fixed some issues with editing the lesson history.
  • Lesson dates were not changing for recurring series when you change the date of the lesson to another and Apply changes only to this lesson the date was not changing.
  • When rescheduling from the calendar and changing the time, the window was disappearing once you choose a different time and preventing the schedule change from taking place.  
  • Creating an event in Chrome or Firefox web browsers was not working for some members.

We’re continuing to work on new updates to the Billing & Invoicing system to make it simpler and easier to use. We’re also working on a new website and blog that will include a more updated look and layout.

Did you know that you can view sent email history in Manage Students?

If you’d like to see a list of emails you sent students and parents, including the automatic email reminders, you can do so in Manage Students by hovering over the Email Students Tab and selecting Sent Email. The System Email History tab will show a list of all the automatic emails sent out along with the date and time, what type of email reminder, and who received the email. This is helpful if you need to recall when past conversations took place or confirm that your automatic emails are working as you intended.

If you are experiencing any issues or have any questions for us, please reach out to support@musicteachershelper.com. Happy teaching!

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Posted in New Features and Fixes

Reuben Vincent

Music Arranging

February 16th, 2017 by

What is music arranging?

Arranging music simply means taking existing music and making it playable on your instrument or for your ensemble. Good reasons to arrange might be to make a piece easier to play. Or convert music originally written for an ensemble so as to be played on a solo instrument, possibly with accompaniment. Although arranging can be a highly complex skill, it is also realistically within the grasp of every music teacher and most music students. Also, it’s great fun!

Why arrange?

I have personally found that arranging pieces especially for my students has given me a USP (unique selling point) to help me market my music teaching business. The idea that a prospective student can learn any song they want at the skill level they are at, is an extremely appealing reason to start having lessons. I also enjoy arranging as it is often very creative without the pressure to compose something from scratch. Encouraging students to try their hand at arranging is a practical way for them to develop their Read more…

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Posted in Composing & Arranging, Music & Technology, Music Theory, Professional Development, Teaching Tips

Happy Valentine’s Day! Be sure to check out our Robin’s blog post about an Easy Holiday Composing Activity you can implement in your studio.

If you’re using the New version (formally referred to as Beta), you will notice the hourglass was replaced with a metronome icon when pages load. And here are a few fixes made this week:

  • Former students’ birthdays were not showing on the Calendar for some teachers.
  • Icons weren’t showing as faded (complete) for reconciled events on some calendars.
  • Event information in the mobile browser was out of order when the screen size was narrowed.  
  • On the Android and iOS app, when changing a student’s status, the parents status was not changing.

Let us know if you have any questions by reaching out to support@musicteachershelper.com. Happy teaching!

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Posted in New Features and Fixes

Encore: when performers return to the stage to give an additional performance!

“Encore” is also a great title for a new series of four music books bursting with favourite exam pieces for piano (and violin). Hold on! Did you just say exam pieces? Boring!

Not so. Over the Christmas holidays, I’ve had great pleasure in playing through these books for not only myself but also with the purpose of testing them out as possible material for my pupils. I have to say that the choices of repertoire are excellent. There is a real mix of styles and although not ever song “floated my boat,” the vast majority were very usable, a handful getting me really excited! Read more…

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Posted in Music News, Product Reviews, Teaching Tips

Hi everyone. This week several updates were done in the background by our development team to keep the software running smoothly. In addition, there have been minor updates and fixes to the Android app with ones to the iOS app coming shortly.  

  • New Feature: Make Private Calendar Events – A small but big change! You can create a private event from the Add New event button in the calendar tab. That way, you can prevent a student from requesting a lesson during a time you are busy like a dentist appointment in the middle of the day or if you’re meeting with a prospective student that isn’t added to your Student List yet.
  • Updated: Studio Sites to use HTTPS – Information is now more securely sent when a registration form and other data is submitted on studio your site using SSL certificates. SSL (that extra “s” on HTTP) is used to better encrypt the transmitted information over websites.

Google also prefers more secure sites, therefore Google gives a ranking advantage in search engines to secure HTTPS websites. This helps your website show up when someone types in your studio, or music lessons and your geographic location.

You won’t need to change the way you type your studio address into web browsers. Any proper typing of your website will automatically direct to the more secure HTTPS.

  • Fixed: When using bulk email, it now only sends to the student list shown. For some teachers it was previously sending to all students, including Former students.

Let us know if you have any questions by reaching out to support@musicteachershelper.com. Happy teaching!

