This week, we updated the HTML invoice template to make payment options clearer. This makes it even easier and self-explanatory for parents and adult students to pay you for lessons.

Other Improvements made this past week:

  • Fixed a scenario where students could cancel a lesson after the lesson was given.
  • Updated the birthday list to include only Active students.
  • Made 34 minor improvements and bugfixes reported by the Quality Assurance Team.

Let us know what improvements you’d like to see by giving your feedback here. And if you experience an issue while using the software, or just have general questions, please do not hesitate to contact support@musicteachershelper.com or 1-800-517-2811. Thank you for using Music Teacher’s Helper. Have a great week!

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Posted in New Features and Fixes

A few months ago, my wife hired a theater instructor, who specializes in improv, to come give a workshop for some legal mediators.  One exercise he had them do has had a wonderful impact on my music students.

All students struggle, in fact all musicians do, if truth be told.  Every musician at every level is trying to raise his or her own ceiling and get just a bit better than before.  However, there are some students who regularly do better than they will admit.  Their ambition to do well is great, but sometimes, if they demand too much perfection, they taint all their progress with a bad taste.  Nothing is good enough.  They simply get in their own way.


Jane, for example, would focus on getting all the notes right but her sound was meek and tentative.  We worked on that for a while and she made great progress quickly.  I complimented her on this, and encouraged her to keep it up and to value her new skill.

But all she could do was frown and look at me as if I was crazy.  She pointed out each of the notes she’d missed, especially the one that was way out of tune.  She talked as if I was either deaf or lying in order to make her feel better than she should.  It was very difficult to convince her that she had made an important step forward in her music making, regardless of a few sour notes.

This is when, finally, the lesson I heard about from the improv instructor paid off.   In one of his exercises, he had the students pair off and Read more…

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Posted in Practicing, Teaching Tips

 Improvements made this past week:

  • Fixed 29 bugs and improvements reported by the Quality Assurance Team.
  • Added Barbados Dollars to currency options.
  • We removed the requirement for an email address when creating a student.

Let us know what improvements you’d like to see by giving your feedback here. And if you experience an issue while using the software, or just have general questions, please do not hesitate to contact support@musicteachershelper.com or 1-800-517-2811. Thank you for using Music Teacher’s Helper. Have a great week!

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Posted in New Features and Fixes

Getting Creative – My Students’ Rulers

Learning and practicing scales at the keyboard can be relatively easy and enjoyable with the aid of some simple visual aids.  Yet music students often feel daunted with the learning of scales, chords and arpeggios, thinking that they are either difficult, unnecessary, time-consuming or irrelevant.

Difficulties for students are most often seen when first trying to cross fingers over/under for piano scales and especially when playing both hands together, trying to remember which fingers to use and which white/black notes and more.

Practising scales plays an essential part in developing skills with the sense of key and pattern acquired through familiarity, speeding up the learning of new pieces, developing aural awareness and increasing familiarity with the geography of the instrument.

From my perspective and personal background, I have always felt that scales, chords and arpeggios are very important for finger dexterity and a better understanding of analysis of musical compositions, particularly with regard to modern music.  Yet some teachers put technical exercises somewhat in    Read more…

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Posted in Music Theory, Practicing, Teaching Tips, Uncategorized

“I got rhythm…Who could ask for anything more?” – Ira Gershwin

Teaching rhythm to students is a real challenge. Some just “pick it up” naturally and others need, in the words of Ian Dury and the Blockheads, “hitting with the rhythm stick!”

So if you have a theory student preparing for an ABRSM exam (or similar), what can be done to inspire them to write a good rhythm worthy of a full 10 marks?

 

Tip 1: “Follow my leader!”

I like to switch my metronome on at around 80 BPM or better still, I’m now using “Drum Beats+” on my iPad. This really easy to use app generates drum loops. A favourite preset of mine is “Phat N Hairy 90,” probably because it describes me quite well! The age I mean!!!

Firstly, I clap or beat out on a percussion instrument a Read more…

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Posted in Music & Technology, Music Theory, Teaching Tips

This past week we migrated over to a new hosting provider. It required a bit of downtime for the site over the weekend, but now that the transition is through, you should be seeing a noticeable difference in loading speeds within your account and on your music studio websites.

Other changes made this week:

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Posted in New Features and Fixes

Kristin Jensen’s site called Ear Training and Improv offers unique worksheets, videos and posts to spur musical imaginations. Kristin’s growing library of clever resources for music teachers is impressive. Since the special day is coming up shortly, I decided to check out her Mother’s Day Composition activity.

I’m always attempting to find a way to incorporate my favorite tool (the iPad) and prefer to remain a paper-free studio as much as possible. Therefore, I’ve created a tutorial on how your students can complete Kristin’s activity as a digitally handcrafted musical Mother’s Day card with just the iPad and the help of a terrific app, of course!

Take a Peek at a Completed Composition

Here’s a finished project. You’ll notice some slight variations in what was notated and how it was played and sung–creativity can’t be stopped!

Note: Before you begin this process make sure to download Notability developed by Ginger Labs at the App Store. Here’s the link. Read more…

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Posted in Composing & Arranging, Music & Technology, Teaching Tips

By Robin Steinweg

Five Buzz-Making Recital Ideas

We all know recitals can build excitement for our studios. Could we get even more creative with them? Give folks a performance to remember. Families will talk about it to friends, friends will see clips or photos on Facebook or in emails, and word will spread about the teacher whose students know how to put on a show. Students will be excited to have been a part of it. You’ll probably add to your waiting list as a result. Here are the first five buzz-making recital ideas:

The First Five:

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Posted in Composing & Arranging, Financial Business, Performing, Promoting Your Studio, Teaching Tips

Did you know that Music Teacher’s Helper has several team members whose job is to use the software and find issues with the current and future updates? We call them our Quality & Assurance Team and we love having them around. For instance, 27 minor bugs and improvements were made to the software this past week that they found.

They’ll keep working hard to improve Music Teacher’s Helper and make sure future versions of it are just as great. If you every experience an issue using the software, please let us know by emailing support@musicteachershelper.com and we’ll make it a priority to fix.

Coming up:

  • Several cool features for both the iOS and Android app  planned to release mid-May.
  • We are also hard at work modernizing and securing the underlying technologies that power Music Teacher’s Helper. That helps our members by making the site will run more smoothly and allow us to respond to your feedback more quickly.

Thank you for using Music Teacher’s Helper.

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Posted in New Features and Fixes

Last month I attended the Music Teachers National Association National Conferences in Las Vegas. I had the honor and pleasure of being a conference presenter this year, and would like to share my presentation with MTH blog readers.

My presentation was titled “Combining Method Books – Accelerated Approach to Teaching Beginning and Intermediate Piano Students.”

To demonstrate my approach, I brought six talented students from my studio, and discussed various method books and supplementary materials I have used during their course of study. All of those six sudents started piano lessons with me from scratch, without any prior knowledge. Each student then performed a piece by a contemporary composer, which is a main focus in my studio.

The presentation was very well received. The room was packed, and by the time we started, there were people standing and sitting on the floor. Many people asked questions in the end, and many people requested my presentation slides.

I am very happy to share the slides, and have put them online for easy viewing and accesss. If you are interested, please visit this link:

Did you go to the conference? What were your favorite presentations?

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Posted in Professional Development, Teaching Tips