Sandy Lundberg

Motivation Podcasts

July 26th, 2015 by

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Student motivation is an ongoing discussion and concern for every music teacher. We debate internal versus external motivation, parent involvement, the role of talent, and the million ways to structure home practice. Students Luke Jones and Matt McKeever at the University of Missouri at St. Louis are taking a summer graduate music education class with Jennifer Mishra and they have created a series of podcast interviews with musicians around the country addressing the issue of student motivation. You can check out their project here: http://sutbpodcats.podomatic.com/

My interview encouraged me to once again write down a few of my thoughts about motivation.

The student has to own the lessons, not feel forced into them. If he or she does not arrive excited to start piano lessons do your best to sell the idea that studying music is an awesome, amazing experience. It helps if you can find ways to connect music to areas in which the student already has an interest. Our goal as teachers is to nurture and develop the student’s own personal value of the music study so they are not as dependent upon our external motivation.

Parents need to be educated about the value of lessons and how critical their role is in the child’s success. Compare the support they give the child on a sports team to the level of enthusiasm they need to show for music lessons. Give parents specific things they can do to be supportive and involved. Even non-musical parents can ask questions about the music, sit down for a living room concert, negotiate a motivation system, and show their child how much they value a musical education.

Taking music lessons will rarely go well if a student feels a loss of peer respect from the activity. Help students to develop friendships with other musicians, let them invite friends to a fun musical event, introduce role models, include fun popular pieces in their repertoire, and make sure students always have an impressive short piece to perform on the spur of the moment. Find ways to make their music relevant and useful in their life.

The student and teacher relationship is critical. Students need to know that you care about them as a person and are willing to listen to them. Share appropriately about your life as a musician. Be respectful, honest and trustworthy. Work hard, but be an source of encouragement, not a drain on their self-esteem. Personalize their program to reflect their unique gifts, interests, and learning style.

Learning has to include some fun, especially for the young. Include games and laughter in your teaching. Plan some group activities. Tell stories that make the music come alive. Every once in a while do something unexpected. Plan a surprise! Andrea and Trevor Dow are full of great ideas at http://www.teachpianotoday.com/.

Students need to know they are making progress.  Remind students how far they have come. Play old recordings and look over old play lists. Remind them of the goals they have already accomplished. Judging the correct speed with which to move a student forward is always a critical decision on the part of the teacher. Too fast and the fundamentals are not established deeply. Too slow and the student loses heart.

Create a vision for the future with the student and talk and dream about it. Point out harder pieces that they will be able to play one day. Take students to hear more advanced musicians and attend live music events.

Keep their vision alive with goal setting. Short term goals can take just a week or so— “See if you can memorize this to play for your grandmother when she comes to visit in two weeks.” An annual theme can keep motivation going throughout the year. Michelle Sisler has created a wonderful series of games at www.keystoimagination.com. The Music Teachers National Association offers a music achievement award program to help students set personal goals for each year. Don’t forget to set long term goals too, such as being ready to join the jazz band in high school.

When a student quits, all forward progress stops. Those that continue, even at a seemingly slow pace, will keep learning and growing. The longer a student sticks with their instrument, and the more independent and self-motivated they become in learning, the more likely they will have music in their life for as long as they live.

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Posted in Practicing, Professional Development, Studio Management, Teaching Tips

It is easy to fall into the trap of being simply a music instructor. You have a series of lessons in mind, and you introduce new concepts each week, even if the student has not mastered the previous concept. After all, you are getting paid to teach: if your student is not learning something new in the lesson, they may not be getting their money’s worth, or so it would seem. If you follow this plan, however, you may find that your students cannot keep up with the new material, perhaps becoming discouraged, and they may even eventually quit.

Being a good music teacher actually has two aspects, and only one of them is instructing. The second aspect is coaching your students. These two sides of teaching work hand-in-hand in your lessons. Nevertheless, you will want to distinguish between instruction and coaching, as well as understand how they work together.

Music Instruction

When you instruct, you present new information to your students in a structured way. You use various instructional aids and different methods of communication to convey that information as effectively as possible. Anytime you show something new to a student, you are instructing them. Read more…

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Posted in Professional Development, Teaching Tips

We are excited to share the news that the latest Android app update has just been released. The more notable new features include the ability to create & preview invoices, manage payments, invoices, & fees, issue make-ups & credits, and automatically track mileage using GPS. Here are additional updates made:

  • Home screen widget – view today’s event list or quickly add a new event.
  • Swipe-to-delete data in lists.
  • Import student or adult contact information from default Android phone book.
  • View previous month events in calendar view.
  • Additional minor enhancements & bug fixes.

Improvements made to the desktop version this past week:

  • Fixed a bug that allowed pasting of events onto block dates.
  • Solved 26 issues reported by customers and the Quality & Assurance Team.

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Posted in New Features and Fixes

teaching piano tools and resources

The intersection of technology and art is key to the evolution of life. One such example is the transition from standard instruments to electronic based instruments. No longer do drums need a special material stretched over the base, nor a piano need strings to sound like a grand piano. With electronic instruments, the world of self-taught musicians is becoming more common. With the surge of mobile apps, musicians are able to learn musical instruments at home, on the train, at the park or even at the beach. Below are a few examples of technology infused with art.

1. Wolfie

One new app that has surfaced is called Wolfie, named after famed composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Because the study of music is declining in the US and Europe, the idea of combining tech and music learning is essential to keep the attraction of the youth. The app includes a patented Magic Cursor, which follows the notes in real time, allowing students to not lose their place, or miss a note. The app has a wide variety of scores, ranging from beginner to advanced, and constantly adding new scores. After 12 months of development, the app is ready to go!