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Posted in New Features and Fixes

How many times do you explain what an interval is in a year? How often do you introduce and review chords and their inversions? Wouldn’t it be nice to offer a resource for your students that suits your curriculum that can be viewed repeatedly and accessed any time? Ideally, this approach—called a flipped classroom—leads to less lesson time spent introducing a concept and more time reinforcing it.

A flipped classroom is defined as

“a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed. Short video lectures are viewed by students at home before the class session, while in-class time is devoted to exercises, projects, or discussions.”

With today’s tech tools, you can produce your own material or borrow resources from others for your flipped classroom approach….

E-Books

An app called Book Creator makes it easy for teachers to design customized “lectures” for students to watch at home or during off-bench time at lessons. The app provides a user-friendly platform for creating interactive e-books that feature text, narration, graphics and videos. It’s available for the iPad as well as Android and Windows tablets. Read more…

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Posted in Music & Technology, Music Theory, Product Reviews, Studio Management, Teaching Tips

 

Hi everyone. We’re moving along with the billing updates, which will make the billing system more intuitive and easy to use, as well as more powerful. More news on that in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, have you been using the Music Teacher’s Helper app? If not, here are a few reasons to give it a try!

  1. There’s no extra cost to you. Once you download the app, enter your existing login information and all of your account information will appear. Data syncs immediately, so when you makes changes in the app, it will appear right away from other devices you login from.
  2. Your phone is almost always near you so use the app to view your calendar, manage students, and much more. The app has almost the full capabilities of the desktop version.
  3. Do more! Here are features that are only available through the mobile app:
  • GPS mileage tracking
  • Push notifications
  • Thumb TouchID signin
  • Import your contact list
  • Metronome app
  • You or your students can record audio and video

To download the app, search Music Teacher’s Helper from your iPhone’s or Android’s app store or click the respective links if you’re on your mobile device.  

Enjoy and happy teaching!

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Posted in New Features and Fixes

A recital can set a fire in the hearts of students and audience. There aren’t many opportunities to showcase students of every level. So… make it more than a recital.

My sister makes magical music recitals. She’s given me permission to share some of her ideas.

Here are a few features of each.

  • Costumes
  • Props
  • Sets–here are some photo ideas
  • Ensembles
  • Extra instruments and vocals
  • Audience involvement
  • Variety
  • Humor whenever possible

If it seems intimidating, start small. Even simply naming a theme can create anticipation. It’s a great way to promote your studio.

In each of my next few MTH posts, I’ll detail a different recital of my sister’s, including a few songs. This first idea she calls “Holidays and Seasons.”

Each month is its own segment, with appropriate songs featured. There may not be a holiday that month, but people are born all the time. So every month includes “Happy Birthday,” done in twelve different genres. Anyone in the audience whose birthday falls in that month is invited to stand. Genres might include classical, march, swing, bluegrass, blues, waltz, video game, mariachi, 50s, Celtic, tango, calypso, polka, guitar ballad…

Here are a few songs for each month to get you started.

January. Jingle Bells/It’s a Marshmallow World/Let it Snow/Auld Lang Syne

February. I Heart You/When I Fall in Love/Won’t You Be My Valentine

March. St. Patrick’s Jiggle/Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Dance of the Irish

April. Billy Bunny/Easter Bonnet/April Showers/April Love

May. A Child’s Song of Love/M-O-T-H-E-R/flower songs/vet-honoring songs…

June. You’re a Grand Old Flag/wedding songs…

July. Patriotic songs/In the Good Old Summertime

August. By the Sea, By the Sea/Summertime/School Days

September. The Falling Leaves/autumn songs/Whistle While You Work

October. Funeral March of a Marionette/Halloween songs/Spunky Spooks

November. Thanksgiving songs/Over the River and Through the Woods/autumn and harvest songs…

December. Carol of the Bells/Believe (from Polar Express)/Where Are You, Christmas? (from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas)/Christmas songs/ Hanukkah songs…

Students can dress for the month they represent. You might create props or cardboard sets. For example, August could have a beach umbrella, beach towel, pail and plastic shovel, with a painted backdrop of ocean and sand. Students are responsible to set up for each other. To keep it running tight time-wise, one student could introduce the next, operating as emcee, while a couple remove props from the previous student, and others follow with the next props.

Hold a tech rehearsal to get the details/timing worked out.

My sister has colorful posters carried out for each month and placed on an easel.

She uses this recital format every other year, alternating with a strictly Christmas theme. There is so much music to choose from!

Do you have other ideas for a “Holiday and Seasons” recital? MTH readers would love to hear them!

