Thank you for using Music Teacher’s Helper. This week’s implemented updates can be found on the list below. Please contact one of our support reps if you are experiencing an issue and we’ll get on it right away. If you have an idea for a new feature, please submit it here. Many of the current features were ideas submitted by members!

This week’s feature updates & fixes:

  • Multiple files can be selected in file area with control-click on Windows or command-click on Mac.
  • Files can be deleted by dragging them to the trash can icon.
  • The default behavior for file sharing with students has been updated to not select all students as requested.
  • Fixed 17 small bugs reported by our Quality & Assurance Team.
  • Made minor updates released for 3rd party dependencies.

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Posted in New Features and Fixes

“I didn’t practice as much as I’d like” is a pretty common refrain at music lessons. But “I didn’t touch it since last time” is not so easy to confess to.


There are many reasons why a student didn’t practice.  I think it’s important not to lump them all together, but to take care to understand what happened in each individual case, in order to have an effective response.

Perhaps the foremost excuse for not practicing is Read more…

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Posted in Practicing, Teaching Tips

We hope you had a great weekend. Below are a few changes you might be interested in knowing about. Most notably, you can now drag and drop multiple files to the recently improved file area.

 This week’s feature updates & fixes:

  • Updated several libraries used in our codebase to use the latest versions.
  • Corrected 4 minor bugs the Quality Assurance (QA) team found in the calendar view.
  • Corrected 4 bugs the QA team found in the Repertoire tracker.
  • Fixed 5 issues the QA team found with the Studio websites feature.
  • Fixed 3 issues that were specific to the reporting Teacher’s account.
  • Added the ability to drag and drop multiple files in the file area.

Please contact one of our support reps if you are experiencing an issue and we’ll get on it right away. If you have an idea for a new feature, please submit it here. Many of the current features were ideas submitted by members. Happy teaching!

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Posted in New Features and Fixes

This week, many small changes to our error messages and notifications were made.

The next releases to the iOS and Android apps were tested and verified. The biggest change you’ll see with this update is that the apps will have the ability to create and send invoices! Thank you to everyone that has provided feedback on their experience with the apps. We look forward to adding more features to the app in the future.

Happy teaching!

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Posted in New Features and Fixes

“The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat…”

And so begins the portrayal of the romancing, marriage and honeymoon of the Owl and Pussy-cat by the nineteenth century writer Edward Lear.

“And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon”

After a few years of private music teaching, I began to notice that each new pupil goes through a “honeymoon” period. They start with such enthusiasm; it’s as if nothing else but their music matters to them. This is often even more noticeable in adult students.

Now some student’s “honeymoon” period will last for considerable months while others, barely weeks! And then the inevitable happens… Read more…

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Posted in Professional Development, Teaching Tips

 

It’s amazing how much can change in a year. I just returned home from the 2015 Music Teachers National Association conference in Las Vegas. When I asked a roomful of teachers to raise their hands if they owned an iPad (yes, I’m partial to Apple products), there was a forest of proud hands. I’m not sure that would have been the case last year. It seems more and more music teachers are favoring the user-friendly device and realizing that apps can truly enhance their teaching. As the app world can be overwhelming,  it’s good to start with those that are recommended by others. That’s how I developed this list below. These are just a few of the many that I integrate regularly into my teaching. I’ve listed only two or three per category and omitted some favorites to keep the list reasonable. To view a more thorough directory of apps for your digital tool box, click here. Links are included but prices are not as they fluctuate frequently. I’ve included a brief sentence on how I use each one or links to posts with further explanation. If the app is available for other operating systems, I’ve indicated that with an asterik.* Read more…

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Posted in Music & Technology, Music Theory, Teaching Tips

These smaller feature tweaks and fixes announced each week is just a portion of what our programming team spends their time on. The majority of their time is spent working to bring you a much-improved user experience that include new and overhauled features based mostly on member input. We will continue to release these larger feature upgrades gradually and be sure to let you know with in-software announcements and emails. Great changes are coming that we know you will be so pleased with.

This week’s feature updates & fixes:

  • Added the ability to upload multiple files at once to the File Upload area.
  • Fixed a bug that occurred when copying and pasting events on the calendar.
  • Fixed some bugs in the display of blocked dates on the calendar.
  • Corrected a Google Calendar sync issue that occurred for teachers with a high number of events.
  • Increased the allowed size of the text box for lesson notes on the multiple lesson reconciliation screen.
  • Fixed a handful of technical bugs.
  • Corrected and optimized several issues reported by our internal Quality Assurance team.

Please contact one of our support reps if you are experiencing an issue and we’ll get on it right away. If you have an idea for a new feature, please submit it here. Many of the current features were ideas submitted by members. Happy teaching!

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Posted in New Features and Fixes

Robin Steinweg

Music is for Life

March 27th, 2015 by

By Robin Steinweg

How can I impress on my students that music is for life? Few sports can be played into later years. But music is for life. A job might be fulfilling until retirement. Music is for life.

I’ve started a master class series in which I’ll invite elderly musicians to share their music and their stories.

Martha Nelson shares why music is for life

The first was Martha Nelson, a drummer/singer/pianist/accordion player who entertained in all-girl bands in the 1930s, 40s and 50s.