Read more…

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Posted in Music & Technology, Product Reviews, Professional Development

Music teaching apps

Several weeks back, we updated the Music Teacher’s Helper iPhone app to include invoice creation, editing, and printing. That ability will come shortly to the Android app in the next update. The app comes with your Music Teacher’s Helper account at no additional cost. The information syncs instantly to your desktop account, and vice versa. It can be a real help if you’re away from your studio.

Other fixes:

  • Corrected a set of bugs causing inconsistent dates formats on invoices.
  • Allowed saving of file names containing an apostrophe.
  • Made updates for a couple dozen improvements requested by the Quality and Assurance Team.

Let us know if you have any questions by emailing support – support@musicteachershelper.com. Happy teaching!

 

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Posted in New Features and Fixes

 

Arizona music teachers

This week’s updates for Music Teacher’s Helper include fixing a timezone bug affecting users in Arizona. For members located in Arizona, you should no longer experience issues related to daylight savings and scheduling music lessons on the calendar

Other fixes:

  • Set reply-to address on automatically generated emails so that students and parents can respond to reminders, etc.
  • Updated the file area to allow sorting of filters individually.

Let us know if you have any questions by emailing support – support@musicteachershelper.com. Happy teaching!

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Posted in New Features and Fixes

Put Your Records OnI remember, as a child, spending many an hour with my record player and LPs (long play vinyl records) in my bedroom. For me, half the pleasure of listening to the music was reading the sleeve notes which often gave up a wealth of fascinating information about the artist, composer, sometimes the instruments used, the recording personnel and the studio. And then there was the cover art which was a marvel in itself.

Of all the music that I listened to, I can’t forget an old Burl Ives record. One of the songs was called “I Know an Old Lady.” Apparently he didn’t “know why she swallowed a fly, perhaps she’ll die!” I played that album over and over.

As I grew older, I began to realise that listening to an old man singing folk songs was definitely not cool and that if you were to be esteemed in your peer group, you had to be listening to Read more…

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Posted in Composing & Arranging, Music & Technology, Music History & Facts, Performing, Professional Development, Teaching Tips

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This past weekend marked a major milestone in my use of my favorite device, the iPad. I played piano at my niece’s wedding and read all the music scores from my iPad with the help of an app called forScore and turned the pages with my PageFlip Cicada Bluetooth Page Turner Pedal. Ahhh…a match made in heaven!

This decision was due to the fact that the happy couple requested Jon Schmidt’s “Waterfall” as a recessional. As there wouldn’t be time for me to memorize the piece and because I dislike depending on someone else to manage the tricky page turns, I determined this tech-savvy combo was the logical choice. Read more…

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Posted in Composing & Arranging, Music & Technology, Performing, Product Reviews

music lesson reminder tool

 

Event reminders will now continue to be sent even if a subscription payment attempt to Music Teacher’s Helper fails until the account is suspended so that student communication isn’t disrupted for things like expiration date changes on the credit card you use.

The latest  update to the iPhone app has just been released. Many bug fixes were made and new features include:

  • Invoicing – ability to create, edit, view and print invoices.
  • Menu structure update
  • New birthday section in reports
  • Ability to create students or parents from contacts in your phone
  • Login with TouchID (fingerprint)
  • Added more details to Fees and Credits.
  • Updated recurring event editing.
  • Updated make up credit handling

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Posted in New Features and Fixes

Robin Steinweg

Refresh

June 28th, 2015 by

Teachers get tired, need to refresh.

Tired music teacher

We need time away from lessons and students. Whether for an hour, a week, a month or a season. How can we relax and refresh ourselves to be ready when the next student shows up at the door?

Time to refresh

Time to refresh

I asked my friends at Piano Teacher Central, on Facebook, what helps them recharge.

Here are answers from this generous group:

  • Read, read, & read. Preferably sitting on a quiet deck or by a rushing stream. Marathon TV series watching—currently watching Doc Martin!
  • Silence and a good night’s sleep without the deadline of a morning lesson.
  • Quilt, garden, genealogy, and other crafts that hit my fancy!
  • Play the piano
  • Look at FB lol
  • Wait, you mean there is life beyond teaching piano?
  • emoticon, shocked
  • Quilt many quilts… some even with music.
  • Agree with the second one above, but also art
  • I love country walking when I need a break. Very energizing and refreshing.
  • Play Angry Birds on FB, read, binge-watch movies, beach time.
  • A walk in the woods or a good workout with a DVD (dance party! Lol)
  • I play with my kids, and read…I honestly need it to be pretty quiet once I finish teaching, at least for awhile.
  • I used to teach in the summer… …Now I’ve decided that summers are short, the weather is beautiful and having July and August off is my reward for 10 months of hard work. I will refresh myself by reading at the beach just a few blocks away, learning to stand up paddle board, kayaking, and doing photography.
  • I go here (photo of sun setting over a calm ocean beach) and hide from the world. I don’t touch anything to do with lessons for awhile.
  • It helps me to read piano blogs and posts on Piano Teacher Central! I get excited about teaching again and using new ideas.

As for me, I:

  • get “musicked out”—spend time in silence
  • Shhhhhh

    Shhhhhh

  • write
  • read books on teaching
  • read blog posts
  • attend live performances—variety of genres
  • hold a private sight-reading marathon
  • browse music books and sheet music at the local music store
  • sub for another teacher on vacation—I have no idea why this works, but it does
  • jam with other musicians for the fun of it
  • further my education—attend workshops
  • try out new pianos and guitars at the music store
  • have been known to take a long soak in the tub
Hey, I can dream, right?

Hey, I can dream, right?

How do YOU refresh?

 

 

 

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Posted in Professional Development, Teaching Tips