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Posted in Performing, Promoting Your Studio

We hope everyone’s week is going great. Here are a few improvements now available in Beta:

  • Start/End Dates for Rate Packages – It’s here! We added the ability to create start and end calendar dates when creating rate packages. You can link up your billing length with the start and end dates of your busiest times, such as your students’ school year dates. This is also useful in monthly billing for determining the day of the month you want students to be charged. For more details on using the new Rate Packages, please read this knowledge base article.
  • Multiple Email Attachments  – Now, you can attach more than one email when sending emails.

Have a great rest of the week and happy teaching!

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Posted in New Features and Fixes

 

Welcome to the beginning of the rest of your life.  

At this time of the year, most people are fresh off the holidays and have set goals or are still setting them.  The thing is, many people over estimate what they can accomplish in a year, but underestimate what they can achieve in three.  If you haven’t done your goal setting, here’s a great process from one of my mentors.

In today’s article, I want to help guide you to making this your best year ever.

So how do you make your goals and dreams come true?

How do we stay the course through all the stresses, worries, distractions, problems and stuff which just gets in the way?  

Finite Resources

It’s now known we have a finite amount of mental focus.  So in reality, it’s the freedom to focus on what’s important which will exponentially change our lives.
I’ve battled this my whole life.  I’ve used all kinds of goal-setting workshops, techniques, books, planners and apps.  What was missing in my experience of all of these tools?

Focus 

My focus tended to waver.  I would get excited by the next shiny object and jump.  Actually, any planning system, whether it’s old school paper, or a modern digital app will work.  It’s all about sticking with it.  

Chet Holmes describes it as “pigheaded discipline and determination.”  Chet was a fantastic sales guy, author, mentor, coach and a martial artist.  And what is martial arts?  A few moves repeated and perfected until effectiveness is through the roof.  


As legendary kung fu master Bruce Lee says,

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

So let’s talk about how to focus on your goals.   

This is what you are teaching to your music students everyday!  Through showing, modeling and breaking down the art of practice, you are teaching the skills of focus.  So now let’s apply this to your life and business of teaching.

Let’s say you have a goal to increase your student roster by 10 students by the end of the year.  

Okay, now you have to decide what actions to take to achieve this.  You have to figure out what to focus on.  

The Power of Questions

The most powerful tool to focus the mind is questions.  

Questions cause your mind to focus wherever the question leads.  Ask a great questions, you are led to great answers.  Ask a poor question, then you get the same results.  So it’s all about the quality, not the quantity of your questions.

Novice Zen Buddhist monks are given a question they live with for weeks, months, years.  These questions or koans are logically unanswerable.  But the focus created by the constant searching creates a pearl of wisdom and leads to enlightenment.

The quality of your life ultimately is based on the quality of your questions.  Over the years, I’ve become better in my lines of questioning.  

But one tool which has helped me greatly is the mindmap.  The mindmap has also been called a cluster by some.  It’s basically a way of accessing non-linear thinking the way the mind really works.  In computer terms, they call this RAM, or random-access memory.  

An old VHS videotape is linear and sequential.  You cannot easily jump from one part of the tape to the other.  A DVD however is random-access.  You can jump from one chapter to the last chapter to the middle of a film instantly.  The human brain is non-linear.

Here’s an exercise

Write the phrase “How to get more students?” in the center of a blank piece of paper.  

Circle it.  

Now, as quickly as possible, and without any editing, write down as many ideas as you can and draw spokes from the center outward.

I’ve been using an online tool called Mindmeister.  It  creates mindmaps I’ve grown to love.  It allows me to move things around, edit and reorganize which I couldn’t do on paper.

 

Here’s an example of a mindmap you can download at Mindmeister.

How to get more students mindmap

The trick is to get past the 5 or 6 obvious ideas and really push to get at least 10.  Or try to go for 20 ideas.  That would be a great stretch!

Make sure to put down even the most ridiculous and unrealistic ideas.  These may not be doable, but they may open the door to other ideas.  I call these stepping stone ideas.  You step over them to really great ones.

Even better, do this exercise with a friend.  Your friend’s ideas may be so far out they lead you to an unexpected gem.

You can learn more about mindmaps from the great books by Tony Buzan.  Just Google mindmapping and lateral thinking.

I’ll leave you with a quote from the personal development coach Tony Robbins.

“Most people fail in life because they major in minor things.”

So make sure you’re majoring in the major things of your life!  Otherwise, at this time next year it will be just the same ol’, same ol’.

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Posted in Professional Development