Martha practicing accordion

Martha sang weekly on the Jerry Blake Show for Madison, Wisconsin’s WKOW TV its first year on the air.

Martha Nelson about to sing on WKOW-TV Madison, WI in the 1950s

She passed her music on to her daughters, who are both working musicians (and one of whom is yours truly). She drummed for our family’s dance band through the 1980s.

Martha played several pieces for my students (including the Glenn Miller hit “In the Mood”), and shared the story of how she got her start. She went all the way back to her mother. Grandma planned to travel to the U.S. from Sweden to join her husband. She was booked to sail on the Titanic. But her first-born, my Aunt Vicky, got sick, and they had to wait. Mom told my students their teacher wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for that.

She taught herself piano. One of ten children, her dad brought a drum home one day, handed it to her, and told her that would be her instrument.

Now at 89, she still plays piano and sings. And one can often see her foot going or hear her fingers tapping in true drummer fashion.A year ago she joined me singing in a coffee shop—and I gotta tell you, she’s still got it! Her voice hasn’t really aged. Music helps keep her young.

Yeah, play it!

After Martha’s presentation, my students entertained her. The final song, by Chris, was—“My Heart Will Go On”—the theme from the movie Titanic!

Dane & Chris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah

Ava, Sam & Sara, seated 

Music is good for many things: for background, for relaxing, for accompaniment to shopping or working,

for inspiration, entertainment, making a living,

passing on to another generation,

Passing the gift of music on to the next generation and the next…

and enjoying—from the womb till one’s final breath and into eternal life.

Music is for life!

 

 

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Posted in Financial Business, Music Theory, Performing, Practicing, Promoting Your Studio

There are so many facets to a musical education; reading, theory, ear training, transposition, repertoire, and on and on. One of my personal frustrations is trying to get students ready to perform in special events without enough lesson time. Is it realistic to think that a teacher can cover all these skills and prepare for competitions with just 30 minutes a week with each student? With longer lessons more can be accomplished, but parents may be resistant to increasing the lesson time due to time and financial concerns. However, maybe as teachers we are not presenting a realistic picture of what they are getting for their investment. Below are some thoughts about better defining what can be accomplished over time with various lesson lengths. This is just one example, but perhaps it will encourage you to think about how you define your product.

Piano Basics

30 minute lessons

(number of lessons and tuition appropriate to geographical location)

  • sight reading
  • fundamental technique
  • basic theory
  • basic study of music structure

Piano Basics is a place for every student to get exposure to the language of music and the fundamental skills involved in learning to play the piano. The student’s understanding of western music’s structure, along with proper playing technique, is developed through the use of the Piano Partners series by Bernard Shaak. Music reading is introduced through the (national reading program). These two books form the core of the curriculum. As the student progresses in ability, other music is brought in to supplement this core based upon the student’s individual interests.

Rising Stars

45 minute lessons + 20 minutes lab time

(number of lessons and tuition appropriate to geographical location)

  • sight reading
  • intermediate level technique
  • intermediate theory
  • transposition
  • performance preparation
  • performance venues
  • extra music selection
  • memorization skills
  • Achievement Day access

As the student progresses and demonstrates an interest in music, and a willingness to dig deeper into the learning, the Rising Stars program will be recommended. At this level the student will be encouraged to learn performance preparation, step up their technical abilities, and dig more deeply into the details of their music. Achievement Day participation is encouraged. Several other performance opportunities will be available throughout the year requiring extra preparation.

Comprehensive Musicianship

60 minute lessons + 30 minutes lab time

(number of lessons and tuition appropriate to geographical location)

  • sight reading
  • performance level technique
  • ear training
  • advanced rhythm patterns
  • challenge pieces
  • wide range of musical genres
  • collaborative duet work
  • transposition
  • basic composition
  • lead line skills
  • accompaniment skills
  • music history
  • advanced performance preparation
  • performance venues
  • memorization work
  • extra curricular learning activities
  • Achievement Day, Piano Festival and Federation, Sonatina Festival access

For the student who demonstrates exceptional interest and ability, and a willingness to work hard, the Comprehensive Musicianship program provides an amazing foundation in all aspects of becoming a well-rounded pianist. Technique is prioritized, and the student is given a broad palate of musical genres. He or she is encouraged to understand the history of western music and to be able to interpret music in its intended historical style. At this level students are also encouraged to create their own original music, incorporating their knowledge of music structure and patterns. Collaborative efforts are encouraged in the form of duets, playing with a string quartet, and accompaniment of soloists or other instruments. Basic keyboarding and ear training skills are taught so that a student can play from a lead line with a contemporary musical group. Students are encouraged to participate in several judged events throughout the year, and will be expected to develop a personal repertoire list. Group lessons usually involve a second lesson time for the week. Group lessons are alternated with education field trips to meet the total of 10 per year. Field trips involve musical experiences such as a trip to a special music store, or a symphony performance.

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Posted in Financial Business, Professional Development, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management, Teaching Tips

DRAG yourself to the beach and DROP onto that lawn chair!

Despite how much I love teaching, I genuinely look forward to my time off. After a long January through March with no breaks, I can hardly wait for Spring Break!

Do you ever hold lessons for part of a day before a vacation starts, or occasionally cancel some, but not all, lessons on a given day?

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Posted in Studio Management, Uncategorized, Using Music Teacher's Helper