My top tip to any new private teacher would be to get a policy drawn up with your students. Everyone will be much happier for it! Pupils and parents need to know how you run things and your business will benefit from establishing some ground rules.
A feature I love about Music Teacher’s Helper is the “studio policy” web page that is part of the included music teacher website package. This gives us an opportunity to explain to prospective students, who might want to register for lessons, how we run our teaching businesses.
When I first started giving private music lessons I had no contract with my students. Things were casual. Some weeks pupils would turn up and pay for that lesson, other weeks they didn’t. It became very frustrating as I waited to see whether they would attend and pay and as a consequence, my earnings were extremely erratic. I began to quickly realise that I needed a solution otherwise I would simply run out of steam. Enter the contract!
I remember the night before I was planning to present my newly drawn-up contract to my students I was feeling rather anxious. What if they didn’t like the idea of a formal agreement? Would I lose pupils? A couple of parents grumbled but most, to my surprise, were very understanding and agreed that it was a good idea to get things into writing. The improvement was immediate! People were now paying for Read more…
Posted in Financial Business, Studio Management, Teaching Tips, Using Music Teacher's Helper
September 30th, 2016 by Andrew
Welcome back to our member spotlight series. Today we have Ashi. She teaches piano and voice lessons in Falcon, CO.
How long you’ve been teaching?
How would you describe your studio space to someone that’s never visited?
It’s a wonderful place where learning and creativity combine to support aspiring musicians of all ages! Also, we play on a Yamaha baby grand and a Roland HP550 G, so we have the benefit of both digital and traditional instruments.
Posted in Professional Development, Promoting Your Studio, Studio Management, Teaching Tips
Are you looking for learning games for your group class? Music Jeopardy could make a big win and motivate your students. I crafted my own. Here’s how.
What you’ll need:
- Tri-fold project board
- Velcro dots
- Cardstock (tagboard) squares, 3” x 3” or 4” x 4” (or similar-sized cardstock figures—I purchased cardstock owls)
- Sticky notes (smaller than the squares or shapes)
- Buzzers (or bells, boom whackers, or even good-old hand raising)
- A non-partial judge to decide who buzzed, rang or raised hands first
- A game host (you)
Posted in Music Theory, Studio Management
A lot of teachers of music, especially private ones, just fell into this line of work. Someone asked them to show them a few chords and one thing led to another. This is fine. But if at some point you find yourself really beginning to love teaching others, you need to start thinking of it as your career and your business. And teaching music is a business.
Posted in Financial Business, Product Reviews, Studio Management, Using Music Teacher's Helper
Decades away from my childhood, I recently encountered some experiences, events, and resources that sparked memories of what it’s like to be a kid. I’ve been taken back to those feelings of curiosity, insecurity, excitement and anxiety cast in the mindset of a kid. Mmm…as an adult I still have those same feelings–when does that change? Regardless, sometimes it really is important to take the time to feel like a kid again. It may just kick start your approach to lesson time and help you understand the little human looking up to you for guidance.
What triggered these memories and feelings? Not a trip to the fountain of youth or a special vitamin; rather, these four things:
#1 Online Workshop
Have You Forgotten What It’s Like to Be a Child is a recently released online workshop produced by Wendy Stevens of ComposeCreate.com. In her unique perspective as a mom, teacher, and composer, Wendy offers:
- The 5 characteristics of childhood that we forget
- Scores of practical ways to apply this knowledge to help our students leave every single lesson feeling excited and competent
- Secrets to composing effective elementary piano music that Wendy uses as a composer.
Posted in Professional Development, Teaching Tips
Have you ever been asked to teach music to a 3 or 4-year-old? Do you turn them down? It’s completely within your right to only teach older students. Some teachers just prefer to have students start at an older age, and that’s fine. Let me try to make a case for taking younger students, though.
If your studio is not yet full, you’re turning away income and perhaps discouraging a parent from getting lessons for their child until they are older. There are real benefits to early childhood music lessons that I don’t think should be ignored.
When Can Young Children Start?
Posted in Studio Management, Teaching Tips
There is nothing quite like the thrill of writing your own piece of music or helping your student to compose but sometimes it can be extremely hard to get started. What can you do to get the ball rolling as it were?
1 Numbers: A great idea I picked up the other week is to pick an easy key, roll three or four dice and convert the numbers (1-6) into degrees of the scale to generate the start of a melody. For example, say we picked G major and the numbers were 3, 4 and 1, that would equate to B (3rd note of the scale of G major), C (4th) followed by G (1st). After toying with these three notes, you should be inspired to know what comes next. If not, roll again! You could try something similar with a phone number. After writing out the number, cross out any zeroes or nines (not degrees of the scale) and see what happens!
