I love the start of a New Year. Perhaps it is because in the Southern Hemisphere we have our summer holidays over the Christmas/New Year period, so by the time the New Year rolls around we have already had a month of rest and have another month of holidays before school begins again. I always use the start of the New Year to reflect on my studio and teaching habits; making decisions on which parts of my teaching practice could be enhanced, and which areas might need to be revised.Potential enhancements for your studio might include:
- Read more teaching-related literature – books, articles, blogs.
- Revamp your studio website (with the help of one of Music Teacher’s Helpers new website themes).
- Update or refine your studio policy.
- Conduct a student feedback survey for ways to improve your teaching.
- Share more YouTube links with your students.
- Increase your repertoire of music in styles that you’re unfamiliar with (jazz, world music, contemporary classical).
- Arrange a meet up with other music teachers to share resources and solve problems.
- Organise quarterly recitals for your students.
- Compile a list of eisteddfods and competition entry dates.
- Incorporate composition/improvisation into your lessons.
- Start a studio newsletter.
- Improve your aural skills.
- Attend more conferences.
- Attend more performances.
- Develop a concert culture in your studio.
As well as adding to your studio, it’s also a great time to reflect on what you’re currently doing in your studio that might not be working as effectively as you would like it. Do you have a default lesson structure that could be rejigged? Is there too strong a focus on repertoire and performance, and not enough on creativity? Is there an area of music teaching that is somewhat neglected (aural skills, sight singing)? Are you allowing the student to make enough interpretive decisions or are you in control? How much independence does the student have? Are you reviewing posture often enough with your students? Is the lesson pace appropriate? – Could it move faster, or perhaps it needs to be slower?
Once you have reviewed your teaching practice and set some goals, make sure you review them at least once a month (setting an automatic reminder to pop up on your computer is great for this) to ensure that the process is carried out throughout the year.
Happy New Year!