Reversing the learning process

There is a common presumption among music students that learning a piece of music is processed in this order:

1.  The mind tries to understand what’s going on through analysis, reading, listening to the teacher.
2.  The hands are told by the brain what to do so they can practice and learn their job.
3.  The ears serve as audience and judge to see how it comes out.

More and more, I have come to realize that this presumption only serves to frustrate students and slow them down.  For example, some students have trouble being asked to play a note if they do not understand why or how it fits into what they’re working on.  Others might go over a phrase of music several times successfully, and then look up and say that they don’t know how to play it.  A student may play several notes of a musical phrase and have their fingers poised correctly for the next note, but feel they can’t play it because they don’t “know” what comes next. Read more…

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Posted in Music & Technology, Performing, Practicing, Teaching Tips

We’re getting closer to the new Music Teacher’s Helper design. This is a big first step with upgrades and new features to follow. The release date will be announced with plenty of notice, but here are some important things to know about the improved look:

 

  • The new design includes the existing functionality. While the look is different, all the menus items and actions you perform will be done exactly the same as before.
  • The new design will be responsive, which means the software will function and look great on any computer, tablet or mobile device. We still recommend you use the dedicated iPhone and Android mobile phone apps to access exclusive mobile features such as push notifications, GPS mileage tracking, and audio/video recording.

After we release this new design, we’ll begin adding in some of the bigger improvements and new features that have been requested for a long time, and several surprises which we know you’re going to love. Thanks for being a part of our Music Teacher’s Helper family! If you have any questions about the coming design, please do not hesitate to reach out to support@musicteachershelper.com 

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Posted in New Features and Fixes, Site Announcements

Success

When I first began teaching piano lessons I had no idea what my pricing should be. I didn’t understand the economics of it all, I honestly was just looking to make some money on the side while I was going to school. I started off at $30 for an hour lesson. I was in college, and most of my friends were working some retail job for a little above minimum wage, so I thought $30 was really good, and it probably was. But what I didn’t realize was I was leaving a lot of money on the table.

As self employed teachers, the single most valuable asset we have is our time. If you price your lessons low, you may get more students, but you will be working more and making less. Before we start thinking about what we should be charging for lessons, we need to understand how the market works.

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Posted in Financial Business, MTH 101, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management

Leila Viss

How will you play it forward?

December 14th, 2015 by

 

Two weeks ago, my student Addison entered my studio and declared, “I wrote a song for Paris!”

A little puzzled by what he meant, I probed further and learned that he improvised a piece on the piano based on his feelings about the terrorist attacks in Paris and posted it on his YouTube channel. It was Addison’s way of processing the tragedy, paying tribute to the victims, communicating his sorrow and as I thought about it more, this was Addison’s way to give what he could: he wanted to play it forward.

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Posted in Composing & Arranging, Music & Technology, Music News, Performing, Press, Professional Development, Teaching Tips

Happy students don’t quit piano lessons!image

What is more  important than keeping your current customers?

Use Music Teacher Helper to have happy students by communicating on a regular basis.

The lesson notes feature of Music Teachers Helper is helpful in that you can send any message after each lesson.

Use lesson notes to retain students!

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Posted in MTH 101, Practicing, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management, Using Music Teacher's Helper

Yiyi Ku

Inspired Holiday Music

December 9th, 2015 by

It is this time of the year again! I always look forward to checking out new arrangements of my favorite holiday music. This year, three collections will become staples in my studio.

Christmas Extravaganza by Robert D. Vandall

imageThis is a collection of three books, from Early to Late Intermediate levels. It was great fun when I was sight reading through the pieces for my students, as each one sounds so impressive. Each arrangement of familiar Christmas favorites combines both fresh and familiar harmonies with unique melodic treatments and interesting rhythms.

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Posted in Product Reviews, Teaching Tips

Reuben Vincent

Teaching Grouping

December 6th, 2015 by

21 The Coins of the Money Changers

I always found the rhythmic grouping of notes and rests very difficult to explain to students. How do you try and explain this concept to your theory and composition pupils?

Here’s an idea I stumbled on recently which seems to be helping: “money, money, money!”

• Before attempting to beam notes up into the correct groups, I first lay out a mixed selection of coins equivalent to four pounds sterling (I’m from England but the principle is the same whatever the coinage of your country. You can use real money or plastic play money).

• I then ask the pupil to organise the coins into four stacks equal to one pound, no more no less. The principle that this exercise demonstrates to them is that Read more…

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

Screenshot 2015-12-03 at 9.33.27 AM

You can now select makeup lesson credits for a sibling of a student when editing a calendar event. This allows you to use the lesson credit of one student for another student within the family.

Here’s a list of other improvements and fixes made this past week:

  • Updated registration page on Studio sites so that notification of a problem with the submission is more informative and easy to understand.
  • Removed irrelevant items from the “Advanced Search” function’s drop down lists.
  • Fixed a bug that caused the Set Attendance pop up box to freeze for random teachers.
  • Added the name of the quote’s author to the Music Staff website theme.
  • Solved an issue that prevented display of the “Start Date” column’s data for some teachers on the “Blocked Dates” page.
  • Corrected display of Blog Posts for some students after logging in to their dashboard.
  • Added “Notes” field content to Mileage tracker’s exported spreadsheet.

Lastly, we are finishing up modifications to the new look for Music Teacher’s Helper, which will be released during the holiday break. There will be lots of information regarding the new look coming over the next couple weeks. Have a great weekend!

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Posted in New Features and Fixes, Studio Management

photo-montage1

What would you do if I sang out of tune,
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
And I’ll try not to sing out of key
Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends

– Lennon & McCartney

You can’t do it alone.  If you look around you, all the things in your life, from furniture, to electronics to clothes to even books and works of art – none of it was done by a lone genius.

I used to be seduced by this story of the lone creative genius toiling away in an isolated studio somewhere and emerging two years later with…the greatest thing ever!  But, the work of all the famous authors, painters, inventors, teachers, musicians – they all needed a team to make it’s way to us. Van Gogh would not be known without his brother’s financial support and the art dealers and the scholars and the museums who have all promoted his work.   

For years, I tried to do it alone and it was painful, hard, lonely. But, there is a better way and that way is called a mastermind group which I am certain has the potential to change your life.  

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Posted in Professional Development, Teaching Tips

To our U.S. members, we hope you had a nice Thanksgiving! Here is a list of software updates made this past week:

  • Corrected a bug that caused an incorrect time stamp for manually generated and sent invoices.
  • Made the header row clickable on the days of the week in the calendar’s week view so it’s easy to open the day’s view.
  • Corrected a bug that occurred when clicking to subscribe to calendar link from student profiles.
  • Updated the parent and student login time stamps to remove any possible inaccuracies.
  • Made it so that emails sent using personally created templates are displayed correctly in the email history.
  • Optimized the calendar syncing process so that it is faster and more reliable.
  • Added an “Inactive” status to the blog column that contains the “Preview” option (previously it was blank).
  • Increased the width of the “Birthday” column on the student contact list report so that the date is on one line.
  • Removed time stamps from announcements display.

Have you found any great music teaching (sheet music, supplies, etc.) deals online this weekend? If so, let us know in the comments section!

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Posted in New Features and Fixes