Posted in Composing & Arranging, Music Theory, Teaching Tips
September 12th, 2016 by Andrew
Hi Everyone. It’s almost here! Soon, you’ll be able to access all the features we’ve been announcing the past few weeks. And we’ll announce just a few more below. Of course, this is just one set of new features we’ll be releasing this year.
We’re working hard to get them ready for you, and update our software code so we can release features much faster moving forward. We’re excited about all the ways we’re continuing to make Music Teacher’s Helper even better for you so that you can run your studio more easily and effectively and connect better with your students. Thank you for your patience.
As a reminder, we’re first releasing these features as a beta version and instructions will follow for access.
Improved calendar filtering and searching, and option to show student birthdays automatically on calendar
Filtering options are moving to above your calendar, and we’ve made it easier to see what’s filtered and to change it. You also have the option to show student birthdays and blocked dates automatically on the calendar.
Option to charge a per-person fee for an event
Special events or group lessons that require different pricing can be accommodated with per-person fees. With group lessons, you can track attendance and charges separately.
Set custom attendance statuses, and whether or not they’re billable
Create your own attendance statuses in your Studio Settings, and set whether or not they’re billable. Some example statuses could be: Teacher Absent (not billable) or Student Late (billable).
We’ll be sending an email as well as an in-software announcement when the Beta option is available. Keep an eye out for the announcement and if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact support. Have a great week!
Posted in New Features and Fixes
Other teachers said these things to me recently: “I’m just a small-town music teacher.” “It’s all been taught before.” “I don’t say anything new. It’s all been said before.” But not by you. You and your teaching are utterly unique.
Teachers with wonderfully creative ideas write online. Some of them compose songs we purchase for our students. Others create teaching strategies and games. Those aren’t your gifts? Don’t let that discourage you!
You leave a fingerprint on each student’s life…
Think about this. You leave a fingerprint on each student’s life. Utterly unique. Yes, many others have taught the same pieces. They’ve used the same materials. The same words will have been said. But not by you.
I recall the impact of various musicians on my own life. My mother left me a legacy to love music; to make music; to live and laugh music. My first private music teacher impressed me with her pretty voice. But I also picked up her touch on the piano, which I see passed on to my own students. A musician I met only once spoke two sentences that shaped my musical destiny. Other teachers plucked weeds, watered, fed and shone on me as I grew. A professor provided my first playing gig. Each of them impacted my life: utterly unique. Even a negative experience with a teacher helped shape me into a better person.
I’ve had students who no way in this world were going to sing or compose their own songs. But I nudged them. Now they’re making money at it.
Each student comes to you at a particular time of vulnerability. No one else will see him or her exactly the way you do. No one else will relate the way you do. The encouragement you speak at this time can change the course of a life. A word dropped by you might nourish words spoken by others. Your influence might inspire a student to drop a harmful thought pattern. You might provide an oasis. What if you’re the only one who really listens? You are undoubtedly providing a mode of expression that can last a lifetime.
So be encouraged, music teacher. Leave your utterly unique fingerprint on that life.
Posted in Professional Development, Teaching Tips
Hi everyone! I know we’re emailing you a lot lately, but there are so many new features and improvements we’re excited about that we know you’re going to love. In addition to the dozens we’ve already announced, here are several more you’ll get to start using soon.
New Lesson Swapping Feature
If you have a full roster or keep a tight schedule, you may encounter multiple requests for schedule changes each month. This can be time-consuming with all the emailing and calling students to switch. This feature allows parents/students to opt-in to lesson swapping, where they can submit a request to other students to swap lesson times. Students will feel guilt-free requesting a swap without having to “bug the teacher”. And for you – no more mediating or wasting time on swapping lessons for your students. Let this highly requested feature handle it for you!
Simpler Process for Creating and Editing Lessons and Events Right from Calendar Screen
Click and create an event within seconds by selecting a student’s name and time. Add details such as location, duration, and rate or allow it to default on your most common answers to save even more time. Clicking an existing event allows you to see important lesson information at once without having to jump to different screens. You can also easily edit event information right from the calendar pop-up.
Easier Online Booking for Students (Instant Booking)
Students can choose from your available time without you having to create specific lessons slots on the calendar. Mark your availability and unavailability and receive a notification once a new lesson is booked.
New Location View on Calendar
In addition to month, week, and day view, sort a day’s events on your calendar by location as a column for comparison. This can be helpful if you have a mix of lessons in your home studio, students’ homes, or additional places.
New Agenda View on Calendar
See all events listed out without empty space in between. This will be convenient to scan many events at once.
Set Default Category and Location
If you primarily teach one instrument and from one place, such as a home studio, setting a default category will save time when creating a new lesson event. If you teach multiple instruments and/or locations, selecting which is easy but setting the most common as default saves time.
Thank you for using Music Teacher’s Helper. These new features will make a big difference in how you run your studio and we’re so excited to make them available shortly!
Please don’t hesitate to contact support with any questions. Have a great weekend!
Posted in New Features and Fixes